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Thanks to all of you for expressing your concerns regarding wasps near the spray pad at Centennial Park. The wasp issue is not a new one. Since the spray park opened, wasps have come to the area. They are there getting nourishment from water, sugary drinks, and other attractants. They fly from remote nests, linger in the area, and return to nests.
While staff works diligently to find and kill close-by nests, it is not possible to eliminate this problem, as the wasps come from unknown distant locations. New colonies are continuously developing and more wasps will find the wet area and continue to arrive there.
Shutting down the spray park and drying the area would only diffuse the issue until the water came back on for the spray park.
There is not a reasonable and responsible way to eliminate all wasps. In attempting to kill the wasps at the park as they fly in, we would be using large quantities of spray. Trying to hit them with spray as they fly around is difficult, results are short-lived, and it exposes children to greater quantities of insecticide that would land on the concrete and surrounding grass.
If you observe the wasps while at the park, you’ll notice that they are not aggressive. This is generally true while they are doing their duties away from their nests. They are very focused on their duty and tend to ignore things in their surroundings when they are not protecting their nest. Though their presence is annoying and does feel threatening, they generally come and go without bothering people. If a nest is nearby, wasp behavior would be different, and staff is always watching to try to locate nests. If you see a nest, contact us at the numbers below.
The Parks Superintendent and staff continue to work on this issue. In past years we have tried organic products such as a lemon oil spray, which seemed mostly to agitate the wasps. We have hung wasp traps nearby. These traps do catch some wasps, but the success of these is hit and miss, and some of our park visitors knock the traps down and destroy them for sport. We continue to study this issue and seek professional advice from entomologists and pest control companies.
We are open to suggestions. If you become aware of proven methods that we may not have tried, please let us know.
Contact our Parks Superintendent, Davie Hadley at 665-6488, firstname.lastname@example.org or me,
Tom Whitmore, Rifle Parks and Recreation Director, at 665-6489, email@example.com