Is It Okay To Kill Wasps? (Are They Pollinators Like Bees)


Most of society has the same reaction when seeing a wasp or bee; run for the hills! But next time you do come across them, think about what they can do for you. Is it okay for you to kill wasps?

It is usually not okay to kill wasps as they serve an essential role in the ecosystem. Wasps regulate populations of crop pests, contributing to global food security. Wasps are pollinators; they go to flowers just like bees do; they will visit any flower and food crop.

Although wasps can be a daunting experience, you should reconsider keeping them around as they serve an essential purpose in various aspects of our lives. They might even be the solution to many future problems, so let us get into more detail about why it’s not okay to kill wasps.

Is It Okay To Kill Wasps?

If everyone knew the crucial role that wasps play in the ecosystem, we would not think of them as pests, and we would want to keep them around.

Wasps are less fussy than bees; they pollinate the flowers just like bees do; they will visit any flower and food crop. Wasps regulate the population of food crops, pests such as caterpillars and whiteflies, contributing to global food security.

Adult wasps do not eat their prey; instead, they gather and eat sugar from the nectar of flowers or even go for sugary drinks. Looking at wasps for the bigger picture, they might even be backup pollinators in habitats such as cities and farmlands where you find the right kinds of flowers for bees to thrive on.

Because of these, wasps have the chance of becoming more essential pollinators in the future as the natural world continues to get disturbed and urbanized by humans. To some extent, wasps provide pest control and should not be killed due to their importance unless they pose a risk to humans or children; however, it is advised to follow through with the most sustainable manner.

Are Wasps Pollinators Like Bees?

Wasps may look similar to bees, but they are generally not covered with fuzzy hairs. Due to that reason, they are much less efficient at pollination because pollen will likely not stick to their bodies and be transferred between flowers. However, they are less fussy than our bee friends; they will go to almost any flower and even go for your soft drinks.

So, do you think wasps make honey? Wasps pollinate and extract nectar from flowers and then go through regurgitation to process the nectar, making honey. However, most wasps make honey. Wasps such as bald-faced hornets, yellowjackets, and common wasps do not make typical honey but consume nectar from plants and insects as their primary food source.

What Is A Pollinator & What Is Special About Them?

A pollinator has an important role; it is an animal that causes plants to make seeds or fruits by moving pollen from one part of the flower to another region, causing it to fertilize the plant. Only fertilized plants can produce grains or fruits, and without them, the plants won’t reproduce.

In pollinating a plant, the pollinator must touch parts of the flower of the plant. Thus, animals such as hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees are the best pollinators because they get their food from brushing up against the flowers.

Other insects such as flies, spiders, or wasps may use the flower as a secure hiding space or occasionally scavenge from the flower. Not as efficient as bees, these animals can also be pollinators.

Why Are Wasps So Important?

As mentioned, just like bees, wasps are among the most important organisms for humanity. They pollinate both food crops and flowers. They lay parasitic eggs in the body of the caterpillar.

A tiny wasp colony eats up to 3,000 flies, mosquitos, and spiders each day as a protein source and kills insects that carry human diseases; they maintain a healthy balance in the ecosystem. We would need many toxic pesticides to control the insects that eat our crops and carry diseases.

A wasp’s lifespan is subject to the species, but in general, a worker’s wasps’ life can last anywhere from 12-22 days, while a queen wasp can live up to a year. There are many various wasps; paper wasps and yellow jackets are the two most common depending on the area.

Wasps typically only sting when they are threatened; when they are in distress, they emit a pheromone that directs nearby colony members into a defensive, stinging frenzy.

How To Distinguish A Wasp From A Bee?

Wasps are insects like bees belonging to the order of Hymenoptera or the suborder Apocrita. Given the number of known wasp species, only a few are thought to be social wasps and considered pests.  Wasps are regarded as a close family to bees; however, they are also separate and a distinct species all on their own. Unlike bees, wasps are predatory animals that feed on other insects.

It is imperative to establish what variety of wasp or bee is posing a potential threat to human contact; get the professional help that can assess your situation.

How often have you mistaken wasps for bees? There are several types of wasps and more than 100,000 different species of wasps around today; they can also be mistaken for several other stinging insects. They are notorious for building nests in places where people like to gather.

They are unlike in appearance and temperament than bees; let’s have a look at these other physical traits:

  • The size of Colonies – The largest wasp colonies, seldom reaches more than 10,000 members, while honeybee hives can be over 50,000. Certain species of both wasps and bees are thought to be stinging insects that live in colonies; bee colonies can grow larger than wasp colonies.
  • Waistline – The tinny waist of wasps is one of the most noticeable physical features, unlike bees; their abdomens narrow before joining the thorax.
  • Body Hair – Bees tend to have more body hair than wasps; although some wasps species have noticeable body hair, they have much less than bees.
  • Temperament – wasps tend to be very territorial and guard their nests fiercely and much further than bees. They tend to swarm and attack in more significant numbers.

How To Prevent A Wasp Nest?

Although they are naturals little pest controls and security for crops, some people are terrified of our stinging friends. You may have an allergic reaction or have a fear of wasps or bees. Here are some wasp deterrent tips:

  • Check frequently for nests – Early on, their nests will be small in size, that of a golf ball. Be sure to check your home and garden in early spring as it will be easier to treat quickly. Look for nests in areas with access to the outdoor site, specifically garages or lofts.
  • Keep windows and doors closed – To avoid wasps entering inside your home.
  • Secure dustbins – Ensure outside bins have firmly fitting lids. To ensure wasps are not attracted to the bin’s contents, keep them at a distance from any doors or windows.
  • Stay safe – If you spot a nest, make sure you keep children and pets away from the area.
  • Get early nest treatment – Keep you and your family safe from painful stings by frequently checking for nests and getting them treated early.
  • Wasps create nests that your will often find built near human structures; they chew wood using their mandibles to scrape up wood and chew into a paper substance. Wasps take care of their young in their nests, and although they usually create their nests away from people, you will still find yourself close enough to be a potential threat; hence people tend to think they are more a nuisance than a pest control itself.
  • As winter ends and the temperature starts increasing, the threat of stinging pests will begin to rise. Both bees and wasp become active, many of them hibernating over the winter months and start rebuilding their nests.


Keep In mind that wasps as just like bees with the opportunity to pollinate, are extremely important to our earth and pose our natural pest control.

Wasps typically only sting when they are threatened; when they are in distress, they emit a pheromone that directs nearby colony members into a defensive, stinging frenzy.

Educating yourself on which bees or wasp pose a threat to the health and safety of the people around you may help you deal with them more sensibly. There are conservationists around every corner; contact the relevant people to be dealt with and removed from your property; there is no need to kill the wasps.

Photo of author

Hubert Miles

I've been conducting home inspections for 17 years. I'm a licensed Home Inspector, Certified Master Inspector (CMI), and FHA 203k Consultant. I started to help people better understand the home inspection process and answer questions about homeownership and home maintenance.
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