Do Wasps Pollinate? What Homeowners Need to Know

Posted by Matthew Rathbone on January 02, 2023 · 3 mins read

As a homeowner, it’s not uncommon to see wasps buzzing around your backyard. While they may be seen as pests, wasps actually play an important role in our ecosystem, including pollination. In this article, we’ll discuss whether wasps pollinate and how you can help protect them.

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.

Do Wasps Pollinate?

The short answer is yes, some species of wasps do pollinate. However, compared to bees, wasps are not as efficient at pollinating plants. This is because bees have specialized body parts that make them better adapted for collecting and transferring pollen, such as hairy bodies and specific structures on their legs to hold pollen.

That being said, there are some species of wasps that do contribute to pollination, particularly those that feed on nectar. These types of wasps inadvertently collect pollen on their bodies when they visit flowers to feed on nectar. When they move on to the next flower, some of this pollen rubs off and gets transferred to the next plant, allowing for cross-pollination.

The Benefits of Wasps in Your Backyard

While wasps may not be as effective at pollinating as bees, they still provide many benefits in your backyard. For one, they are natural predators of many common garden pests, such as caterpillars and aphids. By keeping these populations in check, wasps can help keep your garden healthy and reduce the need for pesticides.

Additionally, many species of wasps also serve as parasitoids, which means they lay their eggs inside other insects, such as spiders or flies. As the wasp larvae develop, they feed on the host insect, ultimately killing it. While this may seem gruesome, it helps control populations of pests that could otherwise damage your garden or home.

How to Protect Wasps in Your Backyard

If you want to encourage wasps in your backyard, there are a few things you can do to help protect them:

  • Plant native flowering plants: Like bees, wasps are attracted to flowers that produce nectar and pollen. By planting native flowering plants in your yard, you can provide a reliable food source for these beneficial insects.

  • Avoid using pesticides: Pesticides can harm all types of insects, including beneficial ones like wasps. Instead of using chemical sprays, try using natural pest control methods, such as neem oil or insecticidal soap.

  • Provide shelter: Many species of wasps build their nests in trees or other natural areas. By leaving dead wood or creating a small brush pile in your yard, you can provide a safe space for wasps to nest without disrupting your daily activities.

In conclusion, while wasps may not be the most effective pollinators, they still play an important role in our ecosystems and can provide many benefits to homeowners. By taking steps to protect and support these valuable insects, you can create a healthy and thriving backyard environment.