Chemical killers are not needed

Wasps are not as evil as many make them out to be

The article entitled, Knock stinging pests out of the park (The News, May 13) has the appearance of a public service article but it is a not so subtle ad for Orkin, an American company renowned for pesticide applications.  

It is important to know that although these insects can sting us, they are primarily beneficial to us!  All are important in pollinating the fruits and berries we enjoy.  Honeybees are becoming almost extinct so it is important to retain every pollinator we can.  

The wasps pictured eat large quantities of insects we consider pests of agriculture as they are meat eaters, unlike bees. Wasps are an important predator of other insects, particularly caterpillars. Paper wasps are attracted to the volatile chemicals proteins give off particularly during cooking of meat. We invite them with a barbecue.

To minimize your chances of being stung do not swat at bees and wasps, as they respond like us to a swat. Bring some canned fish or cooked meat and place it away from where you plan to eat. They will go for immobile high protein rather than your moving burger so fewer wasps will bother you. 

Keep lots of flowering plants in your yard it keeps the bees and wasps busy and away from you.  Do remove a nest near doors, as wasps will go into protection mode close to their nests.  

One nest remote from a door will ensure other nests do not start, as these critters are territorial. We are careful around bears and strange dogs. Do the same with wasps. 

To remove a nest, wait until dark, when it is cool and the wasps are unable to fly. Wasps will have guards at the entrance so be quick. Scrape the nest off with long handled knife, letting the nest fall into a heavy plastic bag. 

Put the bag in a freezer overnight immediately to kill the wasps and dispose of it the next day. 

Some people are highly allergic to insect stings and do require greater protection before and after a sting.

Bryan D. Frazer, PhD Entomology

Qualicum Beach


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