It isn't unusual to encounter mini mobs of yellow jackets buzzing around Winnipeg patios in the summer, but the swarms of wasps seem to be here sooner than usual — and in greater numbers — this year.

Taz Stuart, an entomologist with Poulin's Pest Control Services, said the extermination company has received about 500 calls from people with wasp problems so far this year. That almost doubles the amount of complaints they received last year and makes up the majority of their current pest calls.

'I've got one on my head right now. I try to ignore them.' - Avi Waldman

"We have seen a large increase," said Stuart. "If you are looking at the overall call volume, we are almost two-thirds of the way there and we are only in early August. So that number will be rather large this year."

Avi Waldman, a server at Bar Italia on Corydon Avenue, said the bar's patio is seeing its fair share of wasps bothering customers.

Winnipeg wasp season

Poulin's Pest Control Services says it has received more than twice as many wasp complaints than it did in the same time period last summer. (Holly Caruk/CBC)

"We've got wasp traps everywhere," said Waldman. "[We] try putting drinks out at other places so it attracts them to other tables. I've got one on my head right now. I try to ignore them." 

Some people manage to block out the incessant buzzing or to swat them away, but Caitilin O'Connor said she can only tolerate sitting on patios for short amounts of time right now.

"There is a lot of them and when you are going on patios at restaurants or bars, you can only be out there for a minute or two and you just have to go inside," said O'Connor. "They are too much." 

There are a number of reasons for the wasp increase.

"Number one: You are looking at potentially an early fall. They are preparing, they are looking for more high sugary and carbohydrate snacks," said Stuart. 

"Number two: ... maybe not enough flowers, not enough food sources for them, so you are seeing more looking for alternative food."

Wasps can be killed in a variety of ways using liquids, foams or powders depending on where the nest is located, Stuart said.