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Expert in GA interview: Wasp season in Bonn could continue until October

Expert in GA interview : Wasp season in Bonn could continue until October

Many people in Bonn and the region are fed up with pesky wasps. Depending on the weather conditions, the wasp season could continue into October, says agronomist Matthias Schindler.

No sooner is the cake on the plate, or the first sausage sizzling off the grill, and the tormentors are already there: thousands of wasps swarm about and spoil many a person's desire for a cosy cup of coffee outside or an outdoor barbecue. Wasps have an image problem. They are considered aggressive and are mood killers in every beer garden. "It hasn't been as bad as this year for a long time," says baker Bernd Rott.

The black and yellow invasion begins with the first plum cake at the latest. The wasps pounce on everything and make life difficult not only for the customers, but especially for the employees in bakeries and confectioneries. "You can't say that they are attracted by a certain scent. Wasps just go for everything," says Rott. "You can't really protect yourself," he knows from experience.

Many household remedies don’t help against wasps

One hears about tips to keep away wasps like lighting coffee powder, distributing essential oils or laying out copper coins, "none of these household remedies help", says Rott. "Our employees know that they have to move carefully and not hectically. Even so, stings can not be avoided," the baker reports.

For the agricultural scientist Matthias Schindler from the Biological Station Bonn/Rhein-Erft, however, the situation is not exceptional. "For us, this is a relatively normal wasp year in terms of numbers," he explains in response to a GA inquiry. However, the wasps have returned to the indoor areas earlier than usual. This is a consequence of the persistent drought. "As a result, they hardly find any food in nature. There are fewer aphids, larvae and flowers on which they normally feed", the scientist says.

Two types of wasps become bothersome

The wasp season typically begins in August, when the insect colony has reached its maximum size. Then the older wasps no longer have to take care of the breeding, leaving them more time to feed themselves.

However, only two types of wasps become troublesome: The German wasp and the common wasp literally fly onto everything that is placed on tables and plates: sausage, ice cream and sugary drinks. The other species are only interested in insect larvae and other insects.

One cannot say exactly how long the deluge of wasps will last. "That depends on the weather," explains Schindler. If it remains mild, the situation could drag on into October. Only after the first cold nights can one expect some relief.

They are not motivated to sting without a reason

The scientist and the baker agree that it makes no sense to lash out at the wasps or blow them away. "This only makes them more aggressive, because the carbon dioxide in human breath is an alarm signal for them. They have to defend themselves against it," Schindler says.

But the wasps aren’t motivated to sting without reason. He recommends keeping calm. "Outdoors, drinks should be covered so that no insect falls in. Particularly with children one should make sure that their mouth is clean and no food or beverage remnants are in the face", he urges.

There are over 10,000 wasp species in Germany, some of which are under species protection. One may not kill them without reason. Those who do not comply with the regulations must expect fines of 5,000 to 65,000 euros.

Protection from wasps - with shoes and grapes

Wasp stings are painful and can cause violent reactions in allergy sufferers, including anaphylactic shock. In order to protect oneself from this, there are some effective tips. The Lower Saxonian establishment for nature protection advises the following:

  • Avoid fast and hectic movements. Wasps can feel threatened by this and become defensive.
  • Anyone who likes to enjoy drinks outdoors should cover them. Straws can help.
  • If small children snack on sweets in summer, you should wipe their mouths and cheeks afterwards.
  • Protect babies in a stroller or baby carriage with an insect net.
  • In the dark you are not safe from wasps. They can be active at evening barbecues.
  • Especially in orchards you should wear closed shoes and not walk barefoot.
  • Freshly cut lemons, cut with cloves, and oil of cloves deter wasps, but home-made traps with sweets or UV electric traps attract even more wasps.
  • Wasps can be distracted with a alternative food supply. According to NABU, schoolgirls have proven this in a youth research project. If you want to eat outside, it helps to offer overripe grapes or similar to the wasps a few days before at some distance. This can be done over several weeks.
  • If you know where a wasp nest is, you should keep a distance of four meters from it, so they do not feel threatened. One should also avoid major commotion in the direct vicinity of the nest (such as mowing the lawn).

Do not remove wasps' nests without permission

Wasps are protected under conservation orders. It is forbidden to simply remove a wasps' nest. Depending on the federal state and wasp species, a fine of up to 10,000 euros is possible. If it is a particularly protected species, the fine can even be up to 50,000 euros.

Whoever wants to remove a nest (or have it removed) must submit a request. Usually the nature conservation authorities are responsible, but sometimes also the district office or the city administration. However, a permit from the city administration is not necessary if the wasp nest poses a danger - for example, because an allergy sufferer lives in the house, it is a particularly aggressive wasp species or the nest is in a particularly threatening place (for example, near the bedroom window or the sandbox in the garden). A pest controller can then decide whether the nest may be removed.

Orig. text: Gabriele Immenkeppel

Translation: ck