`

Thousands of boozy wasps on 'stinging rampages' across UK after drinking cider

Wasps drunk on cider are going on stinging rampages across the UK.
Wasps drunk on cider are going on stinging rampages across the UK.

'Drunk' and 'irritable' wasps are going on 'stinging rampages' across the UK after drinking cider in pub beer gardens because they have run out of food.

The insects have swarmed across the country in recent weeks after getting drunk on fermented fruit and leftover pub-garden cider.

Wasps are turning to drink because they can no longer feed on their conventional diet of flies and sugar-spit produced by the queen's larvae.

This change in diet is the result of a genetic trait and occurs each year, however, the cold winter earlier this year allowed the species to build 'absolutely massive nests'.

As a result, this year will see more wasps buzzing around pub beer gardens.

The drunken insects are more likely to be drawn to sweet foods, like jam or fizzy drinks, where they pose a risk to people.

At the height of summer, swarms hunt for sugar in human food - and cider dregs left in glasses in pub beer gardens are a favourite hunting ground.

But just a tiny sip contains enough booze to get wasps drunk – making them irritable and more prone to stinging people.

Pest control expert Shane Jones revealed there is an elevated number of wasp nests this summer because the wasp season started six weeks early.

Mr Jones, who runs Ridtek Pest Control based in Basingstoke, said: 'They are really aggressive at this time of year.

'Wasps have built absolutely massive nests and, now that all the larvae have grown up and the queen has stopped laying eggs, the colonies have a workforce with nothing to do – and nothing to eat. So they go down to the pub, obviously.

'Wasps can't handle their booze, so they get tanked-up and fighty – like lager louts.'

Wasp stings are common in the later summer months when the structure of the colony is breaking down.