Every August, Toronto seems like it’s been overrun by wasps and hornets buzzing around garbage, green bins, dumpsters and restaurant patios. Sometimes the source is difficult to discover, especially when nests are built in soil or hidden inside planters or brick walls. Others spots are easier to find, such as in windows, under eaves, or in treetops, although if you’re not watching, they can also be easily overlooked. By the time peak season has arrived, even if you do get them removed, it may be too late to keep them from coming back next year. The best time to remove them is as early in the year as possible.
Winter kills colonies off naturally, as they are not meant to survive sub-zero temperatures. However, the queens that rebuild colonies and lay eggs to hatch new broods of workers do hibernate if they have mated. They will hide in crevices and other shelters, largely abandoning last season’s paper constructions. Only one in every two thousand queens survive the winter due to starvation after a false awakening in warm weather, while others fall victim to spiders.
If you catch a nest early in the spring, there will only be one queen and only a few workers busy expanding their home. By late summer, colonies will have produced one last brood that includes next year’s queens. They are incredibly protective and aggressive once new queens have been produced, and they are more numerous than they’ve been all year. There may be as many two thousand yellowjackets in a colony by late August, and yellowjackets are already known for their ability to sting multiple times. Without barbs in their stingers, they can attack repeatedly, injecting venom into the victim each time. This can produce anaphylactic shock if the person stung is allergic and, unless treated with epinephrine immediately, can be fatal.
Whatever the season, take the discovery of wasps and hornets seriously and call in an exterminator. Visit Torontopestexterminators.com/wasp-nest-removal/ to learn more about treatments and removal methods. New queens hatched late in the year will hibernate nearby, meaning they may set up again near your home next year. Destroying colonies early in the year may protect your home from repeat offenders.Ontario-based company Toronto Pest Exterminators warns of the dangers of self-removal, but leaving them alone may be even riskier as they can be easily disturbed by playing children or dogs. Yellow jackets will interpret loud noises like laughter, shouting and rapid gestures like running and playing as a threat.
As a rule of thumb, people can survive ten stings per one pound of body weight. Five hundred stings could potentially kill a child, and in late summer, a single nest can house thousands of workers. Adults may be able to withstand more stings, but DIY removal can still be dangerous, especially if the colony is located up in a house’s eaves or in tree branches. Panicking while on top of a ladder can easily lead to falls and serious injuries. The smartest option is to hire a company like Toronto Pest Exterminators to keep your family and yourself safe. When you find evidence of yellow jackets or bald-faced hornets, hire professional exterminators immediately.