6 June 2011
Millions could be stung by wasps this summer as the warm spring leads to a big increase in numbers.
But according to AA Home Emergency Response, three in four homeowners are completely unprepared for the wasp invasion, and it is expecting an increased number of claims over the summer from people looking for nests to be dealt with.
7% of adults – over 3.3 million people – were stung by a wasp last year and over half a million people (533,000) say they have already been stung this year.
The rise in wasp numbers could lead to a much higher level of wasp nests and even more stings this year. Around 7 million people say they have noticed more wasps than usual for this time of year.
Almost half of Britons (43%) have previously found a wasps' nest in their home, according to the AA's research.
More than one in three of these (7.5 million people) have found a nest in the loft or attic.
A further 5.8 million people (28%) have found one in garden sheds, 4.8 million people (23%) in wall cavities, and 2.4 million (12%) in their garages.
Despite this, three quarters (73%) have done nothing to protect their home from the risk of wasps building a nest - only one in ten people (11%) has checked their attic for wasps' nests despite it being the most common place for them to be found.
Some 13% of people have found holes and blocked them in, only 9% have repaired cracks in brickwork and still less (8%) have checked under the eaves in a bid to protect their home.
Of those with a garden, almost half (47%) say that wasps are the factor that spoils enjoyment of their garden the most.
Other factors spoiling our enjoyment of the garden in summer are noisy neighbours (46%) and ants (20%).
Traffic noise is an issue for 14% of those with a garden, spiders for 12%, and passing aeroplanes spoil the tranquillity of spending time in the garden for 6%.
According to Tom Stringer, Head of AA Home Emergency Response, said: "Unfortunately most people seem unprepared for wasps' nests, but there are relatively simple steps you can take to reduce the risk before it is too late, like checking your loft and under the eaves regularly or repairing cracks in brickwork.
"It's worth thinking about it now while a nest can be removed or sprayed in the early stages rather than later in the summer, when it's more established.
"Finding a wasps' nest can be very unpleasant and indeed frightening.
"You might mistakenly think that your standard home insurance covers you for emergencies like wasps nests, so it's worth checking your policy and considering a stand-alone home emergency policy that looks after pest control issues should the need arise."