Our Helpful Friends
Wasps again?!?! Yes. Wasps again. Hear me out…
In the past month or so you may have noticed a bunch of wasps flying around in circles low to the ground for seemingly no reason. If so, you have probably witnessed the scoliid (sko-LEE-ud) wasp!
For gardeners in the know, the sight of these wasps brings a sense of joy, or at least grim satisfaction. They know the scoliid wasp is a predator of many of the pests that drive us insane including May bugs, June beetles, and the awful and invasive Japanese beetle.
While the adult wasps are usually only spotted when they are above ground drinking nectar from flowers (and also pollinating them in the process), they can also be seen flying low above the ground. They do this when they are hunting! The female wasps fly low “looking” for the grubs of the pests they love so much. Once one is located she digs down to find it and using her ovipositor (the stinger) she injects her eggs inside the grub. The eggs, once hatched, release the larvae of the wasp which then feeds on the grub from the inside, thus killing it and keeping it from eating our lawn, flowers, and gardens.
And while the female can sting, she is not aggressive and will only sting if being mishandled. (Who among us doesn’t?) The males cannot sting and they spend most of their time eating nectar and chillin’.
Janet Douberly runs PR for wasps at Downtown Greens.
This article was originally published in the September 2023 edition of Front Porch Magazine. Check out the full edition by using the button below!