How the hot summer has contributed to a rise in wasp numbers and caused pest controllers to be especially busy in removing nests; how to prevent wasps.
Record summer temperatures a factor in the rise of annoying striped pests
You may have got the impression that the scorching summer tempted more than just sun worshippers out as you swatted away yet another nuisance wasp. If so, you’d be right; wasp numbers increased markedly during the hot spell and pest controllers have been kept especially busy dealing with more wasp nests than usual.
A hot summer and the two year ‘wasp’ cycle
Along with the record hot summer, the particularly warm spring meant the wasp growth cycle started sooner than usual as queen wasps woke earlier from hibernation and set to work building nests and laying eggs. This caused more wasps to appear from an earlier stage with the following hot summer months seeing their numbers increase.
Meanwhile, the general wasp growth cycle occurs every two years with wasp numbers rising every other year; this year was a ‘high wasp’ year so another contributory factor to the high numbers of the striped pests.
More nests to remove
While pretty much the whole of the UK has basked in high temperatures, East Anglia and the south east has been especially hot with the result that even more wasp nests needed removing in counties such as Suffolk, Essex and Kent. Experts based in these hotter areas such as this Southend pest control company have experienced more calls than usual to remove nests.
The British Pest Control Association say their member pest controllers were removing on average eight to fifteen wasp nests a day compared to the more common one or two.
Wasps crave sugar
Wasps are usually more of a nuisance to us later in the summer and even early autumn if the weather stays warm and doesn’t kill them off.
This is because the worker wasps are both ‘less busy’ since their queen has gone into hibernation so no eggs are being laid in the nest and, therefore, no larvae hatching that require looking after. The wasps are also searching for sugar that has, for most of the summer, been in ready supply at the nest since the larvae they nurture create a sugar rich ‘spit’ that worker wasps feed off.
With no sugar supply the workers start pestering those of us eating and drinking outside; a can of Coke or a sugary dessert is very tempting to a hungry wasp.
They become more aggressive too in later summer and early autumn as they feed off older, rotting fruit; the decaying process produces alcohol so the wasps by this stage are a bit tipsy so lose their inhibitions somewhat – fuelled by their desire to feed.
What’s the point of wasps?
It’s a question many ask at various times – especially when having to fend them off when trying to enjoy an outdoor drink or barbecue – but they do have their uses.
There are some 7,000 species of wasp in the UK but only nine that are commonly seen with just two types (the common and German wasp) being the most likely to appear in your garden or around the house.
They help us by catching flies, caterpillars and greenfly so are useful to gardeners and farmers as they keep pests that threaten crop growth under control. They also, like bees, pollinate certain flowers.
Keeping them at bay
If you have a nest it’s important to leave it to the pest control experts rather than trying to remove it yourself; there could be thousands of wasps who will become especially aggressive if their nest is threatened.
There are other preventative measures you can take to discourage wasps from nesting in and around your home. For minimising the nuisance value of wasps out and about, applying insect repellent containing at least 50% DEET is an effective action. Avoid those containing perfume or any kind of scent as other annoying insects could be attracted.