Failing to educate
July 17, 2011 6:26 am
I was just reading your response to Evan McIntosh regarding eradication of great black wasps. You wrote, “…it has always been our mission to educate the public with regards to insects, spiders and other creatures that might appear to be frightening, but are actually quite benign or even beneficial.  The Great Black Wasp is one of those insects.” You were quick to judge Evan by classifying his post under “Unnecessary Carnage” and claim to have education as your primary mission, yet do not provide one useful piece of info in your response. Did you think to describe WHY the great black wasp is beneficial? Next time, try educating first, and judging second. For me, I’m exterminating these wasps because my 3 yr old is afraid to leave the front door, where they “patrol” constantly, and my wife doesn’t like them getting into our home through the basement. I’d rather study bees and wasps with him on my terms, not theirs. I’d be happy to send a nice photo if you want more for your ”
Unnecessary Carnage” file.
Signature: Paul Bradley

Dear Paul,
From our perspective, providing information like “According to BugGuide, the female Great Black Wasps:  ‘Provision nests (in burrow in soft earth) with Katydids or grasshoppters [sic]. (Univ. Florida lists: Tettigoniidae in genera Microcentrum and Scudderia.) Usually about three are placed in a nest
” would be considered educating the public regarding the importance the Great Black Wasp fulfills in the food chain.  Without a predator to keep other species in check [Read about the Ensign Wasp that parasitizes the ootheca of Cockroaches], there might be a population explosion of a single species that just might throw the entire ecosystem out of whack.  Thank you for offering, but you don’t need to send us any more photos of dead insects.

Educational Entry:
The Great Black Wasp,
Sphex pensylvanicus, is a Thread Waisted Wasp that is also known as the Katydid Hunter according to BugGuide.
Here is a photo by Sarah from Ontario, Canada and also from our archives on
July 30th, 2008.

Katydid Hunter


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5 Responses to A Reader Chastises Us for Failing to Educate

  1. Did Mr Paul Bradley fail to read Mr Mcintosh’s comment ” They do not bother humans or try to bite but are rather annoying when a bunch are buzzing around.” Clearly the man said that they were not harming anyone, the wasps were just “rather annoying”. How was that a rush to judgment on WTB part? I guess Mr Bradley is just sensitive because he recognizes his own jackassery since he too randomly kills beneficial insects that in no way endanger his family because they are not on his property on “his terms”.

    I find it rather annoying that this poster does not recognize that this is not a paid service.

  2. Cheryl says:

    I have been scared of wasps my whole life and now I discover that was unnecessary. Thanks.

  3. Jett says:

    This actually makes me feel kind of good about myself. I saw one of these buzzing in my open window on my side of the screen window, and I would normally be quick to try and kill it. I was quick to jump over to my computer and read what it said, finding out it was harmless. So I caught it with a glass cup and a birthday card I had from a while ago and brought it outside and let it go. But one thing does concern me, You say these are COMPLETELY black, while the one I had had some stripes of yellow on the legs and near the neck. Unfortunately I was quicker to get it outside rather than get a picture of it, but was just curious as to what it meant, or if I was wrong about the kind of wasp it was.

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