The Bude Canal wasp problem

Being stung by a wasp is not normally a big deal, but being stung by a swarm is a very different matter.  It’s painful and dangerous. It seems that wasps in distress emit pheromones which stirs the others into a stinging frenzy. Unlike bees which die after stinging, wasps can keep repeating their actions. Flailing your arms around is not the best reaction, apparently, but I suspect we’d all do it if under attack.

There are some wasp nests along the canal in Bude. Mayor Bob Willingham explained on his Facebook page:

Cornwall Council has been working hard to ensure all wasp nests by the canal have been removed following multiple attacks on passers-by recently.

Cornwall Council is continuing to monitor the area, but please be cautious if you are prone to reactions from stings.

Bude woman, Frances Faulkner, was one of the weekend victims. She was attacked on Sunday morning by a swarm of angry wasps on the canal path, between Truscotts Bridge and Rodds Bridge, while walking her dog, Syd. She was stung many times and described the attack as “painful and frightening, the stuff of nightmares”. She gave thanks to two runners who helped her, and to the lovely staff at Stratton Minor Injuries (yes, that’s how bad it was). Luckily, Syd was not stung but the dog of one of the runners was badly stung (we hope the dog is ok – if anyone knows, please tell us).

Frances says she won’t be doing the canal walk for a while and is contacting the Council in the hope that they will take further action to destroy the nests.

Alas, Frances is not on her own. There have been a number of recent stinging episodes, so please be careful around that area (not that you have many choices if wasps decide to sting you!)

If you’ve been badly stung recently, please share locations in the comments here to help others avoid it.



  • John Dixon says:

    I was the runner stung, along with the dog I was with (Max.) He was badly shaken and suffered many stings. I’m pleased to hear Frances is ok. It was awful to witness the attack and it’s frightening to think of the outcome had the attack been on a small child.

    It’s easy to blame the council for not eliminating the wasp nest but, as I understand from talking to a witness, the council had taken down signs warning of these dangers. Why, when the nests are still very active would this be the case?

    • Hope Max is OK, and that you are both improving after your ordeal. Good question re notices.

    • Frances Faulkner says:

      Hi John, thank you for your help on Sunday and to Mary too, unfortunately I was in such a state of shock I couldn’t take either of your details to thank you for rescuing me from what was truly a nightmare experience. I have rung Cornwall Council ( Monday ) and spoke to someone in Environmental Health who told me that someone from Environmental Management will call me. I don’t care what department it is but please go and torch the little b…..s!
      PS I am so glad your lovely dog has come though it ok. Thank you again. Best Wishes, Frances

  • Barry Turner says:

    We witnessed an attack at the location mentioned today, 30/09/2019, at approximately 11.15 am. A poor little Dachshund behind us started yelping terribly and the owners picked it up and started running away, frantically trying to swat away lots of wasps. Luckily we avoided the attack by seconds. We hope the poor little thing was OK!

    • If anyone knows the person and dachshund concerned, we hope you are ok.

    • Andrew says:

      Hi we are the couple with the dachshund, it was horrific for both our little dog and us. Our dog must have been stung 20+ times. We took her to the vets who gave her an injection for the swelling. Frustratingly today we found that a number of the sting had become infected. We returned to the vets for a course of antibiotics. It was sad to hear that where the stings have become infected they may scar and her fur may not grow back in these locations.

      We just hope some signs have now been put up to warn other people walking along the canal to avoid this happening again.

      Thank you for your concern, it was nice to see your post on here.

      • So sorry for your poor dog. What a horrible, traumatic time. Thanks for letting us know about the impact of this attack.

        • Barry Turner says:

          Hi there,
          We’re so glad that your little fur baby is OK but sad that there was nothing we could do! We’re also very angry that there were no signs there to warn anyone of what is apparent was a known issue. I believe that there were signs for a while but were removed because they thought the wasps were no longer present but we’d heard of several other attacks in the couple of days leafing to your unfortunate incident and your incident, and others, could’ve been avoided if the council had reacted promptly and appropriately. Anyway, the most important thing is that your little one makes a full recovery! We’ve not stopped thinking about you guys since and we hope everything ends well!

  • Terri Mitchell says:

    They need to put back BIG warning signs or even close the path until the problem is resolved. It is very frightening and very dangerous.

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