WHEN it's a warm summer day, there's nothing like a picnic or barbecue in the sunshine.

But for many outdoor eating can quickly become a bit of a nightmare at this time of year with the buzzing sound of a wasp heading your way.

Wasps are normally natural pest controllers and tend to eat other insects.

During August and September their attentions turn to sweet food making them much more of a nuisance.

But what can you do to avoid them spoiling your fun?

We've put together a few top tips for you.

How to check if there's a wasp nest near you

According to the British Pest Control Association (BPCA), if you’re seeing a large number of wasps in and around your home or work, there’s probably a wasps’ nest or something substantial that's attracting them nearby.

A spokesman added: "Wasp nests’ come in many different shapes and sizes.

"They’re amazing pieces of architecture that can contain up to 5,000 wasps during peak activity in late Summer.

"They build their nest using chewed wood and saliva to make a papier mache material."

Wasps are likely to make their nests in sheltered spots so you need to check:

  • Under trees
  • In bushes
  • Under eaves
  • In your shed or garage

How can I stop them getting into my house?

The BPCA says prevention is always better than cure and has the following advice:

  • Keep your windows and doors closed or use standard fly screens to stop wasps from getting in
  • Keep your bins shut - Open bins will attract greedy wasps looking for a cheap, sweet meal.
  • Keep you bins away from the house and make sure the lid is on properly.
  • Check for nests early - You can check all the most likely spots of wasps each spring when the nests are tiny and easy to deal with. They’ll be about the size of a golf ball. Check the loft, garage, shed and under eaves.
  • Warrington Guardian: A wasp

What should I do when a wasp keeps flying towards me?

Rentokil says you should always remain still if a wasp approaches you.

A spokesman added: "If you have to run away, do so in a straight line, without flailing your arms.

"Protect your head and face, as these areas are mostly likely to be targeted by the wasps."

But DON'T try and swat it

"If you swat at the wasp or swing your arms, you’ll only make it more aggressive and more likely to sting you.

"Do not seek shelter in a body of water, as the wasps will simply wait for you to re-emerge."

How can I avoid attracting wasps or getting stung?

  • Carefully dispose of all food and drinks, especially soft drink cans.
  • Never leave sugary drinks unattended. Also, always check sugary drinks for wasps before consuming.
  • Keep all areas of your property clean and tidy.
  • Check for wasp activity before carrying out any gardening activity.
  • Avoid strong scents and bright clothing.
  • Protect your feet by wearing closed shoes.

If you use a spray to kill a wasp, leave the room immediately after spraying.

Dying wasps are often prone to stinging and it may just be stunned rather than dead.

If you spray insecticide, also remember to remove food, cover fruit and protect pets and people from inhalation.

Too late, I've already been stung! What should I do?

Advice from the NHS for treating an insect sting is to:

  • remove the sting if it's still in the skin
  • wash the affected area with soap and water
  • apply a cold compress (such as a flannel or cloth cooled with cold water) or an ice pack to any swelling for at least 10 minutes
  • raise or elevate the affected area if possible, as this can help reduce swelling
  • avoid scratching the area, to reduce the risk of infection
  • avoid traditional home remedies, such as vinegar and bicarbonate of soda, as they're unlikely to help

How do I remove the sting?

Scrape it out sideways with something with a hard edge, such as a bank card, or your fingernails if you don't have anything else to hand.

Don't pinch the sting with your fingers or tweezers because you may spread the venom.