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Wicked Wasps

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"Here's how it works with wasps. We eat our prey alive, and when we don't, we lay our eggs in their eyeballs so our young can feast on their brains when they hatch!... When you're born that big an asshole, the least you can do is have a little empathy."
Wasp Rick, Rick and Morty

While bees have long been viewed as a friend to humanity, people have not, historically, had many reasons to like wasps. They don't make honey or (most of them) pollinate flowers, are far more aggressive, and can sting as many times as they like. They're also highly territorial and easily roused, even by mistake, in defense of their nests, and pester humans for anything remotely sugary they're carrying. People have therefore learned to associate them with angry swarms and impending pain. Modern science hasn't helped their image much: while we now know that many wasps play a very useful role in ecosystems and agriculture by hunting insect pests such as tomato hornworm caterpillars, they usually do it by paralyzing and laying their eggs on their prey so that the larval wasp devours the host animal from the inside.

As a result, wasps have developed strongly negative reputations in popular culture. Non-sapient wasps will be vicious, aggressive animals or roving swarms of droning pain; sapient wasps run the gamut from simple bullies to ferocious raiders and barbarians preying upon their fellow insects — or, if large enough, preying upon people. Wasp-themed characters, whether they simply use wasp imagery or are associated with actual wasps, are rarely pleasant people either.

While wasps are the most common suspect, their cousins, the hornets, are just as guilty. Hornets are much larger and their sting is far more venomous, with the biggest of them being able to kill even larger animals and attacking other animals as a colony for food. Don't be surprised if a work dumps them in the same boat as wasps, as chances are that said work did its homework.

When female, which is quite common given that most eusocial wasps and hornets function the same way eusocial bees and ants do, they embody the Dark Feminine of the Light Feminine and Dark Feminine spectrum, especially when compared to gentler bees.

Often found in the Hornet Hole. See also Unpleasant Animal Counterpart and Animal Jingoism for when villainous wasps and hornets are matched with Virtuous Bees or ants, and Scary Stinging Swarm for when any of these insects go out in force to sting and harass their victims. Compare Bee Afraid for when it's bees who receive the unpleasant insect treatment, and Ant Assault.

Not to be confused with the other wasp, the New England White Anglo-Saxon Protestant.

This is not a list of all wasps/hornets in fiction. This refers specifically to them being portrayed as more monstrous than they are in Real Life and/or defined by their monstrosity.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Arachnid:
    • The Organization frontman codenamed after Asian giant hornets is shown to be a powerful assassin with Hyper-Awareness and a knack for quickly killing people via anaphylactically shocking stings. It is later revealed he is under the mind control of an ageless paranormal woman themed after Strepsipteras — bugs that parasite wasps — and that her cruelty went as far as getting Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuked on purpose so she could lose WWII spectacularly.
    • Yasuomi Fujimoto has the Sand Wasp codename and is a Mad Scientist, a torturer and an implied necrophile. During the Arachnid Hunt, one of his pupils uses a brainwashing device based on jewel wasps to control Megumi, a cockroach-girl, and randomly puts her in a dominatrix costume for fetish reasons.
    • The Caterpillar prequel has the unnamed Fig Wasp, a woman who after murdering her rapists goes on psychotic episodes trying to stab people as if she's raping them back. After being turned into an assassin by the Organization, she uses a drill on a wire themed after the stings of fig wasps to penetrate her victims.
    • Karina Tsuji, the supposed Unknown Relative of the protagonist Alice introduced in the sequel, has a Spider Wasp motif and is shown to be flagrantly manipulative towards the spider-girl like the parasitoid she's meant to be. She wants to make Alice into the Puppet Queen of the Organization and threatens to kill her if she refuses to cooperate.
  • FLCL Progressive & Alternative: As it turns out, Haruko Haruhara is using A Form You Are Comfortable With, and her true form is a giant, monstrous wasp. She's also the villain of the series.
  • Himenospia: A species of wasps parasitizes female humans by turning them into mutants with venomous Vagina Dentata stings and brainwashing them so that they are driven mad and become terrorists once the wasp dies. The protagonist, Himeno, is turned into an ageless Queen-ranked mutant and gets increasingly embittered as she comes into conflict with both the Japanese government who wants to exploit her powers and an American Queen who has been murdering would-be-rivals for the past century.
  • Honeybee Hutch: The story is kicked off when a swarm of wasps attacks and destroys Hutch's beehive, leaving him stranded on his own.
  • Inuyasha: One of Naraku's recurring mooks are the saimyoushou, a species of wasp demon. He particularly likes to use them to counter Miroku's wind tunnel, since they can still poison him even if sucked in and destroyed by it.
  • In Maya the Bee's two-part Grand Finale, Maya is captured by a nest of hornets, who are the mortal enemies of honeybees in real life, especially in Japan, home of the Asian giant hornet, and are plotting to attack her hive.
  • Monster Musume has Killa the Killer Bee. She's drawn far less human-looking than other monster girls and can control Japanese Giant Hornets. It's actually a subversion, as it turns out that she's actually not evil or even hostile to Kimihito. Her venom is actually quite weak and the only reason she got labeled a dangerous species is because when she was going through customs she stupidly tried to attack Rachnera in revenge for the latter having humiliated her years ago.
  • Ninja Scroll: The ugly hunchback Mushizo, a member of the Quirky Miniboss Squad, is a living hornets' nest. He communicates with and controls the insects, using them to gather information and as a weapon.

