1 Should We be Afraid of Wasps?
An illustrated talk on my experience in researching why wasps sting; how I found their alarm pheromone, what it is and how it works; the amazing abilities of wasps; giant wasps’ nests of Florida and New Zealand; the biggest wasp in the world; what use are wasps?; the difference between wasps and hornets; why is the Asian Hornet so feared?; how to avoid being stung and how to find and deal with wasps’ nests.
2 Alien Invaders
An illustrated talk on plants and animals across the world that have been accidentally or deliberately introduced into other countries by Man; some of the disastrous effects these alien species have; what makes them so successful and how do they become established?
3 Tarantulas and other Scary Creatures of the Mediterranean
An illustrated talk about the largest, fiercest spider in Europe; the giant European carnivorous grasshopper; the frightening sand-spider of Turkey and Greece; scorpions, hornets, poisonous snakes and other impressive animals of the Mediterranean.
4 Why are Mountains and Islands so Special?
An illustrated talk about rare and fascinating plants and animals found on islands and mountains across the world.
5 Endemic Species
An illustrated talk on some fascinating plants and animals found in very restricted areas and nowhere else in the world.
6 The History of Farming and the British Landscape
An illustrated talk on the development of the British countryside and agriculture from the Neolithic Wildwood to the familiar patchwork of fields, mountains and moorlands that typifies our beautiful landscape today.
7 The Mysteries of Bird Migration
A young cuckoo manages to fly from Britain to central Africa in just four days, never having met its parents. How? This illustrated talk tries to explain the mysteries of bird migration with reference to some astonishing examples.
8 Cascade – a Scheme for Integrating Farming, Wildlife and Education
Ben describes his project for educating schoolchildren about their local wildlife and agriculture.
Dr Ben Aldiss is an ecologist, entomologist, teacher, lecturer, journalist and broadcaster. He was recently made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology for his services to citizen science. He did his PhD on wasps and is the world expert on what makes them sting.
Ben is an authority on British and European wildlife and was Nature Correspondent for The European. In the summer of 2016 he ran the week-long Norfolk Festival of Nature and was the guest on BBC Radio Norfolk’s version of Desert Island Discs. For the same radio station he broadcast a 28-part A to Z of Norfolk Wildlife and is currently writing a monthly column for the EDP Norfolk magazine entitled An A to Z of Norfolk Nature. He is a regular guest speaker onboard Cunard and P&O cruise ships.
For a time in his twenties, Ben was an officer in the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy, serving onboard the aircraft carrier HMS Invincible.