Archive for August, 2017

Coming to spoil your day?

Angry Wasps – Why?

As we enjoy the last of a summer’s sun in the back garden, we often seem to get bothered by wasps more and more and they seem intent on dive-bombing glasses of drinks – both soft and alcoholic drinks. Why does this happen and why now?

It isn’t our imagination; it does happen and it occurs more and more frequently as late Summer turns into Autumn, and there are a few reasons why it happens, although one of those reasons is mainly responsible. When worker wasps take back small insects to feed to the wasp larvae back in the nest, they are actually rewarded for their efforts by the larva they are feeding in the form of a regurgitated sweet honey-like substance. Wasps do not make honey like honey bees but this highly sweet substance is as close as they get. For many weeks this cycle of feeding larva and being rewarded with a sweet liquid continues and it isn’t hard to imagine any living creature developing a rather sweet tooth in response to this regular meal. The problems for us living near a wasp nest is that once the last lot of larva have turned into wasps, the workers are rather abruptly cut off from their favourite meal and basically start suffering a kind of withdrawl syndrome. If we were to ask a person to suddenly stop eating any and all sugary foods, you can bet there would be unpleasant side-effects and it would be reasonable to assume the person might go through a period of constantly thinking about sweet foods!

With this in mind, it is understandable that when these wasps are suddenly cut off from their source, they are going to go looking for a substitute elsewhere… This often will be a back garden or patio area where people are enjoying some warm weather and sunshine. Most alcoholic drinks have a fair amount of sugar in them and of course the kids’ fizzy drinks are also loaded with sugar. This is just irresistible to any wasps around. They can detect the sugar content in the air around a glass of cola and they will head straight to the glass to get their sugar fix. Wasps are often to be found in and around bins and recycling areas which contain empty wine bottles etc. Just the residue on the inside of an empty bottle is more than enough to satisfy the cravings of a wasp.

While these wasps are out and about searching for some sugar, they are likely to be ill-tempered and we know that wasps are pretty quick to sting at the best of times, let alone when they are starving of the food that has sustained them for months. Wasps are more likely to sting as they inevitably come into contact with the humans that will be around, holding, pouring and clearing away what to a wasp must be butter-mountain sized amounts of sweet liquid!

 

What to do?

If you find yourself battling wasps in and around Aberdeenshire, and you know you have a wasp nest on your property, it might now be the time to get it taken care of professionally. Some people can live with a nest nearby if it doesn’t directly impact their day-to-day life and wasps do have their part to play in our ecosystem, however, having a number of angry wasps spoiling an afternoon outside is not fun and for those unlucky enough to be allergic to wasps stings, it is a clear cut case of safety first….get it treated!

If there isn’t actually a nest on your property, but you are still bothered by wasps, what can you do?

There are a number of commercially available and DIY wasp traps that can be useful in cutting down the numbers of wasps around. They mostly are based on the principle of having a very sweet liquid bait which either draws them into a one-way trap,  or actually drowns the wasps itself. The best solution for troublesome wasps is obviously to get the nest itself treated but wasp traps can help reduce wasp numbers on your property and also hopefully provide a lure to tempt wasps in and away from our drinks and food.

We would always recommend using a professional pest control technician to treat an actual nest, rather than attempting to do so yourself. The professional technician will have all the right personal protective equipment – coveralls to limit personal insecticide exposure, a bee-keeper’s hat or full-body suit to prevent stings, leather gauntlets to protect the hands, a respirator mask to prevent inhalation and safety goggles to prevent exposure to the eyes. Believe me when I say that wasps are capable of stinging through several layers of clothing! They have even been known to penetrate a bee-keeper suit so just imagine how bad it could be to be attacked by multiple wasps without wearing all the gear! Professionals also have access to a range of products and application equipment not available to the public. Add to all this the  valuable experience of dealing with countless previous nests, the professional can safely take care of a problem nest, provide reassurance to customers and also a wealth of knowledge that just cannot be found elsewhere.

If we are lucky enough to enjoy an Indian Summer this year in the North-East, it need not be spoiled by ravenous wasps – but if they appear, you know what can be done!

Gordon Mackay

Aberkil

Technical and Sales

01224 692152

A Clothes Moth

Invasion

The U.K is experiencing record numbers of Clothes Moths due to the mild winter and early spring; call-outs for pest controllers to treat for moths more than doubled between February and March of this year! My colleagues round the country agree that this is a bumper year for moths and this unfortunately can mean problems for households everywhere. Although a little cooler than down south, up here in Aberdeenshire, we do not escape the menacing jaws of the moth larva, intent on ruining someone’s day.

Moths spend the cold winter months as pupae, waiting for the longer, warmer days to encourage them out of hiding to breed and it is just one stage of the moth life cycle that causes most of the problems for the likes of you and I. It is the larval stage of moths that cause damage to clothes, carpets and other items made of natural products. The moth larvae eat natural fibres such as cotton and wool and this is what can turn a favourite garment into something that looks like it was worn by Steptoe & Son, or a new wool carpet into something that looks worn from years of use! Not a pleasant thing to discover as my customers can attest to.

Treatment

People may try to control a moth infestation by themselves and although this is possible, often they find that while they may have had some effect on the numbers of adult moths they see around the property, it is a tall order to really get on top of all the moth eggs, larva and adults that may be hiding around in all sorts of nooks and crannies. If you don’t manage to kill them all off, you can find your infestation returning pretty quickly and things getting out of control. The financial cost of moth damage can easily surpass the cost of a professional pest control treatment, so it can make financial sense to take the stress out of getting rid of these destructive pests.

Aberkil has carried out a number of moth treatments lately, one of which was a very large job involving multiple buildings and individual properties and often with cases like this, there was a lot of cross-infestation with the moths spreading from one building to another and for the residents it was getting out of hand and actually quite unpleasant dealing with the destruction of carpets, rugs and clothes. I have another couple of moth treatment jobs over the coming days and it seems likely we will be getting more calls very soon at this rate.

When you call in a professional to deal with a moth infestation, they will come and carry out an inspection to confirm the species and the extent of the problem. At this stage the pest technician can offer helpful advice on what the customer can do to help protect their valuable property from future moth problems, and also what they can do to help the technician maximise the benefits from a professional treatment.

Aberkil will vacuum the places likely to harbour moth eggs before applying a residual insecticide (long-lasting active ingredient) coupled with an ‘I.G.R’ which is an ‘insect growth regulator,’ basically a chemical that prevents insects reaching the adult stage that allows them to breed. Finally, a ‘space-spray’ is applied in all rooms and this is a fine mist of insecticide that billows out of a special machine and this produces a ‘knockdown’ effect that reaches into every corner and hiding place available. The whole process takes a few hours and for a further 4 hours afterwards, people and pets are required to be out of the property, to allow time for the space-spray mist to settle down out of the air.

Before a treatment for moths, customers can help themselves and us as professionals, by clearing away excess clutter from rooms and affected areas and this allows the technician to get the insecticide where it needs to go. With insecticide applications, it’s never a question of slapping large quantities down – on the contrary, it is how and where it is applied that matters, and in addition to that, we are legally obligated to follow the manufacturers instructions on dilution rates etc. We only use approved products that comply with all the relevant legislation and good industry Health and Safety practice.

 

Gordon Mackay,

Sales and Technical,

Aberkil.