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Mar 31, 2012


I am in Belize, Central America, and these things are beginning to bug me!

I have tried neem and my homemade pepper spray, but these insects keep coming back. 

Anyone have any idea what they are?

I think they are a bee or wasp, and are probablly pollinating at the same time they are nibbling

my okra and bean flowers. They even nible the beans andokra, causing damage!

I don't want to kill them, only discourage them without hurting the plant. My latest concoction seems to be a bit too strong for the bean flowers.


Hello Brother Joseph - I really enjoyed your earlier introduction to your gardening environment in Belize! Although the vision still resonates, I have been working to meet project deadlines, so have not responded until now. I have paid quite a bit of attention to wasps, since I am deathly allergic to the venom of the tribe.Wasps are part of the eco-system & are usually seen eating the sap on buds, or insects on plants, perhaps even eating something at the microbial level that we don't yet know about. They are part of the pollinating system on some plants & are necessary to fig trees.</p><p> As you will see in the online info posted below, wasps seek protein food early in the year & sweeter food in late summer & fall. You mentioned earlier that there is open trash in the local region, so it may be that wasps are in the area for composty discarded food & browse in your garden while they are foraging nearby.</p><p> The whole tribe of wild wasp relatives - as compared to bees - are indeed agressive at nesting season, which could involve a lot of the year - with nest-protecting in the early summer & later retreating to the nest, so use careful avoidance.</p><p> I have never found *traps* to be of any use whatsoever & the few killed wasps may actually release a pheromone that attracts more - as described below with *squashing.* <em><strong>What looked really good in the advice below was the decoy wasp nests - which you can either buy for about $8 or easily make with a paper bag. They work because wasps are very territorial & will not build near other *nests.* It is worth looking online at the *Waspinator* cloth decoy nest in the 2nd link, just to know what your home-made decoys should look like.</strong></em></p><p> <em><strong>Wasp visitors could become wasp neighbors, so I think this preventative tactic would be a very easy & good idea!</strong></em></p><p> The other useful thing is the idea of soap repellent. I would try dissolving a bar of soap or even deodorant soap & experimenting with spraying your attractive plants so that the sap & prey bugs? are masked by an non-food soap odor wasps don't like.</p><p> You are looking for non-deadly solutions - but one thing i found while living in the country with an attic full of hornets that kept trying to make a hanging nest inside above my desk - is that the whole tribe is very susceptible to wood alcohol, commonly known as rubbing alcohol, & inexpensive in a drugstore. It leaves no residue when the volatiles have evaporated. One spray kills instantly. Let's not go there ... here are the links ...</p><p> ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- </p><p></p><p> </p><p> Q. How can I stop wasps from being unwanted guests at my summer festivities?</p><p> </p><p> A. Wasps are an important part of an ecosystem. They feed on insects, act as pollinators and are part of the food chain. However, wasps can also interfere with your family barbeque, picnic and other summer-time activities. If this is the case I hope some of the tips below will help you enjoy the great outdoors this summer.</p><p> </p><p> These methods have not been scientifically proven but have garnered good results for some.</p><p> </p><p> Tip # 1.</p><p> </p><p> You can purchase and display fake paper wasp nests. These resemble an actual wasp nest in colour and shape. Wasps are territorial and typically will not build a nest where one already exists.</p><p> </p><p> Tip # 2.</p><p> </p><p> A wasp nest can also be crafted by crumpling up a brown paper bag and blowing in it. Twist the ends and tie with a string and hang. Again, this will give the appearance of a wasp nest keeping wasps from building a nest nearby.</p><p> </p><p> ? Natural wasp nests are mottled grey in color. JS</p><p> </p><p> Tip # 3.</p><p> </p><p> If you&rsquo;re having a picnic, fabric softener sheets have been used to keep wasps away.</p><p> </p><p> Tip # 4.</p><p> </p><p> Cucumber slices around a barbeque or picnic area have also been used to keep wasps at bay.</p><p> -------------------------------------------------------------------</p><p></p><p> </p><p> Natural Wasp Control</p><p> </p><p> Wasps, although annoying, should be thought of as beneficial insects.