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."
Over the past year, more and more people have become aware of the importance of supporting local businesses.
Whether you're shopping for handmade clothes that fit your new WFH lifestyle, ordering takeout from a small restaurant or picking out farm-to-table ingredients for dinner, we've become increasingly aware that buying local is good for our communities.
If you want to be more informed when it comes to your everyday shopping and eating habits, the Aliments du Québec au menu program lists more than 600 restaurants that promote Quebec products on their menus.
The list includes all types of establishments: independent businesses, local cafés, microbreweries and even large chains — but it's the delicious homemade sauces lovingly concocted by the restaurants in the Aliments du Québec au menu program that really steal the show.
From wings smothered in mouthwatering bourbon BBQ to burgers doused in boozy beer sauce, these local dishes are perfect for anyone who thinks that sauce is basically life.
Les 3 Brasseurs
Featured Sauce: The beer sauce
Why You Need To Try It: Les 3 Brasseurs has created a seriously delectable homemade sauce using drinks brewed directly on site. It's a unique blend that you won't find anywhere else.
The Dish To Order: To tide you over until official BBQ season, the Traditional Burger is made with a Quebec beef patty served with all the summer toppings you could ask for: a slice of dill pickle, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and of course, Les 3 Brasseurs' must-try beer sauce.
Why You Need To Try It: Comforting and downright delicious, Toujours Mikes' sauce has that special something that makes you want to eat it straight from the jar.
The Dish To Order: The Duetto All-Dressed Pizza is the perfect way to enjoy this sauce (and two of everyone's favourite foods). Pairing pizza and spaghetti, this meal comes with a choice of homemade salad, Caesar salad, fries, waffle chips or Bolognese spaghettini.
Why You Need To Try It: There’s something about the secret sauce from Benny & Co. that's completely addictive, and it's nothing like the other BBQ sauces you usually find in restaurants.
The Dish To Order: The locally-raised roasted quarter chicken is perfect with the BBQ sauce, but you can enjoy it on a whole other level if you throw it on your poutine. The melting cheese curds complement the sauce in the best possible way.
Why You Need To Try It: SHAKER Kitchen and Mixology's homemade sauces have been popular among Quebecers for many years. The burger sauce adds a unique touch to the restaurant's gourmet burgers. This sauce can be found in five creations from the Burgers section.
The Dish To Order: While the sauce mainly comes on burgers, you can also try it by ordering SHAKER Kitchen and Mixology's famous baby back ribs. They're served with fries and a choice of jasmine rice, vegetables, green salad, Caesar salad or sweet potato fries.
Why You Need To Try It: If you want a meal that reminds you of your grandmother's best recipes, Restaurant Normandin's mild and comforting spaghetti sauce is a must.
The Dish To Order: Get the spaghetti if you're looking to sit back, relax and enjoy a homemade-style sauce. You can order it for takeout, or purchase a jar if you prefer to make your own Italian dish at home.
Featured Sauce: The Pomodoro pizza sauce (also available in grocery stores)
Why You Need To Try It: It's made with real Italian tomatoes, ideal for anyone craving authentic pizza!
The Dish To Order: The Chorizo and Cheddar Cheese Curds Pizza is made with products provided by local businesses Les Viandes Biologiques de Charlevoix and Maison Orphée. The cheese curds come from the Fromagerie Champêtre in Repentigny.
Why You Need To Try It: Whether you prefer something mild or intense, one of these two options will please your taste buds.
The Dish To Order: The Chicken Wings 911 are a local Quebecois delicacy and one of the best ways to enjoy this spicy sauce — especially during a Habs game. Or, if you're in for a relaxing movie night full of binge-watching, try the ribs with Bourbon BBQ sauce.
Whether you prefer spicy BBQ on chicken wings, tangy beer sauce on a burger, or light and airy Hollandaise smothered all over your eggs benedict, you can douse your food knowing that each of these sauces is proudly and locally made by businesses near you.
So go ahead and dip, drizzle or drench your way to your sauciest life.
To learn more about restaurants that use local products for your next takeout order, check out Aliments du Québec au menu's website, or follow them on Facebook or Instagram.
This article was originally published in French on Narcity Québec.
If you've never heard of birria tacos, you're going to want to change that — they're possibly the hottest taco trend of the year, they're SO DAMN DELICIOUS, and you can find them in Montreal right now.
Don't just take our word for it. Eater referred to the sensation as "The Great Birria Boom," Toronto Life called this dish the "trendiest taco right now" and over 80,000 Instagrammers follow Birrieria Gonzalez, the California food truck known for popularizing the dish in L.A. and giving it their own twist.
Why You Need Try It: Owner Rosina Martinez told MTL Blog that Azteca's birria is prepared "Guadalajara style," meaning it's made with goat.
Ask for quesadilla de birria for the closest thing to birria tacos, but they also serve birria torta, birria ramen, birria burritos and quesabirria (birria and melted cheese in a flour tortilla) so you can pretty much get yourself a birria feast.
Why You Need Try It: True taco fanatics will know that Tacos Tin Tan has started offering braised-beef birria tacos and yummy quesabirria as a weekend special — $15 for four tacos and the consommé. Yes, please!
L'atelier Sucre et Sel, a personalized made-to-order dessert shop based in Saint-Léonard, makes five flavours of their "sweet burgers" — and, no, none of them contain actual meat or burger ingredients.