The role that wasps play in the proper functioning of ecosystems is fundamental. Whether they are large wasps or small, solitary or social wasps, wasps fulfill a determined and crucial role in guaranteeing the survival of other animal and plant species. However, the sometimes painful and dangerous wasp sting has placed these insects among the most fearsome in the animal kingdom. However, it should be noted how high temperatures as a result of climate change are the cause of the appearance of pests of exotic wasp species in other parts of the world, such as the expansion of the giant Asian hornet ( Vespa velutina ) , and the American wasps. black ( Polybia occidentalis) and red wasps ( Polistes canadensis ).
Pollinating function of wasps
Wasps, like many other insects, follow an omnivorous diet and, without a doubt, when asked what exactly wasps eat, the nectar of the flowers is one of the main answers.
In this way, by consuming the nectar of flowers found in their natural habitats, both small wasps and large wasps perform the indispensable function of pollination , without which many of the wild crops and plants would not be able to reproduce.
Biological control of insect pests
Among the main functions that wasps perform in the proper functioning of ecosystems, their ability to naturally control insect pests in crops and wild habitats stands out.
But what exactly do wasps do to ensure such biological control of insects? As easy as being the natural predators of various groups of insects, including aphids, small spiders and caterpillars . All these insects are seriously detrimental to the crops and crops in which they appear, so that more and more farmers are choosing to introduce colonies of wasps as a bioinsecticide to ensure the protection of their crops.
Here you can read more about Biological Pest Control: what it is, advantages, disadvantages and examples .
Recycling of organic matter
Thanks to their omnivorous diet, wasps are able to participate directly in the decomposition of organic matter .
Through the chemical interaction of substances in the digestive system of wasps and the high sugar content of many of the foods they eat, these amazing insects help break up the remains of the decomposing food they eat, which include mainly fruits and Overripe vegetables, thus accelerating their decomposition and favoring the recycling of organic matter, especially if these foods are found together with other plant debris in nature.
Probably the most surprising function of wasps is the intervention of these insects in the production of wine or oenology . A recent scientific study carried out by an Italian research team revealed how the stomach of wasps turns out to be an astonishing reservoir of yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae , the species of fungus that is indispensable in making foods such as wine, beer and bread.
This fascinating function of wasps is due to the fact that, while they feed on grapes, the wasps deposit in this fruit the yeasts that are found naturally in their digestive systems. Later, the yeasts will tend to ferment the must (younger wine), later giving rise to the wine we consume.
More and more scientific studies confirm that a world without wasps would be a world even more full of pesticides and chemical pesticides , something that would be tremendously polluting for all living beings on the planet. Thanks to the incredible function of wasps, in ecological terms, as insect pest controllers , it is essential to design strategies that favor the conservation of these insects.
These conservation strategies are increasingly necessary given the constant decline in wasp populations globally, mainly due to the loss of their natural habitats and the irreversible effects of climate change. It is in this context that scientists are increasingly concerned to prevent endangered wasps from becoming a reality.