Date: 7/2/18 10:03 am
From: Marlene A Condon via VA-bird <va-bird...>
Subject: Re: [VA-bird] about disappearance of Tree Swallows in my area
Hi Janet,
Thanks so much for writing.  Here's what I recommend for dealing with paper wasp nests:
In spring, when morning temperatures are in the 40s or below, wasps are sluggish.  This is a safe time to knock down small nests inside bird boxes or on other structures, such as your house.  However, you must take action before the structure gets sunlight on it to warm up the insect(s).
You can kill the wasp(s) on the ground (they won't be able to fly at these temps), although with their numbers being down, I would ask that you consider leaving them be.  All organisms exist to perform "jobs" that help to keep the environment functioning properly, so we don't want to eliminate them.
It's possible the female will again attempt to build a nest in the same location, or she may immediately move on.  In my experience, a nest does not get rebuilt more than once in the same spot.
If you do a weekly (or daily) inspection in spring, you can pretty-much eliminate your wasp problem.   By the time morning temperatures are pretty-much always in the 50s or above (sometime in May, usually, in our area), wasps are generally all nesting somewhere and won't be starting new nests (although very rarely you may get a female later than usual still trying to get a nest started).   
I've been doing this type of morning patrol for years now and found it to be quite effective.
In a message dated 7/2/2018 12:08:51 PM US Eastern Standard Time, <janetpaisley...> writes:
My Bluebird trail on Garth Road in Albemarle County, has fledged 2 boxes of TRSW, with 5 fledglings each, so far this year, out of 14 boxes.

So far 38 Bluebirds have fledged, and the birds are on their second nests. I, too, am having less trouble with paper wasps this year, a constant problem for 10 years on the trail on this farm. I’ve tried everything.

I used to have 22 boxes, but 6 have been crushed by bears in the last couple of years on this trail! Bears have been the most efficient way to deal with the wasps that I’ve found, until the weather of this Spring!

Janet Paisley
Charlottesville, VA

> On Jul 2, 2018, at 10:50 AM, Marlene A Condon via VA-bird <va-bird...> wrote:
> Thanks so much to everyone who replied to my question about Tree Swallows. No one reported around the state lower numbers of these birds, as is the case in my immediate area where there have been none since spring.
> I'm thinking that the problem may have been a dearth of flying insects about the time the swallows moved through here in April. Our area was especially hard hit by drought last year, which can seriously impact the breeding success and survival of insects. For example, I had very few paper wasps flying this spring in my yard and very few nests built on my house as compared to previous years. While some species of insects seem to be fine, others are quite limited in number this year.
> If anyone has any other thoughts on the matter, I would deeply appreciate hearing them. Thanks ever so much!
> Gratefully,
> Marlene
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