Wasps: A Guide for Eastern North America

by Heather Holm



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By Heather Holm
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You were young. You got stung by a wasp. It hurt —forever cementing your aversion to anything that looked like a wasp. But how much do you really know about them? Did you know that aside from pollinating native plants, wasps prey on crop-damaging insects, or that researchers use wasps to detect the invasive emerald ash borer? Learn why “the world could not afford to lose its wasps” with a book that teaches you everything you didn’t know you were missing about these fascinating pollinators. The book includes five introductory chapters, followed by profiles of 150 wasp species from twelve families. It gives a detailed description of anatomy, life history, diet, nesting biology, and more. Learn about the diversity of rituals they practice for hunting prey and attracting mates. It also includes a native plant guide for eastern North America and chart of wasp-plant interactions. With range maps for every species and over 1000 striking photographs, this book is perfect for nature buffs and photography buffs alike. This is a book for academia or the home; professionals and beginner gardeners alike are sure to learn how to observe, attract, and support our imperiled native wasps from this easy-to-use guide.  • 412 Pages. 

Wasps is the winner of five book awards:
2021 National Indie Excellence Award Winner: Nature
2021 National Indie Excellence Award Finalist: Environment
2021 Next Generation Indie Book Awards Finalist: Science/Nature
2021 Next Generation Indie Book Awards Finalist: Regional Non-Fiction
2021 Independent Publisher Book Award Silver: Nature

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Growing your own plants from seed is the most economical way to add natives to your home. Before you get started, one of the most important things to know about the seeds of wild plants is that many have built-in dormancy mechanisms that prevent the seed from germinating. In nature, this prevents a population of plants from germinating all at once, before killing frosts, or in times of drought. To propagate native plants, a gardener must break this dormancy before seed will grow.

Each species is different, so be sure to check the GERMINATION CODE listed on the website, in the catalog, or on your seed packet. Then, follow the GERMINATION INSTRUCTIONS prior to planting. Some species don't need any pre-treatment to germinate, but some species have dormancy mechanisms that must be broken before the seed will germinate. Some dormancy can be broken in a few minutes, but some species take months or even years.

Seed dormancy can be broken artificially by prolonged refrigeration of damp seed in the process of cold/moist STRATIFICATION. A less complicated approach is to let nature handle the stratifying through a dormant seeding, sowing seeds on the surface of a weed-free site in late fall or winter. Tucked safely beneath the snow, seeds will be conditioned by weathering to make germination possible in subsequent growing seasons.

To learn more, read our BLOG: How to Germinate Native Seeds

Dormant Bare Root Plants

We dig plants when they are dormant from our outdoor beds and ship them April-May and October. Some species go dormant in the summer and we can ship them July/August. We are among the few still employing this production method, which is labor intensive but plant-friendly. They arrive to you dormant, with little to no top-growth (bare-root), packed in peat moss. They should be planted as soon as possible. Unlike greenhouse-grown plants, bare-root plants can be planted during cold weather or anytime the soil is not frozen. A root photo is included with each species to illustrate the optimal depth and orientation. Planting instructions/care are also included with each order.

Download: Installing Your Bare-Root Plants

Potted Plants

3-packs and trays of 32, 38, or 50 plants leave our Midwest greenhouses based on species readiness (being well-rooted for transit) and order date; Spring shipping is typically early May through June, and Fall shipping is mid-August through September. Potted 3-packs and trays of 38 plugs are started from seed in the winter so are typically 3-4 months old when they ship. Trays of 32/50 plugs are usually overwintered so are 1 year old. Plant tray cells are approximately 2” wide x 5” deep in the trays of 38 and 50, and 2.5" wide x 3.5" deep in the 3-packs and trays of 32; ideal for deep-rooted natives. Full-color tags and planting & care instructions are included with each order.

Download: Planting and Care of Potted Plants

*PLEASE NOTE: we are a mail order nursery and have no retail facilities, but you may pick up your order if prior arrangements are made. Pick up orders are subject to 7.375% MN Sales Tax.

Shipping & Handling Charges

TOOL SHED and BOOKS have the shipping fee included in the cost of the item. In other words, they SHIP FREE!

Shipping Season

SEED, TOOLS and BOOKS are sent year-round. Most orders ship within a day or two upon receipt.


We ship using USPS, UPS and Spee Dee.