Vespula vulgaris
 

Manifesto of a Wasp Scientist

for The Last Word on Nothing

I sat alone again in the cafeteria again today. Ordered the schnitzel. No one wanted to sit next to me. Of course. No one ever wants to sit next to me. They all want to sit with the bee scientists.

Stupid bee scientists, like they are all that great. All clustered together at the other table like stupid little drones, buzzing about who’s cool and who’s not. All the pretty evolutionary psychologists and ethologists at their table. Talking about complex social dynamics, solar navigation, and collective intelligence. Chicks love that stuff.

Then they just get up in their stupid little hive and all leave together. When they walk past my table one of them is like, “hey, how are the yellow jackets?” Which totally a stupid thing to say since vespula isn’t even that big a part of vespoidea, like everyone always thinks. But then someone else snickers and says, in a really low voice but not that low, “ants with wings.”

Unbelievable.

People don’t understand that wasps are so much cooler than stupid bees. Wasps are shiny and clean. Like a sports car. Or a really expensive espresso machine that’s never even been used. Wasps have jaws. Which is cool. Bees are furry and disgusting. Like a monkey, except without the tool use. They’re also fat and can barely fly and have gross, alien mouths. Little pricks – they’re not even native.

800px-Vespula_vulgarisEven their name shows how people are totally biased pro-bee. Apis mellifera. Talk about undeserved. It sounds almost elvish. Or maybe like a fancy Italian word for sex. But, like, really clean pretty sex, like movie stars in the 50s would have had. Not dirty, like monkey sex or dog sex.  Ants with wings. They’re the ants with wings, not me.

Meanwhile wasps get screwed – as usual. Vespula vulgaris. Like they’re rude or something. But you know what’s rude? What’s rude is landing on some flower that doesn’t belong to you, throwing pollen all over the place, drinking all the nectar, and then just leaving. That’s rude. That’s vulgar. Wasps aren’t vulgar. Wasps are solitary and cool.

It’s just because honeybees make honey that everyone likes them so much. And that they are organized and smart. And their venom is used in drugs. And because they pollinate some of our crops.

But that’s so stupid, because a lot of animals are important for agriculture but you don’t see people making books and movies about them. Like pigs. Pigs are super smart and super important for food but no one tries to make them into cute little media icons.

Except maybe Babe. And that cartoon that the Garfield guy did. And Charlotte’s Web, but I would argue that was more about the spider, which is why she was in the title. And rats are important for making drugs but no one makes movies about them, except that NIHM movie. And Ratatouille. But that’s it.

Ants with wings. As if.

12535802923_d22e690197_zAnd the media makes it worse. Every couple months, some dumb reporter comes to the department and walks up to my desk. “Hey, are you one of the bee scientists?” he says with his dumb mouth, looking at me with his dumb eyes.  “No, I study mud dauber wasps. Sceliphron formosum.” I say, letting the gravity of this statement sink in. “Oh. Well, do you know where I can find a bee scientist?” he says, waggling his dumb head back and forth.  “Over there,” I say in such a way so that he understands what a colossal mistake he is making. But he just wanders over to the bee scientists to ask them for the latest reason why we should all be panicking over disappearing bees. As if anyone cares.  He never asks about disappearing wasps. Wasps are disappearing too, you know. Or at least some of them are. Others are doing fine, I suppose.

And bees sting. A lot. And it hurts. A lot. Mud daubers almost never sting. Yet on the Schmidt Sting Pain Index – which, as everyone knows, is the big pain rating system for hymenoptera stings – wasps always get rated as more painful than bees. Because Schmidt is a jerk and clearly a wasp hater.

Honeybees get all the cool phrases, too. Land of milk and honey. Beeline. And “birds and the bees” means “sex.” What do we get? Rich protestant white people. Boring people who are culturally acceptable to make fun of.  But the mud dauber doesn’t need honey or clever idioms or anything. The mud dauber kills black widow spiders. Yeah. Awesome, right? Does stupid Apis kill black widows? No, because stupid Apis is too stupid.

If a honeybee saw a black widow it would probably crap all over its stupid little barbed stinger and run and hide. Where’s your honey now, pollen boy?? Oh what’s that? You are too scared because the big black spider is bigger and faster than you and is going to eat you?  Awww, you want some help? Well maybe you shouldn’t have made fun of the mud dauber and called him a yellow jacket. Then maybe he’d have helped you!

Yeah. That’s what I should have said.  Ants with wings … psah.