Although wasps can be of use around the garden by consuming dead insects and eating flies they can be a nuisance too. Apart from stinging, their persistence can be irritating and present a threat to those allergic to their sting. Seek medical help immediately if you are stung in the mouth or neck, or if you experience giddiness, nausea, unusual swelling or extreme pain following a sting.
We all know that wasps can sting repeatedly, but here are some facts about wasps which you may not know.
- The venom in wasps contains a pheromone that causes other wasps to become more aggressive. Try not to swat one near its nest or other wasps.
- The sting of a wasp should wear off within 24 hours but for a small minority of people the venom in their sting causes anaphylactic shock which can be fatal. For more information on the symptoms of anaphylaxia visit The Anaphylaxis Campaign
- An ordinary sting can be treated with deodorant containing aluminium.
- Wasps live in colonies that form self-contained communities, each following a caste order of queens, males and workers.
- A male wasp is called a Drone. The job of the Drone is to mate with the Queen. After they have fulfilled this mission, they die shortly afterwards.
- Wasps don’t swarm.
- European Hornets strip the bark from trees, causing damage to trees and shrubs.
- Wasps feed their young meat e.g. insect larvae.
- The only wasps that survive the winter are young fertilised queens. They emerge from overwintering in the spring to build new nests. Initially the queen lays up to a dozen eggs and when they hatch into larvae she feeds them until they become workers. The workers then forage for food, feed the new larvae and defend the nest.
- In late summer, the colony produces males and new queens. They fly away to mate and the queens then find a place to hibernate. The cold weather eventually kills the males, workers and foundation queen.
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. Rentokil will be giving 20p to The Anaphylaxis Campaign for every wasp or wasp nest plotted on the map. For more information visit the UKWaspWatch blog.