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The Point of Wasps

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There is little to love about wasps: they sting unprovoked and they don’t do anything ‘useful’. They are the gangsters of the insect world.Wrong! This talk will make you think differently about the most maligned member of the insect world. The reputation of wasps is marred by a handful of species – the ‘pesky-picnic-wasps’. In fact, there are over 150,000 species of wasps: that’s 100 times more than the bees and ants combined! They are beautiful, diverse and important. Yes, that’s right - important! They are natural pest controllers: in a world without wasps, your garden would be swamped in insect pests and spiders. They pollinate and even disperse seeds. Moreover, wasp populations are threated just as much as bees.Aside from their ‘usefulness’, wasps are fascinating, especially those ‘pesky-picnic-wasps’. This is because of their extraordinary social behaviours, with uncanny parallels in our own societies: monarchies, rebellions, ASBOs, wasp police, undertakers, negotiators, welfare wasps, menopausal wasps, and wasps with aspirations above their station!Seirian Sumner will take you on a journey through the world of wasps, from their role in the environment, to the genes underpinning their fascinating social behaviours. Perhaps you won’t fall in love with wasps today, but we guarantee you’ll respect them more tomorrow.Get your tickets to New Scientist Live for SEPT 29, 2017: http://ow.ly/C6e930ePVIR

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