Paper Wasp and False Aster

Wasps are often labeled as undesirable pests because they have the ability to sting. However, they also have an important role as pollinators and are not aggressive unless threatened. Studies show that in some environments wasps can become the most efficient pollinator, even more so than bees. When paper wasps visit flowers for nectar they transfer pollen, making them effective pollinators. They have an additional ecological role- pest management. In addition to nectar, paper wasps feed on other insects such as flies. Both of these are good reasons to celebrate paper wasps living near your home.

 

Certain flowers are better for paper wasps than others. Aster flowers are late blooming wildflowers, which makes them beneficial for wasps and other pollinator species who reach their peak during the last weeks of summer. The pollen and nectar these flowers produce is a valuable food source at this time of year because many other flowers are no longer available. Oftentimes, these flowers are still providing bees pollen by September, increasing winter survival rates of hives. By planting asters in your garden, you can support paper wasps and other essential pollinators. 

 

Further reading / sources:

https://www.adirondackalmanack.com/2013/08/adirondack-wildflowers-asters.html

http://blog.umd.edu/agronomynews/2020/08/31/wasps-surprisingly-cool-pollinators/

https://bernheim.org/bernheim-pollinators-the-paper-wasp/#:~:text=Paper%20wasps%20are%20considered%20pollinators,on%20other%20insects%20like%20flies.

https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-41042948