Wasps Are Angry Drunks

Watch out for wasps this time of year, especially the drunk ones. According to the Sussex Wildlife Trust, the U.K. has experienced an especially unpleasant surging of tipsy wasps at beer gardens and other outdoor events. Why?

Wasp colonies operate in a hierarchy. Worker wasps are responsible for finding food for the larvae, which eat small invertebrates like dead insects. Worker wasps chew up the food and fed the larvae, but the worker wasps themselves can’t actually eat what they gather for their babies. They have to find flower nectar.

Worker wasps live off flower nectar or anything sweet

However, as summer draws to a close, nectar sources are scarce and the queen stops laying eggs. With no larvae to feed, worker wasps have nothing to do but find food for themselves. They will begin eating whatever sweet things they can find, like fermented fruit, beer, and cider. Just a single sip of alcohol makes a wasp drunk. And angry. They’ll pester whoever is around, usually humans, and become more aggressive. A single irritated, drunk wasp can quickly become a group of several stinging insects, as wasps give off what’s basically a “back me up, bro” pheromone that draws in other members of the colony.

Wasps love beer and cider, so watch your glass

This behavior happens every summer, but wasps in the U.K. got out earlier thanks to a cold winter and hot temperatures, which caused the mating season to end sooner than usual. Places like beer gardens have been bothered all summer, keeping the British Pest Control Association busy. If you don’t live in the U.K., you may not have experienced such a long stretch of wasps, but wasps will all go through a season of drunkenness, so watch out. If you see a wasp, leave it alone, and be sure to keep your outdoor events tidy. Close up your trash, too, since wasps will be attracted to any rotting fruit.