Skip being stung: Tips to deal with the aggressive wasp population

wasp sitting on tree bark

As we head into August, you may have noticed more wasps buzzing around. While they are beneficial to ecosystems because they control insect populations, when their food supply diminishes they become more aggressive and can even be life-threatening to people who are allergic.

Wasps can sting multiple times since their stinger is barbless and does not come out when it pierces your skin.

Stay calm

While it is easier said than done, remaining calm and not annoying wasps by swatting can decrease your chance of being stung since wasps sting when they feel threatened or their nest has been damaged.

Watch what you wear

Wasps are attracted to anything that looks or smells like a flower so avoid wearing bright colours and skipping putting on perfume or cologne can make you less attractive for wasps.

Cover your food

If you are eating outdoors, keep all food and drinks covered, except when actually serving or eating, and always keep trash containers covered.

Build a wasp catcher

A homemade wasp catcher can be helpful in attracting wasps away from busy areas in your yard.

You can simply cut a two-liter pop bottle in half, and place the top part of the container inverted, into the bottom part of the container, then fill it with a sugary liquid and place it away from decks, patios, or other areas where people gather.

The wasps will be attracted to the sugary liquid in the catcher and be unable to escape and will drown.

Check for wasps nests

Wasps create a new nest each year when a solitary female or 'queen' emerges from hibernation in the spring. The queen builds a small golf ball sized nest for the first generation of workers that she raises on her own. They collect food and materials for the queen to lay more eggs to increase the population. Larvae are fed pre-chewed insects and other materials while adult workers generally feed on flower nectar and fruits.

So far this year, we have treated more than 40 wasp nests on public property.

Removal of the nests should only be considered if they are causing safety concerns. You should always be cautious when spraying wasp nests as the wasps will try to defend their nests. Plan a retreat line, wear long-sleeved tight fitting clothing, and tape your pants and sleeves closed.

If you are unsure of how best to tackle wasps, you can contact an exterminator.


Originally posted September 2, 2021

Was this information helpful?

How can we make this web page better?

Information collected will be used to improve our website. Do not use this form to submit a request for service or information because it will not be forwarded to departments for response. To submit a request for service or information, contact 311.

This form is not intended to collect personal information; however, any personal information you choose to include in your comments is collected by the City of Winnipeg under the authority of section 36(1)(b) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act for the purpose of improving our website and will not be used or disclosed for any other purposes, except as authorized by law. Contact the Corporate Access and Privacy Officer by mail (City Clerk’s Department, Susan A. Thompson Building, 510 Main Street, Winnipeg MB, R3B 1B9) or by telephone (311) if you have any questions about the collection of this information.