I know many people don’t like wasps but they really are beneficial. I find them just as fascinating as I do our honey bees. It’s true that they do kill a few of our honey bees, but so do many other things. The wasps don’t take that many and we’ve all learned to live together peacefully. The wasp in the picture above is a German Yellow-jacket, I’ve found them to be very peaceful and non-aggressive. We have quite a few living in our area and have never had any problems with them. In fact I’ve gotten more stings from our bees (3) than for these guys (0).
This one is collecting wood for her nest. She is nibbling off very thin strips of wood and rolling it into a ball so she can more easily carry it. I love to watch them do this.
Now she is picking up the ball of wood and getting ready to fly back to her nest.
We also have a variety of very tiny wasp, I’m not sure what they are, they look like this wasp but are much smaller and very non-aggressive. They usually set up a nest on our porch every summer and don’t mind at all when we sit just beneath the entrance to their nest in the evenings, they come and go and mind their own business so we don’t mind them living there.
Another wasp that we are lucky enough to live with is the giant European Hornet. These guys are rather scary looking because they are so big! They measure approximately 1 1/2″ long. They have a very distinctive drone, very low and deep. I can generally tell just by the sound whether it’s a honey bee, wasp or a giant hornet flying by the window. Though the hornets are big and intimidating they are also very non-aggressive. They are rather rare here and I believe they are protected so we feel very lucky to have them living in our area. In the early spring we usually see the queen flying around and she is truly an impressive sight!
This is a picture of a European Hornet with a bit of captured prey that she will take back to feed to her growing larvae. I think she is just beautiful!