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"Dangerous Insects: Voracious defoliators, deadliest army, and marauding stingers"

Updated on December 1, 2015

Keywords:

Insects. Hymenoptera. Lepidoptera. Moths. Skeletonizing. Eusociality. Monogamy. Polyandry. Dichthadiigyny. Pheromones. Hornets Giant Asian Hornet. Mating Behavior. Prevention.

Do you know this Guy?
Do you know this Guy? | Source
Quote from JFK
Quote from JFK
Armyworm
Armyworm | Source
Army Ant
Army Ant | Source
Vespa-Hornet Wasp
Vespa-Hornet Wasp | Source

Introduction

Voracious defoliators.The invasion was planned at sunset. The three great cereal namely; rice, corn, and wheat that belongs to family Gramineae (Grass family), tribe Oryzeae (Rice), tribe Andropogoneae (Corn), and tribe Triticeae (Wheat) respectively, were unaware that they were under threat. A synchronized attack is about to begin after dark. Armyworms have been moving surreptitiously at night for three days from other field hiding only under grass cover and soil to avoid detection during the daytime. The one-hectare inhabitants of about 40,000 to 60,000 plants were unaware of the impending disaster. Now, with razor sharp teeth (mandibles) and hungry, are poised for the attack, "No Mercy" army General commanded, and the attack begins...Undetected, Armyworms can significantly reduce crop yield with their characteristics damage of eating away all the soft portion of the leaf lamina leaving only the midrib the term called "Skeletonizing"

Deadliest Army. Moving in three columns, three meters apart, 40.000 to 60,000 strong Army ants on the foraging mood, Anything living caught is brought back to the colony in pieces by the workers that accompany the army. if one happens to be in the path of the advancing army the only escape is to run ahead of the column or fly above, you can't go to your right or left either, the other two columns ensures that the victim can't escape by serving as walls of sharp mandibles and no mercy. Army ants are known to take their prey thousands of times bigger their size is no match for their ferocity. Because of their unmatched ferocity, Army ants are called the Mongols of the insect world.

Marauding Stingers. The honey bees knew that their colony was already discovered by Vespa scout two days ago. they can sense that the scout is in the vicinity for the final check up before the attack begin. Honeybees have no choice, twice smaller than Vespa (Hornet Wasp) has to defend their colony for future generation. The Queen ordered to secure the colony, eggs and pupating comb were sealed with wax as she was placed in the inner sanctum of the hive to protect her from the attackers. Drones (male bees) and workers positioned themselves facing outward with wings touching each other and stingers ready and sharp, start to vibrate their wings together to increase the temperature of the hive as they waited for the Marauders to arrived. Vespa Hornets are considered the Barbarian Hordes of the insect world with their characteristics damage of severed limbs and heads on honey bees.

In this article, the three most dangerous insects in the Animal Kingdom is featured namely; Armyworms, Army ants and Vespa (hornet wasp) due to their great biological and economic importance to man. Now, how dangerous these insects could be? Let us discover it together

When the EARTH was still young
When the EARTH was still young
Biodiversity at Country Level
Biodiversity at Country Level | Source
Classification of Insects under Phylum Arthropoda
Classification of Insects under Phylum Arthropoda
Place of Insects in the Biological Pie
Place of Insects in the Biological Pie

The Insect World-Distribution, Habitat and Diverssity

There are about 1,000,000 species of insects known worldwide. New species are constantly discovered some experts believed that as high as 30 million insect species exist comprising 75 percent of animal species. moreover, recent events such as global warming, anthropogenic pollutants and climate change might have significantly reduced their numbers and biodiversity worldwide. Species richness and distribution could be under threat presently.

Insects are the most successful invertebrates in the Animal Kingdom. Grouped under Phylum Arthropoda, is the largest Phylum in the Animal Kingdom which include Insects, Arachnids, Crustacean as will as Millipedes and Centipedes among others. The arthropods (Phylum Arthropoda) has five distinct taxonomic class and Class Insecta has the largest composition. Class Insecta is the most diverse taxonomic group in Phylum Arthropoda sub-Phylum Hexapoda, Treadwell (1999) classified 25 taxonomic groups under Class Insecta. Among Insects, Order Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths) and Order Hymenoptera(Ants, Bees, and Wasps) are among the most prominent because of their biological and economic importance to man.

