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ENVIRONMENT

Why this summer in France is perfect – for wasps

If you thought there seemed to be more wasps around this summer than usual, you would be right. Pest controllers say a combination of factors has made this summer a perfect one for the pesky insects.

Why this summer in France is perfect - for wasps
Photo: AFP

Pest controller Pascal Guichard, president of Xera which specialises in home insect control, told French newspaper Le Parisien: “There are more nests this summer than in other years.

“I have 10 call-outs per day, compared to one daily last year, in town and in the countryside. It's just catastrophic.”

The hotter the weather the more the wasps like it, according to Guichard, but the combination of a hot summer and a long dry spell creates the perfect conditions for wasps.

France is current in the grip of a dry spell that has 68 of the country's 96 mainland départements on drought alert.

MAP Where in France has imposed water restrictions

 

The increasing numbers of nests means that wasps are also being seen more in the cities than in previous years.

Julien Vicaire, a beekeeper from Seine-et-Marne, has shared a few tips on how to stop them bothering you.

He said: “The wasp is opportunistic, it will go wherever is easiest.”

He suggesting putting a sweet drink a few metres away from you to lure the wasp or burning coffee grounds, which he says act as a wasp repellent.

And if you find a wasp's next in your home? Leave it the professionals.

 “It is dangerous for individuals to remove it themselves, the risk of being stung by numerous wasps is high,” added Guichard.

The steadily rising temperatures have also seen a big increase in the spread of tiger mosquitoes in France, which can spread potentially deadly illnesses including dengue fever, zika and chikungunya.

MAP More than half of France on red warning for tiger mosquitoes

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ENVIRONMENT

Massive hornet-trapping campaign begins in south west France

Across south west France trapping campaigns have begun in an attempt to control the numbers of dangerous Asian hornets.

Massive hornet-trapping campaign begins in south west France

Trapping campaigns are organised annually at this time of year, as the weather begins to get warmer and queens begin to emerge from hibernation.

And the Charente-Maritime town of Royan Atlantique, on France’s west coast, is leading the way, as the below video shows.

Experts say that now is the time to begin using the traps, as catching queen hornets in the process of building their nests will lead to far fewer insects later in the year. 

Some 2,000 traps are installed in and around Royan this year, including 300 that were distributed to householders in the week of Valentine’s Day. 

Once installed, the traps can capture several dozen insects at a time.

In order to capture a maximum of hornet queens, traps should be installed between mid-February and mid-May. Especially since during this period, these predators end up coming out of their hibernation.

It is believed Asian hornets arrived in France around 2004. They have now spread nationwide.

Although their venom is not more powerful than that of normal bees or wasps, they are known to be more aggressive towards humans, and their stings can cause anaphylactic shock in allergic people.

The hornets also damage beehives and kill bees, damaging honey stocks and destroying the native ecosystem.

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