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‘More of them out there’: Wasps on the rise in Winnipeg

Pest control specialists are seeing a spike in Winnipeg’s wasp population, as the annoying insects are returning earlier this year and in larger numbers.

It’s been a busy summer so far for Poulin’s Pest Control. President Lincoln Poulin said they usually get a lot of calls to remove wasp nests in late summer, but this year they started coming in early.

“Normally we expect the calls to jump in August,” said Poulin. “This year our July was extremely busy with wasps, and that goes in with Mother Nature.”

Poulin credits an early, warm spring with the increase in wasp population, along with a successful nesting season for queens.

“With everything being two to four weeks early with the nice weather, the wasps have been able to be more active, more active means more nests, more of them out there,” Poulin said.

Last year, Poulin’s received 69 wasp calls in July. This year they’ve had a total of 319.

Poulin said there’s currently a 10-14 day wait to have a nest removed.

Common spots for wasps to build their nests include under the eaves of a house, underneath a deck, or in a tree or shrubs. Poulin cautions people to not disturb any nests they come across. If they do decide to remove it themselves, there’s one method he advises against.

“Do not take a lighter or a blowtorch to it,” he said. “Every year I read somewhere in Canada where someone tries to take the wasps nest down themselves and they burn their steps or they burn their garage down, so I don’t recommend that.”

Poulin said wasp traps can help reduce the pests in your backyard. In the spring, fake wasp nests can prevent queens from building a nest nearby.

He added anyone with a fruit tree in their yard should be vigilant. “The wasps are just drawn to it,” said Poulin. “Any rotting fruit that may have fallen on the ground creates a food source for the wasps they will naturally be attracted to.”

Poulin said the wasps will eventually die off as temperatures drop. “When we get into late fall, about 10 degrees, three, four nights in a row, that will start knocking them out.”

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