Pest experts are warning this summer will come with a sting in the tail as it is set to be a bumper year for wasps in Luton.
Mild spring temperatures after a relatively cold winter have created perfect conditions for the nuisance insects.
And with forecasters predicting warmer than average weather for the rest of May and June, experts are expecting a huge rise in both the number and size of nests.
Figures produced by the British Pest Control Association last week indicate problems with wasps shot up by around 87% in the UK last year compared to an unusually quiet 2013.
Last year Luton Borough Council reported a staggering 172% rise in its number of wasp treatments with 185 up from 68 the year before. But the council had the third lowest number of recorded cases from more than 16 councils across seven counties.
It had 16 less cases than nearby Bedfordshire Central District Council but 426 less than Bedford Borough Council – which was the busiest of any of the authorities.
Now Rob Simpson, leader of independent pest controllers register BASIS PROMPT, is warning of another surge in complaints this time around.
He said: “The annual wasp population in the UK is very much dependent on weather conditions.
“The number of nests seemed to be down significantly in 2013, but there was a substantial increase last year when numbers returned to something like normal.
“Colder winters often mean there are more wasps about the following summer as mated queens spend the period deep in hibernation.
Treating a wasps nest can be very dangerous as they feel threatened and are likely to become aggressive if their nest is tampered with. A mature nest can contain thousands of wasps, so it’s really not worth the risk.Rob Simpson, leader of independent pest controllers register BASIS PROMPT
“If it’s milder in December and January, wasps become restless and use up their food reserves. They then have nothing left to forage on, so they die.
“This year, temperatures were relatively cold during the winter and have so far been warm in spring, so we’re expecting our members to receive a deluge of calls.”
In a typical British summer, wasps will not appear in huge numbers or become an issue until August or September.
But they begin building new nests in spring and Mr Simpson advises it is less dangerous to have them treated as early as possible, when the colony is smaller and the wasps less aggressive.
He added: “With warm weather expected and nests growing in size as the season progresses, we expect the number of wasp-related enquiries to rise substantially.
“So if people do find a nest in their garden or around the house, however small at the moment, it shouldn’t be ignored.”
But the pest expert warned against homeowners tackling any issues themselves saying it is ‘really not worth the risk’.
“Treating a wasps nest can be very dangerous as they feel threatened and are likely to become aggressive if their nest is tampered with,” he said.
“A mature nest can contain thousands of wasps, so it’s really not worth the risk.
“You don’t need to remove a nest, but you do need to have it treated as early as possible and it’s definitely a job that should be left to experts.”
Homeowners seeking professional advice are being urged to find a company registered with BASIS PROMPT – an industry initiative designed to promote standards in pest control.