Friday, February 15, 2019

World of Wonder: Wasps

On Fridays we feature amazing discoveries and facts, because, yes, the world is full of wonders that are real and natural-occurring (without divine or supernatural intervention).

This week we're looking at tiny, often annoying yet immensely useful and needed stingers: wasps.

They are resilient - they survive in the winter as their queen are secluded and safe. And they thrive in the spring and summer as they come out to enjoy the resources available to them.
The problem with bee decline
Greenpeace International
But as winters become milder, they don't have to hide for so long and build bigger, longer-lasting colonies, reaching new places and killing more bees than normal, which is bad news for us: Greenpeace International.

What's good about them? They sting, and since they don't lose their sting like bees, they sting several times. But, they are useful and needed. They pollinate fruit trees and flowers like rare orchids. They eat flies and other insects that destroy crops.

The newest discovery is that as a defense mechanism, some wasp species's eggs spew deadly gas (read full article on National Geographic). Since the wasp eggs are susceptible to fungi, due to the moldy conditions where they hatch, the eggs "spew out nitric oxide (a toxic gas) at a high rate", killing most of the parasitic fungi that may attach to them and upping their chances for survival.

Read more amazing wasp facts: Science Focus, Danish Campsites, National Geographic


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