IATE Term of the Week: Wasps


There are few things better than spending a beautiful sunny day in the park with your friends and family. A blanket under your arm and a picnic basket in your hand, you are searching for the best spot on the grass. However, as soon as you have arranged the delicacies you prepared on your blanket, the uninvited guests arrive. Wasps have ruined many parties and events outside, causing moments of annoyance and even panic. This dry and hot summer has led to a plague of wasps. They had plenty of time to build their nests and increase their number in the colonies. Only one nest can provide a home to up to 7000 wasps right now.

When wasps are surrounding your dinner table, it is a normal reaction to ask yourself, what are wasps good for anyway? The answer is that wasps are very important for a sound and balanced environment. They do not only hunt for the ham on your sandwich, they also eat millions of kilograms of insect pests, which would harm our crops otherwise. Furthermore, wasps are vital pollinators. Considering the great insect die-off, by pollinating, wasps keep the global economy from collapsing.

Now that we know that wasps are unsung heroes, what can we do to deal with them in a better way? The first rule is to keep calm and relax; wasps are not as aggressive as we think. As long as we do not swat at them or swing our arms, the wasps do not have any reason to sting. It is also advisable to cover all food and drinks when eating outside. Check your food and drinks for wasps before eating and drinking. Also, store the food away when you are finished. It also helps to avoid colorful clothes and strong perfumes and creams as they can attract wasps, too. Some experts even suggest offering the wasps a distraction in form of grapes a few meter from the table. Feeding our new discovered heroes and eating in peace, I think we just killed two wasps with one stone.



Ahrens, H. (2018, June 26). Was tun bei einem Wespennest? Retrieved August 22, 2018, from https://www.ndr.de/ratgeber/garten/Was-tun-bei-einem-Wespennest,wespennester100.html

Hoare, P. (2018, August 12). Britain is plagued by wasps – here are five reasons to celebrate. Retrieved August 22, 2018, from https://www.theguardian.com/environment/shortcuts/2018/aug/12/wasps-plague-britain-five-reasons-to-celebrate


Written by Annemarie Menger – Communication Study Visitor at the Terminology Coordination Unit of the European Parliament (Luxembourg) and a student of the Master’s Program in Learning and Communication in Multilingual and Multicultural Contexts at the University of Luxembourg. She holds a teacher’s degree in the form of the First German State Examination for Elementary Education, a BA in Cultural Basic Skills and an additional degree in Global Systems and Intercultural Competence from the University of Würzburg.