Wasps attacking butterflies

Asked August 2, 2019, 4:54 PM EDT

There are wasps in my garden that are attacking my butterflies and taking the body of the butterfly off of its wings. I find it disturbing to see so many butterfly wings on my patio and in my garden. I try and pull off the wasp when I see the attack. It breaks my heart to see my beautiful butterflies ripped to shreds. I need to know how to rid my yard of these terrible wasps. I think they are attracted to the Asian Pear in my yard but the squirrels have emptied the tree of any fruit.

Howard County Maryland

1 Response

This sounds like you may be referring to a European hornet. It is not uncommon for these wasps to do this and is a part of nature. There are no easy answers.
If you can step on the wasp, you may be able to kill the wasp. Otherwise, wasp sprays are harmful to the plants.
If you are looking for the nest, they are not always easy to find. Nests may be in hollow trees, barns, structures, etc.
If there is any over ripe fruit in your yard, the European hornets will be attracted to the sap. They may also girdle the stems of some trees and shrubs (usually lilacs) to feed on the sap.
After the first several hard frosts, the workers will die out and the queen will overwinter elsewhere. Hopefully this will not be an issue next year. https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/european-hornets

Marian