Wasps and Sting Prevention

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Wasp biology for sting prevention

Any wasp stings occur in late summer and early autumn, when breeding ceases. The reduction in the supply of sweet waste excretion from larvae causes wasps to seek out sweet food elsewhere e.g. a BBQ or dustbin.

Wasps help balance nature and through natural pest control remove thousands of aphids, caterpillars, fly larvae and other garden pests. They pollinate and recycle nutrients through scavenging. Wasps are eaten by spiders and badgers. The problem with wasps is people in their territory! You may find a little damage to wooden parts of your property and parts of the garden where you cannot go because of a nest. Apart from stings and potential allergy other problems are use of insecticides and paying for professional pest control.

Expect to find wasps in natural environments (gardens, parks, woods) where they live. If you enjoy the fun of a walk outside you will come across wasps because you are in their territory.

Wasps visit flowers so be cautious what you plant on paths, under windows, near doors and especially in play areas. Choosing what you plant helps to avoid inviting wasps to come into your territory. 

Expect wasps to take a great interest in rubbish. Keep your dustbin clean and keep the lid firmly closed. During "wasp busy" months of the year (April - October) move it away from your door. Tie rubbish bags to keep in smells. Tightly cover leftover food especially at picnics. Close doors and windows during food preparation and eating or if you need to have them open keep them just ajar. 

Wasp in car, flying to the light, will escape as soon as the window is openWasp in car, flying to the light, will escape as soon as the window is open

Queen wasps often over winter (hibernate) in our territory. They require somewhere cool, dry but frost free. Be vigilant as they start to wake around February and March. It is not surprising then that spring cleaning and Do It Yourself can disturb a queen wasp at any time from October through to April. Be especially careful in the loft, unheated or very cool bedrooms, pots in garden sheds, greenhouses and any other similar places. Pulling the curtains in a bedroom not used very often, heating a bedroom for a Christmas guest, rifling the shed after early requests for a BBQ - think "Wasp?" all the time. 

Be aware that the wasp population is naturally high in some years and low in others. Don't be concerned with journalists calling wasps "furry friends" in years when there are few about and "angry foe" when there are large populations. Simply take measures to avoid wasp stings every wasp season.Wasps fly to the light and a wasp in the house/car will fly out of an open window. Avoid squashing wasps as the scent produced will attract nearby wasps bent on stinging. Learn to distinguish between a busy and peaceful wasp which you can watch from a distance and a frustrated or annoyed wasp which you should distance yourself from. Wasp nests are warmer than the air temperature by up to 10 degrees C. So expect them to be more active and more easily roused to sting in hot weather.