Have you seen the news that bees were recently added to the list of endangered species? It’s circulating on social media in this terrifying form (oh no think of the honey), and though some bees are indeed in trouble, there are a lot of other pollinators that are in even more danger—from bumblebees to butterflies to wasps. Yes, that’s right wasps.
Wasps aren’t just those stingy, bitey jerks that show up to your BBQ. Actually, there are lots of species of wasps that are important pollinators (like the fig wasp who ensures we have Fig Newtons), help to control other insect pests (eating other bitey or garden-eating bugs), and play an important role in their ecosystems.
But did I ever have the weirdest dream the previous night! I dreamt that on campus my friends and I were under attack by someone with a wasp cannon. If you put wasps in a cannon, of course, they’d be ripped to shreds. Angry, angry shreds.
But not all of them were angry shreds of wasp body parts. A few of the wasps survived being used as ballistic missiles and were projected in all their hot fury. So you’d hear a rumbling boom and then you’d be pelted by wasp body parts, and some furious wasps more furious than any wasp you’ve ever seen.
It was a scene combining some of the Harry Potter movies which we just binge watched with the kids—people in academic robes running around in panic like Voldemort was attacking Hogwarts—with the recent news of bees in decline… and it all combined into the hot fury of someone using a wasp cannon to attack me and my friends. It was horrific and comical all at once.
And that’s how I feel about conservation. Some days it brings me great joy to understand where animals are (or aren’t) and ways to help their populations (re)grow. Other days I feel overwhelmed. I can’t emotionally detach from the ramifications of the loss already accrued. Yesterday was one of those days.
But today is another day, and hopefully without having spent the night ducking wasp canons, I can find the strength to soldier on.