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Summer has sting in tail with wasp boom

IRELAND could face a wasp plague over the coming weeks, experts have warned.

Rentokil has recorded a 54.6pc increase in inquiries this year so far, compared to 2007, when the last big boom in wasp population was observed.

Pest control companies are now warning that the wasp population is about to increase, since a month of warmer weather is on the way.

They have already experienced a surge in complaints as wasps appear in gardens and homes in search of food.

A Principal Environmental Services spokesperson said: "They're quite prominent at the moment because of the heavy and warm weather.

"We've had unpredictable weather with a lot of rain, so the wasps then go back inside. But once the sun comes out the phone starts to ring and we get calls about wasps' nests."

Cathal McMahon, from Celtic Pest Control, added: "Business-wise it's busier than the last couple of years, and you can see the proliferation of them around.

"The climate wasn't great over the last couple of years, the weather was damp and wet, but May and June were two good months and that would have had a success rate on the breeding."

The issue of the danger of wasp stings hit the headlines last month when Kildare writer John Butler (55) died in his garden after being stung by a wasp.

Allergy

It is understood Mr Butler's had an allergy to such stings but there was no time to administer medication since the sting took effect within minutes.

David Baldack, from Bees, Wasps and Ants Recording Society, said: "There are many more this year than there have been for some years. They've been at a low level for years probably because of insecticides."

Pest control companies say the most direct method of wasp control is to destroy the nest, but a nest should only be approached when wearing full protective equipment, including a beekeeper's veil.

hnews@herald.ie


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