The Paw Print

Opinion: You shouldn’t kill wasps

Wasps aren’t as dangerous as you may think. They often mind their own business and only attack humans when threatened.

Pixabay

Wasps aren’t as dangerous as you may think. They often mind their own business and only attack humans when threatened.

Matthew Shirley, Guest

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Wasps aren’t exactly the most fun things to be around, but the way we treat them by simply writing them off and killing them is just plain stupid.

Now, I think it’s common knowledge no one likes wasps. People like bees, because they’re a lot less “menacing.” When a bee crashes a picnic it’s perfectly fine, everyone goes about their day, but when it is a wasp all of a sudden it’s a battlefield to people. If they don’t kill it, it’s going to ransack their food and sting everyone to death.

For some reason, there’s a harsh stigma towards wasps, even though they’re just as important as bees.

In a survey of 750 people from 46 countries,
Ecological Entomology asked people to rate insects
from a -5 to a +5, and to no one’s surprise wasps
weren’t very popular, getting an average rating of -3
while its snobby and popular cousin, the bee, got a nice +3.

If you asked most people to tell you what a bee does, they’d be able to tell you in less than a minute: they pollinate flowers. Most people either just don’t know or don’t bother to care about the fact that wasps also do that exact same job.

Friends of the Earth, an environmental organization, mentions just how important wasps are when it comes to pollinating saying, “By flying from one flower to another they transfer pollen and pollinate plants, like bees do…the wasps you’ll see in your garden or house also help pollinate a range of plants including ivy, fennel, angelica and even some orchids.”

Christopher Torda, a biology teacher, agrees that they are important to the ecosystem, getting rid of both dead and alive pests. He said, “I think the world would be a much different place without them because they keep the insect population under control. They also get rid of dead insects since they eat them.”

Wasps are necessary to keep the insect population down, while also cleaning up the remains few other species do. They’re essentially garbage men, if a garbage man got a nice shot of bug spray to the face every time he did his rounds.

Now you may call them “pests” whenever they decide to crash a picnic or a party, but don’t forget they get rid of the actual pests, affecting your food. Michael Marshall from Forbes brings up an excellent point saying, “Common wasps are predators that target caterpillars and other insects, many of which are agricultural pests. Simply by existing and hunting for food, common wasps help protect our food crops from pests.”

Jarrell Glover, a sophomore with knowledge on the topic, also thinks wasps are one of the most important insects we have, keeping the pest population down. He said, “They are one of the best and most efficient predators we have. Certain ones are apex predators, and without them even more pests will be able to spawn and grow in population.”

Kill them and all of a sudden insect populations are going to have a sudden increase, and when that numbers increases, those insects are going to go after our crops for food, without any wasps to help keep them in check. But hey, look on the bright side, now you won’t have to deal with them buzzing around at your picnic.

Glover thinks although it depends on the situation, most of the time we shouldn’t kill them either. He said, “It’s different depending on the situation, but most of the time, we don’t need to kill wasps on sight…they pollinate, and also ward off smaller threats that would be big threats if wasps weren’t around.” However, most will still kill wasps.

Even with this information, most people are still going to kill wasps. Even Torda remarks that in the moment he would kill one. However, when given the time to think it out he believes you shouldn’t, instead you should just let them be. He said, “When you really think about it they are fascinating creatures, if given the time to think about it you should definitely respect them.”

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Opinion: You shouldn’t kill wasps