“There are a few things you shouldn’t do”

Due to the warm spring, we are likely to see more wasps this summer. Bad news for people with wasp phobia, good news for nature? “We forget that wasps are useful: one nest cleans half a million flies every week.”

Sophie Beck

The Waasland emergency district firefighting team had to remove 879 wasp nests this year. Last year, that number was significantly lower with 159 reports. Mild winters and warm spring have given the underground hornet colonies a spa experience and we will notice, especially from August.

“This is the moment when their food supply starts decreasing and they go out,” explains Fons Verheyde of Aculea, a working group of bees and wasps at Natuurpunt.

“Like bees, they drink the nectar of flowers. From late summer onwards, flower stocks begin to decline and wasps have to search for sugar elsewhere. It is also the time when queens are preparing for hibernation, adding pressure on the colony. To maximize their chances of survival. , they begin to wrap around our summer tables like agitated owners. Their quest only ends when the weather becomes wetter and cooler: late October or early November.”

In their search for food, wasps can be very difficult, but also useful. “After all, they work as a normal cleaning service,” Fairheid explains.

“They prey on other insects, such as mosquitoes. A colony of 6000 wasps manage to catch half a million flies every week and feed them to the nest larvae. This way they contribute to a balanced ecosystem. Carcasses of small mammals, amphibians and birds also bite the workers to feed the next generation.”

See also  A poem for science: Covid and other phenomena immortalized in the church building

The wasp hovering precariously over a can of lemonade is usually the German wasp. It belongs to the folded bird wasps.

“The picture we have of an aggressive and annoying wasp is defined by three or four species. But there are thousands of species of wasps, most of which are hardly ever handled by humans,” says Fairhead.

“The average hornet is barely a few millimeters in size. These are often parasitic wasps that lay their eggs in the host. They don’t have a stinging gland or venom, but an egg ovary: a hollow tube in which they lay eggs and which is impossible to penetrate our skin. If they somehow sting you on the Anyway, you won’t get an allergic reaction.”

But could wasps have too much?

In hornets with folded wings there is one queen, several workers and males. Their sting helps them maintain this mutual hierarchy, but also protects against enemies from the outside. If you have a high density of animals in a small area, and you get close to a nest, you are using their defense mechanism and there is a good chance they will become aggressive,” Fairheid explains.

“But the wasp’s summer wouldn’t be so bad. We had a mild but also wet winter. The winter queens started to rot more quickly, which means there have been a lot of excess deaths this year.”

If you are attacked by a wasp, there are some things you should definitely not do.

Don’t walk far or wave your hands. Rapid movements trigger their sensors. It is best to put a jar of jam or a piece of fruit in the back of the garden. Avoid brightly colored clothes and sweet perfumes as they will confuse the wasp. And never attempt to remove the nest yourself. “Don’t submerge it, don’t ignite it, and never block the entrance. Thousands of angry hornets are turning on you,” Warns Fairhead. “Inform the firefighters.”

See also  Scientists have discovered the smallest reptiles in the world and this little man is "well equipped" | the animals

Megan Vasquez

"Creator. Coffee buff. Internet lover. Organizer. Pop culture geek. Tv fan. Proud foodaholic."

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *