In the fading weeks of summer, we're all doing our best to make the most of the last lazy days of weekend barbecues, days at the beach, that kind of thing, before the dreaded winter comes back and ruins all our fun. But the late summer barbecue is under attack in Britain, local newspapers are reporting, with German wasps "drunk" on rotten fruit aimlessly hanging around and looking to score scraps.
Aggressive, bored and 'drunk' German wasps (Vespula germanica) are terrorising the UK as a result of a mild winter and dry spring, pest controllers have warned. The worker wasps have finished their chores, and as a result, are free to go out and occupy themselves with the hunt for food and drink–leading to an invasion in German wasps that have a particularly painful sting.
The reports in British newspapers seem to be based on warnings from a pest control business based just outside London, Cleankill Environmental Services.
"Worker wasps have finished their life's work as queens have stopped laying eggs and don't need food bringing to them," said Paul Bates of Cleankill, according to the Daily Star. "This means the workers are free to go out and enjoy themselves, which includes stealing meat from the barbecue."
In a company newsletter, Bates wrote about a particularly grisly encounter one client had with a wasp recently:
What amazed me about the responses was how many people had been stung internally. One particularly horrific tale, posted by Mark Linton, told us about how he had accidentally eaten a wasp, in a sandwich, at a festival. The wasp then stung him inside his chest and he ended up spending a day on oxygen at the medical centre.
There doesn't seem to be any official count of the number of German wasps (which are twice the size of a normal wasp and hurt more when they sting, the Daily Mail reports), but Bates suggests that a warmer-than-usual spring time could have led to the alleged wasp invasion.