The spring has been unseasonably warm and dry which has encouraged wasps to emerge early from their overwintering places. The biggest wasp nests are often found in wood sheds or lofts because paper wasps can readily access building materials for their nest. Paper wasps, the most common species in the UK, ‘spit and scrape’ wood then apply it to their nest in a Papier-mâché fashion. Because the wasps have started building their nests earlier than usual this year our technicians have been discovering super-sized nests. An average nest is the size of a football and can be home to up to 25,000 wasps.
More wasps means an increased risk of being stung, which is particularly worrying for those who suffer from severe reactions to wasp stings. We have teamed up with The Anaphylaxis Campaign to help wasp allergy sufferers.
Be Wasp Aware
To help manage the potential threats posed by wasps and to be more wasp aware, we have created UKWaspWatch, the first ever interactive map to log wasp hotspots around the country.
There are now three ways to log wasp sightings together with their severity, from a single wasp or sting, to a massive wasps’ nest:
- Visit www.ukwaspwatch.co.uk and log a sighting directly onto the map by following the simple instructions.
- Enter your sighting via a special Facebook application
- Tweet the hashtag #ukwaspwatch, your postcode and how serious the sighting is using the scale on the UKWaspWatch website.
Allergic Reaction to Wasps
We are supporting The Anaphylaxis Campaign (the UK charity focused on helping people living with severe allergies) by donating 20p to the charity whenever a person logs a wasp or wasps’ nest sighting onto the UKWaspWatch map throughout the wasp season (June to September).
Dr Shuaib Nasser, Consultant in Allergy, Addenbrookes NHS Trust Hospital, Cambridge and member of The Anaphylaxis Campaign Clinical and Scientific Advisory Panel comments “the prolonged warm weather has seen large numbers of wasps with many people reporting being stung. If you have had a severe allergic reaction in the past, the risk of a similar allergic reaction is increased and precautions should be taken to avoid further stings. There are some simple practical steps that can be taken such as avoiding drinking out of cans, and not walking barefoot when outdoors. If the previous reaction involved breathing difficulty or feeling faint or dizzy you should talk to your family doctor to discuss carrying emergency treatment and ensure referral to an Allergy Clinic.”
Anaphylaxis symptoms may include:
- an itchy feeling
- difficulty in swallowing
- hives (nettle rash) anywhere on the body
- generalised flushing of the skin
- abdominal cramps and nausea
- increased heart rate
- difficulty in breathing due to severe asthma or throat swelling
- a sudden feeling of weakness (a drop in blood pressure)
- a sense of doom
- collapse and unconsciousness”
Top tips for keeping buzzing pests at bay:
- Don’t forget to pack Fly, Ant & Wasp Spray, which can effectively control wasps in and around the home or when out and about
- Wasps are attracted to bright colours so go for muted, pastel shades if you want to reduce the risk of being targeted
- Make sure sweet drinks and foods are not left exposed as wasps will make a beeline for them! Encourage your children to use lids and wrap food as soon as you’ve finished eating
- Use an insect repellent to provide protection
- Never try to swat wasps, this will increase the likelihood of being stung
- Log a sighting on the www.UKWaspWatch.co.uk map to help wasp allergy sufferers identify hotspot locations across the country
To find out more about UKWaspWatch and to help raise money for The Anaphylaxis Campaign visit www.UKWaspWatch.co.uk.
About The Anaphylaxis Campaign
The Anaphylaxis Campaign is the only UK charity to exclusively meet the needs of the growing numbers of people at risk from severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) by providing information and support relating to foods and other triggers such as latex, drugs and insect stings.
The aim of the charity is to create a safe environment for all people with severe allergy by educating the food industry, schools, pre-schools, colleges, health professionals and other key audiences, with a focus on medical facts, food labelling, risk reduction and allergen management.
The Anaphylaxis Campaign offers AllergyWise, online anaphylaxis training, which will help you to know what to do in an emergency situation. Visit www.anaphylaxis.org.uk to register.
We want to build up a bigger picture of wasp activity in the UK and need your help. If you spot a wasp or a wasp nest please visit www.UKWaspWatch.co.uk