Wasps give summer sting in the tail

A SUMMER of bug invasions seems to be continuing in East Anglia - as large numbers of wasps join the swarms of ladybirds sweeping the region.

Annie Davidson

A SUMMER of bug invasions seems to be continuing in East Anglia - as large numbers of wasps join the swarms of ladybirds sweeping the region.

In many coastal towns in Suffolk, there were reports of people being pestered by unusually large numbers of wasps at the weekend, with pubs and restaurants forced to put out wasp traps to lure them away from visitors.

Ice creams kiosks in Ipswich have also been among the locations plagued by the marauding wasps.

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And it comes just days after the EADT reported how there had been an explosion in the ladybird population in the region.

The wasp invasion can be put down to the mild winter and the recent warm weather which has provided the perfect breeding ground for the insects.

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Although official records are not made of the wasp population, August is the month that numbers tend to increase said Martin Sanford, biological records officer for the Suffolk Biological Records Centre.

Adrian Knowles, the hymenoptera recorder for the Suffolk Naturalists' Society, said his data focused on lesser-known bees and wasps and whether they had been seen.

“I cannot say I have been told it has been unusually busy (with wasps) but the last two summers have been dull and damp so it is probably surprising to people who are coming outside this summer and encountering these insects,” he said.

“The good weather brings us out, as well as the wasps.”

But the increase in wasps has been noticed by the team from The Suffolk Gardener which specialises in domestic maintenance and planting.

Katy Bell, of the Woodbridge-based firm, said: “Whenever I hear in the news about swarms heading our way I tend to groan a bit, as it can make gardening a little treacherous!

“So far this summer we've racked up five stings among three of us and counting - definitely the worse hit rate for some years.

“Luckily none of us are allergic, but one of our customers has virtually avoided working in her garden on the warmest days as she reacts very badly.”

She added: “Wasps do get a terrible press considering they are so important to a garden's well-being - they are our enemy's enemy really.

“They are natural foragers and after a warm spring like we've had, they've had ideal conditions - so are very busy right now getting rid of proper garden pests like caterpillars and aphids.”

Miss Bell said she had heard of “every remedy going” to prevent stings - including scattering baby powder and washer dryer sheets.

But she added: “On very hot days I also forego perfume and strongly scented soap to try to make myself less tasty - but that may be hokum to be honest.

“If you are out in the garden a lot, it's a hassle to worry too much about them.”


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