Are Wasps Pollinators?: Understanding the Role of Wasps and Bees in Your Backyard

Posted by Matthew Rathbone on January 10, 2023 · 3 mins read

As a homeowner, you may have noticed the buzzing of bees and wasps in your backyard. While both insects may look similar at first glance, they serve different roles in your garden ecosystem. In this article, we will explore whether or not wasps are pollinators, the differences between wasps and bees, and how to safely coexist with these insects in your backyard.

DIY Wasp removal recommendations

For non aggressive wasps I've had great luck spraying the nests with this Spectracide wasp remover in the evening. For more aggressive wasps I also use this rediculous looking upper torso Beekeeping suit. It seems silly, but trust me, it's amazing.

What are Pollinators?

Pollinators are animals that help plants reproduce by transferring pollen from the male part of the flower to the female part. This process is essential for the growth and survival of many plants, including fruits, vegetables, and flowers. While bees are the most well-known pollinators, other animals, including wasps, butterflies, and moths, also play a crucial role in pollination.

Are Wasps Pollinators?

Yes, some wasp species do help pollinate plants. However, unlike bees, wasps do not actively collect pollen. Instead, wasps feed on nectar, and as they move from flower to flower, they inadvertently transfer pollen between plants.

While wasps may not be as effective as bees when it comes to pollination, they still play a vital role in your backyard ecosystem. Some species of wasps prey on pests that can damage your plants, while others act as decomposers, breaking down dead insects and plant matter.

How Do Wasps Differ from Bees?

Wasps and bees may look similar, but there are several key differences between the two insects. Wasps are generally slimmer and smoother than bees and have longer, more slender bodies. Unlike bees, which are covered in fine hair, wasps have smooth, shiny bodies.

Behaviorally, wasps are more aggressive than bees and are more likely to sting if they feel threatened. Unlike bees, which die after stinging, wasps can sting multiple times without dying.

How to Safely Coexist with Wasps and Bees in Your Backyard

While wasps and bees may seem like unwanted pests, they play an important role in your backyard ecosystem. Here are some tips for safely coexisting with these insects:

  • Create a diverse garden: Plant a variety of flowers, fruits, and vegetables to attract a diverse range of pollinators to your garden.
  • Provide shelter: Install bee hotels or create nesting sites to provide shelter for bees and wasps.
  • Avoid using pesticides: Pesticides can harm pollinators, so try to avoid using them in your garden.
  • Stay calm: If you encounter a wasp or bee, remain calm and still. Do not swat or hit the insect, as this can provoke them to attack.

In conclusion, wasps do play a role as pollinators in your backyard, but their effectiveness is less compared to bees. By understanding the differences between wasps and bees and learning how to coexist with them, you can create a healthy and thriving garden ecosystem.