Have you ever fantasized about a world without wasps? It turns out, such a world wouldn’t be as perfect as you might imagine. So, what would happen if wasps went extinct? Why are they important, and what valuable functions do they perform in the environment? Keep reading! In this article, we’ll answer all of these questions.
What You'll Learn Today
What Do Wasps Do For the Ecosystem?
Though their aggressive behavior and painful stings can be annoying, wasps are actually quite beneficial in the environment. They play various key roles in the ecosystems they inhabit; some of these roles include:
- Pollination: Wasps are not as efficient pollinators as bees are, but they often end up pollinating plants accidentally in their search for nectar to eat. Wasps don’t have designated “pollen sacs,” as bees do, to carry and distribute the pollen; but as they travel from flower to flower, small amounts of pollen stick to their bodies and are distributed when the wasps brush up against other flowers.
- Pest control: Wasps eat mostly fruit and sugary substances, but they are skilled hunters that feed a variety of pest insects to their larvae. From cockroaches to cicadas to flies to aphids, wasps help keep the populations of these pest insects down to a manageable level.
- Food source: While wasps are hunters themselves, they are also prey for larger insects, birds, and many other animals. Their existence provides a valuable food source for many different creatures.
In addition to these foundational roles, wasps can be beneficial in other ways too. For example, some kinds of wasp are extremely smart and can be trained to perform various functions; some are even used for sniffing out drugs or dangerous explosives.
Wasps perform many of the same tasks and face many of the same threats as bees. Declining bee populations have caught the attention of the public, but it seems that few know or care that wasp populations are also going down.
What If Wasps Were To Go Extinct?
A world without wasps may sound like a dream come true, but have you ever stopped to consider what the loss of a single animal or insect could do to the rest of the environment?
If all the wasps in the world were to go extinct, pest insect populations would rise. These insects would have a more devastating effect on crops, which over time would most likely diminish food sources for larger animals and, in turn, humans.
What’s more, many plants wouldn’t be pollinated as well as they are now. In particular, many fig species need specific types of wasps to pollinate them; if the wasps went extinct, so would the fig trees, as well as many tropical animals and people who rely on them for food.
So, there would be fewer plants in the world, and more insects to devour the plants that remain; this would have a serious effect on the food chain and likely lead to food shortages.
Though the balance of nature doesn’t rely on any one species alone, the loss of one would certainly impact all those that remain. These impacts would likely add up over time, eventually leading to the endangerment of other plant and animal species as well.
So even though wasps can be annoying, they do have important roles to play in our world.
Why Are Wasps Important? What Are They Good For?
Wasps are important because of the effects they have on other species throughout the world. They have a great impact on both plants and animals, as we discussed in the above section.
Wasps encourage plant growth in two ways: by pollinating them and by preventing pest insects from overrunning them. Plants, of course, are a foundational aspect of the food chain; fewer plants would mean less food for the plant-eating insects and animals, which in turn would lead to less food for the human populations of the world.
Wasps are important because maintaining balance is important. Wasps are beneficial in many ways; if all the wasps suddenly disappeared, we might not notice the effects immediately, but our world would quickly begin to lose all the benefits that wasps currently provide.
As the saying goes, you don’t appreciate something until you don’t have it anymore. If there were no more wasps in the world, we might forget about their painful stings and, instead, miss the valuable services of pest control and pollination that they once provided.
Check out this video to learn more about how important wasps are in the world:
Wasps play an important role in the environment. If wasps were to go extinct, pest insects would likely overrun plants, and some plants would die off because they wouldn’t receive the necessary pollination to continue their species. Food sources would go down because there would be fewer plants to support the insects, animals, and people who rely on them.