August 23, 2018 7:00 am

Wary of wasps? Winnipeg pest expert warns the worst is yet to come

If you've been bothered by wasps, Winnipeg's Taz Stuart says they will get worse before they are gone.

Chris Stanton
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It is that time of year — you want to soak up every ounce of summer out on the patio, beach or backyard, but you find yourself fighting off wasps.

Taz Stuart of Poulin’s Pest Control spoke on 680 CJOB’s The Start on Wednesday. He said if you thought the bugs were bad now, think again.

“It’s just gonna get worse.”

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Stuart said as the natural food sources run out, wasps look for alternate supply — which means whatever you are having, including soft drinks, beverages and barbecued items.

“It’s all about the sugar.”

Stuart said wasps routinely become more aggressive this time of year, once flowers are gone, to help them survive the winter.

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What’s the best solution to keep wasps away from your outdoor dinner?

While lots of stores sell jars, zappers and repellents, Stuart suggested one of the more cost-effective ways to lure bugs away is with homemade traps. Cut the top off a 2L pop bottle and invert it, then pour some pop in the bottom. Even then, he said, there is no way to keep them all away.

“The reality is, you’re not going to get all the wasps.”

He warned against swatting at wasps, as that causes the insects to send off an “alarm,” calling more wasps to their defence. Bug zappers, which kill the insects on contact, or bug traps, are the better way to go.

What should you do if you have a nest in your yard?

Stuart said you could use a foam, powder or dust, depending on where the nest is.

Powders work better for nests at lower levels or in the ground.

Sprays are more effective for nests in trees or under eaves. The best time to spray a nest is after dark when the bulk of the wasps have returned for the night.

Are the wasps worse this year than last?

If you’ve been thinking wasps showed up earlier than usual, you are right.

“100 per cent correct. It has been earlier, and it’s even earlier for the aggressiveness.”

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Stuart said Poulin’s had 1,850 calls to deal with wasp nests in 2017. They’ve had 1,200 calls so far this year, and the season is far from over.

As for when you can confidently look forward to them being gone?

“When it snows,” Stuart said.

RELATED: Winnipeggers buzzing about new federal pesticide ban

If it is any consolation, Stuart said wasps do in fact have a purpose. While many believe they are nothing more than a pest, Stuart said they are pollinators which are beneficial to plants.

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