Homeless in Vancouver: You're safe, the wasp nest is close to the hospital

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      Laurel Street and West 10th Avenue is a busy-enough cross street, located as it is on the north side of the Vancouver General Hospital grounds.

      Vehicular traffic aside, the sidewalks are full of  health-care workers, patients, and visitors going to and from VGH—all day if not around the clock.

      And to complicate matters, just overhead there is some kind of wasp nest (hornets I think) located prominently in the branches of the tree on the northwest corner of the intersection.

      A big wasp nest hiding in plain sight

      Stanley Q. Woodvine

      This hornet or wasp nest (hornets are a type of wasp) is large and surprisingly obvious but its existence has apparently gone unnoticed until just recently.

      These wasps, it seems, have been better neighbours than their aggressive reputation would suggest was possible.

      Two days ago, a woman with the property the tree is growing on was out looking at the nest. She was pointing it out to another woman and saying that she would be calling a pest control company to deal with it soon.

      If she waits, the problem will solve itself in a month or so.

      For sale by empty nesters near West Broadway and VGH

      Almost time for wasps to leave their nests and go to a “better place”.
      Stanley Q. Woodvine

      In the fall most of all the wasps—the old queen, the female workers, and the males—will die off, leaving only a young fertilized queen to go off and hibernate somewhere warm through the winter. She will then reconstitute a new wasp colony all by herself early next summer.

      However, as long as the nest full of wasps is still there, people should probably tread respectfully around the tree. Try not to kick or jostle the tree and avoid loud noises that could startle the wasps, like yelling or honking horns.

      I jest but in all seriousness, it’s not really wise to just wait and let nature run its course.

      An estimated two or three percent of people can suffer a severe to life-threatening allergic reaction to bee and wasp stings so a nest like this in such a busy public place should be identified, marked and eliminated as soon as possible.

      An overhead view showing the tree with the wasp nest.
      Google Maps
      Stanley Q. Woodvine is a homeless resident of Vancouver who has worked in the past as an illustrator, graphic designer, and writer. Follow Stanley on Twitter at @sqwabb.