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Coexisting With Wasps

Wasps, which are very visible this time of year, benefit gardens by killing off other small insects.

On this Horticulture Day edition of Talk of Iowa, Iowa State University Entomologist Donald Lewis makes the case for the importance of wasps in Iowa's ecosystem, despite their unpopular presence.

He provides information on social wasps, which congregate in colonies and spend their summer gathering other insects as food for offspring. In the late summer season, these wasps reach their peak population and become more visible as they seek out sugar and moisture, Lewis says.

"[Wasps] are great biological controls as predators eating other insects, especially eating some of the pests out of our gardens and landscapes," Lewis says. "We should leave them alone. We should tolerate them for the benefits they provide and if they would just nest far away from my front door I would coexist with them very easily."

Later on, Lewis and Iowa State University Horticulture Extension Specialist Richard Jauron answer questions from callers about the range of plants and insects in their lives.


  • Donald Lewis, Iowa State University Professor of Entomology
  • Richard Jauron, Iowa State University Horticulture Extension Specialist
Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa
Rick Brewer was a producer for IPR's Talk of Iowa and River to River