Wasp Watch February 2014 – the year so far for UK wasp activity

The Wettest Winter since records began in 1910, the downfall continued in February with many parts of the UK experiencing well over double the normal rainfall. For any Queens who emerged from hibernation early due to the mildness of the Winter this will have been disastrous as they will be drowsy and disorientated and most likely will have drowned without a safe dry place to hide. We will only know when Spring is well established what effect this Winter has had on the wasp popultion. The previous two Winters had a terrible effect, mild Januarys and Februarys lured many Queens out of hibernation early, and then cold snaps late March/early April killed them off. Some records indicate that the UK wasp population in 2013 was 50% lower than 2012, and that 2012 itself was hugely down on the previous year. Whilst it will take several years for the population to fully recover, as long as we don’t suffer yet again from a cold snap at the beginning of Spring, the wasp population that does exist will thrive due to lack of competition for food and building materials and so the colonies that exist can be much bigger than usual, and can support many thousands of inhabitants. Let’s hope!!

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