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Archive for the ‘Wasps’ Category

The Wasp Species That Will Eat Out Of Your Hand

What is the fiercest type of insect that you can think of? Scorpions, certain spiders, or maybe certain centipedes? Well, none of those three animals belong to the insect community, as scorpions and spiders belong to the arachnid class, and centipedes belong to the chilopoda class. When it comes to insects, naming an intimidating species can be surprisingly hard. Of course, there are many insects that are considered dangerous, such as mosquitoes and other disease spreading insects. And there is certainly no shortage of insects that are commonly perceived as frightening to humans, such as cockroaches. Insects that are annoying, such as biting or buzzing insects, can be named all day, but which insect species can rightfully be called intimidating? Well, there are flying insects that sting, of course. There is good reason to become intimidated by flying insects that sting, as every year numerous fatalities result from bee and wasp attacks. Although bees are well known for stinging people, most species will not sting unless they feel threatened. Bees can only sting a person or animal once before losing their stinger forever, and many species die in response to having lost their stinger. Many people can agree that wasps pose a particularly intimidating threat to humankind, especially as far as insects are concerned. In fact, wasps are so well associated with malevolent behavior toward humans, that most people would never believe that a human-friendly wasp species even exists in nature. However, a group of wasps known as sand wasps are not at all a danger to humans. In fact, these wasps are gentle enough to eat flies right out of a person’s hand.

There exists many different species of sand wasp, the largest of which is the Bembix americanan spinolas. These wasps are known for hovering close to humans. Understandably, this intimidates people, as these wasps are not only large, but they also possess black and yellow stripes that closely resemble the notoriously mean spirited yellowjacket wasps. However, this sand wasp species only hovers close to people because this is exactly where it can catch delicious flies, as flies often hover around humans. Needless to say, it can come as a shock to witness a wasps eating flies directly out of a human’s hand.

Do you believe that wasps, as a species, are unfairly perceived as being inherently dangerous to humankind?

An Exterminator Removed A Refrigerator-Sized Nest Containing Millions Of Wasps

An Exterminator Removed A Refrigerator-Sized Nest Containing Millions Of Wasps

31361585 - vespa velutina nigrithorax, the asian hornet

Stumbling upon a wasp nest can be frightening, especially if it is still active. Wasps are well known for being much more aggressive than the vast majority of bee species, and many of them will sting victims repeatedly. There are numerous wasp species that build nests of different types. Some wasp nests are located high up in trees on branches. While other wasp nests are located beneath the ground, like yellowjacket wasp nests. Yellowjackets are particularly frightening as thousands of them can swarm a person within seconds by flooding out of their underground nests. Very few yellowjacket attack victims anticipate their attacks since their nests are not easily detected. It goes without saying that wasp nests should always be removed by a professional pest control officer. However, sometimes even the most seasoned professionals can become terrified of the active wasp nests that they are called upon to remove. For example, several months ago a pest control professional in Louisiana removed a wasp nest that was as large as a refrigerator from a family’s home. The entire removal took forty five minutes and it was recorded on a GoPro. The footage can now be viewed on YouTube.

Not long ago an experienced pest control professional named Jude Verret was called to a residence in Patterson, Louisiana in order to remove an enormous nest that contained millions of European yellowjacket wasps. Verret was dressed in a beekeeper’s outfit and armed with a shovel to hack the refrigerator-sized nest out of the shed. Once Verret entered the shed, his GoPro footage captured the flurry of yellowjackets that were aggressively dive bombing everything in sight. Verret has been removing the nests of dangerous insects from people’s property for over twelve years, but this nest is one of the largest that he had ever seen. Typically, when Verret removes an insect nest he can expect to get stung a few times, despite his protective gear. Amazingly Verret did not sustain any yellowjacket stings while removing the colossal nest.

Did you ever play with insect nests that you found as a child? Have you ever encountered an active wasp nest?

 

 

People Are Killing-Off Beneficial Native Hornets After Confusing Them With Harmful Invasive Hornets

By now, most people have become aware of the fact that the number of bees in the world has been decreasing steadily for more than a decade. Experts are calling this global decrease in bee life “colony collapse disorder.” CCD is caused by several factors, such as habitat loss and disease, but recently researchers found yet another threat to bees–Asian hornets. The Asian hornet should not to be confused with the Japanese giant hornet, which is a highly aggressive and venomous wasp species that has caused several human deaths in Europe over the past fifteen years. Asian hornets, on the other hand, are not any more harmful to humans than native wasp species in Europe, but they have been feeding on Europe’s native honey bees for several years. One single Asian hornet can kill as many as 50 honey bees per day. Naturally, the Asian hornet’s uninvited presence in Europe is of serious concern to beekeepers on the continent. The invasive Asian hornet presence in Europe has been growing steadily since it was introduced back in 2004. As a result of its years of killing the economically important European honey bee species, Asian hornets have been targeted for extermination by everyday Joes living in the United Kingdom. The British citizens are hoping to save the native honey bees in their country by doing their part to destroy Asian hornet nests wherever they are found. Unfortunately, these citizens have been killing native hornets after mistaking them for Asian hornets.

