Wasps are one of the most common pests we treat during the summer. There are a great number of species of wasp in the UK, many that are not as aggressive as the two most often encountered, the common wasp and the German wasp.
Though there is much debate as to whether wasps are “beneficial” or not, most of us are brought up from childhood to dislike wasps.
But are they a public health threat?
A wasp sting can have a variety of reactions for us. Some people can have fairly mild symptoms, slight inflammation, brief pain and recover in no time. Others can have more severe symptoms, including an allergic reaction which can lead to anaphylactic shock.
However, a person who has only had mild reactions in the past isn’t necessarily not allergic and may have a very different reaction if stung again. The result of an allergic reaction to a wasp sting if not treated quickly can be fatal.
So why do they sting us?
Have you ever been minding your business in the garden and then felt under attack by a wasp buzzing around you?
The wasps in colonies all have different jobs within the hive. Some look after the nest structure, other predate and bring food usually flies, caterpillars, and other proteins back to feed the larvae, and some are guarding the nest like sentries outside.
If we disturb the nest accidentally these wasps can quickly feel threatened and become aggressive. They also communicate that threat very efficiently to the other wasps. They will then attack by stinging you.
There have been many cases of people being badly injured while attempting to treat or remove a wasp nest. Even an attempt to use flame to treat a wasp nest that lead to a house fire.
When dealing with wasps there can be unexpected consequences and it is always best to get a pest professional to come and carry out treatment.