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Pest Education: Wasps in Ontario

Updated: Dec 5, 2023

Monday, December 26, 2022 by Greeny’s Pest Control Inc.


Wasps are a common sight in Ontario, especially during the warmer months of the year. These insects are important members of many ecosystems, serving as pollinators and helping to control pest populations. However, they can also be a nuisance for humans, as they are attracted to sweet foods and drinks and can sting if they feel threatened.


There are several different species of wasps that can be found in Ontario, including yellow jackets, hornets, and paper wasps. Yellow jackets are perhaps the most well-known type of wasp, and are easily recognizable by their bright yellow and black stripes. They are social insects, living in nests that can house hundreds or even thousands of individuals. Yellow jackets are known for their aggressive behaviour and will sting if they feel threatened.

Wasp Flying in Ontario
Wasp Flying in Ontario

Hornets are larger than yellow jackets and are typically brown or black in colour. They are also social insects, living in nests that can be found in trees, bushes, or even in the ground. Like yellow jackets, hornets will sting if they feel threatened.

Hornet resting in Ontario
Hornet resting in Ontario

Paper wasps are named for the nests they build, which are made of a mixture of wood fibers and saliva that harden into a paper-like material. These nests are typically found in trees or shrubs, and can house several hundred individuals. Paper wasps are generally less aggressive than yellow jackets or hornets and will only sting if they are handled or stepped on.


Yellow Jacket on nest
Yellow Jacket on nest

Wasps are attracted to sweet foods and drinks, which is why they are often found at picnics and outdoor gatherings. To avoid attracting wasps, it is important to keep sweet foods and drinks covered or in a cooler, and to properly dispose of any trash that may contain sweet items. It is also a good idea to avoid wearing perfumes or colognes, as these can attract wasps.


If you do come into contact with a wasp, the best course of action is to remain calm and move away slowly. Wasps are more likely to sting if they feel threatened, so try to avoid sudden movements. If you are stung, wash the area with soap and water and apply a cold pack or ice to reduce swelling. Most wasp stings are not serious and will resolve on their own within a few days. However, if you are allergic to wasp stings or if you are stung multiple times, you should seek medical attention immediately.


If you have a wasp nest on your property, it is important to exercise caution when approaching it. Wearing protective clothing, such as long sleeves and pants, can help to reduce the risk of being stung. If the nest is in a location that poses a threat to humans or pets, it may be necessary to have it removed by a professional.


In conclusion, wasps are an important part of many ecosystems in Ontario. While they can be a nuisance at times, they serve an important role in controlling pest populations and as pollinators. If you come into contact with a wasp, it is important to remain calm and move away slowly to avoid being stung. If you have a wasp nest on your property, it is best to have it removed by a professional.


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