    Comic Books 
  • Cyberfrog: The primary villains of this 1990s comic are an alien species of giant wasps that require human bodies to breed.
  • A Mighty Mouse story from the 1950s had the hero coming to the aid of some elves who were being bullied by antagonist Wimpy the Mud Wasp.
  • Spider-Man: Shathra is a giant spider-hunting wasp who desires to use Spider-Man as a host for her eggs. She is stronger and faster than Spider-Man and has a stinger with venom designed to paralyze people like him. She can shape-shift into an attractive woman to fool her prey.

    Fan Works 
  • I Woke Up As a Dungeon, Now What?: The defining trait of wasp-type minions is being constantly angry at everything, and unlike bees (which produce wax and honey) or ants (which can be used to dig rooms) wasps are pure combat minions.

    Films — Animation 
  • The Ant Bully: The chief recurring danger to the ant colony, besides Lucas himself, are the wasps also living in the garden, who regularly conduct raids on the ants and carry off their caterpillar livestock — and sometimes the ants themselves — as food. Notably, they're far less anthropomorphized than the ants: while the ant characters are depicted with human mouths and eyes and as standing upright and using their foremost legs as hands, the wasps are portrayed much more realistically with no grasping limbs and with sideways-opening jaws and blank compound eyes, giving them a much more alien and menacing appearance.
  • Averted in Antz: the protagonists at one point meet two yellowjackets who, in a pun on their name, are portrayed as the other kind of WASP. Thus, while they are haughty and condescending, these yellowjackets are not antagonistic and are willing to offer some help to the ants. The viewer may even feel bad for them after one is killed by a human with a fly swatter.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • While most of the Amityville films feature malevolent flies, Amityville Dollhouse uses wasps instead. They start showing up after the father discovers the Creepy Dollhouse, with one crawling into the oldest son's ear while another, bigger one is later revealed to be inside of one of the dollhouse's Creepy Dolls.
  • The murderer in The Black Belly of the Tarantula deliberately styles himself after a tarantula hawk wasp, injecting his victims with poison to paralyze them, then torturing them while they are still alive.
  • In Mr. Holmes, the titular character opines that bees are fundamentally good because they pollinate and create honey, which makes the wasps — as their natural enemy — bad. This is borne out at the end of the film when his young friend Roger is stung by a swarm of wasps and has an allergic reaction that nearly kills him.
  • The Silence (2019): While the movie's monsters aren't wasps and don't particularly look like them either — they mostly resemble an eyeless cross between a bat and pterosaur — they're explicitly compared to wasps due to their aggressiveness and swarming behavior, and are named "vesps" after vespa, the Spanish word for wasp.
  • Swarmed revolves around an outbreak of an advanced, aggressive variant of yellow jacket wasps in a City with No Name.
  • The Wasp Woman is a 1960s horror film about, as you may guess, a woman turning into a monstruous wasp hybrid as a result of the experiments of a Mad Scientist who was fired from his previous job at a honey farm for his experiments with wasps.

