Earth Matters by Jacqueline Milner – Wasp & Nature’s Food Chain – September 9, 2012

CFN – I was doing a little pruning in my garden recently and noticed a constant flow of wasps heading to and from an herb patch growing in a bordering flower bed.  On closer inspection it was evident that there was a wasp nest underground; the entrance and exit of which is in a patch of thyme.  Now our household is a proponent of “live and let live” so our intention is to co-flourish with this colony of winged yellow and black creatures.

Not knowing much about these organisms except that they can sting and that they often can be found flying around a table or a garbage can of leftover food, particularly come August and September I decided to find out a little more about these common flying visitors that most can identify when seen.  I have come across many an individual who are afraid of wasps as they are fearful of being stung.


Certainly something we should all be aware of as wasps can become aggressive when their nests are approached or disturbed. It is this writers experience and understanding that wasps generally don’t want anything to do with us humans unless they feel threatened by our actions.  Obviously these wasps below did not feel threatened even though I was very close to their nest (perhaps I should have researched this before attempting to photograph this image) and some clearly had to fly around me to get back to their nest.

According to a few different on-line sources of information, wasps are considered a beneficial insect for the environment and humans.  They have a small role in pollinating our plants and are very good at consuming other insects which people generally consider a nuisance or a detriment to their garden.  Wasps are known to feed on grasshoppers, flies, aphids, mosquitoes, crickets and cockroaches. (Below is a photograph of wasps devouring a grasshopper, photographed in a public parking lot, an intriguing site indeed.)

So what are the predators of the wasp?

Wasps support numerous life forms as a food source.  It will probably surprise you to know that there are a number of birds and animals that eat wasps.  Wasps are a welcome snack for bats, lizards, bullfrogs, hedgehogs and spiders.  (wasps can also eat spiders)  A wasp’s nest is a welcome buffet for many of our local birds such as the chickadee, bluebirds, orioles, warblers, sparrows and house wrens.  So creating a bird friendly yard is a simple solution to keeping a balance of life in your immediate living area.

All species are an integral part of the circle of life, the necessity of which we may not know at this moment of time.  So as much as the site of a wasp can bring terror to some species, it is also seen as a welcome meal to another.  Understanding that all living things are at some time prey and at other times predator, can deliver us from the need to dominate everything in our immediate environment.  Isn’t having a healthy respect and consideration for all life forms what is needed and necessary for our continued survival?

Your commentary is always appreciated and welcome below or to


  1. A good way to keep wasp or yellow jackets away from your patio and being stung is to place a cut bottle of coke, i use dr pepper. use saran and make a hole to get in. Just like when one stings you, many more will, when one gets stuck they all stay away.

  2. I discovered a wasp’s nest in early July in under my shed. I just had to break down and try to destroy a wasp’s nest since they come out in a cloud whenever I try to take anything out. Mind you, they never stung me, just my daughter after she came back from being away all summer. Guess they took her for an enemy! I resorted to using a chemical spray and still have wasps gathering around so perhaps Kerry’s trick will work. I hate killing anything but wasps can be pretty aggressive.

  3. Great photos!
    I believe you were spared being stung simply because you put out the vibes of ‘do no harm’.
    We currently have a hornet nest in the ground in one of our gardens near the front steps. We know that it is there and avoid the area. The interesting thing is that in the cycle of nature, the nest will provide food for a foraging skunk or raccoon. It’s what happened last year.
    Thanks for sharing your insights (and photos)

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