Yikes! Keep those spare bedroom windows *shut*

August 27, 2014 • 7:38 am

by Matthew Cobb

This just popped up in my Tw*tter feed, and was in this morning’s Daily Telegraph. A couple in Winchester, England, had not been in their spare bedroom for several months. What they did not realise is that they had left the bedroom window open. In the intervening period, a wasp queen had come in and started to make a nest. The point of wasps (like the point of everything) being to make more wasps, that’s exactly what she did:

Photo: M&Y

Inevitably, I suppose, the pest controller was called in and the estimated 5000 wasps were killed. At least he showed some remorse:

Pest Control worker John Birkett said: “The client was terrified. In 45 years I have never seen anything like it. There must have been 5,000 wasps.

“It was a job to deal with it. I had protective gear on and used spray to kill them. At one stage there must have been 2,000 wasps buzzing around me.

“If someone had gone in to the room and not known what it was it would have been pretty serious.

Mr Birkett, who runs Longwood Services exterminators, used chemical spray to kill the insects during a two-hour operation on Sunday afternoon.

“I thought ‘what a shame’, but I had a job to do and the client was terrified. Afterwards, the entire room was filled with dead wasps. It was like the apocalypse.”


27 thoughts on “Yikes! Keep those spare bedroom windows *shut*

  1. In the late 80s I worked for Peter Keller (geography) at the University of Victoria.

    He returned from a long weekend to find that a number of pigeons had taken advantage of the open window in his office.

    Perhaps less frightening than wasps, but messy nonetheless.

  2. They’re like a bad missionary: refuses to pay for the roon and instead leaves you with a bunch of paper you don’t want to read.

  3. One morning some years ago I woke, groggily stumbled to the bathroom, flicked on the light as I walked through the doorway, and took a couple of more steps before I began to notice the horror movie like reality that had become my bathroom.

    The entire ceiling and the majority of the surface areas of the walls and floor were covered in ants. Very busy ants. Thousands, tens of thousands of ants. Apparently they had decided to relocate to my bathroom. They were bringing everthing, including eggs. It was amazing.

    I felt kind of bad, but we did call the exterminator to come take care of the problem. It was a huge mess cleaning that up.

    The ants were white-footed ants, Technomyrmex difficilis.

  4. And there was me vaguely thinking “but my bedroom doesn’t have any spare windows”.

    Sorry, it’s been a long day.

  5. Wasps can have strange ideas about where to nest. On one spring morning a few years ago, I picked up a pair of underpants and a queen wasp flew out. I put on my underpants, and the second queen, lurking unseen, stung me on the left buttock.

    1. The left… well, let’s say buttock. I almost see you hesitating over the keyboard; shall I mention the real place or euphemise it?


    2. Ouch! I can relate as I still remember getting stung in the butt by a bee when I was swimming starkers at age maybe 3. These experiences stay with you…

  6. Some years ago a swarm of honeybees formed a ball in the tree outside the window of my home office. The queen stayed in the tree while the workers scouted out nesting locations in the siding of my house. I called in a beekeeper, who set an empty hive box on my roof near the tree. By then nest construction in my wall was well underway, but fortunately the queen preferred the beekeeper’s box and moved in there. The rest of the swarm soon followed, abandoning their construction project in my wall, and the beekeeper went away happy with his new colony, at no cost to me.

    For several years afterward, though, on sunny afternoons I had a slurry of honey and melted beeswax oozing out around the electrical outlets in my office wall.

  7. “If someone had gone in to the room and not known what it was it would have been pretty serious.”

    Yeah–‘pretty serious’ seems like the understatement of the century there.

    I once left my house vacant for a month and on my return discovered there had been an epic war between a nest of ants and some spiders in the downstairs bathroom. The several cupfuls (cupsful?) of empty ant husks on the floor behind the toilet showed that the spiders were winning.

  8. Had they left it alone by October they could have removed it with no wasps – they do not occupy all year.

  9. Initially, I found myself mentally floundering for a bit, wondering in what sense bedroom windows may be considered “spare”.

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