Wasp warning as hot weather brings ‘worst year ever’ for stinging insects
This summer is one of the worst we have had for wasps, pest controllers have said, because of the hot weather. The worst wasp behaviour is yet to come, according to experts, with a warm autumn expected, which will cause a longer lifespan for the stinging creatures.
By that time, the queens will be back in hibernation, so the worker wasps will have no purpose and spend the weeks in desperate search of sugar, invading pub gardens and al fresco dinners.
Natalie Bongay, technical officer at the British Pest Control Association said pest controllers across the country are having to destroy up to 15 wasp nests a day.
She told The Telegraph: “Every pest controller I see, they say ‘wow there’s a lot of wasp nests’ – last year they were doing 1 or 2 a day and this year they’re doing between 8 and 15.
“All insects will thrive a lot more efficiently in weather like this because it speeds up their metabolism and egg production. Berries, their food source, are also more abundant.
“Wasps tend to die off when the first frost hits. But if we’re not going to get those frosts as quickly they’ll possibly even grow in size and breed more.”
Sam Devereux, the general manager JG Pest Control, one of the leading wasp and hornet removal services in London and the south east, said his business has been extremely busy.
He told The Telegraph: “It’s been a bad year for the general public but a very good year for us.
“We have seen the best year in the seven years I’ve been in the industry. The busiest wasp season we have ever had.
“This is because the summer started early and the hot weather has been going on for longer.
“The queen wasps hibernate through winter and wake up when it’s nice and warm. They usually wake up in the middle of May, but this year woke up in April.
“The worker wasps helps the queen nest and then they go into peoples properties. We’ve seen a huge increase in this, we have had to remove a lot of wasp nests.
“The warmer it stays, the longer they’ll be around.”
He said the problem will worsen as summer goes on, explaining: “The male wasps, the worker wasps, in a warm September and October after the queen has gone back into hibernation, have no purpose at that point.
“That’s when they start coming up to you, swimming in your cider, going into your food and getting aggressive. We are anticipating huge numbers of aggressive wasps at this time.
“We are anticipating being busy well into October.”
The problem has been particularly bad in East Anglia, experts say, because the country has had some of the warmest weather in the country this summer.
Richard Pummell of Norwich and Norfolk Pest Control told the EDP the prevalence of wasps has been “the worst in my 26-year history of doing the job”.
Andrew Dellbridge of Ace Pest Control added the amount of wasps this year had been “unseasonal”, adding that the number of nests he had cleared had increased from “four or five every one or two months” to “dozens upon dozens a week.”
Wasp nests can contain anywhere between 5,000 and 10,000 wasps at the peak of summer.