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Wasps are commonly found throughout the UK. They are social creatures, and form colonies consisting of workers (infertile females), males and a queen.

Wasps are considered a beneficial insect, scavenging for the larvae of other insects, therefore controlling garden pests and clearing carcasses. They even act as pollinators as they obtain carbohydrates from fruits and the nectar of flowers.

Where do they live?

Wasp nests are typically found in trees, bushes, earth banks or buildings (roof spaces or cavities in walls). They build nests every year, with the colder months killing off workers and males. Only the young queens survive the winter to make new nests the following spring.

Why are wasps such a nuisance to humans?

It is the wasps ability to cause painful stings that concerns most people. Although wasps are not particularly hostile, they will sting if they are aggravated. Towards the end of the summer wasps will indulge in sweeter foods making them seem dopey, and as the cooler weather comes, become more irritable. They are better left alone when in this condition. At the start of the summer, the only nuisance caused by wasps is minor damage to wooden fences and fabrics of buildings, when the wood is needed to build nests.

Do wasps cause any real harm?

A wasp sting is caused by the injection of venom into the victim, causing redness and swelling. In some cases more serious effects occur, and you should seek medical advice if this happens. Stings can easily be treated with a cold compress and a suitable antiseptic cream.

How do I get rid of them?

You can use a domestic insecticide spray to knock down and kill flying wasps, although this will not control or eliminate the colony itself. Ideally the whole nest should be destroyed, and we recommend you seek professional help. Exeter City Council's Pest Control Officer will be able to locate the nest and dispose of it using a powder treatment, which is applied around and into the nest entrance. All pesticides used are applied by the Pest Control Officer who will ensure the safety of the public and minimise damage to the environment.


Exeter City Council charge £56.00 for wasp nest removal. Payment can be made by the following, on completion of the treatment:

  • cash or cheque (made payable to Exeter City Council)
  • debit or credit card over the telephone
  • Where an account is rendered, an additional charge of £21.00 is levied

There will be a 50% reduction in charges for destruction of public health pests where householder/tenant is on Income Support, Income Based Job Seeker's, Income Related Employment and Support Allowance and Guaranteed Pension Credit. Proof of benefits will be required before treatment can be carried out.

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