Wasps go down the pub
IT’S that time of the year when sitting outside the pub has added entertainment value as revellers spring past you in a state of frenzy, screeching as a small insect chases them.
Actually, in most cases that insect, a wasp, is happily supping the drink of the now frantic pub customer.
This scene is repeated at the late summer barbecues as householders realise they may have a wasps’ nest close to their home.
The big problem is that these supreme yellow and black predators are a bit bored and have a strong yearning for sugar and other sweet things.
Wasps were created as super hunters spending most of summer catching aphids, spiders and other insects to feed their queen and younger wasps. This is the nicer side of wasps – nurturing the youngsters in their nest.
However, when the queen stops laying eggs and creating a hormone that attracts the workers, they have no reason to hang around, so off they go down to the pub.
At this time of year fruit has fallen off the trees and fermented, which again attracts the wasps.
As with youths, who cannot hold their drink, these drunken wasps can be aggressive and this is the time that they are most likely to sting. This isn’t a great problem unless you are allergic, then it is a terrible problem.
I am lucky that I do not react to bites or stings, but I have friends who have reacted badly. I really shouldn’t be flippant about people fleeing wasps.
So the question is – what is the point of these angry, drunken little beasties? Wasps are actually one of the great pollinators in our gardens.
Your flowers are thriving because of wasps, bees and other assorted insects.
They are also superb hunters and seek out and destroy many aphids which are harmful to our garden flowers and plants.
They actually look like hunters with their sleek, black and yellow striped bodies.
The queens are the largest of the wasps, reaching around 20mm long with workers from 12 to 18mm.
Despite their bad reputation wasps do serve a useful purpose and work blooming hard, so they deserve a bit of a rest. But if you see them down the pub don’t panic just give them a wide berth.
●● A wasp looking for sugar on fruit