Health For Members

Why Switzerland is abuzz with 'tired and angry' wasps

Helena Bachmann in Geneva
Helena Bachmann in Geneva - [email protected] • 20 Jul, 2022 Updated Wed 20 Jul 2022 13:08 CEST
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Wasps like to stay hydrated. Image by Andreas Lischka from Pixabay

Have you noticed more wasps than usual stalking you - along with your drinks and food - this summer? Here's why.

As if the heatwave hasn’t already created enough discomfort this summer in Switzerland, now we learn that temperamental wasps are vying for a piece of us.

In fact, there is an abundance of wasps this summer and they are not particularly good-natured right now: according to Daniel Cherix, a leading insect specialist at the University of Lausanne, the more wasps there are, the more in competition they are for food sources — which includes human flesh to sting.

The hot weather is making it easier for the wasps to work more hours feeding the larvae. However, the longer and harder they work, the more tired and hungrier they become.

This means that, just like their human counterparts, they need to rest and eat, so they make a beeline for the nearest source of food.

“If there is no prey, they have to fly longer. They will start to get tired and angry”, Cherix said, which doesn’t bode well for the nearest available human.

This situation is expected to worsen until the fall; until then, the wasp colonies will continue to get bigger, and presumably angrier and more tired too.

This is how you can avoid being a wasp’s next prey

To calm wasps, Cherix recommends keeping them hydrated. “We can give them cups of water in the morning and renew the water every evening.”

He also advises not to dress in orange and yellow — wasps’ favourite colours.

When a wasp arrives, stay calm and breathe deeply: "Even if the wasp lands on us, you shouldn't move - and in principle it goes away".

Allergies never develop on the first bite, but rather after several stings, as antibodies are created. "If you know you are allergic, don’t leave home without an antihistamine.”

In principle, if you are not allergic to wasp stings (or only mildly), you don’t need to seek medical help, just apply an antihistamine cream and take  a pill.

But if you know you have a severe allergy and a wasp attacks you, take the antihistamine immediately and call emergency services at phone number 144.
 

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Helena Bachmann in Geneva 2022/07/20 13:08

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