Feared by many, the wasp is the not so friendly cousin of the more enjoyed honey bee. These predators build their nests in the ground and around our homes. But what do wasps eat? Wasps predominantly eat other insects, including larvae, spiders, grasshoppers, flies, bees and even cicada’s. From time to time they even enjoy a bit of honey dew.
What is honey dew? It is the sweet secretion of aphids. As aphids consume the sap from plants, this honey dew is forced out their anus. It is the prime source of carbohydrates in the insect world.
Many wasps use insects as a food source for their young. Take to mighty cicada killer, for instance. This massive wasp can measure almost two inches in length! When the female goes to lay her eggs, she digs a burrow almost ten inches into the ground. Then she finds a cicada and stings it, paralyzing it. She will then take the cicada back to her nest. After catching two or three cicada’s, she will lay her egg on the paralyzed prey. When the larvae hatches from the egg, it will feed on these insects.
Mud daubers get there name from the nests that they build. It is often that one will see two or three inch long mud tubes attached to a tree or masonry. Inside these tubes, the female mud dauber will have placed several spiders and an egg. After the egg hatches, the larvae will feed on the spiders and then pupate, emerging the following spring.
Wood wasps have an interesting biology. These wasps mate in the tops of trees, and then the female climbs down the side of the tree to deposit her eggs. She will bore a small hole with her ovipositor and insert the eggs into the wood. With the eggs, she will also deposit fungal spores from a gland located on the base of her ovipositor. The emerging larvae will feed on the fungus, and then bore out of the wood when fully matured.