You may think of wasps as being annoying garden intruders with a painful sting. But there are many wasps that are beneficial insects that not only won’t sting you, they also help rid your yard of destructive insect pests. Parasitic wasps are one type of “pest control crew” you’ll want to invite into your garden! Wasps act as both pollinators and predators at different stages in their life cycle.
How can I attract beneficial wasps to my garden?
You can easily make your garden appealing to beneficial insects of all kinds, including parasitic wasps by taking a few simple steps:
Provide flowering plants. Pollinators and nectar-eating insects will fly to a wide range of flowering plant species, from groundcovers to trees. If you supply nectar sources, the beneficial wasps will find them.
Provide water. Water, especially during hot summer weather, is vital to all beneficial insects. You can use a shallow bowl or a birdbath to give your garden visitors water.
Because honeybees and other pollinators aren’t swimmers, you should include a few flat pebbles or rocks and keep their tops above the water level. A flat “landing strip” rock will allow your friendly beneficial insects to alight on the stone and reach the edge of the water to drink.
How can I practice safety around wasps in my garden?
Paper wasps, yellow jackets, and hornets become much more aggressive as summer progresses into July and August.
Please be aware of your surroundings and keep an eye out for areas that are good wasp habitats. Wasp colonies want to be warm, dry, and protected. Tree hollows, large tree branches, large leaves, Roofing, gutters, old sheds, storage boxes all provide perfect habitat for new wasps queens. Ground Wasps also like to nest in compost piles or piles of soil, so please be careful when working in these areas.
Please alert your garden site coordinator or VINES staff if you see a wasps nest in your garden so we can support you in safely managing the pest. If you do choose to treat the wasps yourself, please wear a protective veil, wait until dusk (when wasps are less active) and use an approved organic treatment, such as EcoSmart Wasp and Hornet Killer.