Most butterfly gardeners are aware that wasps can wreak havoc in the garden. Many are natural predators of butterflies and their young.
Last summer I had a huge problem with wasps. I do not like to use wasp spray to kill the wasps because I feel that the pesticide can have a negative impact on the butterflies and other insects, including bees. I usually just try to eliminate the nests by knocking them down, but I got stung in the process. And believe me, that is not a pleasant experience. So I have come up with some solutions to deal with those pesky wasps.
Protect the caterpillars in your garden. One of the easiest ways to protect the young larvae is to cover the plant on which they are feeding with mesh netting.
Shelter your butterfly livestock. Another way to protect eggs and caterpillars is to place them in a pop-up cage or large screened enclosure. A screened-in porch is a perfect place to raise caterpillars. I will place potted host plants outside and then once a female butterfly has deposited eggs on the plant, I will place the plant inside a pop-up cage inside or on a porch.
Eliminate the wasps. Although it’s impossible to eliminate wasps altogether, you can try to get rid of as many as possible using wasp traps. You can purchase commercial traps or you can make your own. The ingredients inside will attract wasps in a matter of days. Because the head is turned around, they’ll slide right in and won’t be able to come out. Just be sure to keep an eye on the trap. You’ll need to dispose of the dead wasps periodically and refill the trap with ingredients when necessary.
Keep the wasps away! Another less-invasive strategy is to hang up decoy wasps nests. Some wasps are territorial and so will not make new nests near other existing nests. You can make your own by using a small paper bag or you can purchase commercially-made decoys.
Click here to learn about the different kinds of wasps: