Numerous wasp species can be commonly found across Canada, with the Yellow Jacket, Bald Face Hornet, and Paper Wasp being among the more frequently encountered ones.
Yellow jackets and hornets, which fall within the medium-sized range of 10 to 25 mm (0.39 to 1 inch), feature distinctive bands of black and yellow or white on their abdomens. However, there are various harmless wasps that closely resemble them, leading to potential misidentification.
These wasps possess a hollow stinger at the rear of their bodies, delivering painful venom upon piercing the skin.
Social wasp species, which live in groups, exhibit both commonality and danger in their behavior. Among them, German yellow jackets are particularly known for their aggressiveness. These species are often seen scavenging in garbage cans.
Social wasps construct paper nests of varying shapes and sizes, with some being highly visible and others concealed. The structure of the paper nest can range from fully enclosed with an opening near the base to having an open framework, contingent upon the wasp species.
Social wasps are prevalent in urban and rural areas across North America and frequently pose a stinging threat in many Canadian cities.
These insects are often drawn to outdoor gatherings due to their affinity for sweet and protein-rich foods. Stings may occur when individuals or animals unintentionally provoke wasps while they forage for food or approach a nest, provoking defensive responses from nest-guarding wasps. However, wasps may occasionally attack unprovoked.
Every year, several thousand individuals experience wasp stings. In rare instances, severe allergic reactions to the venom have resulted in fatalities. Seek immediate medical attention if your reaction to a sting involves unusual swelling, itching, dizziness, or shortness of breath.
Unlike bees, wasps can administer multiple stings. They can also damage ripe fruit by creating holes while consuming the flesh.
Despite their perceived threats, wasps offer several benefits. Worker wasps capture insects like flies and caterpillars to feed the developing larvae within their nests. They also serve as pollinators when they collect nectar from flowers. Additionally, they serve as a source of food for small mammals, birds, and spiders.
A wasp colony is composed of a Queen (fertile female), Workers (sterile females), and Males. In late summer and early fall, the Queen and Males mate, after which the Males and Workers perish, while the Queen overwinters in a sheltered location.
In spring, the fertilized Queen collects plant materials, fibers, and other cellulose substances, blending them with saliva to build their characteristic paper nests. These nests can house up to 10,000 or more individual wasps. For wasp control in Edmonton, trust Classic Pest Control.