My favourite garden guests of the yellow and black variety are our lovely big meandering bumblebees, buzzing and bumping their way through their floral buffet. Honey bees are also always welcome to feast here to their hearts' delight. When I went out to snap a few photos of our camellias, however, the buzzing buffet guests feasting at the camellia's offerings were not bees this day, but wasps!
Human aversion to their angry stingers not withstanding, are they garden guests or pests? I opted to put my wasp prejudice aside and did a little reading to mixed outcomes. Social wasps (colony wasps) are snack-happy consumers and deplete nectar and honeydew otherwise available to support native species, as well as consuming insects and harming wildlife with their stings. Alternative opinion is that they can be useful predators in the right location, controlling pest crop-feeding inspects; however, they are indiscriminate between friend and foe when it comes to lunch. Local conservation authority guidance is to find and destroy any wasp nest within your property. At the moment, we have none - these were transient feeders and didn't seem interested in anything but a brief stopover on the camellias.
If you have suggestions for encouraging the bees and/or discouraging the wasps, please leave a comment or post us a message on the GiRL Facebook page. Thanks ever so much!
I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created parasitic wasps with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of Caterpillars.
- Charles Darwin