Pest control

About wasps

Wasps have characteristic black and yellow bands on their bodies and a narrow waist. Their size varies from 10-15mm (workers) to 20mm (queen). They have two pairs of wings, which lock together. The sting, which only the females have, is concealed near the tip of the abdomen.

Wasps nest underground or in the cavities of trees, walls and buildings.

Wasps can be confused with hornets. However, hornets are not as common in the UK as wasps. Also, hornets are larger (20 -25mm) and have brown and yellow or black and white bands. Hornet nests are much larger than wasp nests.

Problems and benefits

Wasps are attracted to sweet-smelling foods and can be a nuisance but they are not responsible for the spread of disease. They can cause serious damage to ripened fruit though. Wasps are disliked for their sting, although they only use it when they are aroused or frightened.

The benefits of wasps in the garden are not so widely appreciated. In the spring and early summer, wasps feed their grubs on other insect pests and so help keep the level of insect pests down.


It is only necessary to treat wasp nests that pose a particular danger to you or your family, for example, nests that are close to doors or windows or inside your home, or are in a part of your garden that you regularly use. An old nest need not be treated as wasps will not return to an empty nest.

Where necessary, you can treat wasp nests yourself with a proprietary insecticide. If you choose to do this, take care and follow the instructions given with the insecticide. Remember: insecticides are poison and should be kept out of the reach of children and pets.

If you require professional help you can book an appointment with the council's pest control contractor or with a pest control contractor in your area. They are listed in the Yellow Pages.

Click on the "Introduction" tab at the top of this page for details of the current cost of treatment by the council's pest control contractor.

Contact Details

Pest Control Service
Department Adult services Health and Housing
Telephone 020 8726 6200
Address Needs and Strategy- Housing and Public Health
13th Floor
Taberner House
Park Lane

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