How do I recognize a wasp?

There are several varieties of wasps in Canada, including the yellow jacket, hornet and paper wasp. Colour ranges from black to combinations of black with yellow, white or brown markings. The slim, winged body measures 10 to 15 mm (1/2″ to 3/4″).

Are wasps hazardous to humans?

Yes. A wasp sting, aside from being very painful can prove serious and sometimes fatal. If you suspect a reaction to a wasp sting report to your nearest hospital immediately.

Do all wasps sting?

No. Only the queens and workers possess an ovipositor (egg-laying tube) which forms the stinger. Normally the stinger is used to kill prey on which wasps and their larvae feed, but will use it on animals and man if provoked.

Do wasps cause damage?

No. Since they feed on flies and other insects, they are considered beneficial. However, because they are attracted to sweet substances such as fresh fruit and juice their presence can prove to be a nuisance.

When are wasps most common?

During warm spring and summer months when workers are foraging for food.

When am I most likely to see wasps?

Wasps are most active during the daylight hours.

Where do you find wasps?

Wasps are social insects and build paper-like nests made from wood fibres and other plant material mixed with saliva. Nests can be found around buildings on verandas, under eaves, ceilings, attics or in trees and shrubs. Several varieties of wasp build nests underground.

What are their breeding habits? Do they multiply quickly?

The queen (female reproductive) lays all eggs. Most eggs develop into sterile workers. Late in the season, the queen produces eggs which develop into queens who overwinter and establish nests the following spring. An average of 1,000 to 3,000 eggs are laid per nest which hatch and develop on a daily basis.

Do wasps die off in cold months?

Yes. Only the new queens survive the winter while the rest of the colony dies off when weather becomes cold. The queen overwinters under loose bark or in crevices and lays eggs in the spring to start a new colony.

Can weather conditions affect the size of a wasp infestation?

Yes. An abnormally cold, wet spring or hot, dry summer can have an effect on the size of a wasp colony.

Can I do anything to prevent wasp activity on my property?

Yes. Whenever possible try to eliminate fallen fruit and refuse which will attract wasps. Scaling holes and other potential sites may help prevent nesting. Once a nest is established do not seal the hole until after treating and there is no more activity.

If I have wasp nests on my property what can be done to eliminate them?

Your local PCO Service and Products Centre has products developed for the control of pests such as wasps. Due to the potential danger from a wasp sting, it is advisable to contact a PCO professional.

Please remember all pesticides can be harmful if misused. Follow the label directions carefully.