via Sophia, NOT Loren!
with summer coming fast i just wanna share a psa on wasps and why they’re good too.
– they do serve a purpose in the ecosystem. wasps are vital predators of aphids and blackflies. with no predation,
one cabbage aphid could cover our planet in 822 million tonnes of bugs
because they’re so fertile, as estimated by zoologist mark carwardine.
not only do wasps eat for themselves, but they need to provide for their
grubs too, so that’s even more aphids getting picked off every day. parasitic wasps of the family trichogrammatidae are used in
horticulture for biological control of pests. trichogramma galloi is
used to control sugarcane borers and encarsia formosa is used to control
whitefly, a pest of tomato, cucumber, aubergine and strawberry. on some
farms they even replace chemical pesticides.
– they are effective pollinators with some species contributing
massively to the maintenance of plant populations.
there are over 800 species of fig tree and each one has its own specific
fig wasp. without one another, neither the fig nor fig wasp can
life-cycle – a clear example of co-evolution that has been successful
for over 60 million years. Figs are a keystone species in
tropical regions worldwide – their fruit supports the diets of at least
1,274 mammals and birds, meaning that the extinction of fig wasps would
catastrophic in tropical ecosystems. furthermore,
at least 100 orchid species rely on european wasps and common wasps for
– paper wasps and potter wasps make amazing artists. they can construct flawless nests made of wood and create stunning miniature pot nests out of nothing but mud and saliva. in one amazing case, a colony of paper wasps constructed a rainbow-coloured nest using coloured sheets of paper as shown on the right. (menchetti 2016)
– wasps are socially intelligent. not only can paper wasps recognise each other by the colour patterns on their faces, but they can still do so after at least one week apart. (sheehan and tibbetts 2008) european wasps can learn to recognise human faces. despite having no evolutionary reason for doing so, they construct holistic representations of complex images to remember a specific human face. (avarguès-weber et al 2018) sand wasps tend to two or three chambers each day. each chamber is in a
different location and each larva is at a different developmental
stage. it was found that they learn the configuration of landmarks
around each concealed chamber in order to find them. this means that the
wasp learns where the chambers are and which action is needed at each.
– the world’s smallest known insect is a fairy wasp! at only 139-240 micrometres long, dicopomorpha echmepterygis is smaller than some paramecium and amoeba species. the fairy wasp family also contains the smallest flying insect, kikiki huna. adult lifespans are very short, only lasting for a few days. several species are used as biological pest control agents. some species are even aquatic, using their wings as tiny paddles to swim around.
– social wasps are frequent models for batesian mimicry and müllerian mimicry. this means that non-stinging insects use wasps as a base to appear threatening to predators. their presence thus changes how other insects evolve. even bees such as the nomad bee have evolved to mimic wasps. (yellowjacket wasp on the left, clearwing moth on the right.)
Thank you thank you thank you!
Wasps are such important regulators of plant pests that some plant species will release a chemical message to summon nearby wasps when they are being heavily eaten by pests.
Wasps are friends just as much as bees!!
Look I got stung in the face yesterday but I ain’t even mad about it because as much as this sucks, having a pest free garden and not having my house doused in chemicals is super rad.