The invention of paper (in the form we know it today) was possibly inspired by the activity of wasps! The story goes that around 2,000 years ago, a Chinese eunuch called Cai Lun watched a wasp skillfully building a paper nest in his garden, which it created from fine slithers of chewed up wood it had collected in its mouth. Cai Lun was inspired to experiment with wood mulches, eventually creating paper.
Wasps may be annoying, but they are great at pest control. They chomp their way through many crop 'pests' such as aphids, caterpillars and greenfly - these are not eaten by adult wasps but are collected by female adult workers and fed to larvae back at the nest. According to the Natural History Museum in London, social wasps in the UK are estimated to capture about 14 million kilograms of insect prey annually.
The smallest known insect in the world is a wasp. Commonly referred to as the 'fairyfly' or 'fairy wasp', these are actually chalcid wasps in the Mymaridae family. There are a number of species within this family ranging from about half a millimetre to a millimetre in length, but the smallest (Dicopomorpha echmepterygis) is believed to be less than half a millimetre long at 0.14mm, making it the smallest known insect in the world.