Essex and other parts of the UK are experiencing more wasps than usual. The very warm summer and mild spring and natural two year cycle is boosting numbers.
More uninvited six legged guests appearing in a wasp heavy few months
Ask most people what their least favourite insect is and ‘wasp’ would likely be at the top of the list – indeed, the six legged striped stinger might even top a list of least favourite creatures full stop. Unfortunately, just lately Essex and other parts of the UK are experiencing more of the pests than usual.
Wasp numbers up 5x
According to some sources, pest control specialists are being kept five times as busy as usual in ridding homes and businesses of wasp nests.
According to the British Pest Control Association (BPCA), while a pest controller may typically remove two to three nests a day during the later spring and during the summer months, this figure has increased to 10 to 15 a day more recently.
The humble wasp is also subject to increased interest as the word ‘wasp’ was searched for in the highest numbers for five years this summer according to Google Trends, and social media has been very busy with people telling their wasp tales – usually involving spectacular invasions or unpleasant stinging incidents.
It may be a surprise to know that over the past 40 years some 25 species of stinging wasps and bees have found their way to the UK.
Professional help required to remove wasps
It’s never advisable to remove a wasp nest yourself – even a small one detected early in the ‘wasp season’ – so professional help from reputable professionals is required.
While local authorities may help remove a hazardous wasp nest on common land, many won’t help if it’s in your garden or in the house so local experts such as these Southend pest control specialists should be contacted.
Why the plague of wasps?
The very hot summer and warm spring that preceded it could be a key reason as to why more wasps are spoiling our barbecues and drinks outside in the sunshine. As the summer wears on they’re in search of sugary fare, hence why they take an interest in what we’re eating and drinking by pestering us.
Another factor is the natural cycle of wasp numbers; they tend to increase and decrease in two year cycles. Records for 2016 showed a proliferation of wasps while 2017 showed a decline, so it’s a natural process that this year is higher.
The milder weather has also speeded up fruit growth, so giving wasps a major food source earlier than usual; this helped them establish their growth of numbers in the early ‘wasp season’ months in the spring when the queens are developing their nests.
Wasps may be more useful than you think
While wasps are an undoubted pest when they nest in and around the home, they do perform useful functions such as feeding on pests including greenfly and caterpillar that could, if left to grow too much in number, damage vital crops. Like bees, wasps are important pollinators.
They’re just hungry
When trying to enjoy a drink in the sunshine or a pleasant meal or barbecue outside it’s a definite annoyance if wasps appear and try to muscle in, but this is purely because they’re in search of sugar that has become short in supply in the nest.
The larvae reared by wasps produce sugary droplets that the adult wasps feed on, but when the nest stops developing more larvae that means no sugar so the wasps have to find alternative sources.
This is maybe not much of a consolation as you swat away another wasp trying to land on your plate or rim of your glass, but it may help to know they’re not just being awkward.