Summer has gone, the wild flowers are finished so no more buzzing around the Beacon for the beneficial insects. The honey bees have flown home to the safety of their warm hives, while the worker wasps have all died in harness as unsung heroes.
We have to feel sorry for the wasps – they get a bad press although they only live for a few weeks in late Summer and are worked to death, while bees can live for many months. We love bees but hate wasps – why is this?
A new world-wide study published in Ecological Entomology reveals the plight of the wasp – they are largely disliked by the public, whereas bees are highly appreciated. No surprises there then. The researchers involved say that this view is unfair because wasps are just as ecologically useful as bees. The scientists suggest a public relations campaign to restore the wasps’ battered image. They would like to see the same efforts made to conserve wasps as there are currently for bees.
Wasps pollinate plants like bees, and take out harmful insects so are just as important in the environment but we despise them as if they are the sharks of the of the insect world. We all know that they punch a nasty sting if provoked, but so do bees. They may be deemed waspish but so are we all at times –
irritable, touchy, testy, irascible, cross, snappish, angry – so why do we hate the wasp so much that when they start building their home in an out of the way place like a shed or in the loft we immediately call in the pest controller to eradicate them. Why not just leave them alone to do their thing – they do not regularly return to the same spot in following years. We feed the wild birds to help them through the colder days so why not feed the wasps in Autumn with jam for the sugars to help them live longer. We no doubt selfishly prefer bees because they produce something of a direct benefit for us – honey.
Next year let us tolerate and encourage our wasps – apparently they are not as irritable or as touchy as their continental cousins, and we will be leaving the E U in March 2019!