As spring flowers are starting to bloom in your backyard, the Hairy Flower Wasp is out in force. This large, blue wasp turns many heads in the warmer months, due to its distinctive markings, hairy body and lovely iridescent blue wings. These wasps are great for your garden and not aggressive.
‘People tend to think that every wasp will sting, but the Hairy Flower Wasp is not at all aggressive towards people,’ said Susanna Bradshaw, CEO of the Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife. ‘A Hairy Flower Wasp does have a sting, but it is rarely used. This is because, unlike a bee, Hairy Flower Wasps live alone and don’t have a hive or colony to protect.
‘If you spot a Hairy Flower Wasp in your garden, count yourself lucky. They are nature’s pest controllers, and they will pollinate your flowers and help your veggie garden along.
‘After mating, a female Hairy Flower Wasp digs through soil or wood to find a grub or beetle. When she finds one, she paralyses it temporarily and lays her egg in it, and reburies it in its underground chamber. As the Hairy Flower Wasp larva develops, it feeds off the host bug.
‘The Hairy Flower Wasp is very good at picking unwanted and harmful beetles to use as a host. While it’s bad news for the host grub or beetle, it’s great news for your garden.
‘Hairy Flower Wasps are also useful in the garden as a pollinator, much like bees. The tiny, fine hairs that cover their bodies carry pollen from flower to flower.’
In Backyard Buddies is a free program run by Australia’s Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife. Sign up for B-mail and download a free factsheet about Hairy Flower Wasps at www.backyardbuddies.net.au.
Hairy Wasp tips
• Set up a compost heap in your garden to attract Hairy Flower Wasps and to save organic matter from ending up in landfill.
• Spread chopped mulch around your plants to retain moisture and attract Hairy Flower Wasps.
• Plant local native flowering plants in your garden to feed and shelter Hairy Flower Wasps, butterflies, honeyeater birds, small birds and many other buddies.
• Avoid using pesticides and chemicals in your garden, and you will see many more natural pest controllers such as ladybeetles, wasps and spiders, as well as other good bugs like bees and butterflies.