Representative Insects under Class Insecta, Sub-Phylum Hexapoda
Representative Insects under Class Insecta, Sub-Phylum Hexapoda | Source
Representative Insects under Order Lepidoptera
Representative Insects under Order Lepidoptera
Representative Insects under Order Hymenoptera
Representative Insects under Order Hymenoptera | Source

The new world insects: Lepidoptera and Hymenoptera

The Lepidopterans and Hymenopterans, numbered about 170,000 and 110,000 described species respectively, are found worldwide and most abundant in tropical and temperate regions.

  • They are the most successful group of insects found in all continents except Antarctica.
  • Inhabit all terrestrial environment ranging from desert and rainforest from lowland to grassland to mountain plateaus
  • But, always associated with higher plants especially the Angiosperms or Flowering plants (NewWorld Encylopedia, 2015, Biology 455 Notes).

Lepidopterans- Butterflies and Moths are the "Beauty Queens" of the Insect World as exemplified by the Beauty and Artistic designs of their wings, priced and collected for their aesthetic value. The moths occupy 85% of all species of the taxon while 15% belongs to Butterflies. While they are appreciated of their distinct beauty and artistry as adult insects, their larvae or caterpillar stages make them an important agricultural and horticultural pests
Hymenopterans-Bees are the Most Valuable Insect while Hornet Wasp and Army ants are the Most Dangerous Insects in the World of insects. Bees are the only insects that provide direct food to humans in the form of honey. On the other hand, Vespa is the destroyer of Bees, thus depriving crops of pollinators that translate into billion of dollars in crop losses. Army ants, though confined in their native habitat in the Americas, are quite a nuisance to humans since they also co-habit where humans live. Their bites are irritating to humans and animals and can be dangerous to health.

Mother Earth is Melting away?
Mother Earth is Melting away? | Source
Adult Armyworm
Adult Armyworm | Source
Armyworms under grass cover
Armyworms under grass cover | Source
Armyworm damage on corn crop
Armyworm damage on corn crop | Source
Armyworm on rice crop
Armyworm on rice crop | Source
Armyworms on Wheat crop
Armyworms on Wheat crop | Source
Atlas Moth
Atlas Moth | Source

The Biology of Armyworms, Army ants and Vespa

Armyworms. The Armyworms, Pseudaletia unipuncta (Haworth) is called the "true armyworms" to distinguish it from other species that includes armyworms in the common name ( Capinera, J. 2015 ):

  • In Florida, fall armyworm, Sorodoptera frugiperda (J, E. Smith) is often called "armyworms" and occur frequently, in contrast Pseudaletia unipuncta is not found frequently in Florida
  • The true armyworms were quite cosmopolitan, occurs most in tropical and temperate areas of the world.
  • The adult true armyworm is a Moth and has grayish-brown forewing with a white spot near the center and grayish white hind wings. The wing span average 38,5 centimeter.
  • The young armyworm is pale green. The mature larvae are basically yellowish or brownish-green with a tan or greenish brown head
  • The body is marked with three dark longitudinal stripes, one along each side and one down at the back. A full grown armyworm larva is about 30 to 35 millimeter long.
  • Damage. By the time the larvae emerge from the eggs, it starts feeding on a variety of plants. Although armyworms prefer grasses and cereals, they have been reported occasionally to infest various crops such as vegetables, fruits, and leguminous crops.
  • Among vegetables, Armyworms prefer bean, beet, cabbage, carrot, cucumber, lettuce, onion, peas, pepper, radish and sweet potato.
  • Armyworms are foliage feeders, preferring to feed at night (Nocturnal) devours succulent foliage with a hearty appetite. Starting at the edges of the leaf lamina almost consumed everything except the midrib (main vein of the leaf), thus the term "Skeletonizing"
  • Because of it's feeding behavior, armyworm damage can't be detected until it's too late. The entire crop may be lost. Crops at the seedling stage are the most vulnerable.
  • Adult armyworms only feed on nectar and pollen grains, thus making them also a valuable pollinator of food crops.
  • Examples of adult Armyworms are the Tiger moth, Luna moth, Giant Silkworm moth-Polyphemus and Cecropia moth, the White- head Sphinx moth and the biggest among them are the Atlas moth.
  • Moths can be distinguished from Butterfly by the position of their wings when at rest. Moth, wing spreading or horizontal position while Butterfly folded or vertical position

