The researchers say wasps are a much maligned insect, which deserve more attention.
Rather than being ”bothersome and pointless”, they are in fact beneficial insects, keeping other pests in check.
Dr Seirian Sumner of University College London said wasps are nature’s pest controllers and a world without wasps would mean that we would have to use a lot more pesticides to control the other insects that we dislike and find annoying.
”They’re the maligned insect of the insect world – they’re viewed as the gangsters, ” she told the BBC. ”Whereas actually we should be viewing them as a beneficial insect – they’re doing us a favour, and we’re just completely overlooking that favour.”
Dr Sumner and Prof Adam Hart of the University of Gloucestershire came up with the idea of the ”Big Wasp Survey”, to draw attention to wasps and their role in the natural world.
A total of 2,000 people took part in the two-week citizen science project in late summer 2017, sending in more than 6,000 wasp samples for identification.
The findings were used to draw up a map showing the distribution of common wasps and hornets, and how they vary across the UK.
The German wasp (Vespula germanica) and the common yellowjacket wasp (Vespula vulgaris) were the most common species (both representing 44%). The European hornet (Vespa crabro) made up 6%, while two rarer species were also found.
The research is published in the journal, Insect Conservation and Diversity.
Co-researcher Prof Adam Hart of the University of Gloucestershire said it was a simple but effective way to engage the public with the natural world, whilst also generating high quality data.