Several Vanderhoof residents have been complaining of bee stings and wasp attacks more frequently as the summer draws to a close. The answer to why these attacks are ramping up comes from UNBC professor Dezene Huber.
“There are just more of them at this time of the year because each colony starts with a single queen in the spring and then grows in numbers by the late summer. So people are seeing more of them around,” said Huber.
“Since we’re getting to the end of the yearly life cycle, the colonies are working hard to produce reproductive individuals, the males and next year’s queens, so they are foraging for food.”
The workers need sugar to fuel their metabolism and they get a lot of their sugar from larvae in return for feeding them protein. So when there are more active wasps than larvae, the workers may be starving.
But Huber said that wasps can be quite benificial. They dispatch numerous pest insects to feed to their young which is good news for vegetable gardens.
B. Staffan Lindgren, a UNBC professor with a masters degree in pest management, had a few more reasons why wasps become more aggressive in the fall.
He said that the queen could be getting old and may be unable to produce the pheromones to control the workers.
Both professors suggested that the behaviour is not specific to the Prince George and Vanderhoof area. They both said that because of the ideal summer, wasp nest growth is a problem all over B.C.
If winter conditions are favourable this year then that could mean even more wasps next summer.
Some tips on getting rid of nests:
- -safest removal is use of any pesticide specifically meant for nest removal
- -never burn or flood a nest since that will only anger them
- -while in protective layers, bag the nest and seal it under water for several days
- -cover a ground nest with a bowl, ensuring all exits are sealed, for several days