The Wasps That Are Annoying You Are Drunk, Say Wildlife Experts

Britain is under attack from lager louts, apparently.

While this might seem like a fair assessment of a night out in just about any provincial town, where Fosters-filled hordes descend of a weekend evening to drink their fill and knock ten bells out of each other, it turns out that the drunken troublemakers are, in fact, wasps.

That's right, wasps. Just when you thought that wasps couldn't get more annoying.

This is the news coming out of the Sussex Wildlife Trust - where I go for all of my hard-hitting content - who have claimed that wasp behaviour has changed as this interminable heatwave has gone on.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

"It actually lies in the unusual ecology and bizarre anatomy of social wasps," the trust told the Mail Online.

"In the spring, queen wasps wake from hibernation and start to build their nest, laying eggs and raising their first brood of daughters.

"These worker wasps cannot produce fertilised eggs, so spend their time helping their mother to expand the nest and raise more young.

"One of their main jobs is searching for soft-bodied invertebrates to feed the developing larvae.

"Bizarrely, adult wasps cannot digest the food they catch because their gut is so constricted by their thin 'wasp waists'."

"Instead the workers chew up the prey and feed it to the larvae. In return, the larvae produce a sugar-rich spit that the workers can drink."

Are you keeping up? What they're saying is that wasps sleep all winter, come out in the summer and spit up their dinners over their own kids - if you've ever been to a Twenty20 cricket match, you can make your own joke.

"After these 'reproductives' have left the nest, the old queen stops laying."

"This means the workers no longer have access to larvae. Instead, they live on the sugar produced by rotting fruit.

"This can be a problem because fermenting fruit contains alcohol, so wasps can become intoxicated and rather irritating.

"They are also attracted to the abundance of sweet foods that humans provide. To a starving wasp, a jam sandwich or a can of Coke is just too tempting to avoid. For this reason, wasps are generally only a nuisance in late summer."

I think that's a little bit of a misnomer: wasps are annoying all the time, it's just that there are more of them in late summer.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

"Remember that these drunken workers don't have long to live, and as soon as the winter weather sets in the entire colony will die, leaving only the new queens to hibernate through to next year."

As every trip to the park is filled with more pissed-up wasps than the golf club Christmas party, my hatred of them grows and grows.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Mike Wood

Mike Meehall Wood is a freelance journalist and translator. He writes for LADbible, VICE and countless sports publications, focusing on rugby league, football and boxing. He is a graduate of Leeds University and maintains a fizzy pop obsession. Contact Mike at [email protected]

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