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Britain is under attack from a dangerous strain of drunk German wasps.
Experts say a record-breaking spring and scorching summer combined with an abundance of fermenting fruit means there are now 200 billion "bad tempered" German yellowjacket beasts flying about.
And on top of that there are some 250 billion "regular" wasps.
Most of the queen wasps have finished laying their eggs and have left their nests meaning worker wasps no longer have to tend to the queen and instead – having nothing better to do – "get drunk" by feasting on on ripe fruit.
Because the wasps are sozzled, they are "extra bold" and more likely to sting for no reason.
Paul Bates – boss of pest control firm Cleankill – said people should ‘beware’ of the wasps while out and about, especially when having barbecues or picnics.
He said: “Up until mid-August workers provided food for the larva in the nest, but once the queen stops laying eggs there is no longer any need for food in the nest so the workers go out to have a good time.
“They feed off BBQ scraps on plates and on fallen fermenting fruits that are in abundance at this time of year.
”The type of wasp causing most problems is the German yellowjacket which gives a particularly painful sting.
“The best thing to teach anybody is not to frantically wave arms around at wasps as this suggests that they are under attack.”
Windfall from fruit trees – like apple, pear, plum and damson – is now at its peak, especially with Storms Ellen and Francis whipping up gales across the UK.
The warm spring also meant that more yellowjacket wasp nests survived this summer, meaning there are even more of the stinging pests around than normal.
Reports out this week also warned of swarms of Asian hornets – two-inch long critters whose sting can kill – set to arrive in the UK next month.
Wasp sting victim Alison Worth, of St Albans, Herts, said she was stung in the mouth after taking a swig from a can of fizzy pop where the wasp was lurking.
Hornets kill boy, 6, as hundreds swarm on the youngster while he helps his nan in garden
She said: “I was in the garden and had a sip of my Coke and immediately got stung on my lip.
“From now on I’m buying bottles, so I can screw down the cap – I’m not risking that again.”
A spokesman for The British Pest Control Association (BPCA) said: “In reality, wasps will usually only attack a person if they feel threatened. The problem is a social wasp in distress emits a pheromone that sends nearby colony members into a defensive, stinging frenzy.
“That’s right, scare a wasp and it might call for backup.”
- In the News
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