When it comes to insects that help tomato plants, wasps are near the top of the list. But the truth is, they actually benefit your entire garden more than you might ever imagine!
Not only do wasps play an important role in helping to pollinate some garden crops, they are critical in controlling unwanted pests. Especially when it comes to tomato and pepper plants.
Here is a look at the helpful benefits of having wasps in the garden, and why you might want to leave a few of those paper wasps nests hanging around.
How Wasps Help Tomato Plants – And The Garden
Wasps & Tomato Plants
Wasps are the ultimate protector when it comes to controlling the dreaded hornworm. And when it comes to destroying a tomato plant quickly, the hornworm is quite the pro.
Hornworms can devastate tomato, pepper and even potato plants overnight. These burgeoning, hard to spot, rubbery-green beasts devour plants with amazing speed.
But that is where the paper wasp comes to the rescue! Female wasps actually seek out hornworms as a living host. She deposits her eggs inside of the hornworm, and when they hatch, destroy the hornworm in the process.
Evidence of this can be seen on hornworms that have small white “eggs” on their backs. It is all but a death sentence for the hornworm. In addition to hornworms, wasps also help control many other insect populations as well.
The Wasp As A Pollinator
Contrary to popular belief, honey bees are not the only flying insects with a stinger than benefit plants. As it turns out, wasp are pretty helpful to plants as well!
Beyond their predatory skills against insects, wasps are an important pollinator to garden crops, flowers, and even fruit trees. But not in the same manner or method as the honey bee.
Unlike honey bees, wasps don’t have body hair or pollen baskets to trap pollen. Bees use both of these to transport pollen from plant to plant, and in the process, pollinate plants. (See: 5 Amazing Facts About Honey Bees)
But wasps are not interested in collecting the pollen, they simply feed on it as a food source. But in the process, with their wings buzzing at lightening-fast speeds, they scatter pollen about.
And this scattering is incredibly important to help pollinate self-pollinating plants.
So the next time you see a few of those paper wasp nests, remember how helpful wasps can be to your tomato plants, and your garden.
Here is to having a few more wasps visit your garden this year! For more info on garden pests, check out our entire Insects & Pests section on the blog.
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