Wasps - Their Biology, Diversity, and Role as Beneficial Insects and Pollinators of Native Plants by Heather Holm - 2021 hardback 416 pp - Pollination Press $49.95

This book delivers both as a work of art - photographs and presentation are wonderful - and as a thoroughly practical guide to identification. Five introductory chapters provide an overview of wasp behaviour, lifecycles, anatomy, diet, what they do for the world (“If all wasps were to disappear it would have catastrophic effect on several trophic levels of the food web”) and what we can do for them.

There are specific descriptions of 150 flower-visiting wasps from Eastern North America. I was excited to learn that an insect I found (dead) and put into a bottle last year is a pigeon tremex horntail, a primitive wasp in the suborder Symphyta.

I’m a fan of Heather’s work and have been selling two of her books for some time because they are not only terrific sources of information about bees and other pollinators, they also work really well for gardeners looking for the right plant for the right place. Wasps is a cut above, both in size, reach and price, but totally worth it, a gift for that special someone who is not going to say “Eeeeeuw, wasps!”

A tip: I had a paper wasp building a nest in my greenhouse last year. She was diligent! In a morning, the nest went from the size of a walnut to the size of an orange. Nearby, I hung a full size decoy nest, available from hardware stores. She departed, to build somewhere else.