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Wasps: Friend or foe?

 
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Good Wednesday y'all! Blake here to find out how wasps play a key role in our local ecosystems and how folks react. How are wasps treated bad by people as pests or intuders? Could they also become among the key pollenators to this day as folks become more enviromentally aware? I got stung by a wasp at one time. How can we do better in aiding native wasps? Please reach me if you all have anything to add. Take care.
 
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Wasps are a vast and varied group but they are not that much for pollination.  Their  main function is predators.  
Some of them are my friends and others not keeping their place become foes. you can learn more in the bugs forum.
Wasps for pest controlmoving the wasp nest
I will ad your question to that forum but leave my response here who think wasp is a bee so it must be a pollinator.
One group of wasps is my best friends. They are referred to as paper wasps. unlike other wasps that build paper nests the leave the the paper cells open instead of closed in like yellow jackets and hornets.   Another difference is that they are a sisterhood instead of queen and workers so they work as a small family unit and do not have aggressive defenders.  I try to keep them working around my house and in my greenhouse and they stand up on their long legs to see who is there and then leave me alone.   Having many of them they rob the nest of a queen yellow jacket or wasp when they first start to build it and lay eggs but do not have any guard to protect them while she is foraging. This means i seldom have a problem with those who become foes when they will not tolerate your presence near the nest and begin coming after your food when you eat outdoors.

Early spring aphid begin showing up in the greenhouse and I leave them for the wasps so they can get a good start and protect me as I described. Other solitary wasps are also generally friend not foe such as mud dobber and hole nesting ones.  When an aggressive wasp nest shows up I use a wet vacuum in the dark to suck them out of the entrance hole and collapse the nest.   They do a very good job as predators but they are not good neighbors.
 
Blake Lenoir
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Then as gardeners, should we concentrate on drawing paper wasps to help pollenate our crops and combat key pests such as flies and others?
 
Hans Quistorff
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Yes they like things like hollow pipes and things that make a little roof to build their nest under.  When you see them on their nest be sure to talk to them but don't bump their nest.
 
Blake Lenoir
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Wasp houses are edifying institutions for all in the local ecosystem. My habitats are of full sun and are wasps sensitive to the sun's rays in any way? And how we keep wasps safe from ourselves and  themselves?
 
Hans Quistorff
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Wasp larva in the nest are sensitive to overheating so they want a shady roof.  They want to protect their nest from predators so we need to respect their space or they will sting to drive you away. Like all the living thing on my farm, I try to protect the friendly ones and make the unfriendly ones go away
 
Blake Lenoir
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You mean wasps should be left alone and let them build their own house instead of manmade? Could native plants help speed up the shelter and nesting?
 
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Hans Quistorff wrote:Wasps are a vast and varied group but they are not that much for pollination.  Their  main function is predators.



Here in north Idaho wasps are our main pollinator now. Mason bees and honey bees are very rare. We do have bumblebees that are the main pollinator in the spring.

One of our most obvious pollinators is the Great Golden Digger Wasp. It is both predator and pollinator. It it not aggressive towards me.

Another pollinator is the Bald Faced Hornets. We had a lot of them last year on my fennel and other herbs. They weren't aggressive towards me but I was careful around them since they are extremely fast and you can't out-run them if they get mad at you. We don't have very many this year though. Not sure why.

There are also a variety of smaller wasps and bees that pollinate but they don't sit still long enough for me to get a good look.

I don't worry about providing homes for them since the Digger wasps make tunnels in the dirt and they're better at it than I am. We also have brush piles for wildlife and rock piles for snakes and other species. What I am doing for them is trying to keep a steady supply of flowering plants for all insects to use. One of the favorites is lemon thyme. The plant is swarming with insects every summer. They seem to like the flowers in the Apiaceae family like lovage, fennel, carrot, parsnip, parsley, etc.  They love Allium flowers too.  My leek plants were a big hit this year. Bumblebees love comfrey flowers so I let them flower then cut the stem when it's about done and use it for mulch.
 
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