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The Truth About Wasps

The Truth About Wasps

Wasps may be a better garden friend than you think

It's fair to say that wasps have a pretty rough reputation, but there's much more to these insects than a sting and a bad temper. Though you're probably shaking your head in fervent denial, there are fair few reasons to reconsider your opinion of the humble wasp.

Despite the fact that neither the European wasp (‪Vespula germanica‬) nor the common wasp (‪Vespula vulgaris‬) are native to Australia, they are here to stay. 

Certainly not the bottom of the food chain, but far from the top, wasps contribute to the diets of many insect, bird, and mammal species alike and an essential component in the health of any garden ecosystem, and with greater understanding comes great respect!  Whether you consider wasps to be a formidable opponent or a benevolent ally is mostly a case of perspective:

  • Wasps prey on pests such as caterpillars, beetle larvae and other grubs responsible for the destruction of cultivated crops and ornamental plants
  • As voracious predators, they often take part in multiple hunting expeditions every hour
  • Wasps can even be purchased for use as a natural pesticide in commercial operations
  • Adult individuals cannot eat solids but rather seek out nectar, bringing about their direct involvement in pollination

If the wasps around you aren't bothering you, the proper management of the factors that attract and incense wasps into both proximity and aggression can lead to favourable coexistence. 

If a wasp nest is a found a little too close to home and poses a genuine threat, consult a professional regarding its removal. Wasps are aggressive and don't take kindly to being poked, smoked, sprayed or set on fire. Unless you know what you are doing, you risk burning down your house, dousing yourself in chemicals or just getting stung.

Image: Torsten Lorenz/Shutterstock

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