Common Garden Creatures: Learn to Love Wasps and Snakes
Manage pests naturally by inviting other common garden creatures, such as snakes and wasps, into your space.
When in doubt about which predatory insects live in your area or what sort of nest they prefer, give them a choice. Here is an example of an easy-to-build insect hotel which offers multiple possibilities—bricks, drilled logs and hollow reeds to entice a variety of garden helpers.
Photo courtesy Wikimedia/4028mdk09
While wasp larvae feed on pest insects in your garden, their adult progenitors feed on nectar. Planting umbrel-shaped flowers like dill and carrots—which have shallow nectaries to let wasps feed more easily—goes a long way toward attracting them to your garden and keeping them there to lay their eggs.
Photo by Lylvic
Wasps, such as this Aleiodes indiscretus, often parasitize pest caterpillars—in this case a highly invasive gypsy moth caterpillar—to provide food for their emerging larvae.
Photo by Közkincs
A common garter snake (Thamnopsis spp.) takes advantage of a pile of leaves destined for the garden compost pile to bask in a spot of welcome autumn sunshine.
Photo by Deborah Stephenson
Providing water for garden helpers can be beautiful as well as functional.