Wasps on the hunt for a sugar hit could pose a risk to children and the elderly during the school summer holidays.
British Pest Control Association (BPCA) is urging families and businesses to act now before sting incidents become more likely in late August and early September.
We have published an online Worried About Wasps guide, with a short video, to help prevent problems with the pests.
Technical officer at BPCA, Natalie Bungay, said: “Homes and businesses can be affected by a wasp outbreak, particularly as people head outside for the summer season.
“Towards late August and going into September is the time when we can start to see drunken wasps, desperate for a sugar fix.
“This happens when the queen stops producing eggs and the workforce has nothing to do other than look for fermented fruits and sugars.
“Wasps quickly get inebriated and this is typically when you can expect them to be more aggressive and likely to sting.”
Wasps can be a public health and safety concern
Our ‘Worried About Wasps’ guide, gives an overview of the biology, behaviour, prevention and control of the pests. It is free to download at bpca.org.uk/wasps where there is also a short video.
Natalie added: “If snacks are eaten outdoors then food and drinks, as well as the natural environment all, provide an attractive place for wasps to thrive.
“A high level of wasp activity can be distressing and if someone is stung, or receives multiple stings, the presence of wasps can be seen as detrimental to public health.
“This particularly applies to children, elderly people, those with allergies and pets, who can be very sensitive to wasp stings.
“The matter becomes serious if a sting sends someone into anaphylaxis, a severe, potentially life-threatening allergic reaction.
“Even if someone has been stung by a wasp before and not had a severe reaction, it doesn’t mean that they cannot have a bad reaction if stung again.
“Our advice is to encourage homes and businesses to dispose of rubbish properly, especially food with a high sugar content. It should be securely contained in a bag and disposed of in a clean container.”
The online guide and video offer advice on how to tackle problems with wasps, including what to do if a nearby nest – which could house up to 5,000 wasps – is causing a nuisance.
Not all wasp nests should be treated
Natalie said: “It’s important to note that not every wasps’ nest needs destroying. For example, if it’s well away from a building or in a rarely used part of the property, where disturbance is unlikely, it may be best to leave it alone.
“However, when wasps are causing a nuisance or endangering human health, then steps may need to be taken.
“Pest management professionals ensure minimal disruption as they have the technical knowledge and access to a range of professional products – which are not available to the public – to tackle the issue effectively.
“They’ll have the appropriate protective equipment, and professionals can work in an environment that focuses on safety, not just for themselves, but the people and environment around them.”