The Big Wasp Survey 2017

What an amazing response! The survey ran from Friday 25th August to September 10th, and you needed to register to take part.

We asked up to 2000 of you to make a beer trap; turn your garden into a wasp sampling location, and contribute to the map of UK wasp information.

If you do not already have a trap reference, then I’m afraid it’s too late to take part this year.  Please don’t put any more traps out because by mid to late September each year, there is a danger that you might trap the queens, which will be needed for next year’s broods.

As scientists, we collect information in lots of different ways but thanks to the internet and smart phones lots of scientist are asking the public to help in approach that’s known as Citizen Science.

The Big Wasp Survey is a little different – the biggest wasp survey of its kind, the Big Wasp Survey is not relying on your smart phone. Instead, we want you to do just a little DIY and make your own beer or orange juice trap! Once you’ve hung up your trap, and attracted wasps to it, we would like to post the wasps in your trap back to us via Freepost provided by our sponsor the Royal Entomological Society.

Using your samples we hope to find out much more about the different species of wasps and their distribution across the UK.

The Big Wasp Survey is sponsored by the Royal Entomological Society.
We also thank BBC Countryfile and BBC online for promoting the initiative.

Why are we asking you to kill wasps?

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.

Making Your Trap

Making your trap is easy, you just need an empty plastic bottle and some string…

Then hang it in your garden for a week, and see what drops in. Be sure to follow our simple safety instructions.

You can send the contents of your trap back to us via our Freepost address.

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


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

Contact Us

@bigwaspsurvey on Twitter