Wasp season is upon us! While they are active from spring to early autumn, summer is the season when the wasp population become more noticeable, buzzing around our picnics and outdoor gatherings. Ever wondered why?
In spring, wasps prey on pests like aphids. By summer, when new queens have populated their new colonies, aphids die out, leaving wasps seeking a new food source. While they are carnivorous, wasps are drawn to the scent of rotting fruit and will also seek sugary hits wherever humans are eating.
One or two wasps hovering over your picnic blanket is not a major source of stress, but when it comes to spotting wasp nests on or around your property, then it’s a cause for concern. These menacing yellow jackets are notoriously aggressive when disturbed, and while wasp stings are a painful inconvenience to most, some people can suffer severe allergic reactions.
Read on for more about why summer is ‘wasp season’ and what you can do to deter them. If you have a problem with wasp nests at your home or business, then you should leave it well alone. Call the experts at Malum Southern Pest & Bird Control for fast and safe wasps nest removal.
What Makes Summer ‘Wasp Season’?
Summer is the prime season for wasp activity, in particular late summer. The most common wasp species is, funnily enough, known as the Common Wasp.
These soft-bodied invertebrates are easily recognisable by their black and yellow striped abdomens and are famous for their aggressive behaviour, especially when their nests are disturbed.
Here is why they seem to appear out of nowhere as the temperature begins to rise.
An Abundance of Food Sources
As mentioned above, wasps would rather dine on aphids and other insects, but they are in scant supply come the summer months, so they must expand their diet to survive.
At this time of year, Mother Nature’s pantry is stocked with an array of ripe fruits, nectar-rich flowers, and other sugary delights. It’s also the season for dining alfresco and, as most people living in the UK can attest, it’s rare to get through a picnic without at least one wasp trying to join the party!
Wasps are opportunistic feeders, and unlike bees, they will thoroughly explore their surroundings for food sources. So if you are eating outside, particularly if you are eating a nice fruit salad or sipping a cool alcoholic beverage, chances are that wasps will find you.
Rather cruelly, adult wasps cannot actually digest the food they gather because of their ‘wasp waists’ (ah, so now you know where that comes from!). So they take food to feed the larvae, who produce a sugar-rich spit for the workers to drink. Yum.
Wasps die off in the winter, but it’s a common misconception that this is because of the cold weather. It is because there isn’t enough food. All the wasps die, except for queen wasps, who are able to survive on their fat reserves in hibernation, before emerging to establish new colonies.
Hibernating queen wasps wake and reproduce
As the winter chill fades away and the first signs of spring emerge, hibernating queens wake up. They are driven by the instinct to establish a new wasp colony and continue the wasp life cycle. So begins the work of building new nests and egg-laying.
Queen wasps begin their quest for an ideal nesting location, often a roof, wall cavity, shrub, garage or shed. After constructing her initial nest, the queen focuses on laying eggs for her first brood. These first eggs hatch into young larvae and are nurtured by the queen until they grow into adult workers.
With the worker wasps in full flow, the role of the queen wasp shifts from foraging for food to reproduction and maintaining the nest.
At the end of summer, the queen decides it’s time to produce her final brood, and after mating, will lay eggs that become new queen wasps, and so the life cycle continues.
Worker Wasps Build and Provide for the Wasp Nest
Wasp colonies are super organised. Worker wasps, the female members of the colony, take charge of nest maintenance during summer.
They diligently gather wood fibres, chew them into a pulp, and build nests, which have a paper-like appearance. All this hard work contributes to the surge in the number of wasps around when the warm weather hits.
Ideal Wasp Weather and Temperature Conditions
The summer weather provides optimal conditions for wasp activity. Warmer temperatures accelerate the wasps’ metabolism, increasing their energy levels and mobility.
They become more active, venturing out in search of a new food source and building materials. And as the temperature increases, rotting fruit becomes abundant, providing the food the wasps need to survive into the next season.
How Do You Get Rid of Wasps in the Summer?
While they are undoubtedly a pest, wasps play an important role in the ecosystem, and some are even accidental pollinators.
But it’s understandable to want to keep them at a distance while you’re enjoying the outdoors, especially if you have vulnerable family members or children.
Here are some tips on deterring occasional wasps during summer:
- Avoid sweet scents: wearing perfumes that are sweet or high in alcohol mimics the smell of fruit, which wasps can’t get enough of.
- Keep the booze indoors: Alcohol is fermented and has a high sugar content. Shame though it is, if you save alcoholic drinks for indoor consumption, it will help to avoid attracting wasps.
- Cover food and drinks.
- Secure, regularly empty and clean bins.
- Plant wasp-repelling herbs: some people swear by herbs like spearmint, thyme and eucalyptus.
- Seal entry points: To avoid wasps nesting, inspect your property for entry points such as gaps, cracks, or holes in walls, windows, doors, and roof eaves, and seal them.
If you do find yourself surrounded by wasps, try not to panic and make sudden movements, as that can provoke a violent response. Remain calm and avoid swatting or waving your arms.
For more information on getting rid of wasps, check out our guide here.
Suspect you have a wasps nest? Contact Malum without delay
If you notice a large wasp nest on your property, it’s crucial to address the situation promptly and avoid trying to deal with it yourself. Wasps are notoriously aggressive when disturbed, and you could find yourself the victim of nasty stings.
At Malum Southern Pest and Bird Control, we specialise in all kinds of pest control, including wasp nest removal, using professional safety gear and treatments. Our experienced team will ensure the nest is destroyed without causing harm to you or the environment.
We have a fixed price of £84+VAT and can offer a same-day call-out service in most cases.
Summer brings not only sunny days and outdoor adventures but also an increase in wasp activity. The combination of abundant food sources, queen wasps reproducing, worker wasps building nests, and ideal weather conditions makes it the perfect time for these buzzing insects to thrive.
By understanding their behaviour and taking preventive measures, such as avoiding sweet scents, you can enjoy a more wasp-free summer. For wasps nests, it’s essential to leave well alone and contact a professional pest controller.