Mayo has accounted for one quarter of all wasp callouts in 2020 so far 2 weeks ago

Mayo has accounted for one quarter of all wasp callouts in 2020 so far

The west has been stung badly by the insects so far this year, it would appear.

The Irish public has been warned to be vigilant regarding the dangers posed by wasps as lockdown restrictions ease and people begin to spend more time outside.

Rentokil, Ireland’s leading pest control provider, has warned that the summer months are when the wasp population is at its highest and that favourable conditions enable the insects to thrive and multiply.

The presence of wasps in Ireland is only likely to increase into the future, Rentokil has warned, as a result of a continued increase in temperatures due to the effects of climate change.

The pest control provider revealed that Mayo has accounted for the most wasp-related callouts (25%) of any county in Ireland in 2020 so far, followed by Galway (22%), Sligo (18%), Offaly (12%) and Cork (11%).

The common wasp and German wasp are the two most commonly found wasp species in Ireland. Wasps are distinct from hornets and bees, and identifying them is important for homes or businesses that experience an infestation from a nearby nest, Rentokil says.

The public have been asked to take the following steps to avoid attracting or being stung by wasps:

  • Do not panic - If you find there are wasps nearby, keep calm and move slowly away.
  • Do not scream, flap your arms or swat them - This will agitate wasps and make them more aggressive.
  • Avoid strong, sweet smells – Avoid using highly perfumed fragrances, shampoos, or hair sprays.
  • Avoid bright colours - Do not wear bright, bold floral patterns on clothes and bags, which could attract wasps.
  • Keep your bins covered – Wasps will gather around uncovered bins to seek food.
  • Avoid open drinks - If drink cans or bottles are left unattended, it may encourage wasps to crawl inside. Never leave sugary drinks unattended. Also, always check sugary drinks for wasps before consuming.
  • Cover food and drink - Always keep food and drink covered when eating outdoors to deter wasps.
  • Stay clean - Ensure children’s hands and faces are cleaned after eating food and drinks.

Commenting on the need for the public to stay alert to the threat of wasps in Ireland, Richard Faulkner, Advanced Technical Field Consultant for Rentokil, said: "A wasp sting can be a painful experience, and can be particularly upsetting and frightening for young children.

"They can also be dangerous to people who are allergic to the poison in stings, but fortunately, these types of allergic reactions are rare. However, we would still stress caution when spending time outside during the summer months."

More information on species of wasps and bees common in Ireland is available here.