Detection and Control. Chemical control will be the last option. Thorough plowing is necessary to kill weeds and break soil clods that may harbor larvae or adult armyworms including vacant weedy lots before planting.A natural control method is the best option such as;

  • flooding field for several hours through irrigation water in the case of rice. Armyworms can be flushed out or drowned and killed in this way.
  • Plant companion crops that increased the presence of beneficial insects-Predators, assassins and killer insects in your Garden or field crops (Sebidos, R, 2015)
  • To detect the presence of adult armyworms before planting, set up a light trap by placing a shallow pan (half-meter wide) with water under a light bulb about 1.5 meters high near your field preferably after dark.
  • Adult armyworms are attracted to light at night, This can be done again anytime during the cropping season. Increase detection by placing several stations (light traps) in your field
  • Monitor number of moths cached ( Adult armyworm have a white dot marking in the fore wings) for three nights and consult your Agricultural Extension Agent in your area of what you discovered and possible course of action.





Fearsome and Terrifying forked tongue Komodo Dragon
Fearsome and Terrifying forked tongue Komodo Dragon | Source
Nutritious Raw Vegan Salad
Nutritious Raw Vegan Salad
Insect  families under Order Hymenoptera
Insect families under Order Hymenoptera | Source
Worldwide Distribution of Army ants
Worldwide Distribution of Army ants | Source
Horde of Foraging Army ants
Horde of Foraging Army ants | Source
Cooperation in Eusocial Insects
Cooperation in Eusocial Insects | Source

What are Army ants?

Ants ( Hymenoptera: Formicidae) are considered the most successful Eusocial insects that evolved million of years before. They constitute 15-20% of the animal biomass in tropical rainforest and occupy Keystone position in many terrestrial environments and are also prominent herbivores in many neotropical communities (Brady,2006). As of November 16, 2015, the number of species recorded under Formicidae is 13,394 (antbase.org.)

  • The history of Army ants perhaps began in the Albian formation of Cretaceous 110 million years ago (Grimaldi and Agosti, 2000).
  • Classified under Class Insecta, Order Hymenoptera, Family Formicidae, Army ants are the Mongols of the Insect world
  • Characteristically, Army ants never hunt or forage solitarily as in most ant species, but rather dispatch a horde of leaderless foragers to locate and overwhelm prey simultaneously.
  • Anything caught alive is brought back to the colony in pieces. Army ants also migrate to new foraging locations and donut construct permanent nests.
  • Though having a nomadic lifestyle, Army ants are fiercely territorial.

Occurrence and Distribution.

Army ants predominantly occur in tropical and sub-tropical areas of Africa, the Americas, Asia and Indo-Australia, although a few range into more temperate regions.

  • Constitute six subfamilies namely, Aenicetoginae, Cerapachyinae, Leptanilliodinae, Aenictinae, Dorylinae, and Ecitoninae. The last three subfamilies were considered the "true army ants (Brady and Ward, 2005).
  • The army ants in the Aenictinae and Dorylinae belongs to the Old World while Ecitoninae is of the New World insects.
  • Conversely, the great evolutionary and ecological success of ant societies can be attributed on the efficiency that accrue from the division of labor within their colonies (Powell and Franks,2005)


Super Continent Pangaea and the formation of Gondwanaland and Laurasia to the Present  Day Continents
Super Continent Pangaea and the formation of Gondwanaland and Laurasia to the Present Day Continents | Source
Army ants moving in Column
Army ants moving in Column | Source
Cooperative Foraging and Prey capture
Cooperative Foraging and Prey capture | Source
Workers caring for the Young broods
Workers caring for the Young broods | Source

The Origin and the birth of Eusociality in Army ants

The story of Eusociality in army ants must have started about 110 million years ago in Gondwana when the Super Continent Pangaea broke up 175 million years before into continental land masses of Laurasia and Gondwana in the Triassic period. During this time plant and animal life already existed based on fossil records and the existence of the ancient progenitor of modern-day army ants.

