Wasp boom as insects get buzz out of weather
A SERIES of perfect weather conditions have resulted in a rise in wasp numbers across the county.
Pubs, restaurants and visitor attractions have been taking extra measures to deal with increased numbers of the angry insects.
A relatively dry month has contributed to a population explosion – around three weeks later than in previous years.
After three years of wet weather, the stinging insects have enjoyed a late spring and long winter, allowing for a long and undisturbed hibernation, followed by a balmy summer.
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The South West of England is one of the UK's hotspots for increased wasp populations, according to the UKWaspWatch website.
Simon Blackwell, general manager of Birdland in Bourton-on-the-Water, said increased wasp activity had prompted visitors to head inside the attraction's coffee shop.
"We have seen an increase but our main concern is whether our ice creams wrappers are collected and our bins are clean.
"We've found a few nasties but we use our standard pest control officers. They annoy people because they think they are going to get stung.
"But they eat things such as aphids, which is also useful.
"The number of wasps has surprised everyone, even the experts."
The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, in Slimbridge, has also seen a spike in wasp numbers.
Grounds manager Nathan Dixon said: "With the nicer weather, like many attractions, we have noticed a higher number of wasps around the site this year.
"They seem particularly abundant around plant species which release sap. "
Stuart Roberts, chairman of the Bee, Wasps and Ants Recording Society, said: "We had a really cold winter which meant that hibernation was more successful than usual.
"The worst thing the wasp queen can have is a warm winter because they fidget and use up the food reserves. I suspect this has had an effect on mortality."
But according to reports today, wasps can't see the colour red and so, if you can stand the banter, wearing red trousers could be the way forward. However, brides beware, they are attracted to white and yellow.
A spokeswoman for Cheltenham Borough Council said it only dealt with wasp infestations on council properties.
The most up-to-date figures showed pest control officers attended 18 callouts in July and sprayed powder onto the wasps, which they then take back to their nest.
This spreads to the rest of the population.