Why we love bees and hate wasps

It is a truth universally acknowledged that people like bees and dislike wasps. This imbalance in emotion does not accurately reflect the importance of both taxa in the environment. We value bees as pollinators and enjoy a long history of co-habitation and domestication with a few bee species. In contrast, wasps are not valued (despite their role as apex predators), and human–wasp interactions are usually not enjoyable. The root of the problem appears to be our longstanding, culturally ingrained lack of appreciation for their role in ecology and economy. We lack quantitative assessment of the extent to which these stereotypes are upheld by the general public, and an evaluation of why wasps are so socially maligned. Perhaps if we valued wasps as we do bees, we would dislike wasps less.

The full report is here and it is a fascinating read.

2 thoughts on “Why we love bees and hate wasps

  1. I’m not saying it’s justfied, but, well, duh – the only idea I had of “creepy crawler wars might be helping humans” was spiders catching insects we don’t like – no idea wasp might have another function. Plus, I feel like people find wasp nests in corners in a way they don’t for bumblebees! Plus they just look like warriors in a way fuzzy bees don’t – so given that we like bees and flowers and plants and bees seem to be pretty chill in a “don’t bother them they won’t bother you”…

  2. I’m sure wasps are useful in the grand scheme of things, but they’re a literal pain otherwise and vicious. I was trimming grass in our back yard. We have some wood vegetable planters at the back. As I was trimming behind them, something flew by my head. Of course I swiped at it. Then I was stung. So I quickly headed for the garage door leading to the yard. Got stung a second time on my way. Brushed off my clothes and headed in to the house. You’d think that was enough. They’d chased me off. But no! I eventually killed 8 inside the house and got stung another couple of times.

    To be picky, I believe these were hornets. Maybe they’re useful, but they’re also nasty and vindictive.

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