Wasps target recycling centres

THE ladybird plague might have given people the creeps, but the latest insect invasion comes with a real sting in the tail - as staff at the county's recycling centres have discovered.

THE ladybird plague might have given people the creeps, but the latest insect invasion comes with a real sting in the tail - as staff at the county's recycling centres have discovered.

The hot weather has led to large numbers of wasps around Norfolk and the insects are descending on Norfolk's 19 recycling centres in search of sugar.

The problem has got so bad at some of the centres that Norfolk County Council, which runs the centres, has made an appeal for people to clean out cartons and bottles before taking them for recycling, in a bid to keep the wasps at bay.

Special traps are also being installed around the recycling sites to try to cut the number of wasps buzzing around the recycling bins.


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Sheringham Recycling Centre and Hempton Recycling Centre in Fakenham have been particularly affected by hundreds of wasps attracted by the sugary remnants in bottles and cartons, but all the recycling centres have been affected to some degree.

Dan Jacobs, household waste officer at Norfolk County Council, said: “This is the worst I have ever seen it. We hardly saw any wasps last year, but this year is particularly bad.

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“Just about every site has got a problem with them. Maybe it's because it has been so humid.”

Mr Jacobs said the wasps were not swarming and there did not seem to be nests in the recycling centres, but the insects were attracted by the sugary drinks left in the bottom of bottles and cartons.

He said: “It's the glass bottles and drinks cartons which they are going for. We'd ask people to rinse them out before they take them to the centre or before they put them in their kerbside collections.

“Some of the recycling staff have been stung. We are not aware of any visitors being stung, but we'd urge them to stay calm and not to panic around the wasps, although we do have first aiders at the centres.”

Mr Jacobs said this week would see purpose-built wasp traps installed around the recycling centres.

He said: “We are rolling out a more formal arrangement of wasp traps this week. We had been using jam jars which were filled with sugary water, but we're trying to get more official wasp traps out there now.

“Those are conical flasks with a scented pesticide inside. The wasps get in through a hole but then get trapped and die.”

The surge in wasps has been blamed on the mild winter and the fact that temperatures throughout the year have not drastically fallen or risen - providing the perfect breeding ground for the insect.

Norwich City Council said its pest control team was called out 40 times last month to deal with wasp nests compared with just six in June.

And at the start of this month a man in Brooke was stung up to a hundred times after a wasp nest was disturbed by a bonfire.

At this time of year Norfolk County Council's recycling centres are open 8am until 6pm. For more information on site locations and opening times, call 0344 8008004.

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