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Wasps Could Be As ‘Valuable’ As Bees If We Just Gave Them A Chance, Scientist Says

by : Daniel Richardson on : 29 Apr 2021 16:18
Wasps Could Be As 'Valuable' As Bees If We Just Gave Them A Chance, Scientist SaysPA Images

Despite wasps often being looked at as annoying by most people, scientists claim that they actually have important qualities.

Wasps can strike terror in the hearts of picnic-eaters, and they don’t really have the same appeal as the bee. But now some scientists are claiming that wasps are just as ‘valuable’ as bees, and are just misunderstood.

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A scientific paper, published in the journal Biological Reviews, has researched what value wasps can bring to an ecosystem. The study was intended to look at ‘the scope and nature of the ecosystem services they [wasps] provide’ as they are not understood to the same degree as relative insect groups like butterflies, beetles and bees.

wasp v beesPA Images

The study found that wasps do benefit their ecosystems, as they do pollinate and also eat pest insects. The venom of the likes of the Yellowjacket wasp is also being used in promising cancer treatments. It is because of these factors that the authors of the paper have defended the flying insect.

Speaking to The Guardian, one of the authors of the study, Professor Seirian Sumner, explained how we view wasps and why the research was important:

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We’re quite happy with the idea that bees sting, because we know that they do good in the world.

So we have gathered the evidence available to put wasps on the map in terms of their ecosystem services. Wasps could be just as valuable as other beloved insects like bees if only we gave them more of a chance.

The study analysed 500 scientific reports on stinging wasps in an attempt to get an insight into the benefits of wasp activity. Interestingly, solitary wasps are hugely beneficial in the protection of crops because they eat other insects that will destroy them.

wasps being helpfulPA Images

Professor Sumner has spent a significant amount of her career researching and subsequently defending wasps. In fact, the professor has also published a study for UCL on why people hate wasps and not bees. She  noted that a lack of understanding of what wasps do was a core element in people’s dislike of the insect. This study may begin to remedy that problem.

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On the back of the research, the professor stated, ‘We look forward to a future where the critical roles of wasps in multiple facets of human health and wellbeing are recognised.’ Undoubtedly, the wasps will also hope that they don’t have to face as many people trying to kill them in the future.

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Daniel Richardson

After graduating from university, Dan went on to work with a variety of tech startups and media outlets. Through working with the likes of Game Rant, The Hook and What Culture, Dan pursued his interests in technology. The skills he picked up along the way are now being utilised with UNILAD.

Topics: Animals, Now

Credits

The Guardian and 2 others
  1. The Guardian

    Stinging wasps are precious, not pointless, say scientists

  2. UCL

    Why do we love bees but hate wasps?

  3. Biological Reviews

    Ecosystem services provided by aculeate wasps