According to a British wildlife charity known as Devon Wildlife Trust, British citizens are doing more harm than good with their attempts to kill invasive Asian hornets. The charity’s spokesperson, David Hussey, claims that some people call in asking if it is okay to kill the “Asian hornet” nests that they find, while others call in to claim that they had already destroyed “Asian hornet” nests. However, after visiting these locations, officials with the charity learned that every one of these citizens actually destroyed native European hornets (Vespa crabro) as opposed to invasive Asian hornets (Vespa velutina). The inadvertent killing off of native hornets will only contribute to the current loss of hornets that are native to Europe. Native European hornets are major players in the region’s ecosystem and they help to keep insect and spider pests at bay. Ever since 1987, killing native hornets has been illegal in Germany due to the dramatic decrease in their population. Unintended consequences like this is why insect pest eradication should best be left to experts.

Furious Mother Forced to Close Off Living Room When Hundreds of Wasps Invade Her Home

Finding a wasp infestation anywhere in or around your home is terrifying by itself. Finding hundreds of them swarming in your living room is probably most people’s worst nightmare. One single mother actually experienced this horrific scene, and is now even being forced to live with it. Starrain Johnson and her two young children, 13 month old Ryiesha and 12 year old Rajay, is living in her home with the entire living room closed off to try and stop the spread of the wasps throughout the house. Why is she forced to live in this situation? Despite the extremely dangerous living conditions and the two young children also living in the house, her council landlord has failed to even address the problem in the two months since the wasps arrived.

Johnson thinks that a wasps nest was already inside her home when it became dislodged, falling and splitting wide open, letting out hundreds of probably very angry wasps. After hearing a rumbling noise and a crash as if something fell coming from her living room, Johnson investigated the noise only to find wasps swarming around the room. Hundreds of wasps were crawling and flying around her living room, and she and her children have not come away unscathed. Johnson says that her young daughter has been stung all over her body since the wasps were first discovered. Johnson complained to her landlord about the infestation all the way back in July, but only recently did anyone come to inspect her home. Ms. Johnson said, “I’ve been reporting the problem since July and nothing has been done. They only came and looked last week and said they couldn’t do anything.It’s rubbish. I have a young child and there’s an infestation and they haven’t even made an attempt to get rid of the wasps or give me somewhere to live temporarily.”

Johnson has been trying to live with her current dangerous situation by keeping the living room shut off completely, spraying the wasps with insecticide, and taping up any gaps in the door that could lead to a wasp escaping into the rest of the house. Johnson says her living room has become an “insect graveyard.” Unfortunately, despite her efforts, wasps have been sneaking out of the living room and finding their way into other areas of the house. Johnson has woken up to find wasps in her bedroom stuck to the window. She says all she hears now is the buzzing of the wasps and feels the touch of them on her skin. As of now, nothing has been done to help fix this problem, and Ms. Johnson is still waiting to hear back from her neighborhood housing council after submitting the complaint months ago.

What would you do if you found yourself in a similar situation?

 

 

The Plant That Hunts And Consumes Live Wasps

For those of you who are interested in nature’s most bizarre productions, you have probably heard of insect-eating plants. Plants that feed on insects are not necessarily common, and most people assume that carnivorous plants are fictional monsters, similar to giant man-eating sea-clams. Although carnivorous plants are not often stumbled upon in nature, they certainly do exist, and some appear more intelligent and cunning than others.wasp

Most people are, at least, somewhat familiar with the carnivorous plant known as the Venus flytrap. As you can imagine, these carnivorous plants appear to have jaws that can open in order to swallow nearby flying insects. However, Venus flytraps have an extremely limited habitat, as they are only found in one region of North Carolina. Given the fascination that many people have with carnivorous plants, it is surprising that more people have not heard of “love vines.” although love vines are, like Venus flytraps, carnivorous, they do not appear as such, but it could be argued that they are far more menacing than other carnivorous plant species.

Oak leaves often develop deformities that involve the swelling of leaf tissue. These inflamed tumors are known as “galls,” and they look like bulbous formations located on the undersides of oak leaves. As it happens, this tissue-growth is prompted by parasitic wasps. These wasps use galls as a form of safe shelter for their developing eggs, but if you were to look into some gall formations, then you would likely find a few mummified wasp corpses. Why is this? Well, the answer to this question may disappoint the world’s many wasp lovers. Sadly, many parasitic wasp offspring never get to experience the joys a long two-week life, as a type of vine literally hunts developing wasp offspring that are located within galls.

Unlike Venus flytraps, these parasitic and carnivorous vines move in the direction of galls that are inhabited by developing wasp eggs and larvae. Venus flytraps are unable to seek out their insect prey in this manner. Once a love vine penetrates an inhabited gall, they suck all of the nutritious fluids out of the wasp larvae shortly before they emerge from their homes and into adult life. This is why many researchers who have looked into galls have found mummified wasp corpses that had been drained of their vital fluids. Although the carnivorous nature of the love vine has been known to scientists for over a century, the first study exploring the relationship between these vines and their insect prey has only occurred recently.

Since the carnivorous nature of love vines has been known to researchers for just a little more than a century, do you believe that other undiscovered insect-eating plants exist in nature?

 

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