I have a taste for teak so I furnished my garden with teak furniture both new and used. Used is hard to come by but a bargain if you do. Luckily, houses at the beach have a high turnover so often their furnishings go up for sale. If it’s teak it’s got to be grabbed as soon as it goes on the market.
What I didn’t know is that wasps have the same taste for teak as I do. Well, I only sit on it; they eat it. They truly do, tiny strip by tiny strip. Here’s a “chic teak blog” that explains why wasps covet my wood.
It turns out wasps are as highly beneficial as honey bees. They are both pollinators and predators and dispersers of seeds: contributing to a well- run ecosystem. My theory is they are just not as cute as fuzzy, chubby honey bees and therefore suffer from a lack of human appreciation. Both sting when riled up but the streamlined body and long legs of a wasp have a sinister look.
No save-the-environment-talk helps my gnawed on teak. Will I one morning look out the window and see only a shell of a settee ready to crumble to the ground if sat upon? Further research is certainly required.
Wasps need cellulose for their nests and they don’t care if they get it from a rotting tree, a fence post, your new deck or your prized teak armchair. They chew it until it’s mixed with their saliva and ready to form the walls of their new home. Spring is a very busy time for wasp homebuilders.
There are numerous suggestions on how to deter this irritating behavior. Apparently there are many smells wasps like to avoid: vinegar, peppermint, scented soap. So rub your chairs with soap, spray them with vinegar or peppermint oil. I’ve done that and while I spray they take off and then return shortly thereafter. You might say wasps are like many of our human friends. There are habits they have that we cherish and other habits we wish they would forego. The bottom line is wasps chewing off little wood strips does not destroy the furniture, just makes it look somewhat battered. You might say, like it’s been lived in. Here’s a description of wasp brunching behavior.
Lesson learned: share the teak.
Next question: Why do ants congregate on my peonies?