Whilst wasps are incredibly valuable to us, they are nevertheless very dangerous insects and it is vital that we protect ourselves from them in a responsible way.
Here are the reasons why we have to protect ourselves from wasps:
In the UK (or per 60 million head of population) each year;
200,000 to 400,000 people stung by wasps seek medical attention from doctors, pharmacists, nurses and first aiders and require treatment with antihistamines, antibiotics, steroids, anti-inflammatories, and topical and systemic pain killers.
4 out of every 10 people stung will experience some degree of wasp sting induced angina.
1,000 people stung by wasps will need to be hospitalised for a range of conditions including but not limited to anaphylaxis, kidney failure, Guillain Barre syndrome, blindness, limb threatening swelling (compartment syndrome) requiring surgery, life threatening infections requiring surgery and amputation.
1,000 people stung by wasps will need to be hospitalised for wasp sting induced heart attacks.
12 people will die from anaphylaxis or straight forward wasp sting poisoning.
1,000 to 1,400 people may be dying each year from wasp sting induced heart attacks (Kounis syndrome). Such heart attacks may occur up to 14 days after a person is stung and as such are miss diagnosed as heart attacks.
Wasps are also responsible for causing food poisoning. During the hunting phase of their life cycle, wasps will root through faecal matter hunting for insects. In doing so they pick up lots of faecal bacteria. Latter, when wasps start sweet feeding they deposit these bacteria on our food. As a consequence there are countless episodes of food poisoning, especially from E. coli.
(Apart from direct human injury, wasps are also responsible for injuries to pets, damage to fruit and for causing harm to bee hives.)
It is an interesting fact that the overwhelming majority of people are stung outdoors by nuisance wasps around food. Comparatively few people are stung around wasp nests. In fact, the majority of people stung around wasp nests are pest controllers! Given that there can be as many as 1,000 wasp nests per square mile, and given that wasps are known to fly up to 2 miles to find food, then this means that there can be as many as 12,500 wasp nests contributing wasps to a nuisance wasp problem around food. Eradicating one or two nests is unlikely to have any impact on a nuisance wasp problem. If you have a nuisance wasp problem then the only proven solution is the WaspBane wasp trap!
All things said, it is important not to panic about wasp stings. You have a 124 chance out of 125 that you will not have a serious reaction. That does not mean that you should take unnecessary risks and it is important that you protect yourself and the people around you. So the next time that you are bothered by nuisance wasps outdoors, take sensible precautions. If you are eating out and are bothered by nuisance wasps, then complain to the management and make sure they do something to protect you because they have a duty of care towards you.
(The numbers quoted are average numbers and may vary from year to year depending on the severity of the wasp season and weather conditions.)