Nightmarish images have emerged which show enormous wasp nests cropping up in the state of Alabama.
Known as a perennial yellow jacket nest, these eerie nests have previously boomed to ‘the size of a Volkswagen Beetle’ and can contain around 15,000 wasps.
There has apparently been rather a lot of these horrifying nests cropping up this year, which are said to be far, far different from your regular wasp colony.
Entomologists believe the combination of milder winters and an abundant food supply have allowed some colonies to survive and thrive, entering spring with far greater numbers.
Furthermore, according to the the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, the usual cues which cause queens to disperse might not happen with these massive colonies, which often have multiple queens.
Charles Ray, an entomologist who works with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, believes this year could bear similarities to 2006, a year when 90 of these shudder-worthy nests were spotted.
Ray, who also works as who a research fellow within Auburn University’s Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology, has made the following statement in a press release:
These perennial nests may be several feet wide and have many thousands of workers, far more than an average nest.
We have found them attached to home exteriors and other places you might not expect to find yellow jackets.
The most workers I have counted in a perennial nest is about 15,000 or about 3 to 4 times more than a normal nest, However, one nest in South Carolina was documented with more 250,000 workers.
Ray believes large numbers of perennial nests could well be spotted in Alabama this year, with two such nests having already been detected:
We confirmed two nests in May and have indications of a third, This puts us several weeks earlier than in 2006, when we identified the first giant nest on June 13.
If we are seeing them a month sooner than we did in 2006, I am very concerned that there will be a large number of them in the state. The nests I have seen this year already have more than 10,000 workers and are expanding rapidly.
Ray has warned people that the removal of these nests is a job which should only be completed by licensed commercial pest control operators. And I do hope people will listen too him and keep their distance.
According to Ray, there are even some commercial operators who will not attempt tackle these humongous perennial yellow jacket nests.
Ray has given the following advice:
First and foremost, do not disturb the nest,
While these giant nests often appear less aggressive than smaller colonies, it is important that people do not disturb the nests.
Those who spot these super nests on their property are advised to contact Ray by email, either through [email protected] or at [email protected] And – please – just stay as far away as possible from these things…
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.