Wasps force Mankato officials to close city park for second time
MANKATO - For the second time in two weeks, an exterminator will try to rid Mankato's Peacepipe Park of large wasps that have made their home in the sand beneath the playground equipment.
The park was closed only briefly a week ago because the private contractor expressed optimism that the wasps had been exterminated.
"They chemically got them all out of there, or so we were told," said Jim Braunshausen, deputy director of public works for Mankato. "So we opened the park up for a week and a second batch has returned."
The same contractor will take another shot at the wasps Tuesday morning, and the park will remain closed until 7 a.m. Wednesday. The chemicals used are not a danger to children using the playground, but the extended closing was done to alleviate any concerns residents might have about children playing in the area shortly after chemicals were applied, he said.
No one has reported being harmed by the wasps, said Braunshausen, but they are intimidating. He wasn’t sure if they are the burrowing insects, typically more than an inch long, known as cicada-killer wasps that appear in July and August along with their preferred prey.
"We’ve never had anybody stung by them, but they’re scary-looking when you see them," he said.
If this round of extermination also fails to take care of the wasps, Braunshausen said the city probably will remove the sand and replace it with treated wood chips.
"I don’t know of any other parks in Mankato where we’re having issues," he said. "Something’s attracting them to that spot."