By Suzanne Pender
THERE’S been an incredible 83% increase in wasp callouts between January and September this year compared with the same period in 2020, according to leading pest controller Rentokil.
The pest control provider is warning the public to treat the flying pest insects with caution at this time of year as autumn is when they are most aggressive.
During the autumn period, as the insects prepare to enter hibernation, wasp nests start to slowly die off and stop producing worker wasps.
Existing worker wasps can become disoriented due to this change. As they no longer have the abundance of food they were accustomed to during the warm summer months, this can add to their agitation and increase the likelihood of them interacting with humans as they seek out other food sources.
Rentokil expects that as a result of climate change and rising temperatures, wasp and other pest insect populations will continue to grow in the years to come.
The common wasp and German wasp are the two most familiar wasp species in Ireland. Wasps are distinct from hornets and bees and identifying them is important for homes or businesses that experience an infestation from a nearby nest.
Members of the public can learn more about properly identifying wasps, hornets or bees by visiting the Rentokil website.
“If you are experiencing high numbers of wasps in your home or garden, there is likely to be a nest nearby,” explained Richard Faulkner, advanced technical field consultant for Rentokil.
“A wasp sting can be a painful experience and can be particularly upsetting and frightening for young children. To avoid stings and keep you and your family safe, the best course of action is to avoid the nest and consider having it treated. You do not need to have the nest removed in its entirety,” he said.
Mr Faulkner offered a few steps which people can take to avoid attracting or being stung by wasps:
- Do not panic– If you find there are wasps nearby, keep calm and move slowly away
- Do not scream, flap your arms or swat them– This will agitate wasps and make them more aggressive
- Avoid strong, sweet smells– Avoid using highly perfumed fragrances, shampoos, or hair sprays.
- Avoid bright colours– Do not wear bright, bold floral patterns on clothes and bags, which could attract wasps
- Keep your bins covered– Wasps will gather around uncovered bins to seek food
- Avoid open drinks– If drink cans or bottles are left unattended, it may encourage wasps to crawl inside. Never leave sugary drinks unattended. Also, always check sugary drinks for wasps before consuming
- Cover food and drink– Always keep food and drink covered when eating outdoors to deter wasps
- Stay clean– Ensure children’s hands and faces are cleaned after eating food and drinks.