The Beetley Meadows Wasps

The long dry summer has brought a new hazard to our regular dog-walks. Underground wasp nests.

A couple of weeks ago, Toby the Jack Russell Terrier was chasing his ball into the long grass when he screamed in pain and ran back onto the path. He seemed agitated and unwell, so his owners took him straight to the Vet, concerned he may have been bitten by an Adder, a poisonous snake. However, it turned out he had been stung several times by wasps. He was given some treatment, and made a good recovery.

His owners went back to check the area where he had been stung, and found a series of holes covered in wasps entering and leaving. They notified the Parish Council, who arranged for a pest controller to come and destroy the nest.

Then yesterday, in a completely different area of Beetley Meadows, a family group were making their way down to the river when they were attacked by a large number of wasps close to the main path. The wasps appeared from holes in the ground inside the long grass nearby, and a child and her mother were stung. The mother was stung 12 times as she attempted to shield her child.

Today, a sign has been erected warning people to avoid the area. Hopefully, someone will advise the Parish Council tomorrow.

I know they are valuable pollinators, but we can’t have openly aggressive wasps stinging small children and dogs on a family-friendly recreation area.

57 thoughts on “The Beetley Meadows Wasps

  1. Our son stepped on a nest in the ground when he was little. Nasty. Hubby poured gasoline down the hole, and that took care of the wasps. Of course we could never do that today, but that’s what people did back then. Pollinating is good, attacking children and pets is not.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I would have posted a sign warning the wasps to avoid the area. If this failed to work, then I would look into tactical nuclear weapons. That would surely rid the area of the unwanted pests (of course, there might be collateral damage to the human population, but you can’t always have your cake and eat it, too).

    Liked by 1 person

        1. I am on the mend, thank you. We have yellow ants that can bite, but they usually live away from people and their large nest mounds are easily avoided. They are not as bad as fire ants though.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. We had a spate of those giant Asian hornets a couple of years ago. I think a cold winter killed them off. But not before they devastated the hives of many local bee-keepers.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. We have them in Texas too. A bit of charcoal lighting fluid poured in the hole and a match usually cures the problem. They are quite aggressive and painful. Now that the Asian Murder Hornets are moved on, we have to worry about these little varmints.

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    1. Unfortunately the shrubbery and long grass is bone dry at the moment, Phil. If we tried to burn them out we may well start a small ‘wildfire’. I am counting on the local authorities to get the pest control people in this week.
      Best wishes, Pete.

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  4. Wasps are a pest & classified as such in NZ, which has an international honey reputation, particularly the famous health healing Manuka honey.
    How to tell a Wasp from a Bee. Wasps are less hairy, have a slender waist to the chubbier bee & longer legs.
    Wasps will attack hives, kill bees, and take honey.
    To humans they will also kill, more so as they attack in droves. I had a patient stung about 200 times by a swarm, died & we couldn’t get near the wee tot with mum screaming.
    The general rule if just one sting is Volkswagen VW = Vinegar on a Wasp – alkaline on a bee sting.

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  5. I’m in a minority, clearly in that I’ll try and protect them as they eat aphids and pollinate. We have regular wasp nests in the eaves and compost bins and will only remove them if likely to encounter human traffic for the reasons you mention (and rightly) that they can cause distress and, in some cases nasty allergic reactions. Incidentally we had a lot of ground wasps nesting in North Surrey on the north downs back in the early 1960s but, like you, I’ve not seen many recently. I can vividly recall a few encounters with those little buggers. Back then I’d have happily destroyed the lot of them; not so much now.

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    1. I have a severe allergic reaction to their stings, so I confess that I will kill them if they get into the house. Outside, I prefer to avoid them. That means I never take a picnic anywhere, and refuse to eat outside during ‘wasp season’, Geoff.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Some people take wasps very lightly, and others encourage them as pollinators. I kill them, given the chance. I won’t risk being stung by them, for any reason.
      Best wishes, Pete.

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    2. I’m the same- love bees, hate wasps! I’ve been stung by wasps- nasty aggressive things. One of my brothers just get chased and stung by them nearly every summer in the 1970s for no reason. They’d just appear out of nowhere and go for him. Bees rarely sting. I did an intro to hone bee keeping course a few years ago and one bee got into my bee suit and sat on my ear humming. I told the bee man and he took me away from the Hive and took off the head piece and the bee flew off back to her Hive. He said he hadn’t been stung by any of his bees for years ( usually it was by accident too- the bee got caught in his suit in an awkward place or some such). As for Bumble bees- I’ve had them sitting on my hand! It’s even rarer for them to sting.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I seem to attract wasps also. In a crowd of people, they appear to single me out and come after me. Perhaps they sense I have an allergy to their stings. Because of that, I always kill any wasp that gets too close to me, and those that venture into the house.
        Best wishes, Pete.

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  6. Ohmygoodness.. how terrible. I completely forgot about ground wasps, thank you, I’ll have to remember to keep an eye out with our dog.
    Prayers that the mother is recovering well and that actions are being taken to prevent future attacks!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Horrid things. Hope they get exterminated soon! A few years ago I lived in a bedsit on the first floor. There was a small toilet room at the top of the stairs. One summer’s evening I opened the door to use the loo and it was full of wasps heaped into a big ball in the corner! I shut the door fast, stuck a note on it with something like “danger wasps do not open this door.” I called the landlord the next day and he had to call pest control because there were even more of them. Then the weird bloke whose room was at the top of the stairs told me the wasp nest was under his window. I replied why hadn’t he told the landlord then?!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That makes sense. We have a lot of wet ground around here so it’s less of an issue but they do still show up every now and then.
        Our biggest issue this year have been yellow flies and those are some mean little suckers, too.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. I remember in the 1970s wasps were a plague every August. Not as many these days in my area, thankfully. Maybe pest control have been going round destroying their nests on the quiet!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. It was a Facebook post that my wife saw, Sally. The mum was going to ring 111 for medical advice, and go to A&E if necessary. Because of the good weather, there are far more people and dogs than usual over there. That may be irritating the waps more. People are also picnicking, so all the extra food and drink may be attracting the insects to nest in the area.
      Best wishes, Pete. x

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    1. Yes, as I am allergic to wasp stings, I am being extra careful, Lara. And Ollie is too old to tolerate many stings, but fortunately he generally avoids the area of long grass where they are living.
      Best wishes, Pete.

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