Wasps and A Garden Project

The soil near our front door is somewhat sandy and grass struggles to grow there. This environment evidently is perfect for the Indiana cicada-killing wasps. They visit us every year, buzzing near the front door and across the walkway and down the side of the driveway as they dig holes in the sandy dirt. Their goal is to grab cicadas and drag them down into the hole for use as a nest for the wasps’ offspring. The wasps return every year to their nesting grounds in mid-July and go into cicada-murder mode until about mid to late August.

Since they are non-aggressive, we mostly leave them be. They are simply another part of life’s cycle even though walking through their frantic flights to get to our cars isn’t for the faint-hearted. If the population grows large enough to be a nuisance, I start running water to fill in the holes. The wasps get irritated and redig their homes. However, the destruction happens often enough, the cicada-killing wasps will go away and find some other place to weave their villainous mayhem.

This year was different.

This last year, our well, which is located in this sandy patch between the front walkway and the garage wall, needed repair during the early winter. The well repairmen dug up most of the sandy area. Afterwards, the ground was left heaped up and uneven as well as free of weeds and grass. Perfect time to turn it into the fairy garden spot that I always wanted.

Spring came and I smoothed out the lumps and added garden edging, an array of flowering plants, and black mulch. In addition, I also fenced it off so the dogs would stay out. For some bizarre reason, my golden retriever loves peeing on flowers. On top of that, I placed my collection of ceramic fairy houses, flowers, windmills, and fairies on top of mid-sized flat stones. The plants grew and now the area is quite lovely.

A fairy garden with a pot sculpture of a lighthouse
My fairy garden with anti-dog fencing

The cicada-killing wasps have returned. They are quite angry. When I walk out, they buzz from flower to flower and across the fairy houses. I picture them with little furious faces, trash talking.

“What the hell? Where is my nesting ground?”

“What’s with these stupid houses? A cicada won’t fit in there!”

“Flowers! I liked the bits of clover. Who redecorated?”

They shake multiple fists at me and grumble when I walk by.

In short, I accidently gentrified their neighborhood. And with any gentrification, I ousted the old residents in favor of the newer ones. Oops! In truth, I forgot about them and their villainous burrows. The wasps have gone on strike.

I go outside now and occasionally find a fairy laying on its side. I picture the wasps duking it out with them during the night, punching the little fairy figurines and then drawing back bruised knuckles. Or even gangs of wasps trying to push the houses over in protest. I’ll be impressed if I find the cottages knocked over.

While the wasps still fly circles over the walkway and fairy garden like little protesters carrying signs of “fairies gotta go!”, no holes have appeared under the black mulch.  I’m not worried about them though. The wasps still have plenty of sandy spots along the driveway, which are closer to the cicada-filled trees anyway. Nature will rebalance and we will find a way to live peacefully together again.

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