  • In "The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees", the titular wasps are tyrannical and imperialistic Fantastic Racists who, on settling in the area where the bees live, swiftly impose themselves on their fellow social insects, kill the envoys the bees send to parlay with them when these suggest anything beyond the bees' complete surrender to them and turn their hive into a tightly controlled puppet state, forcing the bees to give them heavy tithes of food and of larvae to raise as servants.
  • Discworld: A downplayed trope in Lords and Ladies: Mr Brooks the beekeeper has no truck with anthropomorphising insects and doesn't think of wasps as evil any more than bees are good. It's just that if you're for bees, you have to be against wasps. Having said that, though, he does compare the psychotic sadists of The Fair Folk to wasps, with the castle as the beehive.
  • The Fairy Rebel: The wicked fairy queen commands wasps and will sometimes imprison fairies who defy her inside wasps' nests, which is more or less a death sentence. Bees are stated to be reasonable creatures, since if they sting a fairy, they'll die as well. But wasps will sometimes sting fairies for the fun of it, just because they can.
  • Gentleman Bastard: In Red Seas Under Red Skies, Locke Lamora encounters some rather large wasps that are so dangerous that transporting a hive of them into Camorr is punishable by death, if the wasps themselves don't kill you first.
  • The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon: After gorging on checkerberries and their leaves, and some beechnuts, Trish has a dream (or maybe it's not a dream) in which she is visited by representatives of three conceptions of god: the God of Tom Gordon, the Subaudible, and the wicked God of the Lost. While the first two are benevolent and look like her science teacher and her father respectively, the third one is hostile and has the form of a human skeleton completely covered in wasps. Earlier in the story, Trish is stung multiple times after accidently upsetting a wasp nest, so if the encounter is a dream, this explains why she imagined the evil god to look like wasps.
  • The Hound of the D'Urbervilles: In contrast to how Holmes practices beekeeping as a hobby, the evil Professor Moriarty breeds wasps.
  • Hothouse: Tigerflies, wasp descendants grown to be as large as the surviving humans, are among the few surviving insects in the far future and are dangerous predators and parasitoids. The narrative usually describes them as wicked and frightful, and they are among the humans' most dangerous foes.
  • The Hunger Games: Tracker jackers are wasp-based "muttations" — genetically engineered animals developed by the oppressive Capitol as living weapons in the civil war seventy-four years before the novels. They act less like territorial animals and more like insanely aggressive living weapons. They can track targets for at least a mile, their stings instantly create agonizing plum-sized lumps, and their venom causes hallucinations that can drive a person insane. They were created to be an equivalent to land mines to be spread around rebel territories, and have been kept around by the Capitol as a symbol of their power over their subjects.
  • InCryptid: Apraxis wasps are voracious predatory wasps about the size of a man's foot which attack and consume anything they come across. They implant eggs in their hosts which hatch into nymphs inside the host, releasing a paralyzing agent that sends their host into a coma. These vile wasps are also highly intelligent and even sapient with the ability to mimic human voices to get closer to their prey and catch then unawares.
  • Maya the Bee: The hornets are the sworn enemies of the bees and are portrayed as hostile and aggressive. They imprison Maya partway through the book, and the climax occurs when the hornets attack the beehive in force and disaster is averted only through Maya forewarning the bees of the hornets' planned invasion. The hornets are absent in the cartoon adaption, but are replaced by the wasps Stinger, Deeze and Doze, a recurring trio of bullies who regularly antagonize Maya and her friends and constantly try to steal fruit and honey for themselves.
  • The Raven Cycle: Bees and wasps are portrayed very negatively as Gansey is highly allergic. The villain of the final book is even a demon that looks like a giant wasp.
  • The Secrets of Droon: The Golden Wasp is one of Sparr's magic artifacts, and it can mind-control people through its sting (eventually the venom turns them into mindless wraiths).
  • Shadows of the Apt:
    • The main stories deal with the kinden, fantasy nations of humans patterned on the appearance, behaviour and abilities of various insects. The main antagonist of the series is the fierce and conquering "Empire in Black and Gold", or simply the Wasp Empire, a polity of humans based on wasp behaviour and abilities.
    • A short story in the For Love of Distant Shores collection introduces a separate culture of Wasp-kinden called the Ichneumon, who are based on parasitic wasps instead of social wasps. What does it mean to be a human laying parasitic offspring in another human when that’s more or less what human reproduction already does? A lot more Body Horror is involved, it turns out.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who: The Monster of the Week in "The Unicorn and the Wasp" is a Vespiform: a gigantic, blasphemous wasp driven to commit murder. It should be noted, however, that the Vespiform kills because he was accidentally brainwashed thanks to an Exposition Beam teaching him about his true identity getting contaminated with murder mysteries. The Doctor points out he's not supposed to be like that.
  • Hannah Montana: Played for laughs in a season 2 episode, where a large wasp enters the family home and startles Jackson, causing him to kill it with his sister's childhood teddy bear. When he explains to his family why the bear was in pieces and brings up the wasp, the father also grabs the wrecked bear to use against the wasp.

    Tabletop Games 
  • BattleTech has the Bewasp, a bee-analogue that is around twice the size of the Asian giant hornet and is fiercely territorial. It also stings like the dickens thanks to serrated barbs and a virulent venom, and a swarm of bewasps can handily drive armed infantry off the field. Even native-born citizens consider them to be unusually aggressive when 'offworld invaders' show up. Amusingly inverted by the Wasp class BattleMech, which is not considered to be particularly mean or threatening by post-3050 standards, even among infantry.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Hellwasps are fiendish insects native to Hell. They're usually mindless if aggressive insects, but when they gather in swarms they form a Hive Mind intelligent and wicked enough to be Lawful Evil in alignment. They're avoided even by devils and have the habit of infesting the bodies of their victims, animating them like grotesque puppets to accomplish acts of evil they couldn't hope to accomplish on their own.
    • Hellwasp devils are true devils in the shape of enormous, vaguely humanoid wasps, and unlike other devils can be Chaotic and Neutral Evil in addition to Lawful Evil. They were originally wasp-like demons before their demon lord was killed by the infernal princess Glasya, at which point they chose her as their new queen, were transformed into devils, and took residence in Glasya's Garden of Evil in Hell to serve her as guards and shock troops.
    • The wizard Otiluke, fearing an attack by the slaadi, decided to create howler wasps, oversized insects with the screaming heads of simians. They're so aggressive that they'll attack anything in their territory regardless of how hungry they are, and in combat, a dying howler wasp can tag its killer with a pheromone that drives other howler wasps into a berserk rage.
  • Nobilis: Grommet Claus, a murderous Santa Claus created, essentially, by one god to kill another, rides a sleigh pulled by enormous coal-black wasps instead of the usual reindeer. He feeds them naughty children.
  • Pathfinder:
    • Warmonger wasps are enormous, armor-plated biomechanical wasp-like constructs originating from the Abyss, the home dimension of the demons. They're quite literally Always Chaotic Evil, like everything else from the Abyss, and extremely aggressive. Some mutate over time into the more powerful massacre wasps, which command their lesser kin as they fight alongside the hordes of the Abyss.
    • In the Wrath of the Righteous adventure path, the fallen paladin Staunton Vhane rides a demonic wasp of monstrous size.
    • Calistria, in addition to her better known role as the goddess of lust, is also a deity of revenge. Her sacred animal is the wasp and one of her titles is the Savored Sting.
    • The daemonic harbinger Slandrais, who rules over lechery and obsession and enjoys twisting and warping mortal souls, takes the form of a gigantic, bloodstained wasp made out of ice and ashes, with two long tails ending in scorpion stingers.
  • The Unofficial Hollow Knight RPG: The Vespine Authority rules Oakshade, and is presented as authoritarian, fanatical, and elitist, as well as discriminating against non-wasps - particularly Oakshade's remaining bee population.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Among the many, many reasons life in the fortieth millennium absolutely sucks, we have the charming creature called the Psychneuein. These are nine-foot long psychically-attuned wasps which can turn themselves intangible at a thought and have a taste for sentient creatures as prey. If you're lucky, they'll just eat you, if not, they'll implant their larva into you, which devours you from within until it tears its way free. They are also quite possibly sapient and are capable of using the local space elf species' ancient Portal Network to spread throughout the galaxy, so it's theoretically possible to find them anywhere.

