Another question, posed by the BBC website today, asks 'Why do we hate wasps and love bees?' https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-45566304.
On the face of it, it's a good question because both animals (and their hornet cousins) use sting as a powerful defence, but both also make invaluable contributions to the health of the natural environment.
We've had a little office tea-break to think about this, and come up with 5 perceptions about each animal that we think helps to explain why we feel the way we do...
Bees: 1 they make honey!, 2 they are important pollinators, 3 they're furry which makes them seem, if not cuddly, a bit more likeable, 4 they die after they've stung their victim, and 5 good press.
Wasps: 1 they look hard, shiny and vicious, 2 they seem constantly on the look out for someone to annoy, often you personally, 3 they live to sting (you) another day, 4 they serve no useful purpose on this planet, and 5 bad press.
The fact is, none of the above is entirely true! Research continues to add to our kowledge about these small creatures, but we're here to help you sort out some of the facts from the fiction
Wasps control many of the pests that cause a nuisance in our gardens such as aphids, flies, and caterpillars. They also eat fruit, and are drawn to sweet foods as anyone with a jam sandwich will know!
Wasps are also really important predators of spiders - of course spiders are really important ecologically, but even so...
Wasps construct beautiful, fragile paper nests from wood that they chew up and moisten with saliva to make a kind of papier mache
In the UK there are 900 species of wasp (that's right, 900!), but while they do all have the nipped in waist, they don't all wear the black and yellow colours we all know are are wary of, just as they don't all sting
In contrast, there are only about 250 species of bee and, again, they don't all come in regulation yellow and black
Amy's favourite be is the Tree Bumblebee; it has a ginger thorax, black abdomen and white tail and will nest in bird boxes and tree holes - hence the name. Find out more here: https://www.bumblebeeconservation.org/white-tailed-bumblebees/tree-bumblebee/
So back to the question why do we hate wasps and love bees? It's pretty obvious isn't it?
But the thing to remember is that 1 wasps are every bit as helpful to the environment - and therefore humans - as bees, 2 are master builders of beautiful and delicate structures, 3 do an excellent job on pest control in the garden, 4 provide a valuable food source for other animals, and 5 they exist and should be accepted as an integral part of the complexity that is the natural world in their own right.
Bumblebee Conservation Trust - https://www.bumblebeeconservation.org/
Bees, Wasps and ants Recording Society - http://www.bwars.com/
Buglife - https://www.buglife.org.uk/
*A Belisha Beacon on the blink... boom-boom!