Local news translated – April 11, 2024

Graphic by U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart Public Affairs Office

Host Nation Update, April 11, 2024


Autobahn Leonberg triangle will be partially closed at the weekend

A new road surface is being laid on one of the feeder roads in the direction of the Engelberg tunnel. There will be a detour and the tunnel will remain open to traffic.
A new highway construction site is imminent. The southwest branch of Autobahn GmbH has announced that it is renewing the road surface in parts of the Leonberg triangle. Specifically, this involves the flyover from the A8 Karlsruhe-Stuttgart to the A81 in the direction of Würzburg. One lane of the flyover will therefore be closed from 10 a.m. on Friday, April 12. The flyover will be fully closed from 8 p.m. on Friday until around 5 a.m. on Monday. Autobahn GmbH also writes: “All destinations can still be reached.” The detour is as follows: drivers on the A8 from the direction of Karlsruhe who want to get onto the A81 in the direction of Würzburg will stay on the A8 in the direction of Munich until the Leonberg-Ost junction. Take the exit here and rejoin the A8 in the direction of Karlsruhe directly at the junction. From there, take the flyover to the A81 towards Würzburg.  Traffic on the A8 in both directions (Karlsruhe and Munich) is not affected. The Engelberg Tunnel can also be used as usual. Autobahn GmbH also writes: “In order to minimize the impact on traffic, the measure will be carried out during the low-traffic period at the weekend. (Stgt Nachrichten, April 9, 24)


Wasp population on the rise – Expert explains: What to do if you find a wasp nest on your house

2024 could be another wasp year. Expert Sophie Scharrer explains how we can protect ourselves and what to do if the wasps have chosen our homes to build their nests.

Springtime is here, as well as the return of wasps. In April, the queens start looking for a suitable place to build their nests. 2024 is likely to be a special wasp year due to an unusually mild winter. “A dry winter and the start of the year as well as mild temperatures create ideal conditions for the queen wasps,” explains pest expert Sophie Scharrer. “Depending on where the wasps nest, damage to the building fabric can occur. For example, insulation can be damaged, which can severely impair the insulating capacity of the house. Wooden components and cladding can also be damaged, as wasps use wood to build their nests. How can one recognize a wasp nest? Scharrer: Many wasp nests hang freely outdoors or indoors. You can usually recognize a nest relatively quickly. It looks like beige or grayish papier-mâché made of several layers and is round in shape. The combs cannot be seen from the outside. In an active wasp nest, it can be observed that the wasps use the lower “tip” as an entrance and exit.

Where are wasp nests particularly common?
Scharrer: Wasps generally prefer an undisturbed environment. Their nests are therefore often found in places that are less frequented, such as attics, tool sheds, carports, barns or garden sheds.

Is there any way to prevent wasps from nesting in living spaces?
Scharrer: It really can’t be completely prevented. However, if there are places that are suitable for wasps to build their nests, it can be useful to check them regularly in spring. If you find a small wasp nest that is still being built, you can adapt to this or – if necessary – have the nest removed by a professional and thus prevent it from becoming a full-grown wasp colony. The scent of essential oils – especially lavender, lemon or clove oil – is said to help keep wasps away. It is said that wasps do not like these smells and therefore keep away. Treating potential nesting sites with these oils may therefore be an option.

What should be the first step if you notice a wasp nest in or around the house? Scharrer: The most important thing is to stay calm and keep as far away from the wasps and their nest as possible. If the wasp nest is in a place where it cannot remain, a professional should be called in to help. They will then take care of the removal as soon as possible. A note for tenants: As a rule, the homeowner or landlord is responsible for removing the wasp nest. Tenants should therefore inform their landlord immediately about the wasp nest and coordinate the next steps with them.

In which cases should professional help be called?
Scharrer: Whenever you cannot come to terms with the wasp colony or if it is in a place that you regularly come too close to, and the wasps are bothered – for example in the roller shutter box or in the window frame. Sometimes wasps also nest in false ceilings or similar places. In these cases, it may be advisable to remove the nest as damage can occur. If the nest is in a place where it causes no damage and does not disturb or expose residents to danger, it does not necessarily have to be removed.
Important: You should never attempt to remove a wasp nest yourself without professional help. Firstly, it is dangerous and secondly, it is a punishable offense, as wasps are a protected species due to their important function in our ecosystem.

How do pest controllers go about removing wasp nests?
Scharrer: There are basically two options for removing a wasp nest: relocation or control. Which method is chosen is ultimately decided by the customer.
In the case of relocation, flying workers are sucked into a relocation box using a type of vacuum cleaner. The entire nest, including the queen, will be removed and packed away. Once everything has been packed away, the workers and the nest are moved to a suitable location some distance away. There the nest is re-hung, and the workers are released; while with (pest) control, the wasp colony is killed. The exact procedure depends on where the wasp nest is located and how easily accessible it is. Many pest controllers work with insecticides that are carried into the nest and spread by the wasps themselves. The entire colony dies as a result. However, some pest controllers also work with organic products.
How can you protect yourself from wasps outdoors without killing them?

Scharrer: First of all: it is important to stay calm and not react frantically when a wasp is nearby. Wasps are often irritated by quick movements, feel threatened and can become aggressive. You should also stay away from wasp nests. They protect their nest and their queen. If you get too close to them, the wasps will go on the offensive.

When barbecuing or picnicking outdoors, a few precautions can be taken, for example by keeping food and drinks sealed. This is because wasps are constantly on the lookout for food – both meat and sweet items are of interest to them, depending on their stage. Once a wasp has found a food source, it communicates this to its colony, which attracts even more wasps.  Another common method is “distraction feeding”. This involves placing a small piece of fruit or meat at a distance to attract the wasps and keep them away from the table. This method can work, however, may also attract even more wasps to the food source and sooner or later they will also be interested in your food.

Also, a small spray water bottle to spray water towards them works to make them disappear. Increased caution is required in late summer or fall, as the workers are at the end of their lives and often become increasingly aggressive. Here it is also advisable to keep as much distance as possible.  (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, April 11, 2024)


Tips for the weekend

If you want to spend the good weather outside in the fresh air and do something good for the environment at the same time, you have the opportunity to take part in the city clean-up in Böblingen on Saturday, 13 April, organized by the local Green Party. It starts at 10 am at Marktplatz 29 in Böblingen. Volunteers can then collect garbage from streets, sidewalks and green spaces until 12 noon. The local association will provide the equipment. Anyone wishing to register can do so by sending an email to info@gruene-bb.de.

The Kulturkreis (culture corner) Grafenau in Schloss Dätzingen will  be playing music: on Saturday there will be an evening of swing music with trumpet player Thimo Niesterok and Thilo Wagner on piano, Rolf Marx on guitar and Henning Gailing on double bass.  The audience can look forward to the standards of the 30s and 40s, such as Louis Armstrong or Count Basie. Tickets can be reserved by calling 0171/5157910 or emailing thomas.ott@kulturkreis-grafenau.de   Admission costs 15 euros and 12 euros for members and students.  (Stgt Nachrichten, April 11)