Wasps! What are they good for? Most people think of them as angry, picnic bothering despoilers of summer. Well, they might be right, but they are so much more.
Rambling Ratz highly recommends tootling over to this link and having a jolly good read of “Wasps and Their Ways” by Margaret W Morley (1900). She has a great affection for wasps and writes in a most entertaining manner.
This is a scene familiar to many of us, a wasp ravishing my lovely apple; Ms Morley explains why they are so keen on fermented fruit; “… they are immoral enough to abandon themselves to whatever satisfaction comes from intoxication … they may be seen lying around in a state of helpless drunkenness”. She also proffers such gems of advice as, “… it is never safe to frighten hornets …” and ” …whoever loves wasps need not fear them; whoever does not had better keep away …”.
As well as providing information on keeping wasps as pets, she also educates us about their anatomy, life cycles and habits. Did you know that as well as two compound eyes, they also have three simple eyes in the middle of their head? Or that as well as their vibrating wings making a humming noise they can also hum through the spiracles on their thorax? I bet you didn’t know that mixing a burnt wasp’s nest into horse feed cures them of “thick-windedness”; I dread to imagine what those symptoms are.
Despite her obvious enthusiasm for “her ladyship, Vespa”, she admits that they are not as evolved as bees, but is full of hope for the species, “… wasps are yet blazing a way through the unknown wilderness of wasp possibilities …”
If you are still not convinced, then head over to the Buglife website where you can learn about how useful and clever wasps are as pollinators, paper makers and fly eaters. For those of you who don’t wish to share their homes with our stripey friends take a look at the Waspinator web site for advice on how to deter wasps without harming them.