Heard the Buzzzzz About Wasp Traps? If So, They're Not Working

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Wasps kill hundreds of people globally each year. Certain wasp traps may actually increase the risk of being stung.

With Spring comes the promise of Summer: Warm days and long glorious evenings blessed with food and drink, to be enjoyed by family and friends. Summer is a time of plenty and a time for sharing in the delights of being alive.

For many of us however, this idyllic image will be rudely interrupted by nuisance wasps who share our appetite for the good things in life. There is nothing more heart rending than a young child distraught with pain, having been stung.

The truth is that wasps are more dangerous than many people know. It is estimated that one person in every thousand has a serious allergy to wasps. In the US, according to the Ohio State University, this can be as many as two million people. Each year hundreds of people die globally because of wasps. There is a school of thought that this figure may be even higher because many fatal wasp stings are misdiagnosed as heart attacks and strokes.

Despite all of the associated risks, wasps are nevertheless an important social insect essential for the control of other insect pests. Their dietary behaviour changes from feeding on insects in Spring and early Summer to scavenging for sweet foods in late Summer and Autumn when they come into conflict with man.

From the American Plains Indian fish trap, to granny's jam jar trap, various methods of controlling wasps have been employed for countless ages. Recent evidence however suggests that many such traps may actually increase the risks from wasps because they promote the phenomenon of swarming. Such traps fail to kill all of the wasps that they catch and the wasps that escape go back to their nests to bring back more of their colleagues. As a result these traps attract more wasps than they kill thus making the problem worse and so increase risk. Home made traps seem to be the worst culprits.

It is not to say that all wasp traps are bad. Infact, a decent wasp trap can make all the difference but the advice is to select a trap that kills all of the wasps that it catches and not be tempted to make home made traps or buy cheap inefficient ones.

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