Wasps look a lot like honeybees. Therefore, many assume they also pollinate plants in the same manner. Yet, typically, this is an incorrect assumption. Wasps are beneficial predators within a garden and aid in the control of certain pests. The one stipulation here is that most wasps also will feed on diverse insects, so they can also hunt the beneficial insects – not just the pests.
Vital Role Of Wasps As Pollinators: Do Wasp Pollinate Flowers?
Wasps are generally accidental pollinators, so while they are looking for nectar from flowers, they get pollen on their small hairs and passively transfer pollen from one flower nectar to the next. The flowers that tend to lure in wasps are dull, odorous, and have easy access to nectar.
Wasps are not able to make honey. Instead, their nests are used for the queen to lay eggs. These nests are made from weathered wood from porches or old fences. They chew these wood fibers into a pulp paste, then form it into hexagon-shaped cells. Some species use other materials.
These wasps are great at controlling pests because they are often specialized to protect crops and lay eggs on one singular species.
Wasps help control the invasive species Tetrastichus planipennisi. The parasitoid wasps are released to combat the emerald ash borer, an invasive pest resulting in major consequences for Minnesota's forests and neighborhoods.
Mud daubers are another common wasp that is found in North America. It is often necessary to exterminate this wasp species when it creates unsightly nests around your home.
Fig wasps are pollinating wasps
The largest species of pollinating wasps are fig wasps, which are responsible for pollinating hundreds of species of figs. Orchids have adapted visual cues and specific scents that smell like female wasps, so male wasps will come and attempt to mate, which in effect, allows for pollination of the orchid.
In the tropics, minute fig wasps are abundant. Figs and common wasps are keystone species in many tropical ecosystems. Fig wasps are responsible for pollinating almost 1,000 species of figs. Figs are unusual fruits as the flowers are actually inside the immature fruit.
In order to mate, the fig wasp will go through a tiny pore, where they lay eggs and pollinate the tiny flowers. Fig wasps are the sole pollinators for this fruit. Each fig is formed by a large number of tiny flowers that face the inside of the fig.
The fig plant produces a scent that attracts female fig wasps, and the wasp enters through a small hole within the fruit. The female paper wasp then lays her eggs while pollinating several fig flowers. Then, after laying eggs, the female wasp dies. These eggs become future fig wasps, which then exit the fig plant when they mature.
Do Wasps Pollinate?
Wasps are considered beneficial even though they do not make honey or pollinate plants. The benefits of wasps over honey bees and wasp pollination are rarely understood. Wasps are considered to be important pollinators. Wasps are insects in the Hymenoptera order, the same one as bees and ants.
The great black wasp is called a cricket or katydid wasp because they feed their young to crickets and katydids.
A wasps diet is mostly filled with insects; however, they eat nectar, honey, fruit, and some plants. Some wasp species , such as bald-faced hornets, only eat nectar and fruit juices
These wasps help the world's ecosystems function as wasp pollinate flowers, control pests, spread seeds, and help decompose carcasses. The lack of hairs on a wasp does not allow for many pollen grains to attach to their bodies.
Like bees, wasps pollinate by transferring pollen between flowers as they feed. Predatory wasps also feed off harmful bugs, feeding their young larvae and using them as hosts for their eggs. Eliminating these insects aids in keeping plants healthy, which works favorably toward a balanced ecosystem.
What are Pollen Wasps?
There are some wasps called pollen wasps, of which there are about 300 species, and these true wasps are more bee-like in their behavior. They are vegetarian and solely feed off of pollen and nectar.
Pollen wasps prefer flowers of the waterleaf family, most species that are located in North America. Pollen and fig wasps are sometimes more effective pollinators than bees in certain areas.
Most wasps have stingers that are used to capture insects or spiders for food for their larvae. After the female is done laying eggs, she then dies.
Who Pollinates Plants?
Since most species don't help with pollination, many insects might wonder what bugs pollinate plants. Honeybees are the most common pollinators, but other species include butterflies, beetles, ladybugs, moths, and flies. Nevertheless, some species are able pollen vectors, and many play a crucial role as specialist pollinators.
Most wasps are unable to pollinate plants because they do not have the fur-like soft hairs or a special body part for pollen storage as bees do. Wasps are closely related to bees and are useful pollinators.
Wasps are also good pollinators and sometimes even step up and pollinate plants when bees are absent.
Which Plants Are Dependent on the Wasp Population?
The plant that is most dependent on wasps are orchids. These flowers have taken on the scent of female wasps, which attracts the males to try to mate with them. The male wasp will inadvertently transfer pollen and pollinate the orchid's flowers by doing so. Another example is the role fig wasps play in the pollination process.
Bee vs Wasp Pollination
Bee vs. Wasp Pollination: Bees are greater contributors to pollination because the majority of their species are vegetarian. They also have lots of hair to store and transport pollen, whereas wasps have sparse hairs and smoother bodies, making wasp pollination mostly accidental. Bees also have a pollen basket for pollen on their legs, which can transport a lot of pollen.
Wasps Are Important Pollinators
The wasp species belong to the order of insects known as Hymenoptera, which contains all the major world pollinators, bees included. Although not identified as a beneficial insect, wasps are important in controlling pests, invasive bugs, and pollination.
The largest species of pollinating wasps are fig wasps, which are responsible for pollinating hundreds of species of figs. Some wasp species (such as bald-faced wasps and hornets) only eat nectar and fruit juices.
Adult wasps do not eat the prey; instead, they gather and eat sugar from the nectar of flowers or from your sugary drinks!
There are over 150,000 species of wasps. Some are tiny and do not sting; these are parasitic wasps, which lay their eggs in the bodies of other animals: arthropods, animals with external skeletons, segmented bodies, and jointed legs. Insects, such as wasps and spiders, are arthropods.
One example is the hornworm, which is a victim of parasitic wasps. Wasps will lay their eggs inside hornworms, which makes the hornworm a host of other wasps. The hatching wasp eggs then kill hornworms.
Why do Wasps Sting?
Wasps are typically beneficial; they can become a pest when they nest too close to buildings or other areas with a lot of traffic. They play a vital role in nature when wasp pollinate flowers. However, they act aggressively when people get too close to their nest, which can become a big issue if they create their nest right above your house.
Wasps use their venomous sting to subdue prey and defend their nest. They also use it to defend themselves. Wasps sometimes sting people because they see us as a probable threat, even if we don't really pose one.
Many wasp species feed on a wide variety of food sources, ranging from nectar and pollen to other bugs. Social wasps, like yellowjackets and hornets, feed on various bugs, with studies finding that social wasps eat insects, caterpillars, beetles, and flies.
Some species of wasp also lay eggs on insect larvae, which hatch and feed on the organism, acting as a natural pest control. Adults feed on sugars, which they may obtain by feeding on nectar, and honeydew produced from other insects such as aphids and fruits. However, most wasp species hunt other invertebrates and insect prey to feed their offspring. These beneficial predators aid and control garden pests.
Call a Professional to Get Rid of Wasps
Social wasp colonies survive for one year. The workers die in freezing temperatures while mated queens leave their old nests and search for protective places to spend the winter, meaning winter is a great time to remove visible wasp nests because they are now vacant.
If you have a wasp infestation, call A.N.T. Pest Control at 815-215-7211 to get rid of them.