It’s been a pretty good summer so far in Europe without many wasps around. I, like I think many people, assumed that this was because we had a cold winter and also a cold spell early in the year. I thought that the colder it was, the more wasp queens would die. Mwahahaha.
Sadly this doesn’t seem to be the case…
Stuart Roberts, chairman of the UK Bees, Wasps and Ants Recording Society (they apparently like wasps!), said: “Only four weeks ago I was being asked where all the wasps had gone. I think there is a simple explanation to all this. Firstly, we had a really cold winter which meant that hibernation was more successful than usual. The worst thing the wasp queen can have is a warm winter because they fidget and use up the food reserves. I suspect this has had an affect on mortality. And of course, we have had some quite reasonable weather this year. This year I would say the wasps – like everything else in the insect world – are about three weeks late because of the lateness of spring. The late spring, I suspect, has meant they have just stayed in hibernation for longer, and have been delayed by the cold weather.”
So it seems a cold winter is good for wasps. Unlike a flame thrower which has so far proved succesful at killing them.
There are already reports of increasing wasp numbers. Rentokil have a site called UK Wasp Watch that allows people to record wasp sightings and it doesn’t look good.
In Scotland, a swarm of wasps stung a seven-year-old cocker spaniel 130 times, sending it into anaphylactic shock and almost killing it. Susan Bruce, 35, the dog’s owner, said: “It was terrifying. There were so many that she was completely covered. We tried to outrun them, but they got hold of Betty (the dog). There were so many wasps in her coat. We tried to fight them off but they stung us too. It was particularly bad for Betty and she collapsed at the side of the path.”
The dog was rushed to a vet, where she was treated with strong steroids.
As always, my advice is – if you see a wasp then kill it!