Paper Wasps are True Beneficials


The name wasp may conjure images of gangling black insects with stingers that could pierce a car door. But the common paper wasp looks much closer to their bad reputation cousin, the yellow jacket. Yellow jackets can seasonally drive picnickers indoors as they pursue sweets and meat. Paper wasps generally keep their stingers in their own business. They are surprisingly tolerant of people (compared to people), but can punish the trespasser that lingers in the small no fly zone around their nest. Yellow jackets prefer underground tunnels, stumps and inside walls, while paper wasps like to hang their combs under the eaves. Only the pregnant queens awake from winter and build open celled paper egg bins from wood and spit. The first workers hatch and become the housekeepers, contractors and nannies for the colony. Paper wasps form a protective air force around the garden without creating serious insect problems. After the larvae hatch, the adults fly about the yard harvesting garden damaging insects. The paper wasps feed these unfortunate leaf munchers to awaiting larvae in exchange for a drop of larvae juice. This sweet liquid provides energy a Meanwhile, gardens benefit from this organic air patrol flying sorties. All you have to do is let them live and give them space. If only they could carry away the slugs.

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