That long, dry summer is having some painful side-effects â€” and weâ€™re not talking sunburn.
Heat-loving wasps are out in huge numbers, making life miserable for patio lovers â€” and much more tragic for at least one B.C. man.
A 60-year-old male with a known allergy was found collapsed in a Sooke parking lot on July 30 â€” the victim of a wasp or bee sting.
B.C. coroner Barbara McLintock said he was rushed to hospital, but couldnâ€™t be revived.
â€œTheyâ€™re nasty right now,â€� said Ryan Dreyer of Westside Pest Control, donning his sting-proof hoodie and screened helmet before tackling a wasp nest in Katherine Burlinâ€™s Point Grey home.
â€œTheyâ€™re the scavengers of the bee world â€” if they see your hamburger, your steak, your fruit, they want it.
â€œLast year we were getting three to five wasp calls a day â€” this year itâ€™s eight to 10.â€�
Burlin and her partner, Jeff Watchorn, tried a number of recommended solutions, then finally called Dreyer.
â€œJeff used a pressure washer last summer to get rid of the nest, but theyâ€™re back again this year,â€� said Burlin, pointing to a swarm of wasps emerging from her homeâ€™s cedar shakes.
â€œWe have a 10-year-old and a 12-year-old, and theyâ€™ve both been stung.â€�
Dreyer dons his respirator, climbs a ladder and sprays a green solution into a number of openings where wasps have burrowed into the siding, sending clouds of wasps buzzing away angrily.
â€œIf I donâ€™t have to use pesticide, I wonâ€™t â€” I just take a large bag and grab the whole nest.â€�
Treatment applied, Burlis is relieved and Dreyer is hopeful heâ€™s done all he can.
â€œThere were three openings, so you have to spray them all,â€� he said.
â€œThere are probably three queens â€” if I get every other wasp and leave just one queen, sheâ€™ll start laying eggs and weâ€™ll have more wasps.â€�
Though painful, wasp bites are non-lethal â€” except in rare cases where a bite triggers an allergic reaction leading to anaphylactic shock.
An EpiPen that some allergy sufferers carry with them delivers epinephrine as an antidote, but must be administered quickly to remedy the symptoms, which include difficulty breathing, itching and hives.
Westsideâ€™s Mike Londry said the warm summer was great for humans â€” and wasps: â€œItâ€™s been a terrific year if youâ€™re a wasp. Wasps love sweets, and they love protein. Youâ€™d be brave to eat a steak on your back porch this September.â€�
In addition to old-school remedies â€” an inflated paper bag (or a commercially bought Waspinator) hung from a tree or a roof will often deter territorial wasps who mistake it for a competing nest â€” Londry recommends pheromone traps thatâ€™ll deter wasps before they call your home their home.
Sweet-smelling soaps, shampoos and aftershave can also attract the insects.
â€œIn the middle of the summer, theyâ€™re busy working and foraging,â€� said Dreyer.
â€œThis time of year, if you get in their way theyâ€™ll bite you.â€�
Year of the wasp: Yellow jackets spike in numbers as pests scavenge for food – The Province
wasp nest – Google News