Summer time – wasp time: Soon the black and yellow insects will be making the barbecue evenings unsafe again. The warm and dry summer so far has not been inconvenient for them.

They are useful, annoying and are expected to be particularly numerous this year: the previously dry and warm summer in Hesse is likely to produce many wasps this year.

From about the end of July, when the last generation of female animals of this summer flies out and only looks for food for themselves, the actually useful insects at coffee tables and at barbecues in the garden become annoying, as biologist Berthold Langenhorst from the Nature Conservation Union (Nabu) Hessen said. Wasps are particularly attracted to meat and sweets.

The workers are currently busy foraging for the larvae and thus ensuring that the colonies grow, Langenhorst told the German Press Agency in Wetzlar. This is helped by the dry weather, which is catastrophic for other species such as amphibians. If it is damper and cooler, the larvae of wasps and other insects are attacked by fungi and die – they are spared this year. Bumblebees and many species of butterflies also benefit from this, as the Nabu insect census recently showed.

Progressive loss of biodiversity

Nevertheless, the census also confirmed the progressive loss of biodiversity, as Langenhorst made clear. Among the butterflies, only a few species have been sighted that can cope with nutrient-rich conditions in the vicinity of agricultural areas. These include the colorful peacock butterfly, the lesser tortoiseshell, the marbled white, and the greater oxeye. On the other hand, there were hardly any species that require a nutrient-poor environment like most blues. Butterflies are considered a good indicator of the state of their environment.

The wasps get close to people because they perceive food in the vicinity of people and are short-sighted at the same time. “They want a maximum of cake and schnitzel from us, but they don’t want to attack us,” said the biologist. Rather, the animals only felt attacked themselves when people made defensive movements.

However, anyone who is allergic to the stings should definitely keep their distance and, for example, not celebrate a garden party unprotected near a wasp nest and always have appropriate medication at hand.

Wasps that come close to humans to snatch food belong to two species, German and common wasps, Langenhorst said. The Saxon wasp is also widespread in this country, but the animals and their nests are much smaller and they are usually not interested in people.