Wasps are a common insect in Calgary, and because of their stinging habits, they’re also one of the most loathed creatures in our outdoor spaces. However, there are many other types of wasps which look similar but are harmless.
Unlike bees, wasps have a shiny appearance and are able to sting their victims repeatedly. This can be dangerous and possibly fatal for individuals who have allergic reactions to the venom that is injected with a sting.
Getting rid of wasps
Using materials around the home such as pop or plastic milk bottles, you can construct a homemade wasp trap. Pour fruit juice into the trap container to a depth of 2 inches and add a small piece of raw meat (hamburger or fish). An odour that attracts wasps will be given off as the juice ferments and the meat spoils. When wasps enter the bottle, they will fall into the juice and drown. In order to get the best results you may have to experiment with the amount of each ingredient and type of container used. The trap will be most effective if drowned wasps are removed regularly and ingredients are replaced.
Removing wasp nests
If you’re taking steps to remove a wasp nest, wear layers of protective clothing that cover the entire body. Even a small exposed area could become a target for wasps. It’s also recommended that you wait until dusk or dark since wasps are more docile and slower to react at cooler temperatures.
Do not attempt to destroy a wasp nest by burning or flooding, as wasps will respond with aggression. Also, do not use gasoline to control ground-nesting. The City recommends the following procedures for removing Wasp nests:
- Ground nests can be destroyed by covering the entrance with a large, clear bowl. A second alternative is to pour soap and water solution into the nest entrance. The nest entrance can also be covered and packed with soil so that the wasps become entombed.
- Concealed nests are often located in difficult-to-reach spots like walls, along foundations or in attics of houses, so contacting a pest control company is recommended.
- Exposed nests can be destroyed using wasp or hornet aerosol sprays that are applied to the nest entrance. Nests can also be placed in cloth or plastic bags and submerged in water, put in the freezer or exposed to direct sunlight.
- Wasps never re-use an old nest, so if a nest is found in winter or spring, you will not encounter live wasps and the nest can be safely removed.
Preventing wasps in Calgary
- Keep screens for doors and windows in good repair. Seal any potential entry points such as window cracks, doorframes and vents.
- Place garbage into a bin or can with a lid that is well fitting.
- Destroy abandoned animal burrows (e.g. gopher holes) before wasps inhabit them. It is common for ground nesting wasps to use such structures as a nest location.
- Cover and/or remove food wastes to reduce wasp encounters. Food sources left outdoors in the form of compost piles, animal food and leftovers from picnics and barbecues are attractive to wasps in spring and early summer when they seek protein-based foods.
- Keep food containers closed and pop/juice drinks covered. In late summer and early fall when food supplies are dwindling, male and worker wasps scavenge for food and may act aggressively while in pursuit of sweet tasting food.
- If you have fruit trees in your yard, remove all over-ripened or rotting fruit lying on the ground or attached to a branch.