Yesterday was beautiful, warm and quiet. It was the first time this year that I heard the wasps chomping on the fence posts.
This is a tree wasp – a regular garden visitor and a type of wasp I almost always hear before I see. It chomps on the fences and fence posts and you can actually hear it rasping away.
I was going to write that this type of wasp isn’t usually aggressive: I’ve certainly never found them to be so. But, when double checking that I’m not writing something misleading here, I found that many sites claim that actually they do have a tendency to be aggressive. Maybe they’re just particularly happy wasps here…
In general though, UK wasps don’t come looking for a fight with you. Yes, they will sting you if you step on them, or if they get caught in your clothes or hair, and they will certainly attack you if they feel that you’re threatening their nest. But generally, they’re not as bad as their reputation.
In the garden, they are beneficial: most species catch flies, caterpillars and other larvae to feed to their young; they also act as pollinators. In late summer and early autumn they can become a nuisance as they go in search of sugary things. Having spent the summer catching protein filled grubs and flies for their own young, in autumn they treat themselves to a feast of carbohydrates (before most of them die).