Wetenschap - 13 augustus 2015

WE ARE ECOLOGISTS, NOT PEST CONTROL OFFICERS

tekst:
Roelof Kleis

Who? Ruud van Kats
What? Researcher at Alterra
Why? The media consulted him about wasps

It is wasp time, so the questions are coming in?
‘Yes, every year I get some phone calls and emails. Is there a plague? They never call to ask where the wasps are this year. And it’s always about what you can do to get rid of wasps. But we are not into pest control, we are ecologists at Alterra.’

Do the phone calls annoy you?
‘Oh no, but they do take up time and nowadays everything is measured in terms of hours and money. It would be nice if the interest once led to a research assignment.’

And, is there a plague?
‘It’s hard to say. In July and August a wasp population reaches adulthood. With the holidays and nice weather, lots of people sit out in their gardens and on terraces and encounter wasps.

Another question for you: can you make wasps angry?
‘Hindering a wasp from eating often makes it agitated and sometimes aggressive. They find the tables in no time, no matter how much people wave and flap at them. Just like us, they like everything that’s on offer, from meat to sweet stuff.’


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