The hate for wasps is universal. No matter if they’ve been stung once, multiple times, or never, people generally dislike the tiny buzzing insects, often including them into the category of “completely useless” insects from an ecological point of view. Stinging people with no reason, buzzing persistently, making nests out of paper vomit, invading picnics, and dive-bombing barbecues, the yellow jackets seem to cause nothing but pain and damage whenever they’re present. Aside from delivering one of the most painful stings of all stinging insects (rated by entomologist Justin Schmidt 3 on a scale from 0 to 4), wasps’ venom also contains a pheromone that alarms the rest of the colony and invites them to join the attack. So if one wasp stings you, brace yourself, because hell is about to break loose.
So yes, hating wasps, yellow jackets, and hornets seems like a perfectly reasonable thing, especially for those who felt their wrath themselves.
If you’re at constant war with pesky creatures assaulting your garden all year long, you shouldn’t immediately reach out for pesticides, even the certified organic varieties (which are neither more effective in pest control nor have a smaller ecological footprint). Instead, you should consider adding certain plants to your garden or backyard to encourage biodiversity and attract beneficial insects that make it their mission to clean your garden of pests and critters.
Nature is filled with good insects whose diet consists primarily of damaging garden pests. Commonly referred to as “beneficials,” they feed on aphids, mites, flies, and other insects that attack plants, being an excellent pest control method, both environmentally safe and free of cost. But in order for these native helpers to solve your bug issues, they need a favorable habitat to thrive, one that meets their requirements of shelter, moisture, food, and alternative prey.
Theoretically, it takes A LOT of wasp venom to kill a man – studies estimate that a lethal dose is approximately 10 stings/pound for most mammals – but in many cases, people die after far fewer. Such is the tragic case of La Prairie mayor Lucie F. Roussel, who died last month after being stung by an estimated 15 wasps while at her summer cabin in Stratford, Que. 51-year-old Roussel was doing yard work near her lakeside cottage when she inadvertently stepped on a wasps’ nest and was stung multiple times by the angry swarm. Although she had no known allergic reactions to wasp venom, and doctors say it is extremely uncommon for someone to die as a result of insect stings directly, it could be possible for the amount of venom she received to kill someone with an underlying health condition.
Although deaths from venomous insect stings are still very rare in Canada – according to Statistics Canada, 40 people died from bee, wasp, or hornet stings between 1999 and 2011, with an average of 3.3 Canadians/year – life-threatening, allergic reactions from insect bites are on the rise.
Heat and humidity have been the subject of the week across Ontario as a blanket of extreme heat and humidity descended on the region, making Canadians feel like they were going to melt. And while most of them are desperately trying to beat the heat by staying indoors, keeping the window blinds closed, and installing indoor cooling systems, they may be taken by surprise by yet another adverse effect of the scorching weather: the early apparition of fruit flies.
According to Andrew Hebda, the curator of zoology at the Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History interviewed by CBC News, Canadians are seeing more fruit flies showing up earlier than expected due to the cold spring followed by the onset of a sudden heat wave. And while they are usually a problem all year round, fruit flies are especially common in late summer and fall, when large numbers of them suddenly appear in Canadian homes, attracted to fermenting and overripe fruit and vegetables.
Deer grazing in your backyard can be a most satisfying sight, unless they ravage your newly-planted tulips or treat your vegetables as an all-you-can-eat buffet. Raccoons may be cute and fluffy creatures always looking to play and cuddle, but they suddenly turn into an unwelcomed guest when they start rummaging through your trash cans at night. The same goes for chirping birds, shiny-eyed squirrels, and those adorable chipmunks always stuffing food into their mouths – they’re a welcome sight until they start ravaging your backyard, trampling your flowers, and even endangering your health. Below is a short description of the garden damage caused by five most common wildlife pest species in Canada:
Raccoons top the list of wildlife that wreak havoc in flower and vegetable gardens across North America. The second favorite occupation is rummaging through trash bins and cans or raiding bird feeders – all in search of food.