It has always been presumed that wasps sting people deliberately and now science has proved that they have quite the brain on them.
While a bee sting may be put down to an accident or as a defence mechanism, people stung by wasps usually say the insects had more of a menacing brain on them.
Tests have now shown that wasps do in fact use a form of reasoning known as transitive inference - a trait once thought to only be seen in humans.
Scientists believe wasps are able to use known relationships to infer unknown relationships - and used a simple colour test to prove the theory.
Elizabeth Tibbetts, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Michigan, tested whether two common species of paper wasp, Polistes dominula and Polistes metricus, could solve a transitive inference problem.
The wasps were taught a hierarchy of five colours, labelled A, B, C, D and E, and pairs of them went to the colours and learnt they would get a mild electric shock when they landed on one.
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When A and B were put together, B would give the shock but out of B and C, it was C that gave the shock.
Out of C and D it was D, and out of D and E it was E that delivered a shock.
Professor Tibbetts told The Times: “I thought wasps might get confused, just like bees.
‘But they had no trouble figuring out that a particular colour was safe in some situations and not safe in other situations.”
By contrast, honeybees were unable to tell the difference due to their tiny nervous systems - indicating their differences in complex social behaviour.
The findings are published in the journal Biology Letters.