Alphabetical Plant Listing


Yellow Jacket, Family Vespidae

Wasp is a common name used to refer to insects of the Hymenoptera order, which includes over 100,000 species. Some of the most well-known wasp species include yellow jackets, hornets, and paper wasps.

Many species of wasps play important roles in ecosystems as pollinators, parasites, and predators. However, some species of wasps can also be pests, causing problems for humans by building nests near homes, stinging, and damaging crops.

It is important to handle wasps with caution, as some species have a painful sting that can be dangerous for people who are allergic to their venom.

Where to find them

Wasps can be found in many regions worldwide, from tropical forests to deserts and temperate woodlands. The diversity of wasp species means that they can be found in various habitats, from the ground to high in the air. Some species of wasps, such as paper wasps, are commonly found in urban areas and are well-adapted to human environments.


Wasps are typically characterized by their slender bodies, narrow waists, and folded wings. Some species of wasps are brightly colored, while others are more muted in appearance.

Wasps have a range of body sizes, with some species being only a few millimeters long, while others can grow to be several centimeters in length. They have a pair of large, compound eyes, as well as one or two smaller, simple eyes. They also have powerful mandibles that they use to hunt and manipulate objects.

One of the most distinctive features of wasps is their stingers, which are modified ovipositors (egg-laying structures) that they use to defend themselves and their nests. Some species of wasps have venom that can cause pain and swelling and can be dangerous for people who are allergic to it.

Life Cycle

The life cycle of wasps can vary greatly depending on the species, but most wasps go through four stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult.

  1. Egg: The female wasp lays eggs, which are often deposited in a nest or on a host insect.

  2. Larva: When the eggs hatch, they form larvae, which are worm-like and have no legs. The larvae feed on food provided by the adult wasp or on a host insect, depending on the species.

  3. Pupa: Once the larvae have finished feeding, they undergo metamorphosis and form pupae. During this stage, the larvae transform into adults, and their bodies change dramatically.

  4. Adult: The pupae emerge as adult wasps, which mate and lay eggs to start the cycle over again. Depending on the species, adult wasps may live for several weeks to several months.

It is worth noting that the life cycle of wasps can vary greatly between species. Some species of wasps have a simple life cycle, with only one generation per year, while others have multiple generations and a more complex life cycle. Additionally, some species of wasps form colonies, with different individuals specializing in different tasks, such as foraging for food or caring for the young.

Why a Beneficial Insect?

Many species of wasps are beneficial insects that play important roles in ecosystems.

Wasps are important pollinators and help to fertilize flowers as they feed on nectar and other flower-based foods.

They are also important predators and parasites, feeding on other insects that can be pests to crops and gardens. For example, some species of wasps are parasites, laying their eggs in the bodies of other insects, such as caterpillars. The wasp larvae then feed on the host, effectively controlling its population and reducing the damage it can cause. Other species of wasps hunt and feed on insects harmful to crops, such as aphids, flies, and beetles.

It is important to note that not all species of wasps are beneficial, and some can be pests themselves, causing problems for humans by building nests near homes, stinging, and damaging crops. However, many species of wasps are important and play important roles in maintaining the balance of ecosystems.

Attract this Beneficial Insect to your Garden

Whether or not you should attract wasps to your garden depends on several factors, including the type of wasp and the purpose of your garden. In general, attracting beneficial species of wasps, such as those that are parasites or predators of other insects, can help to control pest populations and maintain a healthy ecosystem.

However, it is also important to consider the potential risks of attracting wasps to your garden. Some species of wasps, such as yellow jackets and hornets, can be aggressive and may sting if they feel threatened. If you have young children or pets that play in the garden, attracting wasps may not be a good idea.

Suppose you are interested in attracting wasps to your garden. In that case, there are several things you can do to make your garden more appealing to them, such as planting native flowering plants that produce nectar and providing sources of water. You can also provide nest sites, such as nesting boxes, to encourage wasps to set up a home in your garden.

It is always important to be cautious when dealing with wasps and to handle them with care, especially if you are not familiar with the species present in your area. If you are not comfortable with attracting wasps to your garden, or if you have concerns about their impact on your family or pets, it may be best to avoid doing so.

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 BushAlex, Shutterstock

While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.

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