Wasps are now creating giant 'super-nests'
Those with major wasp phobias may want to look away at this point, because a 'super nest' is about as bad as it sounds. According to agricultural experts in Alabama, more of these large nests have been forming across the state, with the risk of the problem spreading to other neighbouring areas.
During the winter, many wasp colonies are killed off by the cold - but this isn't always the case. When nests survive, they continue to grow in the warmer months, with the massive constructions attaching to cars, inside garages, or even in homes.
The Alabama Cooperative Extension System has warned that nests with as many as 15,000 wasps inside could be found, which is around four times the size of a normal wasp nest. Speaking to the New York Times, an entomologist with the ACES said:
"The queens are the only ones who have an antifreeze compound in their blood.
"So normally, a surviving queen will have to start a colony from scratch in the spring. With our climate becoming warmer, there might be multiple surviving queens producing more than 20,000 eggs each."
In 2006, 90 of these super-nests were found, but apparently 2019 is set to outpace this amount. Montgomery-based NBC station WFSA has reported that 15 have been found so far. "Any place where it’s good shelter, where it doesn’t freeze, the colony probably won’t die off," Clint Hester of Stark Exterminators WFSA said. "So you have the new ones, plus the old workers and double the size of the colony in just one year."
In addition to this, University of Georgia agricultural agent James Murphy - who is investigating the Alabama super nests - spoke to Atlanta station WSB about the search for these super-nests. He called particular attention to yellow jackets, a more aggressive wasp that tends to form nests in the ground.
"Yellow jackets will defend the nest to the death, fighting tooth and nail,” Murphy reported. "And unlike bees, they can sting multiple times."
Alabama is the state where most of these super-nests have been concentrated so far, but neighbouring states are also potentially at risk. Experts have warned people to not approach these nests, but immediately get in touch with the appropriate authorities.