Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wasps, Hornets and Sunflowers by Heirloom Fan

When the hailstorm hit my garden, I had just started getting a nice crop of bicolor sunflowers. I did some pruning in the days following the storm, and only one of the sunflowers has survived. But I am impressed with how fast it is recovering and setting new flower buds each day.
One other thing I noticed is that there are a lot of wasps and hornets crawling all over this plant. In reading some of the garden notes, I did find that there are beneficial wasps and hornets that are not only pollinators, but also feed on the destructive insects in the garden.

There appeared to be three types of wasps and hornets, one a solid black thin wasp, yellow jackets and one other wasp. Taking pictures of wasps and hornets is not easy – they are not busy like bees which can ignore you as you take their picture. As you can see, they zoned in on my presence right away, they turned and looked at me and their antennas went up. That was the end of the picture taking - I exited quickly!
I had a pretty good handle on controlling the yellow jackets but noticed right after the storm, they seemed back in full force. My guess is that many of them probably had their hidden or exposed nests disturbed or destroyed and they were back to work rebuilding.
Right now, none of the buds have opened on this sunflower but it does make we wonder when they do if the wasps and hornets will still be around. This of course can make it really hard to pick any of the blooms , but one solution will be to try in the evening when the temperatures are cooler and the wasps and hornets have returned to their hives.
So for the time being, I am enjoying the recovery of this sunflower, keeping my distance from the wasps and hornets and anxiously awaiting to see what the flowers will look like.