If you’ve been noticing a lot of wasps outside lately you’re not alone.
And now, a popular Windsor restaurant has closed down its patio due to an over abundance of the pesky wasps.
The Twisted Apron moved to its new location at the corner of of Wyandotte Street East and Devonshire Road last November. With that move came a new patio next to the restaurant.
“It’s beautiful, there’s gorgeous plants out there. Nice colors. People and puppy welcome,” said manager Lisa Cusmanic. “And then the bees came.”
Yellowjacket wasps are now wreaking havoc on this and other patios in Windsor-Essex.
“It’s just been unbearable. They are swarming our customers,” recalls Cusmanic, who was forced to closed the patio recently after many failed attempts at controlling the wasp population. “They just came on, like a vengeance this time of year. It’s been really tough.”
But Kare Alexander, the city’s naturist, notes it’s quite normal behaviour.
“What might feel like more yellow jackets is really just one colony kind of spreading out into more locations,” said Alexander, who explains each colony support thousands of the wasps. But this time of year, Alexander said the next breaks up.
“The worker bees are done supporting the queen in the nest. So what happens is they have more time on their hands,” she said. “Call it the ‘empty nest syndrome,’ where now these worker bees are free to kind of roam around a little more.”
They tend to proliferate around garbage, food and sweets.
“They are attracted to the smell of food, so garbages and patios, places where we like to go, you’re gonna find the yellow jacket,” said Alexander.
While they may be pesky, wasps serve a purpose in the ecosystem.
Despite popular belief, Yellowjackets do have pollinating powers and prey on other insects and beetles.
They typically ignore humans, unless there’s a threat to their colony.
“If the yellow jackets are causing you a problem or they’re disturbing you the first thing you do is don’t swat at them,” said Alexander, noting swatting agitates the wasps and they will fight back.
“And the stings are terrible,” Alexander added. “And they can sting multiple times.”
The Twisted Apron management is hoping to open its patio back up this summer.
The Twisted Apron in Walkerville on Aug. 26, 2023. (Rich Garton/CTV News Windsor)
“Hopefully it gets a little bit better. Once Labour Day hits, we’re gonna keep it open, as long as we’re able to,” said Cusmanic.
But Alexander warns Yellowjacket season is far from over.
“They stick around for a little bit into the fall,” Alexander said. “So they’re not going anywhere for the time being.”