The wasp is known to everyone. She is a bright, unusual insect in black and yellow with a small but painful sting. Most people consider this animal dangerous and even aggressive. However, only one type of wasp is such. The rest of the representatives prefer to live away from humans, rarely show aggression, and surprise with their habits.
Origin of the species and description
Wasps do not have a clear scientific definition. So it is customary to call all stinging stalked-bellied insects from the Hymenoptera order, which do not belong to bees, ants. Today there is a huge variety of different wasps. The insects of this species include the following wasps: road, glitter, sand, scoli, paper, flower, hornets, burrowing, and many others.
All of them are conventionally divided into two categories:
Interesting fact: Unlike bees, wasps can defend themselves with more than just their stingers. If someone threatens their existence, insects can use the jaw apparatus. Their bite is quite sensitive.
The solitary wasp leads a solitary life, unusually building a nest. All adults are capable of reproduction. If nests are built, then in very secluded corners: on walls, on a tree, in the soil. And only a small number of species prefer to live without nests. They rest in the natural holes of the wood.
Social wasps prefer to live in families. Their nests are built by the queen. Not all adults are capable of reproduction. Sometimes a colony can number several thousand wasps, but only one of them can reproduce offspring. Barren wasps are called workers, fertile ones are called queens.
Interesting fact: Most hymenoptera can switch from solitary to social life. This transition takes several stages.
Look and feel
The wasp is a bright, interesting insect. It has a very characteristic color – yellow and black stripes. The size of an adult individual is average – up to ten centimeters. Only females can reach eighteen centimeters in length. The body of this animal has many small hairs. At its end is a sting. It is short, very smooth, easily penetrates the prey. The stinger is movable, so the wasp can bite from almost any position.
The wasp has complex eyes. They are large, they can distinguish objects at 180C. Three eyes are placed on top of the head. They are hard to spot right away. Near these eyes are antennae. The functions of antennae-antennae depend on the occupation of the animal, the specific situation. Usually this part of the body serves as a guide during flight. With their help, the wasp can accurately determine the direction of the wind, the depth of the crack, and much more.
Interesting fact: The sting of representatives of the wasp species does not have notches. Unlike bees, these animals are not injured when stung.
Wasps is a collective name. There are many types of wasps, and their external characteristics are slightly different.
Let's consider a brief external description of the most common types:
- Paper. Looks like the most common. They settle near a person, have a black and yellow color; They are medium in size – up to eight centimeters. The color of the body is unusual – mother-of-pearl, a shade of pink or turquoise;
- Floral. They are tiny. Do not grow more than one centimeter. The color is dominated by yellow;
- German wasps. They have an unusual body color – bright orange. The males of this species are black-orange and have black wings. Females do not have wings, they are often called velvet ants.
Where does the wasp live?
Representatives of wasps are widespread throughout the world. They can be easily found in Belarus, Russia, Ukraine, Europe, Africa, Argentina, Canada, Mexico, Australia, China, Japan. Such animals do not live only in the sultry Sahara, the Arctic and the Arabian Peninsula. Wasps prefer temperate climates, cannot exist in regions that are too hot or too cold.
Interesting fact: A very dangerous species of wasp lives in Japan and China – the Asian hornet. Its size can reach six centimeters. One bite of such an insect is enough to kill a person, especially if he is allergic. According to statistics, up to fifty people die every year from the sting of the Asian hornet in these countries.
Most representatives of wasps live in the Northern Hemisphere. Only a small population can be found in Brazil. These insects choose their habitat according to several criteria: a temperate climate, the presence of trees, a person. The thing is that the human habitat makes it easier for wasps to get their own food. The tree is also used for building nests and rearing larvae. Some individuals build dwellings from clay, pebbles. Their nests look very much like small castles.
What does a wasp eat?
The diet of representatives of the wasp species is quite diverse. It depends on several factors: the type of animal, stage of development, habitat. It may seem that these insects are not at all selective in food. They can eat sweets, fish, fruit, berries and even candy. However, this is not the main food of wasps, but only a pleasant addition to the diet.
Most species prefer soft, liquid foods. They feed on the pulp of various fruits, plant sap, berries and nectars. If the opportunity presents itself, the wasp will not mind eating some jam, honey, or a sweet drink. Wasps have a highly developed sense of smell. Therefore, they easily find fermented or rotten fruits. They are also attracted by the sharp smell of beer, kvass. Wasps bring part of their prey to their offspring, the uterus. Workers do this.
Predator wasps have a slightly different diet. They mainly eat insects: beetles, flies, cockroaches, small spiders. This is how they feed their offspring. The hunting process of a predator wasp is quite interesting. First, she looks out for a potential victim, then unexpectedly attacks. The hymenoptera tries to sting its prey as soon as possible in order to paralyze it. The poison helps the meat stay fresh.
Character and lifestyle features
The lifestyle of this animal depends on the species. The life of single wasps can be called monotonous. They are actively engaged in the preparation of stocks for offspring. To do this, they put paralyzed prey in a nest so that the larvae can feed on it. Further, the offspring will develop independently, without the help of their parents.
