Haley Cullingham was at work in her home office, tapping away at her keyboard while the afternoon sun backstroked through an open window.

In mere moments, her life would be irrevocably changed — for an entire week.

She heard a faint buzzing. It was coming from inside the room. Then, a tingling on her hand. She swiped at the mighty wasp. It countered, several centimetres of pure, winged fury.

“It stung me right on the tip of my index finger,” said Cullingham, a 23-year-old student and professional blogger. “It hurt a lot, and it was really itchy for like a week.”

She survived the incident, but her assignment was not so lucky. “I basically started typing with one hand and cooled my finger on a frozen beer stein. It was not a productive workday, needless to say.”

Stories like Cullingham’s are becoming increasingly common in Toronto, as pest control experts across the city report a massive surge in the wasp population (think yellow jackets, not Leasiders).

Exterminators contacted by the Toronto Star reported a 50 per cent increase in wasp-related calls this summer over previous years. The increase is attributed to a mild winter, which allows more queens to survive in their nests, and the city-wide buffet also known as the civic workers’ strike.

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