10 tips for waging war on wasps

Wasps are putting a sting into summer in Saskatchewan but one pest control expert has ten tips to help you outsmart the insects.

Orange Crush is good wasp bait, says pest control expert

Poulin's Pest Control Services says the wasps are much worse this year than last because of a mild spring and winter. (Holly Caruk/CBC)

Wasps are putting a sting into summer for people in Saskatchewan.

Shawn Sherwood from Poulin's Pest Control in Regina says it's been a busy year for wasps because of the mild winter and spring.

"There's a lot more of them than there were last year. We had a nice even spring that didn't wipe out all the juvenile queens," said Sherwood. "There are lots of nests out there."

He shared some tips with callers who phoned CBC Saskatchewan's Blue Sky.

1. Orange Crush is a good bait for wasps at this time of year, as well as cream soda. He says anything syrupy sweet works.

2. Toward fall, wasps will be out for blood. "As we get closer to cold weather they're going to switch over the proteins," said Sherwood. He finds the raw blood from ground beef attracts wasps well.

3. Wasp traps do work, to a point. Commercial traps and homemade traps, like the ones made out of pop bottles, work to stop wasps from sharing your picnic. But they don't kill the colony.

4. Paper bags and products made to look like wasp nests will deter wasps, but they must be put up in mid-March when juvenile queens are looking to nest.

5. Insecticidal foam commercial products work to kill a nest. You spray some foam to plug up the opening where wasps come in and out. Then you stick a straw in the nest and pump it full of insecticide.

6. You don't have to take down the nest to get rid of your problem. "They are one shot deals," said Sherwood. If you have one up in your attic that you can't get to, there's no need to knock it down. They will not come back. But he recommends an insecticidal powder that you can spray on the opening where you see wasps coming in and out. They will track the insecticide into the nest and kill all the wasps.

7. What happens if I have a nest in my dog house? Sherwood said the insecticidal powder would need to be thoroughly washed from an area shared by pets. However, a pyrethrin spray is effective at killing wasps. It is made from chrysanthemums and loses its potency in an hour. It needs to be sprayed directly on the wasps.

8. Wasps don't fly if it's dark. Sherwood said the best time to tackle a nest is at night as long as it's dark. He says wasps will not fly because they cannot see. He added, "Don't be the one holding the flashlight!"

9. Don't burn them out. Sherwood said while fire does work to kill wasps, you don't want to burn your house down along with theirs.

10. If the nest isn't bugging you, leave it alone. This tip comes from Cory Sheffield, Curator of Invertebrate Zoology at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum. He said wasps don't reuse nests, so if you can avoid the area, the wasps will be dead by winter.

Click here to see one idea about how to build the best wasp trap.


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