Written by

David Floyd

David Floyd

Reviewed by

Brett Ehlert

Brett Ehlert

What Do Wasps Eat and Why They Might Be Around Your Home!

With over 20 years of pest control experience, the service call that made people most frantic was always wasps. They can be nasty creatures that appear to only be on this earth simply to sting and terrorize people. To help prevent unnecessary stings, it might be helpful to understand the diet of most wasps, so you can understand if something around your home might be attracting wasps around your property. So, let’s jump right into it and talk about what wasps eat!

Key Takeaways On a Wasps Diet

  • Wasps have diverse diets that change with their life stage; they eat insects, nectar, and human food, adapting their diet for energy and developmental needs.
  • Prevent wasp infestations by sealing entry points and keeping areas clean; call professionals if you have a serious nest issue to handle it safely.
  • Understanding wasp behavior can help avoid stings and conflicts; they are important for ecosystems as predators and accidental pollinators.

The Varied Diet of Wasps: An Overview

What Do Wasps Eat?

Wasps are not picky eaters when it comes to their diet. Wasps eat a variety of foods, making their menu as diverse as it is adaptable, ranging from:

  • Insects such as spiders or even other wasps
  • Fruits
  • Nectar
  • Honeydew
  • Carrion
  • Tree Sap
  • Other sugary substances

These stinging insects have mastered the art of hunting and scavenging to ensure their survival and the growth of their colonies.

The dietary preferences of wasps change based on their life stage, which is quite intriguing. For example, mud dauber wasps, a species known for their unique nests, feed their young with over 500 spiders to provide them with protein-rich nourishment. On the other hand, adult wasps have a sweet tooth. They consume nectar, pollen, fruits, and berries, supplementing their diet with sweet secretions to their larvae.

Are Wasps Carnivores?

Wasps are considered omnivores because they will eat both meat (generally insects) and sugary material. When wasps are larvae they will only eat meat and the meals are hunted by the parents, generally in the form of spiders or insects. Some wasps even will eat other wasps to satisfy their hunger.

How Do Wasps Hunt For Food?

Wasps hunt for food by paralyzing their prey with their stinger, and once the prey is immobilized they will either carry them back to their nest, or rip them into pieces and then carry them back home.

Insects: The Staple of a Wasp’s Diet

Insects are the primary food source for wasp larvae, making them a staple in their diet. Adult wasps, the hunters and gatherers of the colony, are adept at killing and chopping up prey, which they then carry back to the nest to feed their larvae. This constant supply of protein-rich food ensures that wasp larvae have the nutrients they need to grow and develop.

The diversity of a wasp’s hunting strategies is demonstrated by the wide range of insects and arachnids they consume. From caterpillars to aphids, bees to spiders, each prey is targeted and captured using a combination of strength, venom, and stingers. It’s a brutal yet fascinating world, essential for the survival of wasp larvae and the continuation of the wasp species.

Sugary Foods For Adult Wasps

wasp on flower

Wasp larvae benefit from a protein-rich diet, yet adult wasps tend to favor sweeter food items. They are drawn to flower nectar, aphid honeydew, and even the sugar content in alcohol. This sugar rush provides the adult wasps with an easily digestible source of energy, necessary for their foraging and nest-building activities.

However, wasps don’t solely depend on external sources for their sugar intake. A fascinating process called trophallaxis takes place inside the wasp nest, where larvae provide a sugary liquid in exchange for the protein-rich food brought back by the adult wasps. This symbiotic relationship between adult wasps and their larvae ensures a balanced diet that caters to their respective nutritional needs.

Human Food: When Wasps Become Uninvited Guests

Even though wasps have specific dietary preferences, they are not likely to refuse a readily available meal. This is why you’ll often find them buzzing around picnics or outdoor dining areas, attracted to the high sugar and protein content in human food. So if you’re planning an outdoor gathering, don’t be surprised if a few uninvited guests show up!

However, you need not worry, as there are methods to keep these uninvited guests from spoiling your picnic. Keeping outdoor eating areas clean, covering sweet foods and meat properly, and managing compost piles can deter wasps from invading your space. If you notice wasps flying erratically near food sources, it may be a sign they are investigating food or a potential threat. In such cases, it’s best to move the food indoors or cover it up to avoid attracting more wasps.

Final Thoughts On What Wasps Eat

We’ve journeyed through the fascinating world of wasps, exploring their diverse diet, intricate life cycle, and the significant role they play in our ecosystems. From being natural pest controllers to accidental pollinators, wasps are more than just stinging insects. They’re an integral part of our environment, helping maintain the ecological balance.

However, coexisting with wasps requires understanding and respect for their behavior. By observing them from a safe distance, avoiding rapid movements, and calling in professionals when needed, we can coexist peacefully with these often misunderstood insects. After all, they’re not just uninvited guests at our picnics; they’re crucial players in the circle of life.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do most wasps eat?

Most wasps feed on sugars from flower nectar, aphid honeydew, and a sugary liquid produced by their larvae. In the wild, they also get sugars from various sources including pubs and picnics.

What do wasps hate the most?

Wasps hate the smell of peppermint, spearmint, basil, eucalyptus, cloves, geranium, thyme, citronella, bay leaves, lemongrass, vinegar, cinnamon, coffee grounds, and sliced cucumber. Try using these to repel them and keep them away.

What are wasps good for?

Wasps are good for pollinating plants, including figs, and help control insect pest populations, making them essential for maintaining the balance of ecosystems. They also have an economic value, with their pollination services and role in controlling crop-damaging insects being valued at billions of dollars annually.

How can I prevent wasp infestations?

To prevent wasp infestations, you should seal up any openings in your home, keep garbage bins tightly sealed, and consider using natural repellents such as peppermint oil. It’s important to take these measures regularly to keep wasps away.

How can I coexist safely with wasps?

To coexist safely with wasps, avoid making sudden movements around them, use unscented products, and be mindful of their nesting sites. If a wasp comes near you, stay calm and still until it moves away.

David Floyd:

David Floyd has 20 years of experience working as a pest control technician as well as running his own pest control company. David is Quality Pro certified and is a certified Structural Pest Control Operator in the state of North Carolina, and the owner of NCPestControlExperts pest control company.

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