Goldenrod (Solidago spp.) and Thread-Waisted Wasp (Ammophila spp.)

As far as late-summer-to-fall blooming plants go, many Goldenrod species are a good choice for adding color to the landscape and food for pollinators later in the growing season. A few good species for the sunny, dry spaces include Showy Goldenrod, Rigid Goldenrod, and Cliff Goldenrod. Cliff and Showy Goldenrods can take some shade as well.

Many bees and wasps are drawn to these flowers, including Thread Waisted Wasps. Please don’t make wasps a reason to NOT get Goldenrod. The Thread Waisted Wasps are peaceful, solitary wasps. They do not have a colony to defend so they won’t sting unless provoked. Adults feed on mostly nectar from flowers such as Goldenrod. The females will lay an egg (in an excavated nest within sandy or loose soil), paralyze insects such as sawfly larvae or hairless caterpillars, and provision the brood cell with these insects for when the egg hatches and the larva emerges to feast. While the female is away, nest entrances are often concealed with sand or a small pebble to keep others, such as cleptoparasites, from usurping the nest.

About the author