Wasps Are Our Friends

by Cynthia

I know not everyone will agree with me with this but wasps are actually our allies in the garden. They prey upon many types of garden pests and feed them to their young. Some also act as pollinators. The paper wasp is what I find frequenting my garden. These are the wasps that build intricate paper dwellings on our eaves. Thankfully they are not as easily agitated as hornets and yellow jackets can be.

I noticed one day some paper wasps were swarming around a saucer that had collected water from my morning spent watering the garden. This saucer of water was in an area that receives quite a lot of use as it is close to the sliding glass door. I do not care to have a wasp watering hole that close to my back door. That was when a light bulb went off in my head. What if I was to make a little watering hole for the wasps by the veggie garden? The veggie garden is far enough from the house to prevent any unwanted encounters plus the watering hole would be close enough to the garden for the wasps to help me out.

Armed with this idea in mind I gathered up some rocks and placed them in a small birdbath that I have not been using this year. I filled the birdbath up with water to just cover the rocks half way. After standing back to admire my creation I left it alone to see how long it would take for the wasps to find their new oasis. It did not take long at all. By the afternoon my little transformed birdbath was a hopping wasp hang out.

The picture below shows them happily drinking away. It can be clicked on to enlarge. (And yes, I am crazy enough to get that close to them to get their picture! In fact, I think my boys find me nuts just for making a wasp watering station.)

I personally find it really cool to see that my little idea is actually working. The wasps land on the rocks, get their drink, and fly on. As with so many things when it comes to gardening with nature I am reminded of that infamous line from the 1989 movie Field of Dreams: “build it and they will come.” 

For more information on wasps please check out the two links below. Both have excellent pictures and are a wealth of information.

  1. Wikipedia
  2. Washington State University (This is a pdf file so you will need Adobe to read it.)
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