Well the wasping continues apace, the little darlings are finally getting busy and noticable, after a dismal start to the season. As more people find them the daftness ramps up a little. I mentioned a week or so back that there has been no expanding foam high jinks yet, and—whaddaya know?—this week we have high jinks involving many and various sorts of foam. And cement.
Here is a picture of one of the things not to do to a wasps’ nest, and some foam, but not the expanding sort. This is the kind of foam that you buy for killing wasps with, so it makes some sort of intuitive sense until you read the instructions, which are all about how to use it on an exposed nest. If you spray it all round the entrance to a nest tucked away in a wall cavity it appears to sort of work, ie it kills a load of wasps, but it makes bugger all difference to the queen and the lavae on the inside. Then, when you call the pestie out, all the wet, soggy foam-and-dead-wasps-soup has to be dug out and dried off before any powder can be adminstered, under pressure, to do the job properly. This takes ages.
The expanding foam creates a different sort of mayhem. If the bright spark who thought that stopping the wasps getting out was a good idea is efficient enough with his foamery, the wasps that can’t get out start going in. It’s not unusual to get the same call, word for word, several times a day: “My husband filled the hole with foam and now the house is full of wasps.” What happens next depends, of course, on how long ago the dastardly foamy deed was done. If the foam is still soft, we have to dig it out with a screwdriver, because otherwise it will clog up the nozzle we use to inject the nest. This takes a few minutes and involves being buzzed by confused and angry wasps as you work, but it’s relatively easy to clear an entry point sufficient for our insecticide.
If, on the other hand, the foam has set hard, it still has to be dug out with a screwdriver (I have a special, dedicated, ‘foam screwdriver’ in the van at all times) but the task takes a great deal longer and involves a lot more being buzzed by confused and angry wasps and tends to render your friendly local pestie a tad bad-tempered. There is joy though, to be had in the body language and facial expressions of all concerned in the great foam debacle. Dad, whose idea it was, blends into the background, arms akimbo in defensive stance while Mum goes into one about how she “told him to leave it alone”. The kids smirk from afar while Dad gets his bollocking.
“I don’t see the problem,” says Dad. “I stopped them going in and out.”
“But now they’re all in the house,” rants Mum.
“The thing to remember,” chides the pestie, gently and as though addressing a nature study class of infants, “is that the nest is on the inside, so that’s where most of your wasps are. If you stop them getting out, they have no choice but to come in.”
My trusty screwdriver was totally inadequate, however, in the face of this week’s cement job. “We had a builder in, pointing the brickwork anyway so I asked him to cement the hole the wasps were using while he was at it.” He told us this on the phone, on Sunday afternoon.
“When did he do this?”
“Friday, but now the conservatory is full of wasps.”
“You’ll have to get him back again to drill a hole for us to work through, we don’t carry drills.”
“But it’s Sunday, I’ll have to pay a callout fee.”
“It is generally cheaper to call us for advice before doing this sort of thing.”