By: Tim Bortoli
A wasp is a winged insect that has the ability to fly. The word wasp is used to describe any insect that is not a bee or an ant, but is part of the order Hymenoptera. There are over 100,000 species of wasp and many have a venomous sting. Unlike bees wasps do not die after they have stung an insect or animal and actually use their sting as part of their hunting mechanisms. Common characteristics of wasps include two pairs of wings, a stinger (ovipositor) and few or no thickened hairs. Most wasp species build nests to brood their young. Wasps tend to be either solitary or social.
What do Wasps Eat?
Wasps eat different things depending on their age. Baby wasps or larvae are parasites and eat other insects. The adults wasps search out the food, paralyze it by stinging it and then bring it back to the nest for the larvae to consume. Some species of wasp lay their eggs inside other insects and spiders so when they hatch they have something to eat. Each pest insect species has at least one species of wasp that prey on it making wasps crucial in natural control of pest insects.
As adults many wasps live solely on nectar and pollen, much like bees. There are certain social wasps that are omnivores and will eat fallen fruit, nectar and other dead insects. Many species of wasp also eat the secretions (saliva especially) of their young as it is sweet and highly nutritious. Some aggressive species of wasp will invade a honey bee hive and steal the honey or drink the blood of the honey bees themselves. Wasps will also eat any sweet substance that they can find such as jams, cakes and other human foods.