Wasps are quite often confused with bees. But neither are they bees nor flying ants like some people like to think of them.
Perhaps the most interesting fact about wasps is that they can be found everywhere except in the Polar Regions. With more than 75, 000 recognized species, each species contains at least one species of wasp that either preys or parasites on it. This is critically very important in controlling wasp population by removing wasp nests from your premises, considering wasps are among the flying insects that reproduce really fast.
With that in mind, you can read on to find out other mind blowing facts and fascinating gen about wasps that only a few people are aware of:
Wasps’ venom contains some kind of pheromone that they release into the air causing other wasps near it to be more aggressive. It’s for this reason that we warn anyone against swatting a wasp near its nest. This may provoke the wrath of an entire swarm and, mind you, that’s the last position any sentient being would wish to get jammed in.
Treating their stings
Once stung, all it takes to allay the pain and treat the wound is a deodorant containing aluminum. Though the sting is expected to wear off completely within 24hours, this treatment should hasten the healing procedure to about an hour or so.
There are two broad categories of wasps—social and solitary wasps. Speaking of which, there are less than a thousand species of social wasps, with the remaining over 74, 000 species accounting for the solitary wasps subgroup.
Do they make honey?
Wasps, unlike bees, do not make honey. Some species do help in pollinating plants, but there’s not a single species of wasps that actually produces honey out of the nectar they suckle. So never visit a wasp’s nest hoping to find some honey therein.
Social wasps live in a group of 5, 000 to 10, 000 wasps in a communally constructed nest consisting of workers, queens and drones. Solitary wasps on the other hand do not construct nests and instead prefer living alone.
All solitary wasps can reproduce. But not all social wasps are fertile. Only a selected number of females in the circle are actually groomed to reproduce. These queens can only be fertilized by a selected number of males, the drones.
The onset of spring
Every spring is marked by a group of young queen wasps who survived the winter creating new colonies from scratch. They always start with building new nests and raising a family of workers, mostly females.
The nests will then be expanded gradually as the selected queens continue to lay more eggs. This will go on until the nest has 5, 000 to 10, 000 wasps by late summer. And by winter, most of them, including the queens will die and the process will be restarted at the onset of spring.
The jewel wasp (also known as the emerald cockroach wasp)
The most fascinating species of wasps is the jewel wasp, which has a gruesome habit of walking roaches to its nests where it feeds its young ones on its (roach’s) body. She does this by stinging the roach twice, in the mid-section part of its body and at the front near the brain.
This immobilizes the front legs of the cockroach completely. She then follows it with a different kind of venom that leaves the roach stupefied. Once paralyzed, she can then drug the roach into her nest, where she lays her eggs inside the belly and sealing it completely afterwards.
The larvae will hatch shortly after and start feeding on the cockroach from inside out until they come out fully matured and ready to fend for themselves. All this while the hapless roach will still be alive but too stupefied to fight back or run for their life.
The Wrap Up
Wasps may be all these but are extremely useful in some sense. For one, wasps are considered fierce predators. Some people keep them to ward off pests such as roaches, fleas, caterpillars and aphids.
They can be a nuisance at times, especially when they sneak around to have a bite of your Colonels Secret recipe. But they aren’t that bad to have around. Just ignore them and at least teach everyone around you to coexist with the little guys.