Public wasps live more interesting lives. In the spring, the uterus is looking for a place to create a “house”. There she lays her eggs. When the larvae appear, the queen takes care of them. The first brood grows up over time and saves its parent from worries. They take on all the responsibilities of obtaining food and building a house on themselves. The uterus continues to increase the number of the colony.
There is an opinion that at night stinging insects spend in a dream. But it's not! These animals never sleep. With the onset of darkness, their natural activity simply decreases. Wasps prefer to spend their nights in their nests, chewing on the bark. As morning approaches, the adults set to work building new combs.
Fun fact: Males usually do not live longer than two weeks. Male wasps die shortly after mating.
The nature of most representatives of this species is very bad. Wasps don't attack first when they're idle, but they're sure to sting if they're even a little disturbed. In this case, the relatives of the insect can smell the smell of the secreted poison. Then the person or animal that disturbed the wasp will be in big trouble. Wasps can unite and face danger together.
Social structure and reproduction
In winter, adults are constantly in shelter. To do this, they find a secluded place for themselves in advance. With the onset of spring, with the first warmth, the uterus flies out in search of a suitable place to build a nest. The nest is necessary so that the female can lay eggs there and raise her offspring. Tree bark, clay, stones and other natural materials are used for construction.
Sterile individuals emerge from the first eggs. They will continue to build a dwelling and bring food for the future offspring of the uterus. Only at the end of summer does the offspring appear, capable of reproducing their own kind. It is she who will mate in the future. After fertilization, the females will look for a place for a warm wintering, and the males soon die of natural causes.
One female wasp is capable of reproducing about two thousand individuals. Most of them will be infertile. The uterus seals the laid eggs in a special chamber. She also puts small insects there. The larvae will feed on these insects in the future, in order to soon turn into an adult. In larvae, which in the future will be able to reproduce offspring, nutrition is completely different. They are fed food that promotes the development of the reproductive organs. The queen lives for about ten months, and sterile wasps only four weeks.
Natural enemies of wasps
Wasps, especially social species , are collective animals. Together they can hold the line when attacked by the enemy.
However, even wasp colonies have natural enemies:
- Some types of birds. Only a few species of birds dare to attack stinging insects. In particular, European honey buzzards prey on wasps. They catch them on the fly, immediately tear off the sting. Then the carcass is given to their chicks. Bee-eaters are not averse to feasting on wasps. They easily catch them, crush them and quickly swallow them. They themselves never take any damage;
- Small vermin. They breed right in wasp nests. Small ticks, “riders” feed on young animals that still live in the combs. Such parasites can be invisible to adults for a very long time. They significantly reduce the number of young animals;
- Wild animals. Wasps need to be wary of hedgehogs, bears, and other medium and large wild predators. However, most animals that have been bitten by this insect at least once try to avoid it in the future;
- People. If a wasp colony settled near the house, in a barn or in the attic, then almost always death awaits it. People, either alone or with the help of specialists, try to get rid of the nest and wasps using various means and poison.
Population and species status
Wasps are a necessary, useful and significant part of the fauna. Yes, they do not produce delicious honey like bees and even harm beekeeping. However, in other areas of life and in nature, they perform a very useful task – they destroy various pests. They catch small insects and feed them to their offspring. This is beneficial for plants. Garden, garden plantings do not suffer from the paws of pests.
For example, wasps can help completely get rid of such a pest as a bear. If the bear is wound up on the site, it is enough to attract wasps with the help of flower plants. Earthen wasps will very quickly “put things in order” on the site. Also, wasps can be attracted to fight grinders and leaf beetles. The following species feed on these pests: wall, paper, large-headed, nosy. They can significantly reduce the number of harmful insects. This is the best way to deal with them without the use of chemicals.
Representatives of the wasp species are numerous. They are common in many countries, multiply rapidly, and are able to protect themselves. Therefore, the species is not threatened by the process of extinction or extinction. However, it is impossible to track the wasp population with great accuracy. These are small insects that often settle in hard-to-reach places. For this reason, exact population data do not exist.
In general, the wasp species cannot be called endangered, therefore it is not listed in the Red Book. Only a few varieties are recognized by scientists as endangered in specific regions. So, for example, a forest wasp is listed in the Red Book of the Moscow Region. In the Moscow region, it is represented in small quantities. Forest wasps usually settle in forests. In human buildings, these animals are rarely seen.
The main reason for the decrease in the population of forest wasps is the harmful influence of humans. This is the main factor. People deliberately destroy nests. Also, adverse weather conditions greatly affect the state of the population. This is due to the characteristics of nesting. These insects sometimes build their houses in open areas, on trees. Even a heavy downpour can easily damage their housing.
Natural enemies and high competition from other species have some influence on the number of forest wasps. These animals often become victims of birds, parasites, predatory insects. Due to the existing danger of changes in the population of forest wasps, this species of insects was listed in the Red Book of the Moscow Region. Today, the habitats of these animals are carefully protected. It is also planned to create new natural protected areas in the near future.
The wasp is an amazing representative of the fauna. Their life is short enough, but very interesting. In their short age, wasps manage to build a house, raise offspring, and some species help a person quickly and without chemicals get rid of garden pests. Also, not all wasps are as aggressive as it is commonly thought. Many species are quite peaceful and will never sting a person without a reason.