Understanding Fig Wasps: A Guide for Homeowners

Posted by Matthew Rathbone on January 14, 2023 · 3 mins read

As a homeowner, you may have noticed tiny, flying insects hovering around your fig trees. These are fig wasps, and they play a crucial role in pollinating figs. In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at these fascinating creatures and how they impact your backyard ecosystem.

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 Fig Wasps?

Fig wasps are small, winged insects that belong to the family Agaonidae. They are named after their primary habitat - fig trees. There are over 750 species of fig wasps, each with unique characteristics and behaviors. Most fig wasps range in size from 1-2 mm and have a lifespan of only a few days.

The Lifecycle of Fig Wasps

The lifecycle of fig wasps is closely tied to that of fig trees. Female fig wasps lay their eggs inside immature figs through a specialized structure called an ovipositor. As the eggs hatch, the larvae feed on the fig’s internal structures and develop into adults. Once mature, male fig wasps mate with female fig wasps, and the females leave the fig carrying pollen. They then seek out an unripe fig where they can lay their eggs, continuing the cycle.

Why Are Fig Wasps Important?

Fig wasps are essential to the survival of fig trees. Without them, fig trees would not be able to produce fruit. Additionally, fig wasps help to maintain the genetic diversity of fig trees by pollinating different varieties. Fig trees have a unique pollination system known as mutualism, which means that both the tree and the wasp benefit from their relationship.

Are Fig Wasps Harmful?

While fig wasps are important to the ecosystem, they can be a nuisance for homeowners. If you have a fig tree in your backyard, you may notice an increase in the number of wasps during certain times of the year. However, fig wasps do not sting or harm humans in any way. They are also not attracted to human food or garbage.

How to Control Fig Wasps

If you’re concerned about the number of fig wasps in your backyard, there are several steps you can take to control their population. One effective method is to remove any fallen or overripe figs from the ground. This will prevent female fig wasps from laying their eggs in those figs. Additionally, you can try using sticky traps or insecticides specifically designed for fig wasps.


Fig wasps are fascinating insects that play a crucial role in pollinating fig trees. While they can be a nuisance for homeowners, they are harmless and do not pose a threat to humans or pets. By understanding the lifecycle of fig wasps and their importance in the ecosystem, homeowners can appreciate these tiny creatures and the critical role they play in our backyards.