Woozy wasps – a few stinging comments

4 September 2008 · 0 comments

in Early Years Outdoors, Health & Wellbeing, Nature Play & Learning, Urban

The merciless side of my personality is revealed at this time of year. It always tickles me to see sane people develop ticks and twitches as well as irrational behaviour when they try to shoo away a wasp.

People like to copy each other. That’s why wasps can play havoc in the school grounds and indoors. It just takes one child to scream and ….you can imagine the scene!

Thankfully children can be trained to behave properly around wasps. It’s very much like teaching good manners:

  1. Keep your mouth shut. The moment it opens, a wasp can fly right in. Practice breathing through your nose.
  2. Politely cover your mouth and nose if a wasp is buzzing around these orifices. Having experienced a wasp clean up my lips at a wedding when I’d just eaten a meringue, it is scary. (NB Admittedly I can scream quite loudly with my lips shut tight).
  3. Stand or sit still. Close your eyes if you need to but remind children this does not make a wasp magically disappear.
  4. Never run away. Running creates a vacuum effect causing a wasp to follow in your wake.
  5. Flapping your arms frightens the wasp. Frightened wasps are more likely to sting.
  6. Avoid eating sweet foods and fruit outside on sunny days.

I like to hold “wasp practice” drills. These work just the same way as fire drills, except you fake a buzzing wasp sound instead of the fire alarm and encourage children stay still and quiet, whether inside or out.

Wasps and bees make a great project. The British Bee Keeping Association has various education packs and information. I love getting young children to do a writing activity about what to do if you are stung and how to stop this from happening. I usually end up telling them the Very True Story of how my grandmother accidentally swallowed a wasp when eating Kendal Mint Cake and got stung in her throat. She saved her own life by eating lots of raw onions to reduce the swelling. I do, of course, advise children to seek medical help as soon as possible should this happen to them or someone they know.

I have also stumbled upon an ingenious, environmentally friendly device for keeping wasps away. No nasty sprays. No swatters. No cups of jam and washing up liquid. No more slaughter of these helpful insects which munch up garden pests like greenfly. No. No. No! Instead I’d like to introduce the ….WASPINATOR

This amazing device is a fake wasps’ nest which you hang up in your garden. The very sight of it keeps the wasps away. The website is worth a visit, not least because it contains all sorts of information about wasps written in a friendly style. Read and enjoy!

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