  • Brady (2003) opined that the origin of army ants in the mid-Cretaceous is consistent with Gondwanan origin because no known army ant species lack any component of the army ant syndrome. Their group represent an extraordinary case of long-term evolutionary stasis in their adaptations, a genetically conserved speciation.
  • Though the ancient ancestor of army ant was never recovered, experts placed subfamily Cerapachyinae as the closest relative of army ants (Ibid).
  • While Wilson and Holldobler(2005), contend that ants evidently arose during the Cretaceous at somewhat more than 100 million years ago, that the most primitive ant of Mesozoic belongs to subfamily Sphecomyrminae
  • The extant army ants constitute three well-defined taxonomic subfamilies (Bolton, 1990), two restricted exclusively in the Old World (Aenictinae and Dorylinae) and the other to the New World (Ecitoninae).
  • Ecitoninae is the home of the most fearsome army ants Labidus sp. and Eciton sp. Ecologically, Labidus is subterranean dweller while Eciton an above-ground species.

Eusociality is of paramount importance to the Family Formicidae (Ants, Bees Wasp), practiced as a necessary means for the survival and continued the existence of the species and consequently made them the most successful among insects.

  • Eusociality is defined as "Syndrome of Behavioral and Reproductive Traits". All three subfamilies of army ants show Eusociality that is obligated collective foraging, nomadism and modified Queens called Dichthadiigynes (Brady and Ward, 2005).
  • Dichthadiigyne (Greek: Dichthadios=doubble, gyne=female), a permanently wingless female ant (Queen) with greatly reduced eyes, massive pedicel, abdomen, and ovaries with strong legs. Army ant Queen can produce 3-4 million eggs per month.
  • This is the highest level of social organization among social insects where a single female (Queen) produces the offspring and none- reproductive individuals cooperate in caring for the young
  • Eusociality has actually evolved 12 times in Hymenoptera, once in Ants, and all others times in the Vespoidae (Wasp) and Apoidae (Bees)
  • It was the ants that became predominant as the earliest, perhaps the first eusocial insect predators on the ground (Grimaldi, et al., 1997).



The face that discouraged Predators: SMALL but TERRIBLE!
The face that discouraged Predators: SMALL but TERRIBLE! | Source

Mating Behavior: Monogamy versus Polyandry and Haplo-diploid Offspring

A true eusocial ant must follow the Army ant syndromes of obligate collective foraging, nomadism, and highly modified Queen called Dichthadiigynes (.Brady, 2003) They're permanently wingless Queen have abdomen capable of pronounced expansion that allows production of million of eggs per month.

One may wonder how a single Queen is capable of producing millions of eggs a month without genetic dissonance among offspring composed of Haploid males (n) and Diploid female workers (2n) exists in a colony vis a vis survived over millions of years without suffering from inbreeding depression? In other social insects, their queen is mated only once but produce few offspring compared with Army ants.

Experts believed that Monogamy (one mate) is an ancestral trait in Army ants from Cretaceous (145.5 to 65.5 mya), moreover, evolution allowed them to diverged over time as a consequence of environmental and climatic change that occurred over millions of years. Despite the fact that when Supercontinent Pangaea separated into Gondwana and Laurasia continental land masses in Triassic (251 to 199.6 mya), Army ants were then distributed both in the Old and New World yet retained a unique mating behavior called Polyandry, that is the mating with several unrelated males (Barth, et al, 2014) that remained unchanged even today as shown by their consistent display of behavioral and reproductive syndromes (Brady, 2003) ). The Queen is mated to several unrelated males (10-20) in her lifetime (Kronauer, et al. 2007). Thus providing a constant supply of sperms, facilitate gene flow and avoid the deleterious effects of inbreeding. Inbreeding is the mating of closely related individuals that may result to inbreeding depression and /or genetic dissonance among members of the colony Conversely, the males had to invest a lot of Pheromones to convince the guards of the colony, otherwise, he will be eaten alive even before he can see the Queen.

Furthermore, greater to this is the dominance of the Queen, according to Holland, and colleagues (2013) the Queen controls the composition of the colony, if the Queen choose to fertilized the egg from her stored sperms, a Diploid (2n) female worker is developed, while unfertilized eggs become the Haploid (n) male Army ants and the Queen may also make a fertilized egg become the future Queen if fed with royal jelly (Buttstedt, et. al. 2013) from a conserved class of Queen's pheromones (Amsalem, E. et. al. 2015). Males (drones) at maturity leave the colony to mate and thus facilitates gene flow. Males have wings and die soon after mating. Army ant's Queen also have wings on her nuptial flight but lost them when she start to build the colony.

