Wasp season expected to be particularly bad this summer

Wasp season expected to be particularly bad this summer
German wasp eating honey from a plate in Wacken on 30 July 2008. Credit: Wikimedia

Due to ideal weather conditions during the spring and early summer months, experts at environmental organisation Natuurpunt are predicting the upcoming wasp season to be especially bad.

The number of wasps can fluctuate based on the weather conditions during the time of their growth and maturation. In the spring, when wasps are building their nests undergrown, in trees and on residential buildings, extreme weather conditions like thunderstorms and flooding can limit the number of new nests.

However, the spring in Belgium has been unseasonably dry, with long periods of drought, which allows wasps to thrive during this period. Since extreme weather often varies by region, some locations may see more wasps than others.

In late July, all of the wasps become fully grown and the queen lays eggs for the next generation of queens and worker bees. It's at this time that people are most vulnerable to wasp stings.

The worker wasps target dinner tables, barbecues, soda bottles and ice cream cones in search of food for the new larvae.

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The wasps' quest for food does not cease until late October to early November when the weather becomes too cold and wet.

Graphic by Abby Stetina for The Brussels Times

How to avoid a wasp sting

Natuurpunt says there are easy solutions to avoid being stung by a wasp this summer.

  1. Slow down. Wasps see fast movements more so than slow ones. By swatting at the wasp, they are more likely to attack. When a wasp is in the area, stay as still as possible, as they usually fly away in this case.
  2. Cover your drink, especially if it is sugary. When sitting outside with a bottle of beer or a can of soda, wasps can crawl inside without you even noticing. A sting to the mouth or throat is more dangerous, as it can lead to swelling and asphyxiation.
  3. Avoid bright clothing. The bright colours of clothing plus strong scented perfume can attract wasps, especially when hiking. Wasps use scent as a way to communicate and can react aggressively to your perfume.

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