Wasps: pests or pest control?

Buzzing, busy bees are typically a welcome sight – however, there's another pollinator that makes a similar sound, but is instead viewed as a pest...

We all know bees play a valuable role in the ecosystem, and most of us are pleased to see them buzzing around. But despite holding similar value, their less-than-loved neighbours, wasps, have earned themselves a bad reputation!

In reality, wasps actually provide several benefits to the natural world and can be helpful in controlling other insect populations.

Although they're usually associated with a nasty sting, wasps don't sting for fun! It's only to protect themselves or their hive.

Pest control

One of the main benefits of wasps is their role as natural pest control, as many species feed on other insects – such as aphids and caterpillars, which can cause damage to crops and plants – thereby reducing the need for harmful pesticides.

Many wasp species are also parasitic, meaning they lay their eggs in or on other insects, which then serve as a food source for their developing larvae.


In addition to their pest control abilities, wasps also play a crucial role in pollination. Like bees and butterflies, wasps visit flowers to feed on nectar and inadvertently collect and transfer pollen.

This process helps to fertilise plants, leading to the production of fruits, seeds and new plants. Some species are even specialised pollinators, meaning they pollinate specific plants or flowers.

Pollinators are greatly valued here at Bath Spa. You may have noticed our wildflower meadows at Newton Park, and each year we plant thousands of spring bulbs to add to our floral displays. 


Wasps are also important prey for many other animals, including birds, reptiles and amphibians. They play an important part in nutrient cycling too, as their decomposing bodies provide food for scavengers and help to enrich the soil.

Always stay calm when a wasp buzzes around you, and don't disturb their nests. A good way to prevent wasps from bothering you is to ensure food and drinks are tidied away or covered.

Keep your eyes peeled for pollinators in our wildflower meadows, and don’t forget to report any eye-catching species using our Wildlife Encounter Form!

Disclaimer: The Bath Spa blog is a platform for individual voices and views from the University's community. Any views or opinions represented in individual posts are personal, belonging solely to the author of that post, and do not represent the views of other Bath Spa staff, or Bath Spa University as an institution.



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