I have very little trouble admitting that I've killed more than a few wasps in my time. I've always had a live and let live relationship with bees, but wasps have always been on my kill-on-sight list.

I even went so far as to order the most souped-up electric bug-zapping racket I could find on Amazon. This thing is a one touch-one corpse gadget, and it has left a pile of wasp bodies in its wake, let me tell you. I also added the salt shooting "Bug-A-Salt" gun to my backyard arsenal. Think of it as a shotgun that fires table salt that obliterates insect pests.

Here in the Rockford area, wasps start showing up when Spring arrives, and we're pretty much stuck with them through Fall. The real nasty guys, yellow-jackets, will be making their appearance later in the summer, usually August, and stick around for about a month and a half. Think about the late-summer, outdoor Rockford events you've been to over the years. Yellow-Jackets are the little striped-abdomen nuisances hanging around the waste receptacles. If you've made it thus far without being stung, congratulations. Not many of us do.

So what good are these things that offer up painful stings, build nests under our eaves and decks, and seemingly do little else besides buzz around you and your family while you're trying to enjoy a night on the patio?

It turns out that wasps do a lot of good. Really.

A piece up at ThoughtCo.com says that wasps of all sorts offer some great ecological benefits like "pollination, predation, and parasitism." I know what the first two are, but the last one sounds like a word that describes many politicians.

Wasps are apparently interested in more things than just stinging us:

For instance, paper wasps carry caterpillars and leaf beetle larvae back to their nests to feed their growing young. Hornets provision their nests with all manner of live insects to sate the appetites of their developing larvae. It takes a lot of bugs to feed a hungry brood, and it's through these needs that both hornets and paper wasps provide vital pest control services.

So, wasps handle some of the much-needed pollination jobs, and they kill and eat all sorts of pests like caterpillars, spiders, and aphids. However, they are temperamental and territorial, and will happily sting you. I'm not going to apologize for the ones I've "removed from the game," but maybe I might not be so quick to grab my zapping racket and Bug-A-Salt gun in the future.

READ ON: See the States Where People Live the Longest

Stacker used data from the 2020 County Health Rankings to rank every state's average life expectancy from lowest to highest. The 2020 County Health Rankings values were calculated using mortality counts from the 2016-2018 National Center for Health Statistics. The U.S. Census 2019 American Community Survey and America's Health Rankings Senior Report 2019 data were also used to provide demographics on the senior population of each state and the state's rank on senior health care, respectively.

Read on to learn the average life expectancy in each state.

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