Friend or Foe -Wasps (15th)

Friend or Foe -Wasps (15th)

Us gardeners should love our wasps as much as our bees. Often given a poor press, wasps both social and solitary act to our benefit. Wasp larvae are carnivorous. The adults hunt insects, caterpillars, weevils to transport back to the nest to feed their young. The adults themselves are vegetarian, visiting flowers and food crops. As they aren't particular about their food source (unlike bees) they can be useful pollinators too carrying pollen from flower to flower.

Conflict arises between us and the social wasps as the larvae mature. The workers become redundant to the colony as the new queens and males develop. So they come seeking sweet rewards in our food and drink.

Solitary wasps on the other hand are more specialist and target certain species.  Parasitic wasps are useful for biological control of greenhouse pests such as whitefly, scale insects, mealybug and aphids. Solitary Hunting wasps live independently, nesting in a hole in sandy soil or rotting wood or cervices in brickwork, adapted to hunting a single species. 

Ref: RHS The Garden June 2023. The lonely but essential lives of Solitary Wasps

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