Be careful if you are in a park or walking on a street as thousands of angry, drunken wasps—feeding on leftover booze and fermented fruits—are attacking people across the UK these days.
Experts say these tiny creatures that have almost nothing to eat in their hives are currently in search of discarded beer tent drinks and fermented fruits. After consuming such foods and drinks, they find themselves “unable to handle their booze” and become highly irritable.
Experts from the Sussex Wildlife Trust explain that adult wasps feature a tight band around their abdomens, which prevents them from consuming their usual diet of flies during later part of their lives. As a result, they have to rely only on liquid food sources to consume. In their nests, they eat a “sugar-rich spit” which is produced by larvae laid by the hive queen. A queen wasp wakes up from hibernation in the spring, builds her nest, lays eggs and raises her first brood of daughters. These worker wasps then help their mother to expand the nest and lay more eggs. However, when the queen stops laying eggs by mid- to late-August, the adult wasps find nothing to eat in their nests, and become desperate for food. These hungry wasps leave their nests in search of food left by humans, including fermented fruits or leftover ciders. The booze in these foods makes wasps drunk and sting-happy.
To make things worse this year, a harsh UK winter prompted the wasp season to start six weeks earlier than usual, allowing wasps to create massive hives.
HOUSE-KEEPING: I'm on ITV Good Morning Britain tomorrow morning talking about why wasps are annoying but actually, screw it, as worthy of life as anything else. WHAT CAN GO WRONG?
— Jules Howard (@juleslhoward) August 8, 2018
“Now that all the larvae have grown up and the queen has stopped laying eggs, the colonies have a workforce with nothing to do and nothing to eat. So they go down to the pub, obviously,” Shane Jones of Ridtek Pest Control told the Daily Mail.
Experts are now advising people to keep their food sealed when outside to avoid an attack, and must also ensure that the waste food is disposed of properly. Starving wasps are attracted to sweet foods, jam sandwich, or a can of coke, left by humans in open.
“We always advise waste to be securely bagged and held within a clean container, away from where young children might play,” Dee Ward-Thompson, technical manager at the British Pest Control Association, said in a statement.
Fortunately, these angry, drunken wasps won’t live long. They will die with onset of winter, leaving only new queens to hibernate through to next year and then lay eggs to start a generation of wasps.