When wasps ATTACK Experts reveal why the evil insects target you, how to avoid being stung and whether killing one will cause an army to swarm
If you’ve ever been stung by a bee or wasp, you might think the attack came out of nowhere, but bees and wasps will only sting when they feel threatened.
They are social animals and often their attacks are as a response to a particular chemical given off by other members of their hive.
Now the science behind these attacks have been explained in a video by The American Chemical Society.
Most of the 20,000 species of wasps are solitary, but because solitary wasps do not sting, most humans are more familiar with social wasps, who live in complex communities.
Only female bees and wasps can sting. Males do not have the egg-laying organ that is modified into a stinger on female insects
Unlike bees, female wasps have the ability to sting a target multiple times because their stinger does not fall off after use.
Social wasps and honeybees both use pheromones, secreted or excreted chemicals that trigger a social response in members of the same species.
When a wasp stings a human approaching a nest, the small insect simultaneously emits a chemical that signals the rest of the colony to attack.
This phenomenon was explained in a video from Reactions, a YouTube series from the American Chemical Society that ‘uncovers the chemistry in every day life’.
‘It’s not so much that you’ve killed a wasp, it’s that you’ve threatened a wasp or their wasp home,’ says Sophia Cai, host of the video.
Wasps and bees will not sting someone at rest if they have not been disturbed by some agitation of their nest or threatened by swatting or quick movement of arms or legs.
They may land on someone’s skin to inspect a smell or get water, but they will leave if the person stays calm and does not move quickly.