Wasp figures could be set to rise after the mixed summer weather created a delay in their usual pattern of emergence.
The cooler climate has seen the pests focus on rearing their young, predominantly feeding on wood-based material to build their nests.
But experts say they could now start to emerge as their focus switches to sweeter items - the time in their lifecycle when they are most disruptive to humans.
Kevin Higgins, of the British Pest Control Association (BPCA), said: “At the moment wasps are not as prominent as they usually are at this time of year.
“At the beginning of the season it all seemed very active and there were a number of queen wasps around.
“However, over the summer the mix of wet and cooler weather has not been right for them, but it is likely they are out there and will now start to emerge shortly.
“They will be targeting sweet items. This can include fruit on trees, as well as sugary drinks or confectionary items, which is why wasps can be so disruptive when we eat and drink outdoors.
“A wasp can zoom in on a particular source of food and then go back up to a mile to its nest to alert others in the colony, so they return back in numbers.
“This means they can become a real issue in no time at all.”
According to BPCA, a range of methods to tackle the issue can be put in place, but professional input should be sought to ensure treatment plans are both safe and effective.
Mr Higgins added: “For householders looking to protect areas such as their gardens, or those responsible for environments such schools, restaurants, pubs and offices, a professional pest controller can help minimise wasp activity with a range of techniques.
“This service is also particularly useful for people who have allergies to stings and want to reduce their risk, as well as areas where young children and pets are present. Action should also be taken where wasps nests are present.
“The flight path of wasps can be studied to see if a nest is nearby and, if this is the case, extreme care should be taken to treat it.
“The wasps inside the nest will feel threatened and often become aggressive so it is strongly recommended that a professional pest control company carries out this work, preferably a BPCA member.
“They will have the technical knowledge and access to a range of professional use insecticides which are not available to the public.”
The BPCA website contains advice on wasps along with a search tool to find professional controllers in your area. Visit www.bpca.org.uk