In Nature, Words

Wasp. Aargh! What is it good for? Absolutely n…

OK, I know the Olympics are kicking off and interest rates have been cut and there’s still outrage over David Cameron’s hamster being put forward for a peerage, but the big issue concerning me right now is a hole that’s appeared in my back garden.

Is it a sinkhole? Nope. A fox perhaps? No again. Badger then? Thrice no. This particular hole has been dug out by none other than a colony of wasps. How do I know? Because in the bottom of the hole, brazen as you like, I found a colony of wasps.

Absolutely bang to rights.

Back in April I wrote about bees, specifically bumble bees, and how they nest in the ground. This was not covered in Winnie the Pooh. If, like most right-thinking people, you lived by the lessons of AA Milne, you could quite easily drift through life assuming that bees make their hives exclusively in trees. So it came as a surprise to discover that they like to keep their feet on the ground. Now I discover that wasps do too.

Finding yourself standing over a hole full of wasps is no laughing matter. You become acutely aware that it’s a very short flight from hole in the ground to trouser leg and once a swarm of wasps goes up your trousers it’s all over. So I backed away carefully and ran to look up ‘wasps nest in ground’.

Of the search items that came up on page 1 of Google, four contained the words ‘get rid’, three contained ‘removal’ and two contained ‘kill’. Why do we hate wasps so much? Change ‘wasps’ to ‘bees’ and you get just one ‘get rid’ and two ‘removals’. The rest is all peace, love and happiness.

Yes, wasps sting. So do bees. Sure, they eat your picnic. So do cows. I didn’t find a single website offering to ‘get rid of cows’ from my back garden. Ah, but bees make honey and cows make cheese. What are wasps good for?

Well, there are some things actually, like eating aphids and doing a spot of pollinating, but that’s by the by. If we applied that reasoning to the human race there would be pages and pages of companies offering to get rid of Southern rail, and then where would we be?

Not stuck on this sodding platform, that’s for sure.

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