</p><p> </p><p> They prey mainly on other insects, many of which are pests. In general, they avoid human activity and should only be considered a nuisance when nesting near homes or high traffic areas. </p><p> </p><p> The best way to prevent unpleasant encounters with social wasps is to avoid them. If you know where they are, try not to go near their nesting places. Wasps can become very defensive when their nest is disturbed. If you cannot avoid them, first try repelling them using a fake nest such as 'The Original Waspinator'. These fake nests work as wasps are territorial, and do not want to build a nest near another wasp's nest. Failing that, you can use a non-toxic wasp trap, such as the Glass Wasp Trap, or the Oak Stump Farms Trap.</p><p> </p><p> Using pesticides to control wasps (yellowjackets) can be effective, but these chemicals are harmful to the environment. Careless use of pesticides can also pose risks to the person applying the chemicals.</p><p> </p><p> Before reaching for pesticides, see if these safer, natural non-toxic methods help control wasp problems.</p><p> </p><p> Prevention</p><p> Seal entry points. Solitary wasps in the home can be a nuisance; daily sightings of wasps in the home may indicate inside nest building, and more attention to the problem is required. Searching for and sealing off their point of entry is the best line of defense. Check your house for unsealed vents, torn screens, cracks around windows and door frames and open dampers. Observe the flight path of a wasp, especially in the morning, which may reveal the entry/exit point.</p><p> </p><p> Remove food sources. In spring and early summer, wasps are attracted to protein foods. Any food left outdoors, such as pet food, picnic scraps, open garbage containers or uncovered compost piles should be removed or covered. Wasps imprint food sources, and will continue to search an area for some time after the food has been removed.</p><p> </p><p> In late summer and early fall, the wasp food preference turns to the sweet. Their behavior is also more aggressive. Open cans of pop, fruit juice, fallen apples beneath fruit trees and other sweet food sources will attract wasps. Be sure to cover drinks and open food containers, keep a lid on the compost and avoid walking barefoot near fruit trees. Remove any fallen fruit rotting on the ground.</p><p> </p><p> Avoid swatting. Swatting and squashing wasps is counterproductive. When a wasp is squashed, a chemical (pheromone) is released which attracts and incites other nearby wasps. It's best to walk away from a hovering wasp.</p><p> </p><p> Avoid wearing bright colours or floral patterns. If you look like a big flower, you may be attracting the curious wasp looking for nectar.</p><p> </p><p> Minimize use of perfumes and other strong scents. In the later part of the summer, wasps are attracted to sweet smells.</p><p> </p><p> Wasps building nests in your bird house? This common problem can be minimized by lining the under-roof area with aluminum foil. Use a staple gun to attach. Another option is to rub the under-roof area liberally with bar soap - ordinary soap like Ivory soap will do. One application can last through an annual wasp season.</p><p> </p>
Hi Jessica, Well these particular wasps seemed to think the paper bag was their nest! I have had to resort to murder; a commercial aerosol pesticide that contains citronella. I plan to continue experimenting with "organic" pesticides, but for now they are simply damaging too many beans. Since this is my first use of conventional pesticides in my, uh, long and distinguished career, I don't feel too bad. Man, these things are persistant!
*Sigh!* Those are creative & opportunistic wasps! It's always good to get a real report from the field! After I got stung by 18 yellowjackets from a new ground-nest by my Elderberry hedge, I resorted to murder-for-hire, state licensed. When I confessed this to a friend who is a Buddhist monk, he looked thoughtful & then said, "The teaching is ... if the tiger comes into the village ... " And I was thinking about the children!
Here is the cut off part > When I confessed this to a friend who is a Buddhist monk, he look thoughtful, then said, "The teaching is ... when the tiger comes into the village ... " And I was thinking about the children!
Thanks for the tips!Neem didn't work, and the store-bought soap spray didn't work. I have been experimenting with various potions based on chiles, soap, and baking soda. I just harvested some marigold flowers which are going in a blender with garlic and coconut oil and a little detergent and ....The goal is to repel them, and their cousins la hormiga (ants), and not harm the plants. Thank goodness they don't sting. These guys seem especially interested in okra and pole-bean buds and blossoms. The ants, also!</p><p> I'll post my results.</p>
Hello KGI - This blog post was started on the prior KGI site& had several comment exchanges based on research & experiece. Will those recent, informative comments be transferred to this site? Rather than just the comment excerpts above?
Hi Bro Joseph. I just met some one from Belize in my neighborhood. She talks alot of her life in Belize I will ask what part she is from. I would love to visit Belize some day.

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