One wasp buzzing around is annoying. One giant wasp buzzing around is worrisome. A swarm of giant wasps bored because there’s no work in the hive, angry because there’s no food and drunk on fermented fruit juice is a waspocalypse. Don’t they know about Netflix? Apparently not, say the British who are being tormented by these drunk, angry, bored giant wasps. To make it worse, they’re German wasps!
Giant German wasps (Vespula Germanica) can reach 26mm (1 inch) in length, twice the size of the more common yellow jackets, and have spread from Europe to the entire Northern Hemisphere and parts of South America, New Zealand and Australia. They’ve actually covered most of that vast territory for years. Why are there so many in Britain this year and what’s bothering them?
It starts with the weather. England had a mild winter and the warmest spring in 86 years, resulting in more time, materials and food for the giant wasps to build a huge number of nests. They spent the summer taking care of the queens and their offspring and are now out of work for a while and looking for things to do. That explains their numbers and their boredom.
They’re angry because of overcrowding and competition. With the warm weather, there’s hundreds of millions of these giant wasps in the UK buzzing the usual places for food. They’re drunk because a lot of the fresh fruit is gone and they’re forced to eat the rotten stuff, which packs a punch after it’s fermented and these German wasps have a low tolerance for hard ciders.
So what do drunk, angry, bored giant wasps do? Sting annoyed Brits until they call for help. Experts and exterminators caution that killing the giant wasps could be a win-lose proposition because these workers feed those queens and babies other insects considered to be pests.
The best thing to do to deal with the drunken wasps in the future is to wear long sleeves and cover up the marmalade and beer.