Nectar-loving Wasps

carmellia(z 4 Minn)September 12, 2006

I have never before seen wasps flock to a flower as they are to a white aster of the species variety. The plant is covered with wasps, and I don't see anything else trying to horn in. The flowers, individually, are very inconsequential. But the 3 foot high 4 foot wide clump is just covered with this little white flowers and wasps LOVE them.

Have any of you ever noticed a flower that draws wasps? I've always assumed they were not partial to nectar the way bees are. They rarely show up on a plant that is a bee magnet. Carmellia

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leftwood(z4a MN)

I do see wasps now and then on flowers (and of course fruit). But funny you should bring this up, because I grew something new this year that was an absolute magnet for wasps and nothing else - Pardanthopsis dichotoma, the Vesper Iris.

Rick

    Bookmark   September 12, 2006 at 10:50PM
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zenpotter(z4 MN)

I have two wasp nests/hives this year and have never had any before. They seem to be going for the flowers as well. I wonder if a new kind of wasp has moved in.

Pauline

    Bookmark   September 13, 2006 at 8:40AM
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leaveswave(.)

I think this is part of the natural cycle in wasp populations. They do seem to be very numerous this year. I have seen them on most of my flowers at one time or another. I've especially noticed the blue-black iridescent ones--very striking. (Black wasp or Sphex pennsylvanicus, I believe.)

    Bookmark   September 13, 2006 at 11:00AM
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lazyweeder(z4 MN)

The link below is not the wasp I saw in leaveswaves garden but I thought it was interesting reading.

Dave

Here is a link that might be useful: sphecid wasps

    Bookmark   September 13, 2006 at 12:12PM
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zenpotter(z4 MN)

Oh those look like what we have. They have found a hole along the lower edge of our stucco on the house and have a nest there. Over the weekend at the plant swap Julie noticed them going in and out of a old chipmunk hole. Now to get rid of them. Both my husband and I have been stung by them and it really hurts. We can't work in the garden near them because they are so aggressive. John got stung in the ear while he was sitting on our patio drinking a cup of coffee. I got a sting just under my eye while working in the garden. Not fun.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2006 at 12:23PM
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lazyweeder(z4 MN)

Spray them in the evening preferably after dark when all of them are in the nest. The cool evenings we're having are perfect. They won't know what hit them.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2006 at 5:19PM
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suzinnia(z4mn)

I have really enjoyed watching different plants that seem to be bee and wasp magnets.
My Hydrangea Tardiva has attracted many. In the past I've had a polygonum reynoutria that was wonderful, but I got rid of it cause it seemed to want to take over the world and I got concerned about that.
I also had a hoary Mt. Mint that was wonderful. I miss that plant a lot and would hope to find it again in the future. If anyone has it and wants to do a trade LMK.
I wish I didn't dislike the chromey yellow of goldenrod, since it is such a busy plant.
It's so cool to watch a plant that's busy with bugs, although it makes for a little more cautious movement among the plants.
Suz

    Bookmark   September 14, 2006 at 8:46AM
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john_w

I see wasps all season on my flowers: gooseneck loosestrife, swamp milkweed and 'Tardiva' hydrangea so far. I wouldn't do anything about them. Wasps are beneficial hunters who clean out pests like caterpillars, sawfly larvae, grasshoppers and aphids. I have never been stung by these little garden heroes. In just a few weeks they will die, anyway.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2006 at 11:37AM
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carmellia(z 4 Minn)

I agree John. And wasps have never seemed to feel threatened by me. If I see one flailing around in my rain barrel I scoop it out with a leaf. They reward me by patroling my cabbage and cauliflower, both the tops and bottoms of the leaves, searching out the European Cabbage Moth caterpillers.

I've seen a few of the irredescent blue variety, but not many. I understand they are a more agressive critter to deal with. Carmellia

    Bookmark   September 14, 2006 at 3:46PM
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leftwood(z4a MN)

The best way to kill bees that nest in the ground is with powdered Sevin. Throw it as far as you can into the hole(s), and at night. The bees will track it into the nest, and all will be killed - not just the worker bees. I am assuming Sevin would also kill wasps. It is a very broad spectrum insecticide, and about as mammal friendly as you can get. While I like to keep insect life around as much as possible (including bees and wasps), there are times when a person's health and well being trumps them. Pauline, you and John got stung in some of the worst places. I think it might be time to do them in.

Rick

    Bookmark   September 14, 2006 at 10:24PM
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