UK

Wasp nest removal calls treble, say pest controllers

Wasp close-up
Image caption Experts have warned to expect a further rise in wasp numbers in the autumn

The number of calls to remove wasp nests more than trebled last month, pest control experts have said.

The increase has been blamed on the warm weather and household nests going untreated last year as people cut back their spending during the recession.

Pest control firm Rentokil said it saw a 231% rise in residential wasp calls in five weeks to the middle of July.

People should not try to remove wasp nests themselves, the National Pest Technicians Association warned.

Wasp 'hotspots'

Rentokil also said it received 11% more phone calls about wasps in the home during one week in the middle of July than at the same time last year.

The company's technical director Savvas Othon said: "Last year was a bumper year for wasps, and we saw a 47% increase in wasp enquiries.

"With many wasps' nests being left untreated last year due to the recession, there could be even more wasps around this year.

"And with more warm weather expected in August, and wasp nests growing in size as the season progresses, we expect the number of wasp-related inquiries to rise substantially."

Last month the firm launched UKWaspWatch, where people can log nest locations via Twitter to produce a map of Britain's wasp "hotspots".

National Pest Technicians Association chairman Peter Crowden told the BBC that dealing with wasp nests should be left to the experts.

"A lot of people are getting stung very, very badly," he said.

"We know what we're doing and we're professional people. People shouldn't get ripped off. They shouldn't pay more than between £40 and £80 to have a wasp nest done."

'Nuisance to people'

Earlier this week a nest reported to measure 6ft by 5ft (1.8m by 1.5m) and contain half-a-million wasps was found in the attic of a pub in Southampton.

Dr Stephen Martin, of Sheffield University's department of animal and plant sciences, said "A hot August will mean there will be more insects around, and this will allow the wasps' nests to get bigger.

"This means we can expect more wasps around in the autumn when the nests start to break down.

"Wasp numbers will rise again towards the end of August and this is when they will start to be a nuisance to people eating outside for example.

"This is because the larvae will have gone by August, and wasps need to find alternative sources of energy, like a fizzy drink or jam butty."

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