Experts have warned people to expect a boom in wasp numbers – but they can’t predict exactly how big it will be
An army of wasps are set to invade Lincolnshire this summer with experts warning numbers are set to skyrocket in the coming weeks.
The British Pest Control Association (BPCA) is urging yellowbellies to be on guard for the pesky flying insects that are the bane of all sun-lovers.
It is expected to be a bumper year for wasp populations as they traditionally rise and fall in a two-year pattern – with a lull in numbers recorded in 2017.
But BPCA experts say changes in wasp activities are making it a challenge to accurately predict just how many will flood into the county.
Alex Wade, technical manager at BPCA member company Pelgar, said: “Historically, the two-year cycle of wasp abundance and scarcity was so pronounced it was possible to almost set a watch by the cycle, but that has now changed.
“We can no longer rely on being able to forecast the scale of a wasp season now with reasonable accuracy, and the country should prepare for the worst and hope for the best.”
Despite the changing picture, Mr Wade does point out that as 2017 was such a quiet season, we have to expect an increase either way.
He points to variations in farming practices as one of the major influences behind changes in wasp numbers.
Around 80 per cent of the wasp population nest and feed over winter near areas of agriculture.
Alterations to hedgerows, crop density and the use of pesticides are some of the major factors that could affect numbers.
And with the fluctuations of rural wasps impacting on the number who flock to more domestic, residential areas, that makes it difficult to predict how the country will be affected overall.
Dee Ward-Thompson, BPCA technical manager, added: “We don’t know yet what 2018 holds, but as wasp patterns become more unpredictable it is important to be aware of their activity.
“Furthermore, treating wasps nest can be even more of a lottery, with risks to safety a real issue.
“Most local authorities now charge for wasp nest treatments, and responding to advertisements placed on signposts without checking credentials isn’t something we would recommend.”
“Wasps are a real nuisance for most, but for some members of the public with certain conditions, wasps can represent a severe threat. Removing wasp nests quickly is important, especially before the latter stages of summer where stings are more likely.
“Entering September, worker wasps will gorge on fallen fruit that’s fermenting on the ground. The effect of the alcohol makes them angrier and bolder than normal so they are more likely to sting without provocation.”
“Like any pest issue, a professional pest management company can help minimise activity now and in the future, with a range of techniques, and ensure a full, safe and effective treatment is carried out.”