There’s a lot more to wasps than your stripy picnic friend: wasps matter to you and the world. There are five times more species of wasps than bees; there are wasps that have sex inside plants; there are wasps that turn cockroaches into zombies. Wasps taught us how to make paper; wasps are architects, guardians of microorganisms, invaders, pollinators, seed dispersers and predators. They are nature’s pest-controllers; their endless forms are windows into evolution’s most remarkable inventions; they are pharmacists; they might even hold a cure for cancer. I guarantee that a journey into the secret world of wasps will blow your mind.
Seirian is a Professor of behavioural ecology at University College London. She studies social insects to understand their behaviour, ecology, evolution and role in ecosystems. She is especially fond of wasps, and is working hard to give them a PR makeover. As part of these efforts, she co-founded the Big Wasp Survey in 2017 – a citizen science project to engage the public with social wasps in their back yard. And in May 2022 her book ‘Endless Forms: The secret world of wasps’ – was published, giving everyone a reason to better appreciate wasps.
The music used in this episode is by Thula Borah and is used with permission.