    Video Games 
  • Animal Crossing, throughout the series, has wasps (erroneously localized as bees until Animal Crossing: New Horizons), which are the main hazard you face when you try to chop or shake trees for their goods; doing either carries a risk of dropping a hive and having an entire swarm of wasps chase after you. Depending on the game, getting stung once or twice by them will knock you out and have you respawn at your home, but you can heal yourself by taking medicine after being stung once. If you can catch a wasp, they fetch for a lot of Bells.
  • Bug Fables: The Wasp Kingdom is the main antagonistic faction to the Ant Kingdom the protagonists hail from. They are a dictatorship ruled by a cruel king who wants the immortality of the Everlasting Sapling so he can Take Over the World, and whenever wasp soldiers are seen, they are up to no good. Subverted, as it turns out the Wasp Kingdom was under some kind of mind control from the king, who isn't even a wasp himself.
  • A Bug's Life: The wasp enemies in the game fly around the place. If Flik ends up underneath them or they fly directly above him they will try to sting him by doing a ground pound move onto him by positioning their stingers below them and falling directly onto him. This is their method of stinging.
  • Colobot: Later levels introduce giant alien wasps, which drop highly damaging projectiles at your buildings.
  • Conker's Bad Fur Day: A queen bee is terrorized by a group of evil wasps who steal her hive away.
  • Daxter: The Strip Mine Hive Queen, although not an actual wasp, is a colossal Metal Bug that serves as the second full-fledged boss of the game and strongly resembles a hornet due to its body proportions.
  • Dead Rising: The Zombie Apocalypse was caused by wasps that sting and lay eggs in people. A virus in their venom transforms people into zombies so that they can be hosts for their larva.
  • Donkey Kong Country: One of the most common enemies encountered in the series are the Zingers, gorilla-sized yellowjacket wasps whose spike-covered bodies make them immune to all the attacks. The Kongs would need to either chuck a barrel at them or get help from an Animal Buddy to defeat them. Two boss variants exist: Queen B in the first game and King Zing in the second. A Suspiciously Similar Substitute appeared in the third game called Buzz. Aside from being robotic wasps with buzzsaws on their abdomen, they are mechanically identical to their predecessors.
  • Earth Defense Force features wasps as recurring enemies. Giant wasps. That can fire their stingers as projectiles.
  • Fable has large, aggressive wasps that attack any nearby human with their sting. The regular variety are the lowest-level enemies to be found in forested areas, and the Hero's first Boss Battle is a human-sized Wasp Queen that summons swarms of them.
  • Fallout: New Vegas: Cazadores are giant mutated tarantula hawk spider wasps, created by gene-splicing experiments in a military research lab. They are incredibly fast and carry a deadly venom, making them one of the most formidable enemies in the game.
  • Hornets are one of the many enemies Buck has to face in Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs.
  • Kirby: Triple Deluxe: The Big Bad of the game is revealed partway through to be Queen Sectonia, an enormous wasp Insect Queen. She was not always the gigantic insect she is now, but was transformed into a giant wasp after tampering with magic, and went mad in the process.
  • Kolibri: Wasps are as much part of the Earth organism as any other life form, but they appear to have been either particularly susceptible to the dark crystal's corrupting influence or particularly desirable hosts, and either way make up the bulk of its forces.
  • Mega Man:
    • Mega Man 9 has Hornet Man, a honeycomb-shaped Robot Master with the power to fire hornet drones. He was just a benign flower park manager until he was reprogrammed by Dr. Wily.
    • Mega Man X3: Blast Hornet is a hornet robot who's one of the bosses. He used to be a good guy — part of the Maverick Hunters, in fact — but he gets infected by the Maverick Virus, does a Face–Heel Turn and goes on a rampage.
  • Metroid Prime: The War Wasps are a recurring enemy throughout the trilogy, able to quickly swarm Samus and fire their projectile stingers with zero regard for their own survival.
  • Minecraft: The Biomes 'o Plenty Game Mod includes Nether wasps, which are only found in giant hives in the Nether — Hell, for all intents and purposes — and unlike other animals are hostile and attack on sight.
  • In Nekomew's Potty Trouble and Nekomew's Nightmares, one of the nightmare monsters is a wasp caretaker who zips around in a blink of an eye, keeping things in check. The latter game elaborates on this; as one of the unlockable memories reveals that she was only tidying up the orphanage's playroom and carefully inspecting the children. Her otherwise frightening appearance is what drove Nekomew to have nightmares of her.
  • Pikmin 3 has the Scornets, led by their King Mook Scornet Maestro, in the second half of Twilight River, which you faced after they attacked and kidnapped Louie. The latter is capable of coordinating its swarm in order to attack the Captains as well as the Pikmin through different patterns and formations.
  • Pokémon: Despite its name, Beedrill is actually based on the Giant Asian Hornet, relative to the yellowjacket wasp. And it is just as highly aggressive as the inesct, especially in a swarm.
  • Prayer of the Faithless: The monsters of the Woodland Hills are just groups of 4 Hornets.
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004) presents a fictional wasp in Uncle Monty's backyard. These wasps, according to Klaus, will explode if they sting someone. Violet has to deal with these wasps several times and must clear them out in order to progress.
  • The Simpsons Hit & Run: Part of the plot involves a series of strange spy cameras appearing all over Springfield that resemble giant mechanized wasps. They are controlled by the Big Bad and shoot electricity at people who approach them.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog: The Buzzbomber enemies are a robotic example. They are robot wasps created by Dr. Eggman who shoot lasers from their thoraxes.
  • Sting Of The Wasp: The protagonist is repeatedly likened to one; it's both a pun on the acronym for "white Anglo-Saxon Protestant" (the game takes place at a country club) and to how unpleasant, vicious, and cruel the character is.
  • Terraria: The Jungle is populated by a swarm of giant Hornets underground that fire their stingers at anybody. Come Hardmode, and even stronger Moss Hornets appear, just as territorial and hostile.

