Wasps build giant nest in woman's spare bed
A pest controller received a shock when he was called to deal with a wasps' nest covering most of a single bed in a woman's spare bedroom.
John Birkett of Longwood Services Pest Control insects said the insects must have been building the giant nest in the house in Winchester, Hampshire for the whole summer.
He estimated the huge colony contained about 5,000 wasps, thousands more grubs and around 500 young queens.
In order to deal with it he had to spend several hours fumigating the room wearing a bee suit as the insects attempted to sting him to fend him off.
He told Sky News: "When I went upstairs and went into the room, It was the most amazing sight I had ever seen.
"There was a nice quilt on the bed and the woman wanted me to save it but when I pulled it, the nest split in half.
"Inside, there were layers and layers of grubs being produced. The pattern was wonderful.
"The wasps were attacking me as I pulled at it. They were covering my veil. All I could do was keep spraying.
"In some ways it was good fun but I also felt a bit guilty about it. All these little souls had worked their guts out to produce this. I feel for everything I kill.
"But they can be quite dangerous, so I had to carry on until there was one left."
He said by the time he had finished, the dead wasps lay about an inch deep on the floor and on the window sill.
The mattress had an eight inch hole where the wasps had eaten their way into the bed and the pillows were also ruined.
But he said he managed to save the knitted bedspread.
It took several more hours to clean up as the wasps continued to be dangerous - their stings remain active long after death.
Mr Birkett said he had only ever seen two or three nests as big in his 40 year career as a pest controller and they had been in roof spaces.
Most nests he has had to deal with in homes have been little bigger than a tennis ball.
He said the homeowner - a woman in her 50s who wanted to remain anonymous - had not spotted the colony for several months because it was in an upstairs room that was rarely used.
The house was old and was partly built of wood and the wasps appeared to have gained access through a gap in the roof eaves, he added.
Wasp nests are made of a substance similar to paper that the insects produce by chewing wood into a pulp and then sticking it together with saliva to form a honeycomb-type structure.