Thursday 28 April 2016

The Waspinator ©

We believe everything in nature has it's place so we were interested in this company that is trying an alternative to killing wasps with poison. Here are some wasp facts that give us a balanced view about them which is very refreshing to read.  We are going to use the Waspinator and see what happens . 

Wasp collecting wood for nest building  © Wildstock

 Fascinating facts about wasps from Waspinator, the natural wasp repellent © Waspinator

Here are some facts about wasps, we hope you will find them as fascinating as we do, and we hope they may save you, and your local wasp colonies, from some unfortunate encounters.
Most wasps are female, male wasps are only used for one thing (!) and then they die, straight afterwards
Only female wasps can sting and female wasps do all the work
Male wasps (drones) are slow and sluggish and like to take naps – they lie in empty cells with their tails sticking out
Drones occasionally help to feed the larvae, and do a fair job in tidying and cleaning the house/nest
Wasps only sting humans as a defence mechanism
The worst thing to do is to swat at a wasp – 1. See above
The worst thing to do is to swat at a wasp – 2. When a wasp is swatted it emits a panic signal that will attract other wasps to see what is going on
You can’t run faster than a wasp can fly
Wasps are attracted by bright colours although they can’t see red so that is a good colour to wear in the garden
They also like sweet smells so don’t wear perfume
They also need salt, so use antiperspirant, guys
Wasps can recognise kith and kin both visually and by smell
There are 20,000 species of wasp in the World but in the UK we primarily have 2 – the German Wasp and the Common Wasp
Our wasps are social wasps – they build colonies with social order and specific roles (the Queen, workers, drones, defenders)
Wasps are fantastic architects – the nests are complex structures that typically are home to many thousands of inhabitants
Nests can be aerial or burrowed into the ground
Wasps never re-use a nest
In late summer their nests are overcrowded and up to 10 degrees hotter than outside – this is one reason they can be a bit bad tempered in August
Wasps communicate with each other by emitting pheromones – in this way they can tell their compatriots where food is or alert the nest to intruders
Wasps do play a role in our eco system – they cross-pollinate flowers and plants and they kill aphids and caterpillars
Wasps don’t generally bother us humans until late summer – until then they are too busy foraging for building materials and food for the colony
They will fly for up to 1,000 yards to forage for food and building materials
In late summer their work is done, and their taste changes from protein to sweet stuff – overindulgence on ripe fruit can lead to it fermenting inside them with a resultant hangover and bad attitude
Wasp colonies die off almost completely as winter draws on – a handful of fertilised female wasps leave the nest to find somewhere warm and dry and quite to hibernate over winter, these are next year’s Queens
Queens are larger and more beautiful than the other wasps, more brightly coloured and with different marking
The Queens will come out of hibernation early April, they will build the first few cells of the new nest and lay their eggs
When these eggs hatch the new wasps will take over the construction of the nest and will bring food back for the eggs the Queen continues to lay, then those eggs hatch and so the colony grows. And grows. And grows.
The largest nest found in recent years was in a pub attic in Southampton, it was the size of a large armchair and contained up to half a million wasps. The beer garden was a bit risky to have a drink in.
Waspinator utilises wasps’ territorial nature to frighten them away, it is the only natural  wasp repellent and uses nature to defeat nature and the only wasp deterrent that does not hurt wasps in any way.

Good things wasps do, as well as being a nuisance – so use a wasp repellent not a wasp trap

Many insects preyed upon by wasps are garden pests, and in this respect wasps help to regulate pest populations and to prevent potential damage to garden plants, so we believe it is far better to use a wasp repellent not wasp traps.
Consequently wasps are beneficial insects. They feed their young on a wide range of invertebrates which cause damage to plants and flowers, such as aphids and caterpillars.
They also visit flowers and therefore help in pollination.
Thus, wherever possible, it is good to leave wasp’s nests undisturbed in order to encourage the natural control of pests, and to reduce the need for insecticide treatments.
This will save money and will help to protect wildlife and your garden environment from unnecessary exposure to pesticide contamination.
So by using a wasp repellent not a wasp trap you are helping nature to look after your garden for you.

Bad things wasps do – but don’t kill wasps, make them go away

Wasps can damage soft fruit, but ripening apples and pears won’t usually be affected unless first damaged by birds or caterpillars.
They can be a nuisance in houses when food is being cooked or eaten, especially where sweet foodstuffs are being prepared.
Wasps can also be a serious pest to bees. In Spring worker wasps will attack and carry off foraging worker bees, and later in the year they will take honey bee grubs, and pupae.
They are an absolute pest for humans when trying to dine or socialise outdoors.
Wasps will gnaw into wooden furniture, wooden beams, and anything they can get building materials from.
Having said all this they are still beneficial creatures (see ‘Good things wasps do’ above) and don’t kill wasps just make them go away instead.