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY: Lancers are Creatures of Grimm that take the form of huge hornets around the size of a person. They live among the floating islands of Lake Matsu in Anima and attack any airships that attempt to travel through their airspace. They have the ability to use their stingers like grappling guns, hooking onto ships and reeling them in where they use their powerful mandibles to chew their way through the ship's hull. A small swarm of Lancers can be enough to overwhelm even airships that have Huntsmen on board. Queen Lancers, however, act alone; they're mammoth creatures, easily dwarfing cargo ships, and have the ability to fire darts that burst out of each side of their bodies, on top of being able to use their mandibles and tail stingers. A Queen Lancer is so tough she can easily survive an explosion caused by multiple crates of Dust igniting at the same time.
  • Red vs. Blue: Family Shatters has one episode where Shatter Squad loses it regarding a wasp - nevermind they're all in Powered Armor! Although their attempts to fight the bug reveals it is a big menace, capable doing a Metronomic Man Mashing and such.

  • Girl Genius: Slaver wasps are the most ubiquitous servants and forces of the Other, make up the bulk of its armies, and are the main threat associated with it in-universe. They come in two types: flightless warrior forms half the height of a man, with forelegs capable of impaling a human being, and the regular-sized slaver wasps proper, which true to their name work by flying into a person's mouth and turning them into a mind-controlled revenant to serve the Other as either a shambling zombie or a spy.

    Web Original 
  • A popular internet meme with several variations (like this and this) depicts a fake chart claiming to depict the difference between bees and wasps. The descriptions given for wasps include "WANTS 2 STING U!", "Does bugger all", and "Just an asshole".
  • The page image is part of a series of "funny animal anatomy" charts (not to be confused with the trope of the same name). The names given to the different parts of the wasp just about say it all.
  • One Tumblr post has a chart that shows things to release at a wedding ceremony, sorted according to coolness, with "prisoners" as the least cool and "the Kraken" as the most cool. "Wasps" were listed as the second-least cool thing to release at a wedding. However, according to Tumblr user the-fandoms-are-cool, that wasn't enough and "wasps" should have been below "prisoners", because prisoners at least have the capacity to sit politely and congratulate the married couple, while wasps would only cause pain.
  • Reddit has an entire community, r/fuckwasps, for people who find wasps evil and despicable. Posts in the community frequently contain images or videos of wasps that people have trapped and/or killed.
  • SCP Foundation: SCP-772, a species of parasitic wasps, uses organisms as vessels to store eggs. They have stingers longer than their bodies which they use to inject eggs under the skin, are MUCH larger than even the biggest hornet, and will eat away parts of their host's body. Did we mention that they are Immune to Bullets?
  • CalebCity has the video "If insects had to introduce themselves". While the other insects all comment on how they contribute to the environment, when the wasp's turn comes, its sole personality trait is that it likes hurting people completely unprovoked.

