There’s nothing worse than trying to enjoy a family barbecue in the backyard during a lovely, long Calgary summer evening only to be disrupted by an angry mob of wasps. The same is true for trying to create a welcome business atmosphere, but employees constantly have to chase out wasps from your store. Wasps seem to be especially upset at something this year, and are out with a vengeance.
As a Calgary commercial and residential landscaping company, the professionals at Mirage have had their fair share of run-ins with wasps. Their nests are not necessarily obvious, and tend to be in locations that landscapers visit often. Up there with mosquitoes, wasps are one flying annoyance that we love to hate.
To differentiate between a wasp and a bee, wasps are longer, smoother and “shinier”. They are relentless and can sting several times – unlike bees, which can only sting once. If you are stung, expect immediate local pain and a small amount of swelling. Watch yourself closely. Swelling can increase and be normal, but extreme swelling should be reported to your doctor. Other symptoms that indicate you should see a doctor are: hives, vomiting, lightheadedness, seizures and difficulty breathing.
Wasp Habits – Where are they?
Landscaping in Calgary is tough at the best of times, and believe it or not wasps do provide some benefit to gardeners that gives pause for thought when it comes to destroying a nest. They are actually effective for pollination, though not nearly as much so as bees, who have furry legs ideal for capturing pollen. That’s why if you have a large garden and the location of your wasp nest is not intrusive, you may want to leave them be.
However, usually wasp nests are exactly where you don’t want them. Wasps love the heat, so when it’s warm out you’ll spy the most activity. As temperatures cool they tend to return to their nests so that they can keep warm with others. If you’re spotting a lot of wasps in your yard or around your commercial business, look for spots in pathways or pavements that are cracked or gaping…wasps are happy to live underground. Irrigation boxes are also a common place to find wasp nests – something the underground sprinkler specialists at Mirage know well! If you have underground irrigation, always take precaution before opening your control boxes.
The papier mâché-looking thing hanging from your eavestrough is also likely a wasp nest. It’s remarkably made by wasps chewing the bark from trees and mixing it with their saliva to create a paper-like paste. Although the engineering is remarkable, take heed. A mature wasp’s nest can hold up to 6,000 wasps!
How to Get Rid of Them
Since wasps are most docile when it’s cooler out, if you plan on taking on a colony definitely do so in the very early morning or late evening. Always wear layers of protective clothing, and do your best to leave little to no skin exposed. Wasps are attracted to the heat of your body, and are able to smell out any place they can sting in an instant.
Wasps or hornet aerosol sprays found at Calgary’s gardening centres are safe and effective ways to manage your wasp problem. Once you have treated a nest, knock it down and place it is a plastic bag or direct sunlight to kill any eggs remaining. If you have found an old nest that appears to be abandoned, do not worry. Wasps will never return to a used habitat.
If you are worried about your pets or children around chemicals, however, there are some other ways to take down the intruders on your property.
If the nest in in the ground somewhere, when it is safe to do so, pour a solution of soap and water into the entrance. You can also cover the opening with a large bowl, which will leave the wasps unable to leave to collect food for the queen. Another tactic is to cover and pack the entrance with soil to essentially bury the nest.
Ways to Avoid Wasps in the First Place
Check outer foundation walls, pathways, windows and doors for cracks that could allow wasps to get in. Properly seal all entry points. Keep your garbage away from your home and in a closed container. Any food or food refuse left outside has the potential to attract wasps, so ensure you clean up thoroughly after barbecues and picnics. Wasps love anything sweet, so spilled pop is a sure draw. Also, if you have any kind of tree or shrubs that produce fruit, ensure it is removed before it over-ripens or rots.
Mirage Landscaping has provided both commercial and professional landscaping services to Calgarians for more than 30 years, and we are proud to offer a complete listing of skills and specialties to make to most out of your yard or business space. Please contact us for a quote today!