Last year we had a bit of a problem – COVID19 meant we couldn’t get hold of your samples easily, and even if we could we didn’t have access to the labs and space we needed to identify them. Rather than give up, we produced a range of training materials so that you could identify the wasps yourselves. And guess what? You were actually more accurate doing the identifications yourselves than with our help in workshops! So, we are going to stick with the system; everything you need to help you identify your catch is below.
To help you identify your specimens, we have created a series of species ID videos for you to watch. The recommended order for watching these videos is illustrated in the tree diagram below. Start by watching the introduction video, which will explain how to handle your specimens and describe the parts of the wasp you will need to examine in order to identify it to species level.
To accurately identify your specimens, you will need some form of magnification. If you have a microscope – great! If not, you can use a magnifying glass (these are available at shops such as Poundland and The Works) or a good quality camera/phone camera with a zoom function.
Advice from our pilot scheme users:
“I found it really difficult to hold and position a wasp with tweezers in one hand while holding a magnifying glass in the other , so I used the camera on my iPhone. It was so much easier to lay a wasp in one position on a white plate or white tissue paper (to stop it rolling) then zoom in taking pictures. I could then refer to your identification videos and freeze-frame them to compare my own pictures – no need for any magnifying glass and nearly everyone has a camera phone these days!”
“I managed to I’d wasps using my embroidery magnifier. Works fine with a strong light, using the inset lens for faces. Might be cheaper than a microscope for some.”