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • The lifestyle of the ichneumonid wasps, which lay their eggs in live insects for their young to eat, was something that nineteenth-century naturalists and theologians struggled to come to terms with. Most notably, the wasps drove Charles Darwin to a Crisis of Faith, where he seriously questioned the idea that a world that contained such apparent cruelty in nature could've been created by a benevolent God and used them, along with cats' violent behaviour towards their prey, as an example to make his point.
    I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created the Ichneumonidae with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of Caterpillars, or that a cat should play with mice.
  • A particular type of solitary wasps, mud daubers, have caused a few hundred deaths by building nests in airplane altimeters and air speed indicators, which have resulted in fatal crashes. Of course, this is accidental and can happen with birds too.
  • Subverted with many parasitoid wasps, at least from a human perspective. Wasps that sting grasshoppers and caterpillars for their young are actually incredibly important to agriculture, for obvious reasons. Unlike normal predators, parasatoid populations rise much quicker in response to increased populations of prey/hosts since a successful hunting immediately results in the parasitoid producing more offspring. This keeps prey species from overrunning crop fields, and parasitoid wasps are considered one of the best biological pest controls.
  • Similarly subverted with the European paper wasp, which is worth mentioning as they look almost identical to nature's asshole, the yellow jacket. For reference. Like most paper wasps, the European paper wasp is fairly docile and only about as likely to sting as a bumble bee, but because they look like yellow jackets they are often swatted at. Which, naturally, entices them to sting. When left alone, they're actually a nice addition to a garden since not only do they pollinate plants but they also prey on pest insects, making them a form of military-grade honey bee. The best way to recognize them is by their yellow antennae and their small, open-faced nests that they like to build on the side of solid structures.
  • The Schmidt Sting Pain Scale, which measures the intensity of insect stings on a scale of 1 (barely anything) to 4+ (agonizing torture), has only three species that officially rank at 4 or higher. Two of them are wasps— the tarantula hawk, and the warrior wasp, which are beaten only by the bullet ant, which is the only one at 4+. However there are two more species of wasp that haven't been officially rated yet that are reported to be even worse, and they are the Asian giant hornet and the executioner wasp, which is possibly the worst of all. One guy who deliberately stung himself with an executioner wasp reported that not only did it hurt worse than the bullet ant and giant hornet but it also left a permanent scar at the sting site.
  • The Asian giant hornet (video from National Geographic here), a massive wasp with a needle-sized stinger, is a terrifyingly aggressive large insect with alarm pheromones that call her sisters to the hunt. The thing that makes these killer wasps absolutely feared by humans is that their stings inject a venom that partially digests the victim, which normally renders the innards of insect prey into a protein soup for their larvae to consume, and is potent enough to do severe damage to human flesh (potential side effects include severe bleeding due to destroyed red blood cells, necrosis, and kidney failure), in addition to making their stings excruciatingly agonising. These menaces are so feared by humans that on at least one occasion in China, the villagers called for the People's Liberation Army to deploy men with flamethrowers to burn out their nest when it was too close to a farming settlement. These hornets are documented to have a legitimate death toll of humans on an annual basis, and against unprepared honeybee hives, a handful of them can slaughter hundreds of bees effortlessly. As of late April 2020, they've been spotted in the USA, resulting in a mad rush by ecologists to destroy their population before their mating season can come around (the official reason is that they're an invasive species in the US whose presence there would cause immense amounts of damage to the local environment, but the general public also tends to attribute it to the species's not-entirely-undeserved reputation as "murder hornets"). A Japan-specific 'cousin' exists, appropriately known as the Giant Japanese Hornet, and it is every bit as territorial and aggressive. Fortunately for us, the things aren't prone to actually stinging unless provoked or their nests are threatened, much like their less horrifying cousins.
  • Thanks to their agonizing stings (Only a little behind the two wasps at the top of the Schmidt Pain Scale in terms of severity) and their "Cow Killer" nickname, velvet ants have developed a reputation of being terrifying, highly lethal little monsters. Like other solitary wasps however, they're fairly docile and would prefer to run away rather than sting people, and they don't even kill cows either. But if you sufficiently provoke them, you absolutely will regret it
  • Several species of hoverfly take advantage of this trope by having black and yellowish stripes. They don't sting, but some predators will mistake them for wasps or bees and leave them alone to avoid getting stung. Children commonly mistake them for wasps and react accordingly.
  • Many sports teams choose aggressive and intimidating animals as their mascots, which makes wasps and bees a fairly common choice. Georgia Tech's and Rochester's athletics teams are both known as the Yellow Jackets to invoke this image.
  • Cicada-killer wasps largely avert this trope, since they usually take a rather high amount of provocation to sting (with said sting often being described as not much worse than a pinprick), and in fact the males have no stinger at all. They are, however, very large and intimidating, and often fly close to people, so many still consider them to be quite scary.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Wicked Wasp, Vile Vespid, Horrid Hornet


The Wasp Trio

After Conker steals Mrs. Bee's missing hive from the wasps, a vengeful wasp trio goes after the squirrel to steal it back; but unfortunately met their demise.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / WickedWasps

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