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Wasps have a bad reputation. Is it deserved?

Although not as cuddly as their honey-producing cousins, nature needs wasps too

By Seirian Sumner   July 2021

A single wasp colony in your garden, meanwhile, can remove up to half a kilogram of insect prey per season. Illustration: Ian Morris

It’s a summer weekend, and your neighbours discover a wasp nest in their loft. Horror strikes. Fearing for their safety (not to mention a planned barbecue), they reach for the phone and within 24 hours the nest has been nuked with toxic chemicals. Your neighbour hadn’t actually been bothered by a wasp all summer, but that fact didn’t occur to them.

Your neighbours are not nature-hating monsters. They are simply a product of their—our—culture. We are taught to rescue bees and fear wasps, even though both can sting. We know bees are important pollinators in natural and farmed…

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