Why so many wasps have been buzzing around you on the patio

·1 min read
A little bit of food or drink can attract a lot of wasps this time of year. (Holly Caruk/CBC - image credit)
A little bit of food or drink can attract a lot of wasps this time of year. (Holly Caruk/CBC - image credit)

There's nothing like a swarm of wasps to spoil your efforts to take advantage of a sunny day in the late summer or early fall to sit outside for a meal.

It is a problem at this time of year, said Agriculture Canada and Agri-Food Canada entomologist Christine Noronha, because the wasps have nothing else to do.

"What happens at this time of the year is the queen wasp, she leaves the nest, and all the other little wasps that are developing, the larvae, they all become males and females, and they all leave the nest, so there's no larvae to tend to," said Noronha.

"All the worker worker wasps that you have, they don't have anything to do because their main function is to feed the larvae. And at this point, there's no larvae left in the nest. The nest is empty, so they're just flying around."

Like anyone who is bored and looking for something to do, the wasps turn to eating as a way to pass the time.

Good weather for insects

The problem may seem especially bad this year because the relatively mild winter followed by a warm, humid summer on P.E.I. made for excellent conditions for insects of all kinds.

It's too early to say how many in the burgeoning population of wasps will survive the winter, said Noronha. It will depend on how severe the winter is, she said.

So keep that in mind if you feel yourself tempted to complain during a cold snap in February. It may mean a better chance to enjoy a meal on the back deck in September.

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