Random Posts

Wednesday 6 April 2016

Walking up the Roeburndale East road

Turn right walking from the cottage at the cattle grid

keep going up the steep hill

Either turn left onto the footpath going down to Hunt's Gill Beck then to the Low Bentham/Wray road

or keep straight on up the road and enjoy the view to Ingleborough

and the Howgills

until you reach the footpath sign going right towards Roeburndale West

the map at the gate

walk along a very ancient path where you can see signs of an aggar

looking west towards The Lake District with Hornby Castle in the foreground

view the Lake District mountains in the distance

keep on the ancient path till you reach the gate into the woodlands and still on the public footpath--you can either carry on to the main Roeburndale West road or right through the woods back to the cottage

Peregrines in the Forest of Bowland © Raptor Politics

UPDATE: Peregrines in the Forest of Bowland finally brought down by prejudice and misguided politics

Update 26-03-2016 : The list gets longer
Based upon information received last night, we are currently investigating claims sent to us by a concerned Bowland raptor worker that our list of sites was missing 3 peregrine territories he believes are also abandoned. We have now checked out one of these sites and the information has proved valid. Any subsequent additional abandoned sites we are able to verify will be added in RED to our existing list. Any sites discovered to have been reoccupied this season will be changed to GREEN.
We would like to think our treatment of wildlife has improved since 1947 when the first recorded pair of breeding Peregrine falcons located in the Forest of Bowland were shot and their clutch of 4 eggs destroyed by estate gamekeepers. The reality is the situation today on England’s moorland uplands where red grouse are shot is now much worse than it was all those years ago. Throughout a majority of these moorland areas, peregrines and hen harriers are becoming more conspicuous each season by their almost total absence from these regions..
The most suitable logo that depicts the situation throughout this area designated as an ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.’ 
In the spring of 2009 seventeen occupied peregrine territories were recorded by licensed members of the North West Raptor Group in the Forest of Bowland. One year later, in 2010 Natural England, (the Government’s Wildlife Advisor on the Natural Environment) with-held licences which they had previously issued permitting the group to monitor and protect peregrines, including several other threatened raptor species for over thirty five years; just 4 years later fifteen of these historic territories had been found abandoned resulting in the disappearance of the adult falcons..
In 2014 taking into account the unprecedented disappearance of so many Peregrines in such a short time frame from one moorland region, Terry Pickford a founder member of the NWRG (1967) appealed Natural England’s decision asking them to reinstate his license, they refused. The 3 reasons provided by Natural England for their decision were as ridiculous as they were illogical, read below..
  1. Terry was advised other licence holders had been appointed to cover this region. (Terry had worked in Bowland since 1975 protecting peregrines )
  2. Terry’s presence would cause unnecessary disturbance to nests. (What nests, by this time the peregrine was almost extinct in Bowland? )
  3. Issuing Terry with  license would cause duplication of nest visits. (How could anyone duplicate visits to nests that no longer existed? )
Based upon valid arguments contained in Terry Pickford’s licence reinstatement request, amongst other facts, he highlighted that Peregrines and a high number of their nests were being destroyed at an unprecedented rate on estates in Bowland; who’s interests were Natural England really trying to protect by refusing to reinstate his Bowland licence we might ask?
Putting Natural England’s decision into perspective it is important to point out Terry Pickford has held a BTO class ‘A’ ringing permit since 1986 authorising him to ring nestlings at the nests of the 6 schedule 1 raptor species listed in the table below. He currently holds a scientific disturbance licence for Peregrine (Cumbria Only), Goshawk (Lancashire and Cumbria), Red Kite (South Cumbria & Lancashire), Osprey (Cumbria & Lancashire), Barn Owl, Golden Eagle (Scotland). Natural England for some curious reason refuse to issue a Peregrine licence for use in Bowland to any member of the NWRG where persecution is widespread, but on the other hand are happy to support his licence for use in Cumbria where persecution is very low.
  1. Peregrine
  2. Goshawk
  3. Hen Harrier
  4. Red Kite
  5. Osprey
  6. Golden Eagle (Scotland)
Taking into account what has taken place in Bowland since 2010, there can no longer be any doubt it was not the Peregrines or their nests Natural England were concerned about saving. Natural England in reaching their decision refusing to reinstate the license of an extremely experienced and conscientious field worker chose instead to ignore the systematic extermination of a protected species taking place in the Forest of Bowland. In our view this was  a misguided attempt to prevent the embarrassment of estates by covering up the illegal killing of Peregrines and the destruction of historic nest sites taking place with impunity. Keeping Terry Pickford together with the rest of the membership of the NWRG out of Bowland, would in some people’s warped opinion conveniently keep this important criminal activity from becoming public knowledge.
Just in case you are one of the sceptics, we have added details of twenty one Peregrine territories below, which are known to have been abandoned inside the boundary of the Forest of Bowland since 2010. You may feel these desertions are coincidental, but you would be wrong. An RSPB spokesperson writing in the Lancashire Life in 2014 explained these losses, details which were never published within the annual RSPB Crime Report Figures as even suspicious, were the result of climate change and the lack of suitable prey, plus possibly some persecution. Well the RSPB would know because they are paid to protect raptors inside the Forest of  Bowland.
22 Forest of Bowland Peregrine territories confirmed abandoned as of this week. 
United Utilities:
  1. Trough Bank, (3 alternate sites abandoned)
  2. Burn Fell (3 alternate sites abandoned)
  3. Lythe Fell, (3 alternate sites abandoned)
  4. Langden Head, (2 alternate sites abandoned)
  5. Brennand Fell, (3 alternate sites abandoned)
  6. Bleadale,  (3 alternate sites abandoned)
  7. Burnslack Fell, (1 site recorded, used once before being abandoned)
  8. Hareden, (1 site recorded, found abandoned 20th March 2016)
  9. Grindleton Fell. (1 site recorded containing 2 chicks. 1 chick shot. 2nd chick observed on wing one mile from nest) Shoot closed down. No charges brought following police investigation into actions of tenant gamekeeper.

