My perennial kale survived the cabbage butterfly caterpillars a week or so ago, thanks to the help of the local sparrows, now they are facing a new challenge - flea beetles!
Once again I was faced with the decision of whether to cover my crop or not and once more, as with the cabbage butterfly - my intuition said leave it and watch!
Over the following days I looked on again in horror as the flea beetle ate its ways through the kale leaves - I thought to myself that this was the end of my kales however.....
I was inspecting the kales and there were wasps constantly flying around my head, I have always had a strong fear of wasps and I found myself getting anxious and annoyed with them, but I managed to overcome my fear for a moment and watch where the wasps were going. To my amazement - the wasps were literally landing on, catching and taking away the flea beetles.
The wasps were hunting!!
I suddenly found myself in awe once more of how nature finds ways to ensure balance is maintained. If there had only been one or two flea beetles, the wasps would probably not have bothered hunting them, but because there were so many - the wasps were on a proper mission!!
I then found that the flea beetles moved on after 48hours and now there are NONE on my kales. They seem to have migrated to the garlic mustards instead.
Now as I walk through the garden and find myself being inspected by a wasp - I have a new appreciation for their hunting instinct and why they seem so intent on flying up close for an inspection - they are looking for a tasty insect meal. I have also witnessed them hunting black fly too and i'm pretty sure they would take caterpillars too - they are ferocious!
I hope that my lifelong fear of wasps will now take a different turn!
For growers that are troubled by insect pests - it may be wise to actively encourage wasps to nest nearby in safe spaces if you want a bit of help from a formidable and precise pest hunter :)