The public has been urged to drown wasps using beer in a bizarre conservation project, which has been condemned by wildlife experts.
Ecologists at the University College London (UCL) and the University of Gloucestershire are encouraging drinkers to set alcohol traps in their gardens then post the dead carcasses back to them, so the insects can be identified and counted.
The team claims it wants to ‘harness the public’s hatred of wasps’ to find out more about where they live and how common different types are, in the The Big Wasp Survey.
Entomologist Professor Adam Hart, of the University of Gloucester, said: “While we are asking people to kill some wasps, which is a bit unusual for a project aimed at conserving them, it really is the only way that we can identify the wasp species around and be sure that the information we get from the project is worthwhile.
“At this time of the year, wasp colonies are at the end of their life and the wasps we catch are old workers, who will die at the end of the summer anyway. This means our methods won’t have any effect on the overall population.”