Abbeystead and Littledale
  1. Threaphaw Fell, (Nesting Ledge Destroyed)
  2. Marshaw Fell, (1 site Nesting Ledge Destroyed, 2 additional sites abandoned)
  3. Hawthornthwaite Fell, (3 additional sites abandoned)
  4. Catshaw Greave, ( site abandoned, traps and grit trays placed close to nests)
  5. Foxdale Beck, (3 alternate sites each abandoned)
  6. Mallowdale Pike, (In 2010, 2 nestlings disappeared, site abandoned ever since)
  7. Tarnbrook Fell, (Nesting Ledge Destroyed prior to 2010)
  1. Grizedale Fell, (Nesting site on ground burnt out)
  2. Luddock Fell, (Nesting site on ground burnt out)
  3. Bleasdale Moor, (Clutch of 3 eggs disappeared within one day of nest being located 2015, site now abandoned)
  1. Greenbank Fell, (3 additional sites abandoned)(Clutches of Eggs disappeared, 2006, 2007, also in 2013, 14. (Site abandoned since single male peregrine disappeared in 2015.)
Cloughton Moor.
  1. Cloughton Quarry, Nesting ledge destroyed 2015, suspected clutch of eggs disappeared in 2014. ( Site found abandoned March 2016)
Cow Ark.
  1. Birket Fell, (Nesting Ledge destroyed in 2010/11 site abandoned)

Hen Harriers on Bowland © Raptor Politics

What surprises await our threatened raptors on red grouse moors in 2016?

Will the 2016 breeding season be worse or better for ‘protected raptors like the hen harrier and peregrine that have the misfortune to venture onto moorland in northern England where red grouse are shot for sport? We would like to think the situation will improve this season, but we remain pessimistic based upon last year’s disappearances of hen harriers and peregrines from areas classified as SSSi’s and SPA’s in Lancashire’s Forest of Bowland and at Geltsdale in the northern Pennines. The lack of any contingency plans for dealing with last season’s hen harrier catastrophe was unfortunate and hopefully the mistakes made will not be repeated once again for a second season.
Hen Harrier Logo
This depiction of a hen harrier remains the proud logo for the Forest of Bowland AONB, despite the almost total eradication of successful nesting hen harrier on all but one estate.

