Gardening

Wasps and hornets helping in the garden

I’m not the only one busy in the garden. My helpers, wasps and hornets, are out there too.

Most people look at wasps and hornets as enemies, but in the garden they can be a real help by killing insect pests.

Yesterday I spotted a wasp on a broccoli leaf. It was holding a cabbage worm caterpillar it had just captured. The wasp stung the worm to kill it and was getting ready to fly back to its nest.  Wasps and hornets chew up caterpillars and other insects to use as food for their young larvae.

This hornet is gathering wood fibers from my garden shed. It is using them as raw materials for building its paper nest.

I was happy to see that wasp helping out in my garden. Not only was it harvesting insects from the garden but it also reminded me that there were still plenty of caterpillars around.

I need to do something soon before the cabbage worms do anymore damage my broccoli.  The biological insecticide Bacillus thuringensis (Bt) is my first choice. It kills caterpillars but is harmless to beneficial hunting insects like wasps and hornets.

Bob Dluzen
As a result of being a gardener for more than 40 years, 30 of those as a professional, Bob's gardening has become an integral part of his life. "It's the ever-changing seasons and the wide variety of plants and gardens that keeps me intrigued," he says. Bob lives and gardens in rural Monroe County.