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In Canada, there are more than fifteen species of social wasps ranging from black
and yellow to white or brown.
They are not hairy as bumble and honey bees, their hairs are
not branched and they do not carry baskets on their legs to collect pollen.
There are also several species of solitary wasps who wear various shades
(Blue, black, red, etc.).
They have two pairs of wings, one smaller than the other
Three pairs of legs that have no specialty
The queen’s abdomen ends with the egg laying organ
and the female worker’s end with a sting.
The males do not not sting.
Its society consists of a much larger queen, female workers and males.
The queen is fertilized in the fall and spends winter in a shelter. It leaves in the spring to create
a colony called a swarm.
It will choose a spot near a tree because they chew the wood and combine it with saliva
to build its nest. Other species will build a nest with mud,
dig a tunnel in the ground or lay their eggs directly on their prey (parasites).
Then the queen builds the first cells to lay its eggs which will hatch
after a few days.
The wasp queen will raise the first workers until the first workers
take the job after twenty days. The wasp nest will grow
throughout summer. Towards the end of summer, workers will enlarge the cell size
to house the males to be born.
The workers have to feed the males and future queens, they do not do it themselves.
Mating occurs in late summer and only a number of queens survive
the winter. The old queen, the workers and the males die in the fall.
Like the bee, the wasp plays its part in the pollination process.
Each wasp nest is a small architectural masterpiece, and despite their apparent
fragility, it is fascinating to observe the precision and ingenuity of their construction.
The colors of the nest vary with the type of wood, leaves and flowers used to build it.
Thus, each wasp species has specific materials and construction and every
nest will vary from one swarm to the next.
For example, the nest of the black wasp, or paper wasp, is made primarily of paper.
The yellow wasp, however, uses tiny pressed wood chips that give the nest
a pale brown and sometimes a delicate beige color.
Some species commonly attach their nests under eaves, while others
prefer exterior windowsills. Wasps can enter houses
accidentally through a window or a door left ajar and will
wander in search of the exit point.
If a queen enters a house, she may build her nest in the attic.
Sometimes they find an opening and build their nest in a wall, if it happens,
the colony taking expansion, will be restricted in space and the workers will
use their mouthparts as a tool to break the wall and might enter the house.
They can also be seen around our food, usually the one containing proteins or sugar.
Install screens on every window and plug the holes through which they
could enter the house.
It is preferable to use garbage bins that have a lid and keep them away from
those that do not.
Inspect your trees and get rid of aphids or other insects that can
produce honeydew, a sugary substance that attracts wasps.
Nests are often detected in late summer when they are bigger, but it is better
to carefully inspect the area around the home in spring or early summer
because the nest will contain fewer individuals.
When you cross a wasp, MOVE SLOWLY without big and sudden movements.
Don’t let them mistake you for a flower: Refrain from using
highly scented products such as tanning lotions or hair spray.
As the working wasps feed mainly on juice and sweet substances,
cover your drinks and use a straw when you are outdoors.
Also cover your food and watch the sandwiches you eat during your
picnics, because the meat will attract them.
You should also check pet food.
During your expeditions in the forest (although you can find wasps in urban
and agricultural areas), it would be better to put shoes on your feet.
Stay on the trails and check if a nest is in the way, a
paper nest installed on a tree branch or a buildup of wasps at the entrance of
an underground nest.
If you spot a nest, do not approach it.
White, green, tan or khaki are the colors thank least attract wasps and
those with vibrant colors and patterns will attract their attention.. It is best to cover arms
and legs and tie your hair so the wasps do not get tangled in it.
In case of a bite, apply ice, but if there is reaction, such as breathing
problems, fever or other, bring the victim to the hospital ER
quickly because it is possible that the person is allergic to venom.
Unlike honeybees who die when they sting, wasps
can sting more than once. Moreover, they can leave a pheromone or
substance that will encourage other wasps to sting in the same spot .
Treatments can be applied to remove the nests or prevent their installation
but they should be administered by specialists to avoid danger.