REGION | Pest controllers throughout the Netherlands are massively short of hands to fight all wasp colonies. “And then the real big nuisance has yet to come,” says David van den Broek, active in Limburg on behalf of ‘Beestjes Kwijt’ as a pest controller. “The nests are still being built, so now the wasps are still finding food in the nest. It will be different in the coming weeks, and then they will come out on the terrace,’ warns fighter Frans Bakker from Twente.
“The wasp season has started early,” says pest expert Peter Traas. “A dry spring and a hot summer so far mean that there are now an enormous number of wasps. Frans Bakker agrees. “And it’s going fast. Every day more and more wasp nests are added. The workers are still building. But once the nests are ready and the wasps fly out for food, the real trouble begins! We have a lot to look forward to for the coming weeks.”
Plagues all over the country
In Limburg, the defender David van den Broek has recently come across 3 to 4 nests that are close to each other. “We know that from the French field wasp, but not from the lemonade wasp,” he says. “It’s already crazy. We now receive at least 40 reports a day. We work 7 days a week, 9 hours a day.”
The situation is just as bad in the western part of the country. “For the past few days we have been getting calls hundreds of times a day. It’s really extreme at this time of year,’ says Beestjes Kwijt fighter Elroy Kerklaan. But he expects it to be even busier. Especially with the good weather forecast. “It’s urgent now. We take a holiday after the summer period.”
Fighting yourself hopelessly and dangerously
Wasp exterminators regularly see people first try to exterminate a wasp nest themselves. “A hopeless case and dangerous!” says van den Broek. “The pesticides you use as a private person are not strong enough, and the materials are not sufficient. You don’t get deep enough into the nest, so some of the wasps stay alive. They just keep building, but first they attack!” Baker nods. “Or tape the cavity wall with duct tape. Not smart either. Wasps are still looking for a way through. There is a good chance that you will then receive them, e.g. in your bedroom. It is best to stay safely away from a wasp nest and call an exterminator. Then you know for sure that you will be properly helped, and you will not run any risk yourself.”
People are worried
The pest platform Beestjes Kwijt hears from the fighters how busy they are, but they also see that from the number of visitors to the platform. “We were shown 500,000 times on Google in June alone, as a result of the search terms ‘wasps’, ‘wasp nest’ and ‘remote wasp nest'”, says Merijn Janssen, director of the platform. “This is twice as much as last year. And now, in mid-July, we are already at over 400,000 views. Another striking example? From Noord-Holland, our website was visited 10 times more last month than last year. 16,000 times against 1,500 visits.
Not everyone immediately calls a fighter, but it says a lot that people are concerned and are already ‘reading up’ on the subject. Our fighters already have their hands full, and the genes haven’t even started yet. But at least we are ready to avert the danger.”
What is in store for us?
There is a prospect of beautiful weather for the coming weeks and the holiday season has arrived. People go outside, light the barbecue, visit public swimming pools or sit on a terrace. This guarantees a lot of wasp genes. Especially because the wasps are now fully grown and go outside the wasp nest looking for sweet food.
What can you do about wasps?
“Not very much,” says Janssen. “The wasps are trying to survive and need sweet food. They find that at our table. You can keep some wasps away with a wasp trap or a plant spray, but if the nuisance is really big, there is probably a wasp nest nearby. You better get it off. And again, don’t do this yourself! Thousands of wasps live in a fully grown wasp nest. If they attack, your life is precarious. Leave it to a professional combatant!”