The Big Wasp Survey (At Home again!)

Wasp-love swept has swept the nation year after year.  Even a Global Pandemic is not stopping us.  Thank you, citizen scientists of the UK!

Based on the great success of our samplers identifying wasps at home last year, we are doing it all again in 2021, TWICE!  And there is a brand new project.

If you are registered with us, please standby for instructions for this year, we are running the survey twice (one extras session earlier in the summer) in an attempt to find out more about Dolichovespula wasps, whose colonies tend to be over by end of August.

If you took part last year, but haven’t had an email, please check your spam folder and then get in touch if you still have no invite.


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.

Summer of #WaspFlower Love

Big Wasp Survey is branching out in 2021; we are launching a side project:

#WaspFlower Love
This summer we need your help to find out more about the role of wasps as pollinators! 

Yes, that’s right! Wasps do pollinate, similarly to bees, flies, butterflies… But scientists don’t know much about which flowers benefit from wasp pollination and which wasps are most useful.

This is where YOU can help!

Get your camera ready – share the #WaspFlower Love 🌺🌻🌸🥰

And here we mean ALL types of wasps: the parasitoid ones (that don’t sting), the solitary ones (which are rarely noticed) as well as the social ones (that BWS has been sampling since 2017).

Any wasp, any country, any flower, any time….

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

Professor Seirian Sumner

University College London

Professor of 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. Currently she’s spending a lot of time sequencing wasp genomes, including 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, and how wasps perform important ecosystem services.

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. Cris works for Octophin Digital who specialise in making websites and apps for the conservation and arts sectors.

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


Leyla Wilson

Leyla is a third-year student at UCL studying Biodiversity and Conservation. She is working on the BWS and Wasp Flower Project this summer. She is interested in the public’s response to insects (especially wasps) and hopes to study this further.


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