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?