Why sugar hit-seeking wasps could pose a threat this summer

Wasps could pose a danger this summer. Photo: Amelia Martin.
Wasps could pose a danger this summer. Photo: Amelia Martin.

Wasps on the hunt for a sugar hit could pose a risk to children and the elderly in Derbyshire during the school summer holidays.

National trade body the British Pest Control Association (BPCA) is urging families and businesses in the county to act now before sting incidents become more likely in late August and early September.

The Association has published an online ‘Worried About Wasps’ guide, with a short video, to help prevent problems with the pests.

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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.”

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Ms Bungay 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 new ‘Worried About Wasps’ guide gives an overview of information including biology and behaviour, prevention and control.