If we had a pound for every time someone said to us “Wasps are such a pest” and “What’s the point in wasps?”
This always arises in the summer when they buzz around your ice cream, or can of pop.
Wasps are part of a wider family of insects called Vespidae. The group comprises of over 500 diverse species of both social (nest includes queen, workers and drones) and solitary wasps. They all build fantastically intricate nests by chewing up wood, breaking it into fibres and forming it into a form of wasp paper which is both structural and insulative. Everything that they produce be it brood, nectar, or insect parts are housed inside the paper cocoon.
Hornets and wasps are carnivorous and predate other insects. They are excellent biodynamic pest controllers, consuming large amounts of caterpillars and aphids for example. This means you have to use less pesticides to keep them under control. They form vital pest control services. Lets also not forget that they also make great pollinators, doing a great amount of work pollinating plants and flowers of every kind. If you love figs then you have to praise the wasps uses. Without the fig wasp you wouldnt have either dried or fresh types as they require this specific wasp to pollinate the flowers to make the fruit come true.
One of the reasons why they often get a bad reputation happens during the summer. Once most of its food source has finished their reproductive cycle and are dwindling in numbers then wasps get hungry. Their food sources have gone and they need to ensure the continuing success of the nests established during the year. This is when they go on the scrounge and look for other ways to sustain themselves. They find the nearest sticky substance – be it fizzy drink or a nice piece of cake and thats when they wont leave you alone. This is generally when you get stung whilst trying to swat them off your ice cream.
Stinging Wasps Are Beneficial Insects, Too
Paper wasps, hornets, and yellowjackets all belong to the same family, the Vespidae. These social wasps share the ability toconstruct their nests of wood fibers, which are carefully chewed into pulp by the wasps and molded into paper.
Hornets and paper wasps prey on other insects, and help keep pest insect populations under control. Paper wasps carry caterpillars and leaf beetle larvae back to their nests to feed their growing young. Hornets provision their nests with all manner of live insects to sate the appetites of their developing larvae. It takes a lot of bugs to feed a hungry brood. Both hornets and paper wasps provide vital pest control services.
This we appreciate may not have changed your mind and fascination of wasps. So for those still unconvinced here are some stunning photos of these beneficial insects (from around the world) which will hopefully change your mind.