• Wells Next The Sea

    Wells Next The Sea

  • Holt

    Holt

  • Holkham

    Holkham

  • Cromer Pier

    Cromer Pier

  • Morston

    Morston

  • Sheringham Coast

    Sheringham Coast

  • Sheringham

    Sheringham

  • Wolterton Hall Woods

    Wolterton Hall Woods

  • Stopping For  Coffee In Fakenham

    Stopping For Coffee In Fakenham

  • Seals At Blakeney Point

    Seals At Blakeney Point

  • Cley Windmill

    Cley Windmill

  • Sheringham Mural

    Sheringham Mural

  • Stody Gardens

    Stody Gardens

  • North Norfolk Railway

    North Norfolk Railway

  • Holt High Street

    Holt High Street

  • Coastal Path

    Coastal Path

  • Morston

    Morston

The Trouble without Wasps

wasp

Dr Ian Bedford informed, and sometimes appalled, members at the monthly meeting in May with his talk about wasps, their life cycles and habits, and why a world without wasps would be an ecological and economic disaster. He started by telling us that “Speksphobia” is the word to describe those with a fear of wasps. No-one owned up or left the meeting at that point, but quite a few wriggled a little.

Wasps make up the second largest insect group on the planet with an estimated 200, 000 species, with many still to be discovered. The UK has 9000 different species, made up of solitary wasps (the majority) and social wasps (a small minority).

Wasps spend their summers seeking out aphids, flies, caterpillars and other bugs, to feed their larvae. Thousands of larvae can be produced each year in a typical paper wasp hive, so they need to find a lot of bugs. It seems that wasps have not evolved simply to interrupt our summer outdoor meals. As predators that are at the top of the food chain and help to keep other populations such as spiders, woodlice and aphids in check. Our gardens would be plagued with many more insects without wasps.  When wasps mature and leave the nest, having no brood to feed until next year, that is when they start to be most bothersome to us.

The female wasp is completely focused on supporting the hive, and does all the hard work. Male wasps mate, then don't do a lot, then die. I felt that the men in the audience didn't quite know what to make of that!

Ian Bedford told us a couple of way for repelling wasps. The first is to either buy an artificial ‘Waspinator’, which is a harmless fake wasps’ nest. Wasps will think that these are the nests of other colonies and leave. He also suggested cutting a lemon in half, stuffing the cut faces with cloves and putting them on your BBQ table. One other trick, if wasps are bothering you is ‘The Norfolk Jasper Jab’ which is to make your hand into the shape of a bird with a sharp beak (like Rod Hull’s Emu) and jab it towards the wasp, or wasps. They will think it’s a bird or predator and retreat. Apparently it works. Let me know how it goes for you!

David Riddle