I have built a new garden and one of my favorite parts is the 140 strawberry plants. They are blooming and producing great strawberries, only problem I have now is that the Paper Wasps are eating the ripe ones as fast as they get ripe. I can check the plants in the early hours, see a dozen or so that will be perfect to pick in the afternoon and when I go back in the afternoon, all of the ripe ones I intended to pick are all eaten up. I know some people spray with Sevin but I know it isn’t good to spray within 7 days of a crop to be picked. I don’t think;ink I can spray that far out and hope to have protection, can anyone there give me some good advice???
If you read through our WASP CONTROL ARTICLE, you’ll learn there are several kinds of wasps that use plants as a normal part of their day to day operations. The most common use is for making their nests. Plant leaves make an excellent raw material for wasp nests and paper wasps in particular will harvest certain plants when readily available in some regions. Another reason why plants can sometimes get targeted is when fruit or vegetable growth yields certain necessities like sugar, water or other nutrients they’re not able to find so easily in their day to day foraging of the area. It’s not uncommon for blueberries, apples and all kinds of berries to be targeted for their moisture or nectar and in this case, it sounds like you have a local nest or two zeroing in on your strawberries.
The good news is you do have some treatment options. The first order of business is to try and locate any nearby nests that might be hosting the foraging wasps. I suggest you do a thorough inspection on your home and property to see if you have any nests nearby you can treat. I have found that many times wasps will congregate in one area and by eliminating these wasp nest “clusters”, you can dramatically reduce the amount of plant and fruit destruction going on around the area. Remember to look on the house, in nearby structures and all your trees and bushes. Paperwasps will many times hide their nests so they could be real close and within reach but easy to miss. Any nests you find should be treated as described in our article and the benefit will be immediately realized. More importantly, you won’t be creating a local population that will grow to be dependent on your crop from year to year. In other words, if you allow the ones currently active to prosper feeding on your plants, there is no doubt these same wasps will multiply and over time establish more which will become tough to handle and control. Unfortunately the control methods discussed in the article are for use on just about everything except vegetable and fruit gardens. For them you’ll need to employ some other options.
After inspecting the local area for nests and treating any you many find, you can focus your attention on your garden and do some treating with a product or two from our NON TOXIC PEST CONTROL site. This site features several organic sprays which have 1 day to harvest guidelines so they’re much more safe to use compared to sevin (which we don’t recommend). For wasps, we’ve found the MULTI PURPOSE INSECT KILLER and the GARDEN DEFENSE to be excellent wasp repellents. These products can be used up to the day before you harvest but in most cases, treatments will last 5-7 days. This will largely depend on the local wasp population and how badly they want your fruit so be sure to watch and see. And of course, heavy rain or constant irritation will take away from the treatments longevity so take this into consideration. But compared to sevin, you’ll find either organic option safer and more effective.
Here are direct links to the information and products listed above:
Wasp Control Article: http://www.wasps.net/wasp-and-hornet-control
Multi Purpose Insect Killer: http://www.non-toxic-pest-control.com/concentrates/multi-purpose-insect-killer-24-oz