That time of year has come; when my home and property seem to be fraught with wasps. When my family and I first moved into this house, we had an old apple tree in the back yard. As the bounty of apples fell from the tree, they’d rot and scores of wasps would swoop in to feast on the carcasses. This made it difficult for our dog or my son to play in the back yard as there was a constant threat of these pests stinging any of us.
So, what purpose do these bastards serve? In truth, they are actually useful within the context of nature. We tend to consider insects like wasps to be pests and that they do nothing but cause a bother. But they actually do have some uses. Let’s do some learnin’…
Wasps often get confused with other flying insects. What I can say, to describe them, is that they tend to be slim, hairless (unlike bees) and have black and yellow bodies. Wasps include yellow jackets and hornets, which is why many people tend to refer to a wasp as a hornet.
Based on some fossil records of the wasp, the insects have been around for millions and millions of years, and much like the Great White Shark, have remained almost completely unchanged since the those times.
Unlike bees, wasps don’t pollinate. However, they are considered a predatory species and help with the control of pest insects, such as mosquitos. So despite how aggressive they may seem, they do actually lend a hand in ways we don’t tend to acknowledge.
That being said, they DO tend to be aggressive can sting if approached and disturbed. Wasps are a lot like bees and have a venom sack attached to their stinger. They differ from bees in that their stingers are smooth, so they can sting repeatedly. Their stings can cause allergic reactions in some people and multiple stings can be fatal in small children.
As an appreciator of all things from nature, I try to focus on the actual contribution to the ecological well-being of our environment. They may be pests, but they do their part to contribute. Much like some people we may encounter. ☯