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How to avoid wasps this summer in Austria

Amanda Previdelli
Amanda Previdelli - [email protected]
How to avoid wasps this summer in Austria
The number of wasps is increasing in Switzerland (Photo by Daniele Barison on Unsplash)

Milder winters and springs mean that we could see more wasps around this summer. Here is what you need to know.


If you feel like you are never alone anymore - because there is always a pesky little wasp around - and that the number of nests has grown significantly this summer, this might actually be the case.

As the planet gets hotter and winters and springs have milder temperatures, there are more wasps than usual buzzing around Europe this summer.

In France, pest control companies are even calling 2022 the "year of the wasp", as The Local France reported.


For the first time in 100 years, the mammoth wasp (Megascolia maculata), which is the largest species in Europe, was found in Austria in recent years, according to the nature protection association Naturschutzbund. The wasp is usually found in the Mediterranean but has been spotted in Vienna and Lower Austria too.

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The warmer weather over winter means fewer wasp colonies are lost to the cold, resulting in faster reproduction rates.

They can be annoying and even scary with a not entirely deserved reputation of being aggressive.

However, these animals are also very important to the ecosystem. They pollinate flowers, eat other insects and are themselves food for other animals, especially birds, mice, and badgers.

Are wasps protected in Austria?

They are, but the specific rules depend on each state.

In most, they are protected as "free-living animals", so killing or disturbing them without reason is discouraged.

Though fines are rare (unlike in neighbouring Germany), a first offence could be met with a "lesson from a nature or mountain warden who would explain the usefulness of the animals", Johannes Gepp, head of the Naturschutzbund Steiermark, said.

Of course, it will also depend on each case. In 2018, for example, a man was sentenced to a year in prison and ordered to pay more than €20,000 after using a powerful insecticide and killing 50 colonies of bees.

Are they dangerous? How can I protect myself and my family?

Biologists and nature activists remind people that wasps are not dangerous per se. They are not aggressive and will tend to flee unless they feel threatened.

It would also take at least 50 to 100 stings to actually overdose on a wasp venom, but severe allergies and accidents (while running away from a swarm, for example) are more dangerous.

The best way to protect yourself is prevention - avoid attracting the wasps.

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Naturschutzbund says that since wasps are primarily attracted to meat and sweets, these foods should be covered well. Sweet drinks should also be sealed.


Wash children's hands and mouths after eating and don't leave drinks and food outside longer than necessary. It is also beneficial to collect fallen fruit in the garden regularly. Another tip: wasps don't like the smell of certain plants, such as mint, lemon balm, and lavender.

wasp nest bee hive

If you find a wasp nest in Austria, call a professional and keep your distance (Photo by Ante Hamersmit on Unsplash)

What if there are wasps already around?

"There is strength in stillness", says Naturschutzbund.

They alert that the best thing to do is to remain calm (wasps notice our fear as "cold sweat is a warning signal for them") do not try to blow them away ("exhaled carbon dioxide makes the normally calm animals aggressive"), and do not try to hit them or make any sudden and aggressive movements.

Wasp traps are not a good solution because they work only on individual animals when colonies have several thousand of them. They also end up attracting and killing other animals - the same for any chemical solutions.

What if I find a nest of them?

First of all, keep your distance. At least five metres, according to Naturland Niederösterreich. Nests can host thousands of wasps and they will become aggressive if they feel threatened.

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You should also not try to remove or kill it yourself and instead let professionals do the work. It's standard advice to call the firefighter department, but they would only remove a nest when there is imminent danger.

For example, if a colony is discovered near a retirement home, in a household where there are people with allergies or near a kindergarten.

If there is no such risk, then the best thing to do is call a pest controller.

They will remove and relocate the nest. You can search for "Wespennotdienst" and your region to find a service. Be sure to check prices (and if they charge for a "kilometre allowance" as well.


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