Longueuil closes park to deal with sand wasps
The joys of summer will not include digging in the sand for many children in Longueuil and Gatineau. Both cities have closed parks because of an infestation of sand wasps.
The insects have also been spotted at parks in Laval and Montreal, although neither of those cities have closed parks as a result.
Last week Gatineau closed 21 parks but over the weekend decided to close a total of 59 parks in order to screen the sand pits and see where digger wasps had been building nests.
The South Shore community of Longueuil has closed Fonrouge park, and is monitoring the wasps at Belcourt Park.
While they resemble yellowjacket wasps, and can sting, they are not very aggressive or territorial.
In fact insect experts say they are only likely to sting someone if they are picked up by hand.
Longueuil city officials say the wasps keep coming back to the parks year after year.
That surprised people who live adjacent to the green space, many of whom said they have never had any problem with wasps.
One man who lives in the area went up to the sandpit in Fonrouge Park with his two year old son in order to watch the wasps in action.
"Lots of little holes, lots of little houses for the wasps," said the man, who was easily able to watch the insects at very close range without any danger of being stung.
The city of Laval says it has digger wasps in a few parks, but that it has not needed to close any playgrounds because it takes steps to poison the insects.
In Montreal, city workers will dig up sand wasp nests and move them a few hundred metres away from playgrounds.