Are Wasps Pollinators?
Oregon is home to some of the country’s most beautiful forests and landscapes. The endless sea of green is due to the biodiversity supported by the living organisms in houses. Pollinators work endlessly in the spring and summer months, spreading pollen across the state and encouraging growth. Many individuals do not realize that wasps are pollinators like bees.
Definition of a Pollinator
The full definition of a pollinator is broad because not just insects act as pollinators. A pollinator is anything that carries pollen from the male part of a plant to the female part. Whether it is the wind, bees, wasps, or even beetles, if it moves pollen, then it is a pollinator!
Unintentional PollinatorsMany creatures in nature are unknown pollinators because they do not intentionally seek out pollen. Birds, butterflies, and even bats drink the nectar from blooming flowers and get pollen on their bodies. As they fly around, pollen falls off their bodies and spreads to other plants, thus making them unintentional pollinators.
Pollination is Vital
Without pollinators, life could not continue to move forward. Pollination is the key player in supporting and enriching biodiversity in our environment. Without this biodiversity, places like Oregon would be barren and unable to sustain life forms. Pollination is the key to survival.
Every year nature works to spread pollen and further its growth through various sources like bees, water, wind, and birds. Pollination is critical in helping farmers grow crops and combating environmental issues by spreading more life. Wasps are pollinators that contribute to this crucial role in our environment’s survival.
Wasps earn the title “Pollinator” because they will fly into a flower, consume the nectar, and get pollen on them. As wasps visit each flower, they begin to spread pollen to different flowers, thus spreading pollen. Additionally, the pollen they carry spreads across many other plants carried by the wind.
One of the biggest reasons wasps are not generally known to be pollinators is because they are hairless. Bees often have hair covering their bodies, making it easy for pollen to stick to them and spread. Wasps do not need to have the specific job of collecting nectar and pollen like bees, so their exposure to pollen is still minimal. No one should overlook Wasp pollination because any form of pollination is exceptionally vital to survival.
Wasp vs. Bee
While both these buzzing insects are out collecting nectar and pollen, it can be difficult to notice their differences. Here is a quick breakdown of the difference between bees and wasps as pollinators.
Next time you try to identify a wasp or bee, take note of its size. Wasps are often larger than bees, but some bees may appear relatively large depending on the species. It can be challenging to compare the dimensions, especially without the others nearby noticing the difference.
Bees will often have hair covering their entire body, whereas wasps will appear more hairless. During the flight, looking for body hair can be challenging, so take note of their body segments. Bees do not have as apparent segmented body parts, unlike wasps, which have noticeable body segmentation.
Wasp vs. Bee Pollination
Both wasps and bees play a critical role in the environment by pollinators.
But, who wears the crown for best pollinator?
Bees are more effective pollinators than wasps, but that does not take away the service wasps provide. Bees consume a strict vegetarian diet, so they spend more time in flowers collecting pollen and nectar. In contrast, wasps tend to be more omnivores, so their diet consists of insects, larvae, and nectar.
Wasps tend to have the upper hand when accessing different plants since they tend to have fewer threats. They can get the hard-to-reach plants and flowers that bees may be unable to reach.
But overall, bees and wasps have a symbiotic relationship since wasps will eat insects like aphids that destroy plant life. Keeping plant life free from harmful insects allows the bees to cover more ground and spread more pollen.
More Benefits to Wasps
Now that we know wasps are pollinators, what other benefits do they provide? There are dozens of other hidden benefits that wasps offer as they play a critical role in the environment.
- Pest Control
One of the most prominent services wasps provide is their ability to control pests. Often they will help keep gardens clean by eating larvae and other pests known to decimate plants. There are instances where wasps are released to specific areas with pest problems to help organically clean up.
- Nest Sharing
Though not entirely typical, there are instances where wasp nests provide shelter to other insects.
This one is a little weird, but wasps provide a decent amount of nutrition. In an ever-changing world, looking for alternative sources of nutrition is not something to dismiss quickly. Wasps can provide significant sources of protein and even antibiotics! Though not a popular menu item in some countries, other cultures consume wasps daily and have for generations!
Are Wasps Pollinating in Your Yard?
Many homeowners shriek and run at first glance of a wasp flying around their yard. Often the wasps will be one of the many busybodies collecting nectar in a flower bed or bush. Even then, they are intimidating; wasps will leave you alone if you do not disrupt them.
The time to get a professional wasp control service is when the colony stops you from using your yard. Typically this will only happen when they establish a wasp nest and want to protect their nests from possible intruders. When a wasp nest pops up in your yard, call Prime Pest Solutions for a quick and easy wasp removal!