Wasps can be useful to have around the garden as they consume dead insects and also pollinate but they can be a nuisance too. Their sting is unpleasant and can present a real threat to those who are allergic to it. Seek medical help immediately if you are stung in the mouth or on the neck, or if you experience dizziness, nausea, unusual swelling or extreme pain following a sting.
The venom in wasps contains an aggregation pheromone that causes other wasps to become more aggressive and draws them towards the perceived threat. Try not to swat one that is near its nest or other wasps.
The sting should wear off in 24 hours but, for a minority of people, the venom can cause anaphylactic shock. For more information visit The Anaphylaxis Campaign website.
An ordinary sting can be treated with a deodorant containing aluminium.
Wasps live in colonies that form self-contained communities, each following a caste order or queens, males and workers. The male wasp is called a drone. It is a drone's job to mate with the queen . Once this is done the drone dies shortly afterwards. The young wasps are fed on meat such as insect larvae.
The only wasps that survive the winter are young fertilised queens. They emerge from overwintering in the spring to build new nests. Initially, the queen lays up to a dozen eggs and, when they hatch into larvae she feeds them until they become workers. The workers then forage for food for the new larvae and also defend the nest.
In late summer, the colony produces males and new queens. They fly away to mate and the queens then find a place to hibernate. The cold weather eventually kills the males, workers and the foundation queen.
If you have bed bugs in your house, the only thing on your mind will be getting rid of them as quickly as possible. Bed bugs stay close to a food source, so are found where people tend to rest and sleep, hence the name bed bug. The frustration they can cause is not only due to the emotional stress of dealing with parasites, but also the irritation of their bites and the potential for secondary infection from constant scratching.
These bugs still occur with regularity, particularly in multi-occupancy buildings with rapid resident turnover, for example: hostels, hotels, holiday camps and blocks of flats. The early stages of the bed bug (nymphs) are hard to detect with the naked eye, making it hard to identify an infestation before biting occurs.
The adult bug resembles a small brown disc, about 6 mm long - the size of a match head. It is wingless, but the legs are well developed, and it can crawl up most vertical surfaces, e.g.: bed legs. The elongated eggs are cemented in cracks or crevices close to the hosts (which for bed bugs are humans).
The young resemble the adult and grow by moulting. Each nymphal stage needs one full meal of blood before it proceeds to the next stage. Fully-grown bed bugs can endure starvation for up to a year in some cases.
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