Farmers, gardeners and people living in rural areas are being urged to monitor their premises owing to an increase in wasp activity.
According to Rory Brotherton, of the Longhorsley-based Environmental Pest Control, the hot weather and prolonged summer sunshine has resulted in an upsurge, causing concern to farmers, their staff and members of the public on health and safety grounds.
“Wasps are causing a huge problem this year and I have been removing up to six wasp nests per day,” Mr Brotherton said.
“In some cases the activity has also increased due to an abundance of fruit in gardens. Most cases are in redundant or old farm buildings as well as in stone out-buildings, garden sheds, in the eaves of houses.
“Air-bricks provide another favourite nesting place. Lofts and old farm barns are always popular havens for wasps due to being high-up and in quiet surroundings.
“Dusty old farm buildings with wooden floors and beams should be checked on a regular-basis. This year, we have seen more wasps found in gardens - especially in close proximity to fruit and apple trees.”
Queen wasps hibernate over the winter and increase activity in the spring due to the warmer weather. They then start to make a nest to create a colony and continue the cycle.
Wooden buildings, old trees and gardens sheds are a popular feeding ground and wasps then make a pulp that creates elaborate nests, often seen hanging down from the beams in old buildings.
This year, the good weather has made the wasps more active and buildings often house more than one colony. Wasps also nest in the ground and footwear should be worn in the garden.
Registered pest controllers wear protective clothing and use an extendable lance to deliver dust treatment - a form of professional pesticide, which is injected into the nest in order to kill-off the wasps.
Farmers, staff, gardeners and the general public need to remain vigilant, says Mr Brotherton.
“Unlike bees, a wasp can sting on multiple occasions,” he added.
“They are much more dangerous and child safety and pet welfare is also an issue in gardens and in close proximity to play areas. Members of the public should therefore contact a registered pest controller in order to remove nests.”