Wasps… They’re pretty annoying.
But what would happen if all the wasps in the world just disappeared?
Well, before you start celebrating,
let’s have a little look at some of the lesser-known wonders of wasps.
If there are no wasps, it’s not just the insect that would be lost,
but a complex society with some surprising similarities to our own.
All wasps have a role to fulfil –
be it as a queen,
or the wasp equivalent of a caretaker,
a guard, or even a nanny.
They’re also a lot smarter than we give them credit for.
Some wasps can recognise each other’s faces,
so they know where they are in the hierarchy,
and if they’re friend or foe.
And they can be trained to detect explosives and illegal drugs.
Wasps are a key predator,
and the loss of any predator would have a huge knock-on effect
on the ecosystem.
This is because wasps protect plant life, crops, and other creatures
from spiders, millipedes, flies, caterpillars
使其免受蜘蛛 千足虫 苍蝇 毛虫
aphids, and much more.
In fact, they catch around 14 million kilograms worth of insects
实际上 仅在英国 它们每年就能捕获
every year in the UK alone,
most of which they take home to feed their young.
So without wasps, you’d see many plants left unprotected,
and a big rise in the number of uninvited creatures in your home.
The bee population has gone down significantly over the past 30 years
近30年 由于农药 土地利用和气候的变化
because of pesticides, changes in land use, and climate change.
Wasps face a similar threat –
they just don’t capture the public imagination in the same way.
Studies show people associate bees with more positive, cuddly imagery –
like honey, flowers, and pollen.
While wasps evoke more negative terms
like stinging, pain, and rage.
But this is unfair because wasps perform many of the same functions as bees
and wasps are crucial pollinators too.
In fact, if wasps didn’t exist,
we’d lose over 100 different types of orchids and figs too.
That might not sound like a big deal,
but every species of fig relies on
its own species of pollinating fig wasp for fertilisation.
In turn, more than 1,000 tropical birds and mammals
depend on figs and therefore wasps – to survive.
There are thousands of species of wasps out there,
most of which go about their business quietly.
And only 1% of these are the type that buzz around your picnic.
The most off-putting feature of the wasp is its ability to sting,
but that sting has some interesting features.
It contains a toxin,
which lab studies suggest could have anti-cancer properties.
So wasps have a lot to offer.
By the time they’re out and after your ice cream,
they’re in the last throes of their life,
which is only two weeks to a month long.
Because when the queen has no more need for them they have to leave –
confused, jobless, homeless, and desperate for a sugar fix.
迷茫 失业 无家可归并渴望补充糖分
So let’s give the wasps a break.
After all, without them we’d have more pests,
and more global food insecurity.
So as much as it’s our instinct to panic
and flap our arms whenever we see them, don’t.
会本能地惊慌失措 挥舞双臂 但不要这么做
Stop and watch them
and see just how amazing these disliked,
and wildly under-appreciated insects actually are.
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Wasps… They’re pretty annoying.