WOOD-munching wasps are wreaking havoc at one of the district's popular beauty spots.

The insects are chomping wooden gates and seats, using the material to build their nests.

Despairing guardians of the picturesque St Ives estate, at Harden, are appealing for help to thwart the invaders.

“We recently spent £2,500 on special wooden gates for our history garden but the wasps are taking big chunks out of them,” said Pam Laking, chairman of the Friends of St Ives.

“The gates are now very rough to the touch and they look awful.

“The wasps are also eating seats and they’ve had a go at the cafe's wooden storage door.

“Seemingly they chomp the wood and take it off to their nest.

“A lot of time and money has been spent improving the estate for our visitors and people are enjoying the history garden, so when you see the damage being caused it is very upsetting and disheartening.”

Mrs Laking has issued an SOS in a bid to take the sting out of the problem.

“We would love to hear from anybody who may be able to suggest a solution.

“We’ve been unable to find the nest to deal with that so are looking for other answers,” she said.

“There is apparently a mixture you can make and apply to wood which deters wasps, but we’ve been unable to discover precisely what and which proportions. We desperately need people’s advice."

“The gates and seats are a wonderful part of St Ives and we want them to be here for along time.”

According to wasp control websites, it is common for the insects to forage wood for nest-building purposes.

Untreated decking and unprotected wooden sidings on houses are often targeted.

Numerous improvements have been carried out at the St Ives estate in recent months, including weeding and the clearing of a pathway through the mansion’s garden to provide disabled access.

Mrs Laking can be contacted on 07958 780391.