'Be kind to wasps, they're the key to the web of life', say conservationists

By Fiona Macrae

Unfair reputation: Rather than swatting them, we should 'calmly waft' them away, according to a charity

Many see them as a nuisance, but wasps have an unfair reputation say conservationists.

Launching a wasp appreciation drive, Buglife insists the insects are the key to the
‘web of life’ and rather than swatting them, we should ‘calmly waft’ them away.

TV presenter Nick Baker, the charity’s vice president, said: ‘They are great recyclers,
pollinators, pest control agents and above all they carry out their services in a vibrant buzz of colour and energy.’

Buglife, which two years ago tried to make us fall in love with spiders, is asking supporters to sign a stop swatting pledge on its website.

Dale Harrison, Buglife's outreach officer, said there are hundreds of different types of wasps, many of which pose little danger to picnickers, campers and guests at barbecues.

He added: 'Wasps can be incredibly beautiful and they add colour, life and drama to our gardens, parks and countryside - we really should appreciate the more.'

Wasps will sting at any time, if riled. However, the most common time for them to become a problem is at the end of the summer, when their growing numbers leave them short of food, make our beers and buns all the more appealing.

Only the female stings, injecting her load of venom in a third of a second. As she stings, she releases a chemical message that invites all wasps in the area to join in the attack.

Wasps also become 'drunk' on the juices of rotting fruit, leading to them becoming disorientated and perhaps more aggressive.

The best way to avoid being stung is to not antagonise the creatures, wear light-coloured clothes and avoid sugary foods and drinks outdoors.

While most stings cause little more than temporary discomfort, some people do suffer anaphylactic shock - or a severe allergic reaction which can rapidly kill.

Anyone who starts to feel feverish or dizzy, or who comes out in a rash or suffers problems with their circulation after being stung should not hesitate to seek medical help.

source: dailymail