Posted: 20/04/2013 at 21:51
Dear Matty2, indeed anyone who has been stung by a wasp
It has become something of a cliché that every year I defend wasps, because 'they are our friends'. After birds and spiders wasps are some of the most important insect predators we have in our gardens, eating flies, caterpillars, aphids, leaf hoppers and all manner of other small critters. They are part of the natural balance that keeps us from being overrun by pests and diseases. They are pollinators too.
Wasps do sting, but so too do honeybees and bumblebees. In all the posts about bees on the Gardeners’ World website never once has anyone commented on the beastly unpleasantness of bee stings. Yet wasps constantly suffer this repeated accusation.
Enough is enough. Now I rant. And to achieve pompous grandiosity, I’ve written this in the third person pleural. For added emphasis.
We interact with the environment in many ways. We see it, but we also touch it, feel it, smell it, taste it, eat it, play in it, walk in it, lie down in it. We are the richer for this tactile, olfactory (and all the other) sensual interactions. Sometimes we react to the environment in a less than pleasant way. We might get a rash from rue, we might get a splinter from a log, or a thorn from a rose, or stub a toe on a rock. But beyond a quietly uttered curse, we do not complainingly disparage them.
Stinging nettles sting. Grass pollen may make us sneeze, or a tall plant stem might poke in the eye when we’re bending down. This does not make the world, or even individual parts of it, intrinsically dangerous or evil. It just means we are not merely casual observers of a disinterested cosmos. Life really isn’t like watching the telly. It’s a natural world out there. We are part of this natural world. So are wasps.