In the Spring most pest controllers are keeping an eye on the weather. Long periods of wet, cold and windy weather lead to the two biggest earners in pest control (Bees and Wasps) being decimated. At present we are seeing a lot of Queen Bumble Bees flying about. These are the first to emerge from hibernation and are the most hardy. The Spring weather so far has not had a detrimental affect on the wasps and bees but what happens now to early May will make a massive difference. The wasp effect is really the most dramatic as these insects cause the most annoyance to humans. They will feed on fruit (and destroy) in the Autumn, they cause a nuisance whenever people are eating outside, driving with windows open, doing sports outside even sleeping with windows open in the Summer can lead to people getting stung in years when the wasp populations are high. Every year people die because of reactions to wasp and bee stings. Most bee stings are ‘accidental’ or where bees think there is a danger to the nest where as wasp. So the weather has a dramatic effect on peoples lives and life style later on in the year.
The monetary effect for pest control companies can be massive. In July 2011 at PEST UK we were treating between 70 and 100 wasps nests a day but in July 2012 we were averaging 10 per day. Some companies have been set up only to do wasp nest treatments. These are the companies that suffer the most. The other monetary effect is fruit damage. Wasps can ruin all types of fruits. This happens when the wasp nests stop producing more grubs so the worker wasps (these are sterile females) stop having to collect high protein foods such as caterpillars, flies and other insects and start feeding on fruits. They also have more time to do this as they are not spending time hunting, repairing the nest or expanding it as the nest function has now stopped. This happens in late Summer.