One of my childhood fears was wasps. By the time I had reached the tender age of 10, I'd received my share of stings, including one on the tip of my finger from a black hornet that was particularly painful. And then there was "My Girl," which not only made me cry, but also fueled my deep fear of bees, wasps, and anything else with a stinger. (In "My Girl," one of the main characters, a little boy, dies of an allergic reaction after being stung.)
The fear led me to one memorable childhood moment when I was quietly coloring at an outside table when a wasp of some sort stung me on the knee. I went into hysterics – absolute hysterics – and ran into my grandmother’s house where she was on the phone in an important conversation related to her business that just happened to be recorded. My panicked screams were recorded for future posterity. Then there was the drama around killer bees when they first appeared in the United States, which certainly didn’t help me with my fears.
Thankfully my childhood fears lessened as I got older and settled into a strong dislike (with the exception of killer bees; I'm still terrified of them). So I was skeptical when I heard about the idea of allowing wasps to build their nests in your yard. I was researching more natural methods of removing wasps from your yard, when I came across two reasons you just may want to let wasps stay put.
Wasps provide pest control
While they can also kill some beneficial insects, they can be helpful in eating crop-destroying bugs such as grubs, caterpillars and weevils. They are so useful in this respect that farmers will sometimes ship wasps in as a natural pest control for their crops. Now that’s an all-natural pesticide!
To see how this works, watch this video featuring a gardener sharing the useful role wasps played in her yard.
Wasps help pollinate
This is something I'd never heard before today, but wasps actually help pollinate plants! Honeybees are far more effective because of their hairy legs, but still, considering the alarming health of our bee colonies, we need all the help we can get, and wasps do help pollinate.
Granted, wasps that are too threatening because of where they are located (such as too near your house) may need to be destroyed. If you, or a member of your family, is allergic to them, I would also consider removing any nests top priority. When we first moved into our new house, we had very aggressive wasps camped out on our porch and in a grill that was left behind by the last renter. Thankfully, a neighbor who shares our backyard with us got rid of them for us. There's a time and place to do this, and that was definitely one of them! Because you may also find yourself in a similar situation, my next post will share some thoughts on how to get rid of wasps without using chemicals.