A wasp is a flying and stinging insect that looks like a mixture of a bee and an ant. It has the body of an ant with its narrow waist but it can fly and it also has a very painful sting. Despite its looks, it is neither a bee nor an ant. This insect belongs to the order Hymenoptera.
There are over 9,000 species of wasps found in our world. The habits of these species can differ quite a lot. For example, many species are parasitoids and deposit eggs in or on a host arthropod. When the eggs hatch, the larvae will feed on the host.
The Asian giant hornet is the largest wasp species at 5 cm long. The smallest known wasp is the chalcid wasp at only 0.139 mm long.
Wasps are omnivore insects. Some species are mostly herbivores while other species are mostly insectivores. Some species consume a variety of plant and insect matter. Here is a quick look at some of the most common foods these insects enjoy eating.
Wasps catch and eat a huge variety of insects. Most wasp species are insectivore animals and prefer foods like spiders, caterpillars, ants, bees, flies, beetles crickets, aphids, grasshoppers, cicadas, whiteflies, and many others. While most wasp species focus on smaller insects, some might attack bigger insects. Parasitic wasps, for example, will lay their eggs in larger insects because these bigger insects offer plentiful food for larvae when they hatch.
Nectar is a sugary liquid produced by plants. This liquid is usually found inside flowers and is created to attract insects to help pollinate the flowers. Wasps love to visit various flowering plants to dine on the nectar found inside these plants.
Wasps are natural enemies to honey bees because they will swarm weak hives and steal the honey. This is exactly why wasps can be so annoying when you are eating honey. They are attracted to the scent and enjoy these sweet treats just as much as you do.
These insects also enjoy eating sweet fruits. You will notice lots of tiny wasps flying about a fruit tree as these fruits become ripe. Wasps will eat ripe or rotten fruit but they can also cause your fruits to become stale when they lay their eggs inside the fruits.
Honeydew is a sap that is created when other insects drain the sap from trees or plants. This leftover sap hangs off the backside of insects and seems like a drop of dew. Wasps love to drink this sap that is produced by other insects to stay full or hydrated.
Some wasp species can be pretty annoying around barbecue areas because they also consume human foods. They are attracted by sweet aromas such as sauces and will eat all sorts of human foods. If you leave scraps out, wasps are also very likely to dive down to feed.
Since there are so many different species of wasp found on earth, these insects might have various diet variations. Some wasps, for example, might consume meat products. Others can grow quite fond of sweet beverages such as soda drinks. If you leave out jam or jelly, these insects are also very likely to swarm to eat these sweet foods.
If you want to feed wasps in your garden, the best thing you can do is to grow lots of flowering plants or fruit trees. Wasps love to dine on nectar and they are superb pollinators. You can also grow plants that will attract lots of other insects such as caterpillars since wasps do enjoy eating these smaller insects. Alternatively, you can leave out some jam or jelly on a plate to attract these insects.
In the wild, wasps will travel all over in their search of various food types. They will collect nectar from flowers, visit honey bee hives for honey, catch and eat insects and they might eat natural fruits they find growing in the wild.
Wasps are usually not kept in captivity because they do not fare well. They have a short life span and it can be hard to keep them alive when you have to care for different wasps and their larvae. If you insist on keeping a wasp as a pet then you can feed it by offering it small insects, sweet fruits, and honey.
A baby wasp is called larvae and looks nothing like a wasp. Female wasps usually lay their eggs inside a host or in a nest that they stock up with foods. When the eggs hatch, the wormy larvae will feed on the available foods they have. Wasp larvae mostly feed on other insects or sweet fruits. When the larvae are all grown up, it will enter a pupa stage and will then emerge as a fully grown wasp.
Wasps usually feed several times throughout the day. The larvae of a wasp also need access to lots of food because it will dehydrate and die within a day if it doesn’t have access to food.
Most wasp species are unable to make honey. They will however visit honey bee hives to try and steal honey. There are however over a dozen wasp species that do produce honey. The Mexican Honey Wasp is the most popular honey-producing wasp. They make paper nests and live in a colony that can include up to 18,700 individual wasps. These wasps also collect nectar to produce their honey.
Wasps can bite and sting humans and, unlike honey bees, their stingers do not fall off after a sting. One wasp can sting you several times. They can also bite you if they feel threatened. The sting of a wasp can hurt terribly. For many people, wasp stings can even be deadly if they are allergic or go into anaphylactic shock.
Yes, wasps do eat pollen but they usually only collect the nectar from flowers to produce honey. They will however eat pollen when visiting floral plants and, in doing so, pollinate flowers to help these plants produce fruits or vegetables.
These tiny stinging insects so have quite a few predators. Other insects like robber flies, dragonflies, centipedes, beetles, and certain moths can catch and eat wasps. They are also prey to reptiles and amphibians such as frogs, lizards, and toads. Many bird species such as blackbirds, magpies, bluebirds, woodpeckers, nighthawks, and others also enjoy hunting and eating wasps.