Today we’re going to follow up on one of our most popular posts, what types of spiders are most common in Toronto. But today we’re going to put a little winged spin on things by looking at wasps instead.
We’ll go over some of the most common types of wasps found in Toronto and we’ll give you some tips to help figure out which ones you’re dealing with. Then, once you’ve identified the enemy we’ll offer some tips on how to get rid of them, for good!
But before we begin, let’s address why this is important and vital. We don’t have to tell you that wasps can sting – and that’s unpleasant.
For some, it can be a mere annoyance but for others, a sting from a bee or wasp could be life-threatening. As a homeowner, you have a serious obligation to keep your space safe for visitors. The last thing you want is to be staring down the barrel of a lawsuit – or even just have to deal with the reality of knowing that somebody got hurt when you could have prevented it with a few easy steps.
Types of Wasps in Ontario
In Southern Ontario, we’re lucky to enjoy a relatively moderate climate (ok, so it doesn’t feel like it for 6 months of the year…) and that means that we have a fairly diverse range of insects that can survive in our climate.
Generally, that’s a good thing. A more diverse environment is healthy. But when it comes to our homes, pests like wasps are better left elsewhere. First, let’s make sure you’re not mistaking wasps for bees. Wasps tend to have narrow bodies and are smooth and shiny. Bees are more robust and fuzzy with flattened legs for pollination.
Here are some of the wasp varieties you might be seeing out and about:
Size: Around 2 inches
Color: Normally black and yellow although they can be white and black
About hornets: Hornets are the largest wasp species and can look a lot like yellowjackets. Normally they’re bigger, but less aggressive.
That being said, be careful! Hornets can have a strong, painful sting and are capable of stinging multiple times.
Look for nests that attach to the side of buildings and are roughly the size of a basketball.
Size: 0.5 inches
Color: Normally bright yellow
About yellowjackets: Yellowjackets often look more similar to bees than other wasps do. That’s because they’re smaller and faster than hornets. However, they are different than bees, in that they don’t carry pollen and mostly scavenge for meat and sugar. You’ll often encounter them when eating outdoors.
In terms of aggressiveness, yellowjackets will defend their home and they can sting repeatedly. It’s not normally as painful as a hornet sting, but it may cause some swelling that lasts for several days.
Nests will be smaller in size, somewhere between a golf ball and a baseball.
Size: 0.75 inches
Color: Reddish brown or black with yellow or orange bands
About paper wasps: These are some of the most common and abundant wasp species around the world, and also live in Europe and Asia. Sometimes they’re mistaken for hornets, but they don’t tend to build nests on trees in the same way.
The paper wasp is somewhat more primitive than many other wasp species in how it lives and interacts with others. Their nests can reach up to 200 worker wasps and can be built anywhere, around the exterior of your house, under the shingles of your roof, or even inside your attic.
Luckily, paper wasps don’t tend to be very aggressive. They do sting people, but normally only when their nest is threatened. If you’ve been stung, expect it to be moderately painful. Also be prepared that, unlike bees but like the other wasps we’ve profiled, they can sting multiple times.
Mud Dauber Wasps
Size: 1 inch
Color: Brown or black with yellow bands
About mud dauber wasps: Rather distinct looking, the mud dauber wasp can be found all around Toronto-area parks and homes. Related to digger and potter wasps, they’re actually found across most of Canada.
So where did the name come from? Well, unlike many other wasps who use paper materials or wood and saliva to build their nests, the mud dauber prefers to use mud.
These wasps are also quite different from yellowjackets and hornets in that they won’t aggressively defend nests and won’t normally sting people unless physically threatened.
They prefer to eat spiders. In fact, some people believe that these wasps are actually helpful in combating a spider infestation. When combined with their general lack of aggression, that makes them somewhat helpful in the garden. However, they should still be removed if you locate a nest because they can attract other, less desirable pests to your home.
What a wasp nest looks like in Toronto
mud daubers nest … general made from soil and other organic matter to form a mud nest on structural surface such as your home
beginning stages of paper wasp, yellow jackets or hornets nest
Getting Rid of the Wasps
Now that we’ve gone over some of Toronto’s most common wasps and charted their appearance and behavior, let’s make sure we get rid of them. As we’ve mentioned, many wasps contribute a lot to the environment and are important players in the ecosystem.
That being said, when you find a nest on your property, wasp nest removal is your best bet as these creatures can be dangerous and can also invite in even more dangerous pests that you are better off avoiding.
Once you have located the nest, you will need to make sure that you are safely prepared. As we showed you, most species of wasp will aggressively defend their home. Make sure you’re not allergic to wasp stings, because you may well be stung at least once. Your family doctor can help you with this in a safe environment.
Things you will need if you want to remove the nest safely from your property:
- loose fitting bee suit
- bee keeping gloves
- organic vapor mask if you are spraying chemicals to knockout wasp
- thick jeans to prevent wasps from stinging you in the leg
- Appropriately labelled wasp spray to eliminate the nest
Then, equip yourself with protective clothing like long pants, boots, and scarf around your face and eyes. Finally, choose the spray you have selected and spray the nest. Make sure you don’t go near it for at least 24 hours after.
As you are not a professional pest exterminator it is recommend to spray the nest at night as all the wasps are at rest and lowers your chance from being stung repetitively. This is extremely risky work and if this sounds too complicated or dangerous for you, it may be best to contact a professional. Trying to deal with the wasp nest on your own can be trouble, and professional wasp exterminators in Toronto will have the tools and equipment to do it safely.
At Power Pest, we offer certified, fast, and effective pest relief of wasps and other pests across the Greater Toronto Area. Call us now at 647-708-7378 or get in touch online. Our team will help you finish off those pesky nests and have you wasp free in a jiffy.