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5 Types of Insects to Watch Out For in Quebec This Summer

July 9th, 2020

Despite all the talk, media coverage and shared social media memes of “murder hornets” being the next plague of 2020, these giant bugs are not the ones you should be on the lookout for in Quebec this summer. So, if these insects aren’t actually going to be a problem for us in Eastern Canada in 2020, what insects should we be keeping an eye out for?

Ticks
Ticks are always something you should be aware of when you spend time outside in nature; even in your own backyard. Ticks are biting insects and can bite humans as easily as your canine companion, so make sure you aren’t just checking Fido for ticks after the trip to the cottage…check yourself and your kids as well. Tick bites are painless and can go undetected and carry a risk of contracting Lyme disease. Deer ticks and blacklegged ticks are the varieties common in Quebec that can carry Lyme disease. For more information, click here. Ticks like to live in humid places like forests, tall grass, gardens, and leaf piles.

Mosquitoes
Mosquitoes are the number one bother for Canadians in the summer. Especially if you like to spend a lot of time outside, in wooded areas, or be outside in the evening (drinks around the fire pit anyone?). Your strategy may be covering up from head to toe, bathing in insect repellant or surrounding yourself at all times with citronella candles. Or perhaps you only go outside at select times of day and in select open areas, when there is at least a moderate breeze. Whatever your tactic, remember to minimize the population of mosquitoes in your backyard by removing any standing water around your property, and perhaps plant some mosquito-repelling plants like citronella grass, bee balm or lavender.

Black Flies
Black flies aren’t usually much a problem in more densely populated residential areas. That’s because they like to live near rivers and streams where they lay their eggs. That will give you a clue as to how to avoid them as well; stay in open, warm, breezy areas when you are out enjoying Quebec’s natural beauty this summer and you may avoid swarms of black flies. If, however, you are going into their natural habitat, you can prepare yourself by making sure you are covered from head to toe, and wear a hat with netting to avoid them swarming around your face. Also use insect repellant that has 30% DEET. Black fly bites can be painful and irritating, so avoiding them is best.

Wasps
Despite the fact that “murder hornets” won’t be bothering you in Quebec this year, there are always our native varieties of wasps to look out for. Generally, wasps are happy to leave humans alone. The real risk is disturbing a wasp nest or threatening a single wasp that is near you. Wasp nests can be located high up or on the ground. Inspect your property in early summer and see if you can see any developing wasp nests and deal with it before you accidentally disturb it with your lawn mower or by doing some routine maintenance around your property. Wasp stings are painful and while most can be treated with an ice pack, if you get stung many times or the sting becomes very irritated, you should seek medical attention.

Ants
Ants don’t tend to bother us too much, except when they are in large numbers or inside our homes. If you notice a large number of ants around your property this summer, you may have a newly established ant colony somewhere nearby. Take a look around to see if you notice any new “developments” in your yard. If you’re concerned about whether the ants may be carpenter ants, you can refer to our blog here for more information. If a picnic is how you love to enjoy nature in Quebec, examine the ground carefully for ants before you lay down your blanket and unpack the food, stay away from garbage cans (at least 50 feet), and maybe rub some lemon juice around the edge of your picnic blanket, they hate the smell.