Last year a number of gas guns were strategically installed on moorland in southern Scotland and on one estate adjoining the RSPB’s Geltsdale reserve where they appear to have been used to cause maximum disturbance to hen harriers by frightening them away before settling on moorland to breed. One pair of harriers regularly observed last spring on the Croglin estate were persuaded to up sticks crossing the boundary fence onto the RSPB’s Geltsdale Nature Reserve where they eventually managed to lay a clutch of eggs. Disappointingly the nest and eggs were eventually abandoned by the female hen harrier after her mate failed to return from a hunting trip he had undertaken onto the adjoining grouse moor at Croglin.
One of the missing Male Hen Harrier photographed in the Forest of  Bowland on its way to hunt for food on an adjoining estate.
Several hen harrier nests in 2015 established on the United Utilities estate in the Forest of Bowland, collectively estimated to contain as many as twenty five eggs, were abandoned after 4 male hen harriers failed to return to their territories after they had gone in search of prey to feed their respective female mates. The disappearance from English grouse moors of so many male hen harriers in one season clearly demonstrated this was a well planned and executed new strategy implemented to ensure the failure of nests and the impossibility of ever tracing those criminals responsible.  In our view because of the success of this illegal scheme last year, there is a very strong possibility this untraceable hen harrier cleansing methodology is likely to be adopted once again this season, but over a much wider moorland area in northern England, and possibly even in parts of Scotland.
In in a recent comment posted on Martin Harper’s blog, it was suggested to the RSPB the Society should this season consider the implementation of suitable contingency plans designed to deal with a repeat of last year’s criminal activity i.e., the licensed collection of all abandoned clutches of  hen harrier eggs before they go cold following the disappearance of male hen harriers, placing rescued eggs into suitable incubators.
hen-harrier-sat-tag-01In a second comment posted on Raptor Politics it was suggested by Terry Pickford any eggs rescued from abandoned harrier nests this season should be placed under the control of a competent and experienced captive breeding establishment where the rescued eggs could be incubated professionally. Any eggs that hatched could then be hacked into the wild in line with DEFRA’s unpopular brood management proposals in the south of England by experienced and trained professionals who deal with captive bred birds of prey for a living. Terry explained the rationale behind his controversial suggestion in this way; we know the reasons why DEFRA would never sanction the reintroduction of fledged hen harriers on grouse moors in the north of England, these birds would never be welcomed by estates or their gamekeepers quickly disappearing presumed to have been shot. All hen harrier chicks produced must each be fitted with a satellite tag before being hacked into the wild in the south of England. Now the important part according to Terry; these harriers must ALL be tracked to establish what happens to them after fledging. If any or all the harriers make their way back onto grouse moors in the north of England and survive for more than eighteen months or longer, this may establish DERFA’s plans are worth more consideration. On the other hand if a majority of hen harriers released in the south make their way north onto grouse moors then subsequently disappear along with their trackers, this would clearly establish the futility of DEFRA’s brood manipulation proposals once and for all.
What ever happens to breeding hen harriers this year on England’s northern uplands, we support Terry Pickford’s suggestion. Making the best use of all hen harriers raised in captivity obtained from abandoned rescued eggs is well worth exploring in the way he has suggested. Utilising abandoned eggs rescued which then hatch and then released reduces the pressure on other dwindling hen harrier populations elsewhere.
Bowland Eagle Owls
eagle owl web-1
Finally it has been brought to our notice by one of our followers that a territorial pair of eagle owls, for a second season, has been located in the Forest of Bowland. We were informed information of the existence of the pair was posted two weeks ago by Chrissie Harper on her Facebook page, attached here. Chrissie, responsibly made no reference to where these birds were established in Bowland, but asked all her followers on FaceBook to support her ‘Save and Protect the Bowland Eagle Owls Campaign .’ A report on Eagle Owls in England pointed out that the eagle owls in Bowland in particular had been subjected to irresponsible disturbance at their nesting sites and was one of the main cause of territories being abandoned.
Abandoned Eagle Owl Nest 2013 Forest of Bowland
Last year a local Bowland resident contacted Raptor Politics informing us that last spring he had witnessed three wardens tasked with protecting eagle owls inside Bowland visiting an occupied eagle owl nest possibly containing eggs. We understand shortly after the visit had been carried out the nest was known to have been deserted. For those of you that are not aware of the scientific advice regarding eagle owl behaviour and nest visits be aware: Eagle owl nests should on no account be visited either prior to eggs being laid, when eggs are contained inside a nest, or when the nest contains small chicks. Sadly this accepted official advice is all too often disregarded in the Forest of  Bowland.
Second Abandoned Eagle Owl Nest 2013 Forest of Bowland
It seems strange that when it comes to licensed visits to all English hen harrier nests official approval from Natural England to do so must first be obtained, even when visiting harrier nests in Bowland. Why then when visiting an eagle owl nest which is likely to result in the nest being abandoned are these visits encouraged?
Related Articles
Legal Loopholes being used to deter raptors from settling on moorland to breed
A fourth male hen harrier reported missing from an active nest in the northern Pennines 
Natural England hen harrier satellite tracking programme results 
The not so mysterious disappearance of England’s lost Hen Harriers
Raptor persecution in our modern society, a symbol of a feudal system of Raptor Management