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giant black wasps

 
laura sharpe
Posts: 244
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Ok to start with i didnt see a section I could fit this in other than compost and since they started in my compost heap well...here it is.

I tried composting in an old garbage can, it really was too small though and the pile never heated up (i was also lax at aerating it because the can was so full i tried just tilting it and hitting it . Well i need a better system but.....I got giant black wasps in it along with tiny sugar ants. I Thought at first they might be soldier flies i was so excited...i decided to dump the compost because it would not heat up in there and i had neglected the garden so i had a hole to dump it into.

I believe this is where I got the wasps from but those still might have been soldier flies as these wasps are much larger. I am near chicago and i think i have identified the wasps as great black wasps
http://www4.uwm.edu/fieldstation/naturalhistory/bugoftheweek/great-black-wasp.cfm

....to me these are big black and scary, but they are beneficial insects...but i want to get in and weed my neglected garden over there. They are totally all over the peppermint which wasps are suppose to hate.

Can anyone tell me how to work a garden occupied by ground digging wasps?
 
Dave Lodge
Posts: 93
Location: New England
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They are pretty docile. They will leave when you do anything. Just don't attack them and I have never had an issue. I have a blueberry bush in a mountain mint patch (attracts all the wasps). Just slowly enter to give them a chance to move without feeling directly threatened. Lots of animals walk through meadows where flowers are blooming and don't get attacked by wasps. Also male great black wasps don't have stingers, and very rarely bite if handled.
pollen-digger-wasps.jpg
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Sphex pensylvanicus
great-golden-digger-wasp.jpg
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Sphex ichneumoneus
 
Meryt Helmer
Posts: 395
Location: west marin, bay area california. sandy loam, well drained, acidic soil and lots of shade
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they are lovely.

we have had paper wasp nests near where my children play. we let them be and watched them and actually all ended up enjoying them and then some critter came in the night and ate their hive. actually it took a week every night more was dug up and eaten. none of us ever got stung. we just treated them with respect.
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1969
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
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bee books chicken forest garden fungi trees
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I have added this post to the "bugs" forum.

Beautiful photos.
 
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