GIANT wasp nests “the size of space hoppers” are set to invade houses across Britain as the summer heatwave fuels swarms.
The coming months are set to bring more of the stinging insects, a pest control expert has warned.
Pest controller Andrew Dellbridge, 51, said the warmer temperatures early on in the year has “accelerated the growth of the insect population” leading to more active adult-sized wasps buzzing around.
“This has meant the wasps have been more active for longer – giving them more time for the queens to build nests to hibernate in during the winter,” he explained.
“There are large nests all over the place – there are lots more wasps, and the nests are huge.”
It can only get worse in the next few weeks.
Pest controller Andrew Dellbridge
He said high temperatures mean the wasps will stay active until at least late October and ominously warned “it can only get worse in the next few weeks”.
This is because the warmer weather extends the lifespan for the stinging creatures, allowing them to thrive and multiply.
The less moisture in the air also makes the critters more aggressive and more likely to sting.
The Norfolk pest controller has already had to remove a giant wasp nest the size of a Space Hopper nestled in a barn on the edge of the Norfolk Broads.
The nest measured around two-and-a-half feet in diameter with more than 5,000 wasps inside.
Mr Dellbridge said the nest was bursting with so many wasps that the insects were queuing to try and find entry points to get inside.
Kitted out in full protective gear, he sprayed the giant nest with two different types of spray to kill off all the wasps, including any that returned later.
He recalled: “It was quite an intense job – when you’re in that space, up close to the nest and can hear the deep buzzing sound, you really get a sense of the massive scale of the structure.
“I can well believe that there were multiple thousands of wasps inside that nest.
“You have to be careful when a nest built in a roof space gets to that size, as the wasps start running out of space, and will chew through the ceiling board to create more room.
“I started by spraying the nest with a knockdown spray, which is like a fly spray, which will kill off all the wasps inside the nest.
“Then I came back and sprayed it with a residual spray, to ensure any wasps that returned to the nest later would also be killed off.
“In most cases, including this one, we would leave the nest in situ – as wasps will never use a nest built by another colony in a previous year.”
He added that the giant nest would have started out in spring the size of a golf ball, built by a single queen wasp, who would have laid around a dozen eggs inside it.
It then grew in size as these eggs hatched and worked to expand the nest – while the queen bee continually laid multiple layers of eggs inside it.
Mr Dellbridge said: “It’s colossal, really, what wasps can build in just a few months, starting with just one wasp.”
But he left the nest where it was found in a barn knowing that wasps never use the same nest to build another colony.
He warned that this is not the first giant nest his team has seen – and that the nests are likely to get even bigger in the coming weeks.
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For most of the year, adult wasps hunt insects to feed the larvae in exchange for a sugary substance released by the larvae as a reward.
But August and September brings less larvae – as they pupate in the warm summer months – and, in turn, less sugar.
So adult wasps are forced to hunt out sugar of their own, which explains why the insects tend to fly straight towards sugary drinks and food.
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