Ant collecting honey from Aphids
Ant collecting honey from Aphids | Source
Herbivory in Ants-Leaf Cutters
Herbivory in Ants-Leaf Cutters | Source
Army ants Communicating-a Worker and a Soldier
Army ants Communicating-a Worker and a Soldier | Source
Prey Capture-Cooperativism in Eusocial Ants
Prey Capture-Cooperativism in Eusocial Ants | Source

Diet, Communication, and Prey Capture

Diet. All army ants species are predators and cannibals whether ground or above ground dwellers, their diets consist mainly of other ant species, moreover, it is known that army ants also prey on other arthropods (eg. Katydid, spiders, etc.), some are herbivores (leaf cutters), fungivores (fungus gardeners), honey collector by herding insects like aphids, also collect nectar from flowers but, not reported as pollinators. Others form a symbiotic relationship with higher plants (Angiosperms) for the exclusive right for food in exchange for protecting the plant from potential predators. Conduct raids in human homes for food, sweets, etc. In other words, the dietary requirement of Army ants, in general, is as varied as a consequence of supporting a huge colony

Communication. Army ants have sophisticated means of communication. Despite their poor eyesight, they can easily locate and overwhelm prey in a short time, recruit companion and follow trails back to the colony in considerable distance because of their excellent chemical signal called Pheromones.In the same manner, how the Queen control and assert it's dominance in the colony. Pheromones are also used to attract a potential mate during mating season. This is also the chemical ID that recognizes members whether they belong to this colony or not, if not, intruders are eaten alive.

Prey Capture. In many social insects, prey capture is prime importance in order to support the food requirement of the colony In eusocial insects, like army ants, prey capture is done cooperatively locate and capture prey in a short time. In Army ants "Size doesn't matter, its the size of the fight that matters", they are known to overwhelm prey thousand times bigger their size is no match for their ferocity. This is effectively done because of their excellent communication system via Pheromones that attract other members to come in a short period of time.


Importance to man

Despite the importance of army ants in providing ecological balance to the ecosystem as predators, herbivores, fungivores and/ or symbiont to higher plants, Army ants are still considered as pests. Their activities are a nuisance and pesky to humans:

  • Dangerous to the health of small children in the playground because of their irritating bites and/ or sting.
  • Spoils food in picnic ground and at home during ant raids.
  • Because of their size, they can enter cracks in walls thus causing structural damages
  • pest of agricultural and horticultural crops, home gardens and lawns
  • Contaminate food and water
  • Form symbiotic relationships with important plant pest like Aphids by protecting them from predators in exchange for honey



MR. Chameleon-Master of Colors
MR. Chameleon-Master of Colors | Source
Damage by Vespa Hornet on Human and Honey Bees
Damage by Vespa Hornet on Human and Honey Bees | Source
European Hornet-Vespa crabro
European Hornet-Vespa crabro | Source
Japanese Giant Hornet-Vespa manderinia japonica
Japanese Giant Hornet-Vespa manderinia japonica | Source

The Vespa Hornets

What kind of insect is a Hornet? In a report submitted to National Geographic by Brian Hardwork (2002), stated that:

“a small but highly efficient killing machine- a hornet two inches long and a wingspan of three inches- lurks in the mountain of Japan. This voracious predator has a quarter-inch stinger that pumps out venom with an enzyme so strong, it can dissolve human tissue. Just one of these Hornet can kill 40 European honeybees a minute, a handful of these creatures can slaughter 30,000 European honeybees within hours. leaving a trail of severed body parts, head and limbs” Vespa Hornets are considered the barbarian hordes of the insect world. These deadly stinging and cutting insects belong to Order Insecta, Phylum Arthropoda, Family Hymenoptera (Bees, Wasp, Ants), sub-family Vispodea (Wasp family), said to be more related to Army ants (sub-family Formicidae), another Hymenopteran, than its allies the Bees (sub-Family Apidae) as correlated with the presence of a constriction in the abdomen called the gaster.

