We received the following advice from PETA in response to a query from one of our members regarding the humane treatment of wasps:-
PETA US lists a variety of ways to live in harmony with bees and wasps on their website: http://www.PETA.org/issues/wildlife/dealing-household-guests/wasps-bees/.
Wasps living in a hanging nest, or hive, will vacate it in the fall and will not use the same one the following year because it will have disintegrated over the winter. You can simply remove the remains of the hive in the fall when the wasps have left it for the season. Ground nests are more complicated, as the insects will return to the nest spot. In order to remove an active ground nest, you should wait for the wasps to leave the nest in the fall and then fill the remaining hole with soil to keep new wasps from occupying it the following spring.
Because of the beneficial predatory role that wasps play in suppressing a wide variety of insects, your objective should be to reduce encounters with these animals, not to eliminate them from the area entirely. If you must move an active nest, use extreme caution. Wear heavy protective clothing so that none of your skin is exposed, and use gloves, goggles, and a protective head covering as well. If you are allergic to wasp stings, ask someone else to assist you. If the nest is connected to a tree branch, gently remove the branch from the tree and move the branch and intact nest to a tree at a more suitable distance. The nest must stay connected to the branch. If a nest is attached to something that isn’t easily moved, you can humanely evict the wasps and encourage them to build elsewhere. To humanely evict wasps from their nests, you can either smoke them out during the daytime or evict them at night using water. To smoke them out (during daytime hours only!), wear protective clothing as described above. Light one end of a long branch on fire and hold it under the nest so that the smoke rises into the nest. The wasps will smell the smoke and leave. Once the wasps are gone, destroy the nest by dousing it with water or by removing it entirely. Alternatively, during night time hours when wasps do not fly, wear protective clothing and lightly mist the nest with water (be careful not to drown the insects) to destroy it. The wasps will fall to the ground and fly away in the morning. Remove the nest once the wasps are gone. Please also know that humane bee/wasp removal companies can smoke or humanely relocate nests for you, if needed.
To avoid contact with wasps and bees, never work in the yard or garden wearing yellow or white, since these colours attract insects. Many insects cannot see red, making it a good colour to wear when working in the yard. You should also avoid wearing insect-attracting fragrances, such as perfumes, colognes and hair sprays.
We also recommend the Waspinator, a portable device that deters wasps from areas of concern without using toxic chemicals or killing these beneficial insects. For more information, please contact:
Tel. 0113 815 4994