The Big Wasp Survey 2018

Wasp-love swept the nation like we’d never have predicted! We were overwhelmed with the enthusiasm for the Big Wasp Survey 2018! Thank you, citizen scientists of the UK!

For those who took part, we are HUGELY excited about your sampling and now have freezers full of wasps in little packets waiting sorting.  We have arranged sorting sessions for the next few months, so if you are near London or Reading why not join us for some wasp identification sessions.

Details of over 2,500 traps have been submitted via this website, so thank you all again for taking part. We have been delighted by the support that we’ve received and are excited to report that the number of traps submitted this year has exceeded last year’s by quite a margin. We have now stopped the collection of traps and will begin analysing the results.

Although we can no longer receive traps, if you didn’t catch any wasps, this information is still extremely valuable to the project. So please go online and submit your trap data.

Take a look at the results from the 1,294 traps that were returned to us last year.


The Science Behind The Big Wasp Survey

In a nutshell, we want to find out more about social wasps!

With your help, we aim to find more about which species live where. We hope to use the data you help us to collect this year, and in future years, to find out what factors are affecting wasp populations.

We may also be able to use the wasps you collect to find our more about how individual wasps of the same species differ across the country.

More About the Project

Wasps are ecologically essential insects. Both predators and pollinators, the social wasps (those yellow and black insects that bother us at picnics) live fascinating social lives and are much undervalued, even despised. However, just like their more glamourous cousin the honeybee, wasps are suffering as we change habitats and spray insecticides.

The Big Wasp Survey aims to gather important scientific data to help to quantify wasp species abundance, diversity and distribution.

The Team

Dr Seirian Sumner

University College London

Reader in Behavioural Ecology, University College London.

Seirian Sumner is an evolutionary biologist who is interested in understanding how and why animals behave. Her research focuses on social insects – ants, bees and wasps (well, mostly wasps actually!). She combines welly-boot field ecology with molecular analyses to reveal a genes-to-behaviour understanding of social behaviour, ecology and evolution. She recently published the first genome sequence for an aculeate wasp.

She is on a crusade to persuade the public and science communities that we should appreciate, rather than hate, social wasps.

The Big Wasp Survey is her first foray into citizen science!

The Sumner Lab Website

Cris Thompson

Cris is a lifelong advocate of science, a website guy and all round digital master; web applications, 3dprinting, game design…

He met Seirian and Adam in the rainforest and made this website with WordPress.

Fluster Design



Professor Adam Hart

Professor of Science Communication, University of Gloucestershire

Adam Hart is an entomologist, broadcaster and writer who combines his interests in research and teaching with a passion for communicating science. He has been involved in a number of citizen science projects including the Flying Ant Survey, a house spider survey and a survey looking at what causes starling murmurations.

Adam’s Wikipedia Page

University of Gloucestershire

Nicola Prehn

Nicola combines her corporate marketing experience with a fascination for wasps. She’s on a mission to rebrand the much-maligned wasp and persuade the great British public of the beauty and ingenuity of this misunderstood group of insects.

In addition to helping with the Big Wasp Survey, Nicola also volunteers at the Natural History Museum developing identification guides including a Beginner’s guide to identifying British ichneumonids, a particularly striking group of parasitoid wasps.

Contact Us

@bigwaspsurvey on Twitter