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Argh, a wasp! Don't panic: They're easy to distract

Thursday, September 9th 2021, 4:46 pm - We might not like them, but we still need them: Wasps accelerate the decomposition process of old trees, naturally regulate ticks, aphids, flies and mosquitoes, and pollinate plants just like bees do.

(dpa) – Late summer is the busiest time of year for wasps. That's when they come to our barbecues, pester us at outdoor cafe tables and ruin our picnics, trying to get a share of our cake, lemonade or ice-cream.

For most of us, they're just a noisy, black-and-yellow nuisance. In actual fact, they are an indispensable part of an intact ecosystem, says Nadja Michler, specialist for wild animals at PETA.

Wasps accelerate the decomposition process of old trees, naturally regulate ticks, aphids, flies and mosquitoes, and pollinate plants just like bees, according to Michler.

So while many of us might hate them, but we all need them.

Wasps only require protein while they are raising their larvae. But in late summer they specifically, and relentlessly, begin to search for sugar – which is why they start showing up at your garden party.

But there are ways to keep wasps at bay – in an animal-friendly way.

Putting out a bowl with overripe fruit at a safe distance, for example, will distract the insects. Grapes are particularly suitable to attract wasps, says Michler.

Another possibility is to use bad smells to drive them away. A lemon cut in half with cloves, incense sticks or fragrance lamps spread a scent which the insects perceive as unpleasant.

RELATED: How to handle a bee invasion this 'swarm season'

Other smells, on the other hand, will attract wasps, like sweet perfumes or scented cosmetic products. It also helps to cover up dishes and to put up fly screens at the door and windows to keep them from coming inside.

Once wasps have arrived at the party, it’s best not to panic. Try to avoid abrupt movements and don’t lash out or blow at them. To avoid swallowing the insects, your guests should only drink from bottles and cans with a straw during wasp season.

Wasps sting when they are in mortal danger but this is not dangerous for most humans, according to the expert. Stepping on them can be a very painful experience, however, against which you can protect yourself by wearing shoes on the lawn.

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