A WARNING has been issued regarding the risk of getting stung by “drunken wasps”.

British Pest Control Association (BPCA) is urging people and businesses in Brighton to take steps to avoid getting stung this summer as worker wasps abandon their nests.

According to the national trade body, wasps become a “nuisance” in public spaces and outdoor areas such as beer gardens and play areas every year, which get busier in warmer weather.

The BPCA is encouraging everyone in Brighton to be aware of the dangers posed by wasps and to seek professional pest control if they become a hazard.

The national trade body has produced an online guide to help people understand the risks posed by wasps.

BPCA head of technical Dee Ward-Thompson said a wasp nest is home to around 5,000 wasps during peak activity of late summer.

“When the queen stops producing eggs, the worker wasps have nothing to do other than look for fermented fruits and sugars, and can become inebriated quite quickly,” she said.

“Drunken wasps may become more aggressive and more likely to sting, which is when people enjoying the summer sun nearby could be in harm’s way.”

A wasp sting is likely to cause pain, redness and swelling. A small percentage can cause anaphylaxis – an allergic reaction that can be fatal.

Dee said a threatened wasp can emit a pheromone which acts as a distress call to other wasps and may trigger a defensive stinging frenzy.

“While being stung by one wasp isn’t usually dangerous, multiple stings could kill you,” she said.

“Not every wasp nest needs to be destroyed. They will abandon the nest in the autumn, so if it is in a low-traffic area, it may be best to leave it alone as wasps are accidental pollinators and also feed on small flies and aphids.”

More information can be found on the BPCA website.