Most of us share the view that wasps are a pest. That is even more so in a vineyard. They love the sugar rich grapes and quickly do great damage to a vineyard (or at least to Little Oak Vineyard)
In 2013 Little Oak vineyard came under a great attack by wasps, in August the vines were covered by thousands of them. Advice was sought on how to control them and the only chemical treatments seemed to be very destructive to more helpful creatures in the vineyard such as bees and ladybirds.
The Internet allowed a great deal of research to be done quickly. A friend of Steve's discovered a number of research papers looking at European vineyards that talked of controlling wasps with a chemical called Fiprinol.
Fipronil is the active chemical in the systemic tick and flea control system for dogs and cats. (It is used in that application at 0.25% strength).
It was easy for Steve to prepare a 0.05% solution, with a £50 bottle giving enough to treat the vineyard several times. The chemical was mixed with a meat bait (a variety of different meats were tried in order to find the best one -
The red pot (on the top of the post) contains the bait
The results were incredible, within 48 hours the vast majority of wasps had disappeared, the occasional one might be seen, but that was greatly outnumbered by the bumble bees, honey bees and ladybirds that were not affected by the treatment