Wasps put on graphic display during X-rated session outside Waterstones shop

A pair of wasps pricked Gloucestershire residents' attention when they were pictured mating outside a Waterstones in broad daylight.

The insects had an intimate encounter outside Cheltenham's branch of Waterstones just after 2pm on Thursday, Gloucestershire Live reported.

They were photographed in a sharp embrace on the idyllic town's high street, with the watchful witness uploading the shocking image to Twitter.

Out of pure curiosity, they wanted to find out what on earth the wasps were getting up to.

In hindsight, it should've been obvious.

But a Gloucestershire University Professor of Science Communication replied to explain exactly what was up.

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Adam Hart tweeted matter-of-factly: "They are mating."

Another less serious tweeter suggested they find an alternative location where public sex is a tad less frowned upon.

They wrote: "A little intimate, thought that happened up Shab Hill!"

It was a pretty striking thing to capture on camera, partly because wasps only mate once a year – and it's usually a fatal experience for the male.

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After the nuisance insects get up to their business, the female flies off to hibernate during the winter.

The male is left for dead.

Months later in the spring, the female will start her own colony after laying her eggs.

And that will be near the mating area, so Cheltenham book-buyers should expect to see plenty more of the damn things around their local Waterstones.

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