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Wasps deserve to be just as highly valued as other insects, like bees, due to their roles as predators, pollinators, and more, according to a new review paper led by UCL and University of East Anglia researchers.
The study, published in Biological Reviews, compiles evidence from over 500 academic papers to review how roughly 33,000 species of stinging (aculeate) wasps contribute to their ecosystems, and how this can benefit the economy, human health, and society.
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Lead author Professor Seirian Sumner (UCL Centre for Biodiversity & Environment Research, UCL Biosciences) said: “Wasps are one of those insects we love to hate — and yet bees, which also sting, are prized for pollinating our crops and making honey. In a previous study, we found that the hatred of wasps is largely due to widespread ignorance about the role of wasps in ecosystems, and how they can be beneficial to humans.
“Wasps are understudied relative to other insects like bees, so we are only now starting to properly understand the value and importance of their ecosystem services. Here, we have reviewed the best evidence there is, and found that wasps could be just as valuable as other beloved insects like bees if only we gave them more of a chance.”
Wasps are the top predators of other insects. Predation by insects — as biocontrol to protect crops — is worth at least $416 billion per year worldwide. Yet, this figure almost completely overlooks the contributions of hunting wasp predation.
The review highlights how wasps’ role as predators makes them valuable for agriculture. Wasps regulate populations of arthropods, like aphids and caterpillars that damage crops. Solitary wasp species tend to be specialists, which may be suited to managing a specific pest, while social wasps are generalist predators, and maybe especially useful as a local source of control for a range of crop-eating pests.
The researchers say that wasps could be used as sustainable forms of pest control in developing countries, especially tropical ones, where farmers could bring in populations of a local wasp species with minimal risk to the natural environment.
Professor Sumner and colleagues recently published a study finding that common wasp species are effective predators that can manage pests on two high-value crops, maize, and sugarcane, in Brazil.
The review also highlights the pollination services provided by wasps. Pollination by insects is vital for agriculture, and its economic importance has been valued at greater than $250 billion per year worldwide.
The researchers found evidence of wasps visiting 960 plant species. This included 164 species that are completely dependent on wasps for pollination, such as some orchid species that have evolved adaptations to attract the wasps they rely on, such as an appearance that mimics the back end of a female wasp.
Many wasps are also generalist pollinators that visit a wide variety of plants, so the researchers say they could serve as ‘backup pollinators’ if a plant loses its local primary pollinator.
The review also describes other uses for wasps such as wasp-derived medications, as their venom and saliva have antibiotic properties, while yellowjacket wasp venom has shown promise in treating cancer.
Wasps may even be a valuable food source, as their larvae are already harvested in some tropical countries for food.
Co-author Dr. Alessandro Cini (UCL Centre for Biodiversity & Environment Research, UCL Bioscience and University of Florence) said: “The value of wasps in supporting our crops remains poorly understood; we hope that by rehabilitating their bad reputation, we can collectively get the most value out of these fascinating creatures.”
The paper’s first author, Ryan Brock (University of East Anglia) said: “Alongside other insects, many wasp species are declining from factors such as climate change and habitat loss. As such, there is an urgent need to address their conservation and ensure that habitats continue to benefit from the far-reaching ecosystem services that wasps provide.”
The research was supported by the Natural Environment Research Council and a Marie Curie fellowship from the European Commission. (IANS/KB)
By Nimerta C Sharan
Exciting news for all handbag lovers, luxury fashion house Louis Vuitton recently launched their limited edition handbags 'Artycapucines - Chapter 3'. Six internationally -- acclaimed artists have transformed the black canvas of the timeless Capucines bag into beautiful art pieces. Each bag will be available in a limited edition of 200 and will be released worldwide at the end of October 2021.
Looking for a quick festive fashion fix for you and your loved ones? E-commerce giant AJIO has announced it's hottest fashion sale starting September 30, 2021. The shopping platform has roped in stylista Sonam Kapoor as the face of the sale that will offer more than 2500 brands at discounted prices.
The country's leading design house, Good Earth, in collaboration with textile designer Madeline Weinrib will present its collection of 'butah' motif dinnerware and home textiles at the Metropolitan Museum of Arts, New York. The 'Heirloom Project' that honours diverse Islamic design techniques will display curated products from across the globe.
Sweet dreams are made of this! Iconic French patisserie Laduree has opened its first Indian outpost at Delhi's upscale Khan Market. Spread over three floors, the bakery currently has twelve macaron flavours, their signature pastries and tea cakes and other brunch and high-tea items on the menu. Bon appetit.
Bright And Beautiful
Raw Mango's latest festive edit 'Moomal' goes live on their website on September 26, 2021. Inspired by the richness and diversity of Rajasthan, the collection consists of organza and silk saris and shararas, gota lehengas and kurtas and embroidered odhnis. The colours and silhouettes are just right for the upcoming festive season. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Lifestle, AJIO, sale, Deepika PAdukone, saris, Motifs, artisan, art
She took to Instagram to share her experience, detailing that doing all that over the six months period left her with "permanent stretch marks". "Gaining 20 kgs in 6 months and loosing it all within 6 months that too in my thirties messed up many things in my bodya I also have permanent stretch marks as well but art comes to life with a price and more often than not price is the artist him/herself," she wrote.
"Thalaivii" showcases the varied aspects of Jayalalithaa's life, tracing her journey as an actress at a young age to becoming the face of Tamil cinema, as well as the rise of the revolutionary leader who changed the course of the state's politics. Talking about her upcoming works, Kangana currently has 'Dhaakad'.
She is also shooting for her next 'Tejas', where she plays a fighter pilot. The Indian Air Force was the first of the country's defence forces to induct women into combat roles in 2016. The film takes inspiration from the landmark event. 'Tejas' is directed by debutant Sarvesh Mewara. The film will be RSVP's second film which pays a tribute to the Indian military after the immensely successful film "Uri: The Surgical Strike" which was released in January 2019. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Kangana Ranaut, Thalaivii, bollywood, stretc marks, actress, tamil cinema
The status website says the encrypted messaging app is "experiencing technical difficulties" and many people are also getting an in-app error message that says the same thing. Signal allows for secure and encrypted video, voice and text communication, but users are unable to send any messages.
According to Downdetector.com, users started reporting outages around 11:05 PM Eastern Standard Time and it appears to be affecting people around the world. Comments shared on Downdetector.com indicates that Signal was down for users from India, US, Germany, New Zealand, Netherlands, Australia, Brazil and many other countries.
"Down in Midwest USA. Signal was started by people connected to which secret 3-letter organization? (Look it up) Yep, that's right! An app disguised a privacy app to trick you into sharing more private information than you would with another messaging app," a user said. "I think Signal is having a rough day. Good luck, Team Signal. I'm sure you'll have it sorted out in a snap," said another. The encrypted messaging service has climbed to the top spot in the free apps category of the App Store in multiple countries, including India. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Signal, app, encrypted, messages, outage, down