My last couple of columns have struck a chord with readers keen to tell me of their own experiences, which I absolutely love to hear, so thank you to all of you who have taken the trouble to get in touch.

Last week it was all about dimpled pint pots, and this week, it is all about that annoying critter that harasses those of us who enjoy drinking from our pint pots outdoors – the wasp.

I mentioned that in spring and early summer they like to eat protein in the form of other bugs and insects, which is true, but I have since learned that they also feed on the sweet liquid secreted by the wasp larvae that are still growing in the nest.

By the end of the summer the larvae have matured into fertile male and female wasps, then leave the nest to mate. So the worker wasps have to find their sugary fixes elsewhere, and thus are drawn to the sweet stashes provided by their human suppliers.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Readers’ feedback suggests that most people consider the wasp a pest rather than a pollinating

I also posed the question of whether you consider the wasp to be a pest or a friend, and it seems, for the poor wasp, that the majority come down on the side of pest, with the odd person sticking their neck out to fight its corner. Usually, as in my case when a wasp stung my toddler son for no apparent reason other than grumpiness, the bad experiences colour our opinion of them for ever more.

READ MORE: Is the wasp really a pest, as Countryman's Daughter columnist Sarah Walker?

Such is the case of a friend of reader Lynn C. “Last night we were just talking about sipping out of cans. One fellow got stung that way and refuses to drink out of cans now. He’s scarred for life!” she says.

Michael K was stung on the way home from his holiday. “I was in the back of a taxi in Corfu travelling to the airport when one came in at speed landing down my shirt," he says. "I screamed out making the driver jump.” He adds that he was also attacked last year trying to tackle a nest himself.

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“Not a good idea,” he admits, and now employs the services of a "wasp man" who charges £80 a visit. “Not bad for five minutes’ work,” he says. I think I’d charge double for performing such a risky operation, Michael!

Darlington and Stockton Times: Readers’ feedback suggests that most people consider the wasp a pest rather than a pollinating

Talking of nests, Steve Darrington had a rather terrifying experience and advises: “Wasps do not like it if you go over their nest on the mower!” He was on a ride-on cutting his grass last year when he unknowingly ran over one. “Little b*****s went directly for my face,” he says. “I’ll never forget the moment I looked up and one of the little sods was making a beeline (see what I did there!) for the spot directly between my eyes. Hit me like a bullet. A painful week!”

Darlington and Stockton Times: Steve was attacked in the face by angry wasps after running over their nest with his ride-on mower

Joanne C also had an alarming experience. “I was stung few weeks ago IN MY MOUTH!’ she cries. “The wasp had left its sting on my food and I ate it and it stung my lip and it really hurt... it swelled up and eventually eased... I'm not even afraid of them either. Can’t say the same for spiders though!”

This tale intrigued me, because I know that bees lose their spike when they sting, but wasps don’t. Could it really have been a wasp sting, or perhaps a bee sting that had come away from its host to lurk with intent among the salad leaves?

Some of us acknowledge that our fear of them is perhaps unwarranted. Angela B admits: “I am so ridiculously and irrationally scared of the little @&*#s much to the amusement of my friends. I cannot remain still and grab the nearest person and literally shake! I don't understand others’ fear of spiders as they don't come looking for you like the evil wasp. Even saying the word makes me shudder. Spoils my summers!”

The lone voice that spoke up for the much-maligned wasp was Gareth C who points out: “Wasps are excellent pollinators, they hunt and eat aphids, and they will eat mosquitoes if they find them.”

Knowing that, then, I need to train one to sort out that irritating mosquito that loves to dive-bomb my ear in the dead of night. If you know how to train a wasp, do get in touch via the usual channels.

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