What are wood wasps?
Posted on 12th August 2023 at 12:09
What are wood wasps?
We recently got a call to go out to a country pub which had seen a large number of wasps coming in and out from some raised wooden flower beds right next to where customers sat and they had concerns for their customers safety. We looked at the flowerbeds as we know a little bit about the many wasp pest species in the UK, and we recognised these insects as wood wasps who don’t pose a threat to us so we avoided carrying out a treatment on what is, basically, a harmless insect.
Wood wasps are yellow and black, and they do look like the usual run of the mill wasps that sting and as they are very large, so I could see why everyone was concerned, I then realised that this wood make a good item to put onto a blog, so here’s some information on these insects that may save you money and may save a harmless but fascinating insect from an unnecessary treatment.
Wood wasps are also called horntail wasps due to the shape of their abdomen with its long ovipositor (egg layer) that sticks out of its rear end like an enormous stinger, and they’re not really wasps but in fact a sawfly. Wood wasps are large insects at around 4 cm in length and certainly intimidating when flying in and out of a flowerbed right next to where you’re sitting but, they don’t pose a threat to use and are in fact beneficial as their larvae eat wood boring insects that live in the old wood.
I’m not saying that they don’t do damage, they have a habit of boring through old and rotten wood looking for food which weakens these structures; but given the fact the wood is soft and on the way out, they are only speeding up the process of decay.
Are wood wasps harmful?
Wood wasps aren’t harmful to us, they look scary but they don’t bite or sting, as I’ve said earlier, their larvae feed on insects. Wood wasps don’t have a stinger, the large needle like object sticking out of the back of their abdomen is just the tube or ovipositor that the females use to lay eggs with.
Are wood wasps an invasive species?
There’s a lot of talk about invasive species like the Asian hornet but wood wasps are not considered to be an invasive species in the UK. These wasps are native to the UK and have been present here for many years.
Where are wood wasps found?
Wood wasps will be found in just about any urban setting where there is rotting wood, with the increase in decking and the use of wooden planters, we are seeing more of these insects every year.
Its good to be ethical in this business; we could have treated these insects as they had been identified as wasps by the pub staff but I can’t help feel that we’re better suited when trying to preserve wildlife where we can.
Tagged as: Wasps
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