What are the best weather conditions for wasps to proliferate? Do wasps have any useful purpose? How can we protect ourselves from wasps? Make a list of all the ideas that come to mind to answer the questions.
Then watch this short extract from a BBC programme and check whether any of your ideas come up. Note down any new information that you hear.
The activity is suitable for intermediate 2 students.
You can check your answers by reading the transcript below.
I’ve noticed sitting outside enjoying a nice cool drink there are wasps all over the place and I didn’t… with this didn’t happen last summer, I’m sure it didn’t, they didn’t bother me as much, why?
There are a few more wasps around this year than there were last year. The weather is warmer. Everyone’s noticed that and I think we’re gonna have a bit of a heatwave next week as well, which is great because I’m on holiday again, but we actually think this year will be an increase in wasps but not massive increase. If we have a really good summer this year and consistent temperatures next year, we’re gonna get a massive year next year.
We talk about them as pests, but are they? I mean do they serve any useful purporse, wasps?
Well, yes, I suppose everything has its, has its place in the, you know, in life. They feed on aphids, they are prime predator, they do destroy some very, some garden insects, so they do have their own place. They’re perhaps not as beneficial as bees, though, perhaps.
How do we… last year then we had fewer, is that because it was a colder winter or how did that happen? Because I guess it’s all about stopping the queens before they start a new community.
We’ve had fewer and fewer wasps because of a succession of wet summers that has washed away a lot of the food source such as pollen and nectar. So less food equals less population.
That, vicious little creatures though aren’t they.
I mean when you hear of people being, having multiple stings by wasps and wasp nests. I mean, look at this one! This is horrendous. I’d be petrified if I saw that. I had one in a wall, that’s a wasp nest. I had one in my roof at one point. What should people do… and here’s one in a boiler. What should people do? Where should they be conscious of looking or, you know, avoiding something like this?
If wasps are coming into your house, you’ll normally see them going in and out, in and out…
… if it’s a tiny little hole…
…through a tiny little hole either on (the), a tile on the roof or through an air brick or something along those sort of lines. That means there’s a nest, nest activity inside, and that means that depending on the time of year it’s either going to be a small nest, and again it depends on the temperatures because insects are temperature-dependent, then, or it’s going to be a large nest. And that’s the one that you can see in the photo, the whopper.
Can you prevent yourself from having one or is it just pure luck?
I think, we really think it’s luck of the draw.
And should you get rid of a wasp nest if you’ve got one and if so, briefly, how do you do that?
Ok. If it is in a place where it isn’t causing you any problems at all then you could leave it alone. I would tend to, I would tend to get rid of it because of the dangers that they can bring.
Who do you ring, you ring the council, you ring pest control, where do you go to?
Councils are doing less and less pest control nowadays with, with cutbacks. The British Pest Control Association has accredited members who professionally know how to do these things.