Look out for wasp in­va­sion

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - News -

Kent is be­ing told to brace it­self for a swarm of wasps this sum­mer. Mil­lions more of the in­sects are buzzing around the coun­try than in the last five years be­cause a mild win­ter and sun­shine has led to an in­crease in caterpillars and aphids. And nowhere will be worse hit than south­ern Eng­land, ac­cord­ing to ex­perts. Pest con­trollers have been re­ceiv­ing around 100 calls a week to re­move wasp nests from homes. Across the whole of Bri­tain there are 250 dif­fer­ent species of wasps but only 12 are thought to be so­cial and form nests. Greg Hitch­cock, of the Kent Wildlife Trust, said: “Cold win­ters will kill off queens. If there is a lot of bad weather the in­sects the wasps eat will go down. “We had a mild win­ter so it is pos­si­ble that there are more queen wasps. We have had rel­a­tively good weather for in­sects and there has been enough rain to keep grass grow­ing.” Wasps feast on leftover food from bins as well as aphids, caterpillars and other in­sects but colonies die from star­va­tion dur­ing the win­ter months. Only the queen, which has an av­er­age life­span of 12 months, sur­vives the win­ter be­fore lay­ing eggs which grow into adult worker wasps. Ac­cord­ing to Wasp Re­moval UK, wasps will hap­pily build nests in any suit­able void they can find. Their nests usu­ally die nat­u­rally in the au­tumn, un­less the win­ter is mild and there is a lo­cal source of food.

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