Although Montreal doesn't really have legit blooming AF cherry blossom trees, because our climate doesn't exactly allow for them to thrive here, we do have a bunch of other glorious cherry blossom lookalikes - like crabapple trees and magnolia trees.
If you've left home at all this summer — especially while carrying something sweet — chances are you've been harassed by buzzing, flying, stinging, black-and-yellow insects. While wasps are regularly a nuisance during the summer in Montreal, they've made their presence known this season, leaving some Quebecers wondering: Are there more wasps than usual this year?
Are there ACTUALLY more wasps than usual this year?
According to Dr. Mlynarek, we don't know if there are more wasps in the region compared to previous years. But she said there are definitely more wasps now than there were at the beginning of the summer.
"The queen wasps come out in the spring, and they start creating their nest. As the summer progresses, the population within the nest, [...] the colony, [...] increases in size. So by the end of the summer, we have a lot more wasps than we did at the beginning," she explained.
She said peak time for wasps is around mid-August, leading up to "now-ish."
Only new queens survive the winter by hiding, while the rest of the colony dies out. As new queens search for their winter homes, and the hives begin to close down, "all the worker wasps are kind of vagrants, flying around [...] out of work, so we notice more of them," Dr. Mlynarek said.
What are some hacks for fighting off wasps?
Dr. Mlynarek's biggest piece of advice is actually not to fight off wasps at all.
"The best thing to do is just to leave it alone as much as possible. They'll buzz around you a bit, but they'll quickly lose interest," she said. "If you start waving your arms around, then the wasp thinks, 'Oh, there might be something interesting there.'"
In other words: stay calm. You can stand still, she said, or if you're walking just continue walking.
If you have something with a sweet smell, like a cup of juice, Dr. Mlynarek suggests covering it with a coaster or a piece of paper because it's attracting the wasps to it.
If you're sitting on a terrasse or in your backyard, Dr. Mlynarek said you can either buy wasp traps or put a bowl of juice some distance away from you so they'll go toward that more than they'll go toward you.
When will the darned things finally go away?
"Once the temperature starts cooling down, there'll be fewer and fewer wasps because the old workers from the beginning of the summer will start dying off [...] and the newer workers that were born mid-summer will start becoming less active," she said.
"By the first frost, all the wasps should be gone."
In the meantime, Dr. Mlynarek said you can find relief from the wasps at night or on cooler days.
"They stay in their nest and keep warm. Like all of us in the winter, we kind of want to stay bundled in our beds if we can," said Dr. Mlynarek. She also noted that wasps are diurnal, meaning they're active mainly during the daytime.
But the more you learn about wasps, the less you might hate them. You might even — gasp! — come to appreciate them. While they can sting you, Dr. Mlynarek said this is only dangerous if you're allergic.
"They're pollinators [...] and they're also predators. They eat a lot of pests and other insects that could be detrimental," said Dr. Mlynarek. "Wasps are really important for ecosystems."
Finally, you can see the Chinese Garden illuminated by hundreds of lanterns. The theme is the legend of Pangu. According to Chinese mythology, Pangu is a giant who created the world, and the exhibit creates sensory experiences that Espace pour la vie says combine art, science, technology and emotion.
During this annual event, sections of the garden come to life with dazzling, colourful installations that turn the complex into an enchanting display of light.
According to Space For Life, you can expect the Japanese Garden, First Nations Garden and Chinese Garden to take you on "immersive and sensory experiences [that] combine art, science, technology and emotion."
The Japanese Garden "transforms into a vast canvas on which autumn falls," it says.
Then, it says, you'll be greeted by "magic" in the First Nations Garden as you go on a "poetic journey into the heart of the seasons of life, together with the spirits of the river, fire, forest and wind."
Finally, the Chinese Garden will be lit with hundreds of lanterns, which "whisper the legend of Pangu, the giant who created the world," it says.
Gardens Of Light 2021
Price: $16.50 for adult Quebec residents
When: September 3 to October 31, 2021
Address: Montreal Botanical Garden — 4101, rue Sherbrooke E., Montreal, QC
Why You Need To Go: Make your fall even more magical as you wander through illuminated gardens adorned with hundreds of lanterns.
Espace pour la vie and Mayor Valérie Plante announced Thursday that Montreal's Biosphere would reopen to the public as of Friday, August 13.
The structure, which houses an environment museum, was built as the American Pavilion for Expo 67.
In a Facebook post, the mayor announced that to mark the occasion, admission to the museum would be free all weekend.
Earlier in the year, the Governments of Canada and Quebec announced that control of the museum would be transferred to the City of Montreal and that it would become Espace pour la vie's fifth site, joining the Botanical Garden, Biodôme, Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium and the Insectarium.