On the News

The economic value of insect pollination worldwide estimated at 153 billion euros(€). Public Release 15 September 2008.EurekAlert News

  • Avignon/ Halle(Seale). INRA and CNRS French scientists found that the worldwide economic value of the pollination service provided by insects pollinators, Bees mainly was 153 billion euros in 2005 for the main crops that feed the world.
  • The study also determined that pollinator disappearance would translate into a consumer surplus loss estimated between 190 to 350 billion euros ( Ecological Economics)
  • Hornet attacks kill dozens in China (China News)



Headlines

On the News

"On its way to Britain: The killer Asian hornet which threatens our native honeybees" By; FIONA MACRAE for the Daily News Updated: 28 April 2010. Giant hornet with a searing sting and a hearty appetite for honeybees are heading for Britain.

  • The Asian hornet is four times the size of native honeybees and the sting has been compared to a hot nail being hammered into the body.
  • Piere Lovett of the British Bee Keepers' Association said, "People are on the look-out for it's an unpleasant little critter"
  • The hornet thought to have travelled to France on some Chinese pot plants in 2004. Since then honey production has plummeted.
  • Because of Vespa hornets attack on Bees, a significant decrease of pollinators may translate to decrease in crop yield and revenue loss for the farmers
  • A significant decreased in honey production is expected due to Vespa attack on Apiaries


.


Strange creature of the Insect World-Lichen Katydid
Strange creature of the Insect World-Lichen Katydid | Source
Asian Giant Hornet-Vespa mandarinia japonica in the Mountains of Japan
Asian Giant Hornet-Vespa mandarinia japonica in the Mountains of Japan | Source
Worldwide Distribution of European  Hornet-Vespa crabro
Worldwide Distribution of European Hornet-Vespa crabro | Source

Biology, Occurrence and Distribution of Vispa-Hornet

The Hornets are the flying stingers of the insect world under Class Insecta of Phylum Arthropoda. Order Hymenoptera (Ants, Bees, Wasp) are one of the most dangerous creatures of Family Vespidae (Yellowjacket and Hornets, Paper wasp, Potter wasp, Mason wasp and Pollen wasps)

  • The subfamily Vespinae includes the Hornets and Yellowjackets of the Genus Vespa and Vespula respectively.
  • Because of the close morphological features of these two groups they are commonly mistaken as Yellowjackets, but close examination reveals that they are distinctly different especially in size and body markings.
  • Hornets are bigger than Yellowjackets while Yellowjackets have a prominent black and yellow stripes body markings, the Hornets may vary from black and white stripes to reddish-orange coloration. Furthermore. the last segment of the abdomen is colored orange. The biggest among Hornets, the Giant Asian Hornet can attain the size of a thumb.

Among the Genus Vespa, two notorious species,

  • The Giant Asian Hornet (Vespa manderinia ) and the European Giant Hornet ( Vespa crabro) were the most fearless and aggressive of the Genus. Bees are the favorite food but may also feed on other Arthropods, plant sap, honey, and human sweet foods.
  • Vespa manderinia, the Giant Asian Hornet also the Giant Sparrow Bee in Japan (Vespa manderinia japonica) found throughout Eastern Asia and mountains of Japan. Prefer to build nest or colony underground by co-opting abandoned burrows of rodents and small mammals or along hollows of the tree trunk.
  • Sport a prominent orange head, black mandibles, and a golden body. Members of this genus have the longest stinger (1/4 inch) among the Wasp family except that the males have no stinger.
  • The European Hornet, Vespa crabro is an introduced species of Vespa is now devastating Apiaries in Europe. It is one of the largest Eusocial wasp and the largest Vespa in Europe and North America respectively.
  • The species is characterized by deeply indented eyes and thus shaped like a letter "C". It's wings are reddish to brown. The body is marked with yellow and black stripes. Due to its coloration V. crabro is often mistaken with Yellowjackets.
  • V. crabro tend to build aerial nest, along tree branches or trunks, eaves of roof and the darker part of garage
  • Feared by humans because the biggest of them all, Vespa manderinia has a sting 1/4 inch long and unlike Bees, the Hornets can use their sting multiple times since it's not barbed.
  • Bee sting is barbed and used only once as they pull their stinger, it is a riff off from their body. Moreover, they have no match to the heavily armored Vespa and organized attack on their hives.
  • Vespa does not use their sting to slaughter the bees. To decapitate bees, they use their strong mandibles.
  • Their venom, a neurotoxin called Mandaratoxin (MDTX) is the most potent among the Wasp family, an allergic reaction may be fatal to humans if not treated immediately.
  • Unfortunately, the male V. maderinia has no sting only the females of the species has. It is surmised that their sting was modified to be a part of the copulatory organ.
  • Hornets tend to be attracted to human sweat, alcohol, sweet foods and juices including perfumes and deodorants. Next time you do jogging survey the area first to be safe.
  • Conversely, when the demand for food by the colony becomes critical, hornets shift to scavenging garbage cans, visit rotting fruits, and foods left on picnic ground especially sweet foods. So, next time you have picnic be sure to cover sweet foods and tight lids on your juices to prevent being stung by these insects.






