A pest controller had to tackle the most unusual job of his 45-year career when he was called to deal with an enormous wasp nest covering a bed.
John Birkett of Longwood Services exterminators believes the wasps were able to take over the bed in a box room of a five bedroom home in Winchester, Hampshire, after they entered through a small window and were undetected by the home's owner.
Over a course of months, the wasps built a huge nest measuring almost a metre wide, and 30cm deep.
Mr Birkett described to The Independent how the owner had asked him to salvage a knitted quilt of sentimental value that the wasps had built their home over.
As he tried to pull the quilt out from under the packed nest, “an explosion of wasps came out.” He said while it was impossible to count the wasps, a nest of such a large size generally housed around 5,000 of the creatures.
Having dealt with rats in restaurants, hoards of bed bugs and “homes you wouldn’t want to live in”, Mr Birkett said the incident in St Cross was one of the most unusual he had encountered.
He said he “couldn’t believe it” when he saw the nest, and that his client was “terrified.”
“I had to think how to deal with this, and I couldn’t leave the door open very much or the wasps would escape into the rest of the house.”
Dressed in protective clothing and armed with insect spray, he was able to control the nest within an hour.
He then broke the nest up into pieces, to discover that the insects had chewed through the mattress and the bed pillars, before helping the owner clean up her home.
"[The nest] was the most wonderful piece of art to be honest with you," he said.
"I have mixed feelings about killing the wasps, because you don’t want to kill anything, but you have to do it because they were a pest," he added.
If you need help on your bees and wasps problems, contact EHS Pest.