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Saturday, 30 July 2016

Waspgate update

After last week's wasp post, I thought you, dear reader, would like to know how the 'Take Back The Garden' movement was doing.

I'm sorry to say that I did indeed resort to chemical genocide in this instance. It would have been lovely to just wait for some passing hungry badger or honey buzzard to snack on my colony of stripey invaders, but as I'm not in a rural location I'd still be waiting for that to happen some years down the line. So action was took, and 2 cans of spray foam later plus disturbing at least part of the nest, I think I have got rid of the infestation. Wont know for sure until tomorrow morning when I attempt to dig the final patch of soil, but there were no wasps flying around the final entrance hole just now.

The nests themselves are a thing of beauty though. If you've never seen inside a wasp nest (and why would you!) here's the top half of a chamber:

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Wasps, huh! What are they good for?

Absolutely nothing!

Well that's not strictly true. Wasps, I'm told, eat insects that we don't want in our gardens. Right now though, I'd happily trade a plague of greenfly for the wasps that find my garden such a desirable residence. A couple of weeks ago, wasps were busily moving in to a gap behind the fascia board next to my front room window. The pest control folks came out and put something in the hole that either scared the wasps away or killed them all, but either way within 12 hours they were no more.

But in digging out the pile of spoil from the flower bed in the back garden this morning, I discovered another wasp nest, and this time they were not at all happy to see me. I've never been stung by a wasp before, and I actually expected it to hurt a lot more than it did. That doesn't mean I particularly want to make a habit of it. I made a hasty retreat, and I now have some 'wasp foam' that I will attempt to spray on the entrance to their nest this evening. I don't like using chemicals in the garden, but sometimes, needs must.

Meanwhile, my natural attraction to mosquitoes and any other biting insect prevails. After 3 hours in the garden this morning, my ankles are swelling with numerous bites - some of which have drawn blood, but many that are 'testing' sites. Having been bitten twice earlier this year by Blandford Flies (that did not live to bite again) I seem to be particularly reactive to any other kind of bite. I've read up on the subject and it would appear that as a larger, active, blood Type O individual I'm up there with caviar and oysters when it comes to choice cuisine. I've always been popular with the mossies, and if your pet has fleas I'll be able to tell you within a couple of minutes of sitting on your sofa, but it seems to be getting worse.

Still the flowers are doing well, and citronella candles do appear to keep the worst of the little biters away while I sit on my bench.