Everyone is hearing about the importance of pollinators to the world's food systems in the media these days, and the threats to their existence. Most people think about honey bees when they hear pollinators, but there are many other insects who contribute to the pollination of flowers. Along with honey bees, there are hundreds of bees native to North America who carry out the important task of pollination. My lawn is full of digger bees and I am trying to help nurture some mason bees in my backyard. But other insects carry out the act of pollination as well, such as flies, butterflies, moths and beetles.
Are Wasps Pollinators?
One pollinator that most people are unhappy to see are wasps. Yes, they can be aggressive, particularly as the summer comes to an end, when they are grumpy and their food supplies begin to dwindle. Until I spent more time in gardens observing the insects that visit and populate the plants I didn't realize that wasps visit flowers. They may accidentally pollinate when they are hunting their prey in flowers, but it turns out they also drink nectar!
But Aren't Wasps The "Bad Guys"?
I have long been terrified of wasps. I was stung repeatedly, in fact dozens of times at once, when I was a young child and inadvertently disturbed a large wasp nest. As I have become more passionate about organic gardening, however, I have come to appreciate the wasp. The mere sight of them can cause people to scream and run away. But they are an important part of the ecosystem. They are carnivores who hunt for pest insects that may eat our plants. They are everywhere, and as the summer wears on their numbers increase, so if you can't beat them, join them, so to speak. I have even been able to get close enough to some to take their photos, something that I consider quite brave because of wasps' renowned aggression.
Of course I still get frustrated with wasps in the dog days of summer when they swarm around us as we eat our dinner outside. But I have a new appreciation of this much maligned insect.
Spot The Pollinator
My spot the pollinator photo is a bald faced hornet, taken on my raspberries.
I am linking up with The Green Bean Chronicles who is hosting the Spot the Pollinator segment. Pop on over and visit her.