GOTCHA!!... Giant Frog just captured a meal
GOTCHA!!... Giant Frog just captured a meal | Source

Mating behavior, Colony strategy, and Mode of Communication

Eusociality is perhaps the highest level of societal organization that an insect can attain and there are only a few species have reached this exalted position among insects. However, many Hymenopterans (Bees, Wasp, and Ants) exhibit this kind of social behavior. Eusociality as a consequence of multiple paternity or Polyandry i.e. Queens mate with several males in her lifetime (Barth, et.al.2014, Jennions and Petrie, 2000), affords genetic diversity and thus avoiding the pitfalls of inbreeding depression, avoid colony conflict and expand cooperation among members in large colonies of social insects such as Bees, Wasp, and Ants.

The mating behavior of social insect Queens is a central factor shaping the evolution of social behavior within colonies. Polyandry and the genetic diversity created by multiple paternity are the foundations of many evolutionary conflict in insect societies and also has an important consequence for sexual selection, sperm competition, and the distribution of male reproductive strategies (Boomsma, et. al. 2007). In a study conducted by Loope and colleagues ( 2014). the result showed that multiple paternity enhanced genetic diversity and reduced paternity skewness due to increased paternity frequency

Mode of communication. Social insects like Bees, ants, and Wasp have a very sophisticated mode of communication. Their neural and olfactory sense are highly developed among insects.Like Bees and Ants, Hornet wasp communicates through chemical signals called Pheromones. These sets of pheromones help them to locate food, guide them to return home from foraging activities over a considerable distance, defend and protect the colony from a potential enemy, and assist them in finding potential mates. The same sets of pheromones that the Queen used to assert dominance and control the activities of the colony (Brunner, E. et. al. 2011). In other words, Queen promiscuity is allowed to maintain colony productivity and by suppressing workers selfishness (Matilla, et. al., 2012)


Prevention

Here are some possible measures that you can do to avoid being stung by these insects:

JOGGING. Before you start this activity be sure to check the area first for the possible presence of Hornets. Remember that Giant Asian Hornet (Vespa manderinia) build a subterranean colony and you might stump upon them, on the other hand, European Giant Hornet (Vespa crabro) build an aerial nest and thus sensitive to a disturbance near their colony. Donut wears perfume or uses deodorant when jogging, Vespines are attracted to these chemicals.

PICNIC AREA. Be sure to check the picnic area before doing this activity especially when you are bringing children. Cover foods especially sweets and juices, soft drinks with tight lid including alcoholic drinks, Vespines are also attracted to these kinds of stuff

AT HOME. When food supply become critical in the colony, Vispines tend to be scavengers, instead of foraging adopt an easy way, they visit your garbage cans once there, they tend to be territorial and aggressive. So, to prevent being stung by these insects placed a tight cover on your garbage cans and dispose of immediately rotting fruits or peels, Vispines are also attracted to the smell.

EAVES and GARAGE. Don't forget to check this area at home, you might not know the Vespines have already taken residence in this part of your house. Don't eradicate these insects alone if you are not familiar with it. Report this to your Pest Control Agent in your area or to Knowledgeable persons what you have discovered and for possible course of action

( NOTE: If stung by these insects be sure to get medical attention immediately)



Conclusion

Despite their aesthetic value, insect predators, and providing ecological balance as re-cycler, decomposer, and pollinators, armyworms, Army ants, and Vespa hornets are still considered a nuisance and pesky insects. Belonging to Class Insecta, Armyworms, Army ants and Vespa Hornets are the most successful members of the taxon. Their success must have come from long evolutionary development that accrue over millions of years. These insects have developed the highest level of social organization that no other insect taxa have attained. Their neural and olfactory sense afford them to adjust effectively to changing environment, developed a sophisticated communication system that made them the most successful members of the Insect World.

Acknowledgement

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References

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