What do Hairy Flower Wasps look like?
Hairy Flower Wasps are either black or blue/black. The Campsomeris genus have orange, yellow or gold markings. They are 3-4cm long, have large antennae and both the males and females have a single pair of veined yellow wings.
Male Hairy Flower Wasps are more slender than females and have slightly longer antennae. Female wasps have long, spiny legs intended especially for digging in soil to find beetles to lay eggs in.
Due to their large size, these hard-to-miss wasps are a helpful, friendly springtime visitor.
Where are Hairy Flower Wasps found?
Flower wasps can be found all around Australia and are often seen enjoying urban gardens.
- Hairy Flower Wasps are members of the Scoliidae wasp family, which has 300 species.
- After mating, the female wasp digs into the soil and finds a grub or beetle. She paralyses it temporarily and lays her egg in it.
Hairy Flower Wasp – the full story
Hairy Flower Wasps are members of the Scoliidae wasp family, which has 300 species.
Other names for the Hairy Flower Wasp include the Black Flower Wasp and the Blue Flower Wasp.
Male wasps are more slender than females and have slightly longer antennae. Female wasps have long, spiny legs intended especially for digging in soil to find beetles to lay eggs in. The Hairy Flower Wasp does not kill the host beetle instantly, but instead paralyses it while it lays eggs.
They’re a large, hard-to-miss wasp and a helpful, friendly springtime visitor.
The best thing you can do for these friendly wasps is mind where you step and sit! They hover over chopped mulch, compost heaps and wood piles in the garden, watching for a chance to catch a grub or beetle.
Hairy Flower Wasps can also be spotted around flowers and shrubs. Since they fly very low to the ground and sometimes walk and dig around the soil, they can sometimes be difficult to spot in time. The female wasp has a sting, but she is not aggressive to people and will not use her sting unless she is in real danger.
You can look after Hairy Flower Wasps in your own backyard
Hairy Flower Wasps are great for your garden. After mating, the female digs into the soil and finds a grub or beetle. She paralyses it temporarily and lays her egg in it. As the larva grows, it uses the host as food. Because of this, Hairy Flower Wasps and their larvae will help your garden by keeping your grub and beetle numbers down.
You can encourage Hairy Flower Wasps to do their job as pest controllers in your garden by not using chemicals and pesticides. This will also encourage other natural pest controllers such as ladybeetles, lizards and birds.
Hairy Flower Wasps love:
Nectar – which gives them energy to power their flight. Only the adult Hairy Flower Wasps drink nectar. The caterpillars eat grubs or beetles.
Mulch – which is great for keeping the moisture in the soil of your garden, and excellent for attracting Hairy Flower Wasps. They especially like sugarcane mulch.
Curl Grubs – which you may not like in your garden, but the Hairy Flower Wasp is a great way of keeping their numbers down. The female lays her eggs in a curl grub and her larvae feed on it.
But they don’t like:
Pesticides – for controlling beetle and grub problems. You’re better off encouraging the Hairy Flower Wasp to act as a natural pest control.
Space Invaders – that come to close, or sit or step on them! The Hairy Flower Wasp is not aggressive towards people and will not sting unless it is being bothered or in danger of being squashed.
Be a buddy to the Hairy Flower Wasp
- Be careful where you walk and sit in your backyard, as Hairy Flower Wasps fly close to the ground.
- Include plants with nectar-rich flowers in your garden for Hairy Flower Wasps, butterflies and other buddies to feed from. Check with your local nursery for natives local to your area.
- Set up wood heaps, chopped mulch or compost areas in your garden for buddies like the Hairy Flower Wasp to enjoy.
- Take a careful, closer look to see if you have a Hairy Flower Wasp around the next time you see a buzzing insect. Some Hairy Flower Wasps look like bees, whereas others are black with blue wings.
- Using chemicals and pesticides in your garden as the Hairy Flower Wasp can be your natural grub and beetle controller.
- Clearing tree stumps or wood piles if they’re not a safety issue.
Don’t be surprised if:
- You see a lone wasp. While many wasp and bee species have colonies and families to take care of and defend, the Hairy Flower Wasp lives on its own.