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BOOM AND BUZZED; HOT WEATHER SEES HUGE RISE IN WASPS; Councils and firms are struggling to tackle increase in pests' nests.

Byline: Norman Silvester

The sweltering summer conditions appear to have smashed another long-standing record - but this one is sure to send a chill down your spine.

Soaring temperatures have led to an all-time high in the number of wasps being tackled by pest control experts.

Councils and private firms have struggled to keep up with the public's pleas for help.

One block of flats needed to be treated for eight nests while exterminators are regularly removing six at a time.

Each nest can contain around 100 of the stinging insects.

They are also bringing financial misery to householders across Scotland, with private specialists charging up to PS30 per nest.

Experts have blamed the mild spring and hot summer for wasps breeding in record numbers.

Edinburgh City Council's pest We're seeing or control section have received 591 requests for help from people plagued by wasps compared to 471 last year.

Pest control officers at Dundee City Council have had an increase of 209 callouts on last year.

Scottish Borders Council have had 141 callouts while Fife and Aberdeen have also confirmed a rise in the number of nests being removed. Glasgow City Council have received 57 complaints since June but believe the final figure by September could be as high as 160. Last year, there were only 53 wasp reports in the same period.

Wasp expert Chris Cagienard said his firm, Pest Solutions, were called out to deal with eight nests at flats in Shawlands, Glasgow.

He said the good weather since March has resulted in more queen wasps surviving after coming out of hibernation to mate, resulting in higher numbers.

Chris, who is a trained biologist, said: "We're experiencing hundreds of callouts this year across Scotland, though most of our work is in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

"In many cases we're seeing between six and seven nests per building, often only a few yards apart.

"Wasps are similar to ants. They have a caste system with the queen at the top. Once the male mates with the queen, he often dies off because he no longer has any purpose. But he produces plenty of new wasps to replace him."

Chris warned the increase in wasps could result in more stinging attacks.

He added: "Wasps only sting if they perceive a threat. For example, if someone is waving their arms about. However, they are more likely to sting than bees."

Councils say that people finding nests on their property should get expert help and not attempt to remove them.

A Dundee City Council spokesman said: "In the first seven months of this year, we received 452 calls, which accounted for 57 per cent of the total for our pest control officers. Last year, wasp nests accounted for just over 39 per cent.

"The removal of nests is a hazardous operation and should always be left to professionals with proper effective materials and protective clothing."

Edinburgh City Council have even drafted in an extra member of staff to handle complaints. A spokeswoman said: "To satisfy any customer demand for wasp treatment, we have taken on an additional member of staff."

Fife Council said: "We have had quite a sharp rise in the number of residents calling us to request treatment of wasps' nests."

An Aberdeen City Council spokeswoman said: "Our pest control service has received an increased number of calls regarding wasp stings compared to last summer."

Scottish Borders Council said: "It's turning out to be a busy year for wasp treatments. One visit to a domestic property resulted in the treatment of six wasp nests."

Dumfries and Galloway Council do not provide a wasp service. They said anyone with a wasp nest issue should contact a private pest control firm.

We're seeing six or seven nests per building, often only yards apart

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WARNING Wasp expert Chris

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Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jul 29, 2018
Words:644
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