Wasp | Exploring the World of Wildlife: facts about the Wasp

The world of insects is large and diverse. Among them there are quite harmless representatives and real warriors, capable of defending themselves and their territory. Such species include wasps. They are found everywhere, inflict painful bites, but do not lose their stings. Outwardly, they can vary greatly in color and size, but they all have secrets that keep entomologists and amateur enthusiasts busy.

Fact number one.

Wasps are amazing architects. In the skill of building incredible nests, they are not inferior to the famous bees. For example, there are wasps that create beautiful structures with hexagonal cells that strongly resemble the cells that bees erect. These species are also called paper wasps (they chew wood and create cellulose). Some, on the other hand, create ball-like nests. There are also species that build their nests out of mud or dig tunnels in the ground.

Fact number two.

Wasps’ eyes are faceted and consist of structural cones, with simple, small eyes between them. In some species they are blind. The mouth apparatus is gnawing, with a large upper part. It can get food and fight off the enemy. Abdomen and thorax, consisting of 3 segments, connected by a movable bridge. It allows the specimen to bend at different angles, stinging the enemy.

Fact number three.

Most people think of them as black and yellow insects. But in fact, according to scientists, only 1% of all species have this coloration (and there are more than 120,000 of them). These insects can range in color from red, brown, orange to white.

Fact number four.

All wasps can be divided into two categories: solitary and social. Solitary species, respectively, prefer to lead solitary lives and rarely encounter even a few members of their species. All solitary species can produce offspring. In contrast, social species live in colonies, which can number up to several thousand individuals. There are three castes in social colonies: egg-laying queens (one or more individuals per colony), workers (sexually undeveloped females), and male drones. The social species are many times fewer than the solitary ones.

Fact number five.

All wasp species undergo complete metamorphosis. A larva emerges from the egg. It looks very much like a short, thick white worm with legs and a distinct head. The larva grows and molts several times before it turns into a pupa. Already from the pupal stage, the insect transforms into a full-fledged adult.

Fact number six.

Wasps are not long-lived insects. Most individuals live less than a year, some workers even a few months. The only wasps that survive the winter are the young queens. In the spring, they emerge from their hiding places and begin to build new nests. Initially, the queen mother lays eggs from which the larvae hatch. She feeds them until they become adults. Then the adults collect food to feed the new larvae and protect the nest.

Fact number seven.

Their diet varies depending on the species of insect, its stage of development, and habitat. Many people mistakenly believe that wasps don’t care what they eat, but that’s not true. They eat candy, fish, meat, berries. But this is not their main and favorite food. They prefer soft and watery foods. Wasps like fruit pulp, plant sap, and flower nectar. There are also predatory species, which feed mainly on insects. They can also attack small spiders.

Fact number eight.

Although most wasps play no role in pollination, some species can effectively carry pollen and pollinate multiple plant species. For example, fig wasps in the superfamily Chalcidoidea, are almost the only pollinators of nearly 1,000 species of figs.

Fact number nine.

Wasps do not have a special organ that produces sounds. They use their wing muscles for this purpose. With rapid muscle contractions, the chitinous parts of the outer skeleton of the chest vibrate, producing buzzing sounds. Wasps buzz in different ways — intermittently, then prolonged, then low, then high, and each vibration has its own meaning understood only by their fellows.

Fact number ten.

Once born, the worker wasps take care of the nest-building and nursing, while the queen is busy laying eggs. And then things develop exponentially. The hives rapidly increase in size, and the wasps zealously guard them. They become aggressive and suppress any attempts to approach their home with a sting. In the spring and summer, only sterile females, the worker wasps, emerge from their eggs. This process is controlled by the queen. Only in late summer does she begin to lay eggs, from which wasps of both sexes capable of reproduction can emerge. They mate with each other and then leave the hive for good. The wasps never sleep. After sunset, they return to the nest to chew the bark brought in during the day to build the hive.

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