|A parasitoid wasp. Most of these wasps are under a quarter-|
of-an-inch and none are able to sting humans.
I was talking to a friend a few weeks ago and he told me that he never sprays his apple trees, but he regularly has 25% of his apples worm free. He didn't know why, but I have a pretty good idea what is preventing his apples from being damaged.
My friend lives on his old family farm in Lehi, Ut and it is full of "weeds" that are left unsprayed and usually un-mowed. These feral plants feed all comers including small parasitoidal wasps. These wasps lay eggs on a number of pests, including apple codling moths. When the eggs hatch they start eating the pests.
This is not a perfect system, but it is a sensible way to have better fruit with no added chemicals. And you don't need to live on a farm to make it work! All you need is to plant more flowers. Not all flowers are created the same and some flowers will do more to attract predators.
Below is a list of some of the more useful plants for attracting parasitiod wasps. They are all readily available in seed or plant form at your local nursery or on line.
|Scientific Name||Common Name||Growth Type|
|Agastache foeniculum||Anise hyssop||Perennial|
|Artemisia spp.||Wormwood, sagebrush||Perennial|
|Baptisia spp.||False indigo||Perennial|
|Bellis perennis||English daisy||Perennial|
|Borago officinalis||Borage||Annual, reseeding|
|Chamaemelum nobile||Roman, English chamomile||Perennial|
|Chrysogonum virginianum||Green and gold||Perennial|
|Echinacea purpurea||Purple cone flower||Perennial|
|Helianthus spp.||Sunflower, Sunchoke||Annual, perennial|
|Lupinus spp.||Lupine||Annual, perennial|
|Robinia hispida||Rosa acacia||Shrub|
|Robinia pseudoacacia||Black locust||Tree|
|Trifolium spp.||Sweet clover||Biennial|
The best places to plant these plants is as need your orchard area as possible. In the case of the annuals and perennials, planting them under and around the fruit trees is best. If that is not possible, a flower bed near the trees would be the next best thing.
It will take a few years to start attracting wasps, so be patient and take the time to work with nature. Any other flowers, especially perennials, are likely to help, so feel free to add more flowers and flowerbeds to your property. All the good critters will love you for it.