iPlayer Radio What's New?
Image for Episode 1

Listen now 28 mins

Listen in pop-out player

More episodes

See all episodes from Who's the Pest?

Episode 1

Episode 1 of 3

28 minutes
First broadcast:
Tuesday 05 March 2013

They make up 80% of the species on earth, and at any time there are ten QUINTILLION of them living.

Meet the six-legged rulers of the world: INSECTS

Entomologist Erica McAlister is known as Fly Girl to her friends. As Curator of Flies at the Natural History Museum, she knows what remarkable, strange, and diverse animals insects are. But for most of us, insects are pests - something we swot, or repel, or catch in a jar and hastily eject from the house. In this three part series, Erica will take listeners on an adventure in insect-world. It's our world, but not as we know it.

Insect world is populated by beings with superpowers - an amazing sense of smell, lightning reflexes, the ability to fly at dizzying speed or walk on the ceiling. And these superpowers have implications for us humans - in medicine, defence, food, art and architecture. They can help us to live more healthily, more safely, more sustainably.

In Episode One, Erica discovers that bees' sense of smell can be used to detect explosives and disease.

Series Consultant: Bridget Nicholls, Director, Pestival.

  • Harvesting Spider Silk

    The Oxford Silk Group recorded a short video of spider silk reeling.  You can see this video via an article published by guardian.co.uk, Saturday 12th Jan 2013.


    Note there is no sound on the clip.  Video clip is © Oxford Silk Group/University of Oxford


Featured in...

  • Hallowe'en

    A collection of Hallowe'en inspired programmes from the Radio 4 vaults!


  1. Image for Best of Natural History Radio

    Best of Natural History Radio

    The BBC Natural History Unit produces a wide range of programmes that aim to immerse a listener in…

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Added. Check out your playlist Dismiss