Bees are Good, but What About Wasps and Hornets?



Increasingly, people agree that bees are good for us and the environment and are indeed essential to our survival, but what about wasps and hornets, aren’t these useful too?

Hornets are large wasps and, like bees, wasps pollinate plants and flowers as they feed on nectar. If we were to eradicate wasps it would cause more problems than it would solve. So, wasps do serve a useful purpose and despite being an irritation at certain times of the year, they are an essential and beneficial insect.

Wasps are predatory insects and large numbers of workers are involved in providing protein for developing larvae in the nest over the summer. Insects are killed and collected by adult wasps and chewed up into small food packages. These food parcels are fed to young wasp larvae in the nest, which turn the prey exoskeletons (chitin) into a sugary droplets to feed back to the adult wasps. Towards the end of August, with no larvae to feed and raise, all the adult wasps must find other sources of sugar to sustain themselves, and this is why they are attracted to sugar-rich foods and drinks at our BBQs, picnic tables, and in our homes.

I’m glad that Sir David Attenborough is not responsible for the “fake news” advising us to leave containers of sugary water out to feed tired bees in hot weather. Bees are more than capable of looking after their own requirements. We need to improve the prospects for invertebrates in general by planting more pollen and nectar rich plants.

A hornet nest will contain around 300 individuals.


Hornet nest

It has been estimated that social wasps kill around 14 million kilograms of insect prey in the UK each summer. A world without wasps would be a world with a very much larger number of insect in our homes, gardens, and on our crops.

It’s important to acknowledge that insects are generally having a hard time; changing environments, changing climate, habitat loss and the use of insecticides are all taking their toll on these vital creatures.

20 Comments on “Bees are Good, but What About Wasps and Hornets?

  1. I think Hornets are great, we get lots of them in our garden, the woods and surrounding fields. I was once stung by one, but it was my own fault, I felt something in my hair and tried to brush it out. It was a hornet and it stung me on the neck.
    Last year I filmed a Hornet eating a wasp, gross but fascinating.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: I Found a Hornet Nest this Morning | The Wilden Marsh Blog

  3. I’m going to assume your closeup photo of the hornet nest was taken with a telephoto lens and not a macro otherwise you are much, much braver than me. 🙂


  4. Will hornets and wasps prey on antt? I have a UK friend who often gets exterminators in to clear wasp and hornet nests from her property which I think is a shame. But i know she also gets ants in her house (it’s a old one). If i could persaude her the wasps would eat the ants maybe she would leave them alone!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s what they do, Roger. Nature follows its own course. The wasps are taking advantage of the resources that Mother Nature has provided. Do we interfere or not is the dilemma.

      Liked by 1 person

    • It’s unusual for wasps to destroy a bee colony. It’s only colonies that are already weak that are at risk. Beekeepers can help by using entrance reducers in autumn.

      Liked by 2 people

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