I am sorry to say that I am one of those women who screams and flails when a wasp or bee flies near. I whimper too.
On Saturday, for the first time in years, I got stung. The irony of it was that there was no flailing or screaming beforehand. Indeed, I only noticed a wasp had landed on my finger when I felt the sting.
It was at the Quayside Festival, and I had been looking at the bric-a-brac on a table when something tickled my pinky finger. I scratched the itch and – ow! A kindly old woman heard me exclaim that I had been stung and asked if I had an allergy (no, thank goodness). My toddler heard me, and calmly informed me that the wasp had stung his little finger too (uh huh).
Even as I muttered and cursed at the wasp I had to admit that it really wasn’t that bad. I thought about all the times I had given up eating outside because of the dreaded threat of wasp stings, and the ridiculous little routine of eeeeking and running away should a wasp come near. I put so much into fearing the wasp and yet the little bugger found me when I least expected it.
So what is the lesson? I think there’s more than one.
- Anticipated pain is imagined to be far worse than the real thing
- There is no escaping some pains. Sometimes bad things just happen.
- Wasps suck.
As part of my attempt to see the philosophical side of wasp stings, I decided to take the opportunity to get to know the little pests better. To my chagrin, within the first few seconds of scanning the Wikipedia entry on wasps, I find some good reasons to give these bugs a little respect:
Wasps are critically important in natural biocontrol. Almost every pest insect species has at least one wasp species that is a predator or parasite upon it. Parasitic wasps are also increasingly used in agricultural pest control as they have little impact on crops. Wasps also constitute an important part of the food chain.
And therein lies the last moral of my little story: everyone has a good side. Even a nasty mean ‘ol wasp.