would anything bad happen if we made wasps extinct?
A delicate balance depends on these picnic pests
Wasps might seem like good-for-nothing pests, but they aren’t all bad. In the UK alone there are more than 7,000 different species, although we’re most familiar with the ‘yellow jackets’, Vespula vulgaris. These social wasps live in colonies with a queen and hundreds of female workers. The reason they come out in late summer to attack our outdoor meals has to do with the way they raise their young. Wasp larvae make a sweet juice for adult wasps to eat, but by August the young are all fully grown. So the adults, still craving a sugar fix, head out in search of fizzy drinks, jam and cake. Getting rid of them isn’t the answer; wasps play a critical role in controlling insect numbers. They catch and kill pest like greenfly and caterpillars, keeping ecosystems in balance and protecting our gardens from destruction. If they went extinct our picnics would just be overrun with other insects.
Jam-hungry yellow jackets invade your barbecue in search of a sugar fix