Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Stinger!

There was an interesting discussion on breakfast time BBC about why people tend to hate wasps (actually, the Common wasp Vespula vulgaris, as there are lots of other wasp species, sometimes with very different lifestyles) whilst feeling positive about bees (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-45566304). It's pretty obviously because the strictly herbivorous bee's role in pollination is well understood as well as this insect being less likely to sting (it's fatal for this insect with its harpoon-like sting). In contrast, it's not generally appreciated that social wasps being omnivorous are also active pollinators as well as being effective predators on a range of plant-devouring caterpillars. Also the wasp, having a syringe needle-like sting, is more likely to use its defence mechanism repeatedly (you really shouldn't take it personally!). Perhaps people can be convinced (with better PR) that wasps are useful insects and not just pointless pests?

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