Pest controllers warn warm weather 'accelerated' growth of wasps

Beware the wasp invasion! Pest controllers warn giant nests are popping up in houses across Britain after warm weather ‘accelerated’ growth of insects

  • Andrew Dellbridge said early warmth ‘accelerated’ wasp population’s growth
  • Said high temperatures will mean wasps stay active until at least late October 
  • The pest controller warned activity ‘can only get worse in the next few weeks’
  • Do you have wasp nests in your house? Email [email protected]

Britons should beware of ‘giant’ wasp nests this summer as the coming months are set to bring more of the stinging insects, a pest control expert has warned.

Norfolk pest controller Andrew Dellbridge, 51, said high temperatures early on in the year has ‘accelerated the growth of the insect population’ meaning more adult-sized wasps will be buzzing around.

He said high temperatures mean the wasps will stay active until at least late October and warned ‘it can only get worse in the next few weeks’. 


Norfolk pest controller Andrew Dellbridge, 51, (left) had to remove a giant wasp nest (right) the size of a Space Hopper on the edge of the Norfolk Broads

Mr Dellbridge, 51, said high temperatures early on in the year has ‘accelerated the growth of the insect population’ meaning more adult-sized wasps will be buzzing around. Pictured: The giant nest he had to remove

Why are there more wasps this year? 

Britons will likely see more wasps in the next few months as warm weather early in the year has meant the insects have grown quicker.

 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.

As the warmth started early this year, wasps have been able to pupate sooner meaning more adult-sized wasps will be buzzing around.

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. 

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.

Mr Dellbridge has already had to remove a giant wasp nest the size of a Space Hopper on the edge of the Norfolk Broads.

The nest measured around two-and-a-half feet in diameter, and is estimated to have contained over 5,000 wasps.

He said the nest was holding so many wasps that the insects were queuing to try and find entry points to get inside.

Kitted out in full protective gear, Mr Dellbridge sprayed the giant nest with two different types of spray to kill off all the wasps, including any that returned later.

But he left the nest where it was found in a barn as wasps never use the same nest to build by another colony.

And Mr Dellbridge, who works for Ace Pest Control Ltd. in Norwich, warned that this is not the first giant nest they have seen – and that the nests are likely to get even bigger in the coming weeks. 

With the number of wasps only set to increase throughout the summer months, the potential to be stung by the pests will likely increase too.

The sting should be washed with soap and water before applying a cold compress – such as an ice pack – for at least 10 minutes.

The area should then be elevated – if possible.

They warn that famous home remedy vinegar and bicarbonate of soda will only make the sting worse.

He said: ‘We’ve had such a good start to the year, with such excellent, warm weather very early on, that it has accelerated the growth of the insect population.

‘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.

‘There are large nests all over the place – there are lots more wasps, and the nests are huge.’

The space hopper-sized nest that Mr Dellbridge was called out to had been built in a barn attached to a house.

He said: ‘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.

Mr Dellbridge said high temperatures early on in the year has ‘accelerated the growth of the insect population’ meaning more adult-sized wasps will be buzzing around (file image)

Do you have wasp nests in your house? 

Email [email protected] 

‘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.’

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