Spitting Wasps and Stinging Bees
What do wasps have in common with spitballs?
Well, if you’ve ever made a spitball when you were a kid, or now if you are a kid, you know that by chewing up a piece of paper, you change it into a whole new object. Of course, the only reason kids make spitballs is to spit them at someone or something, which usually gets them into trouble.
Wasps make spitballs too, but they have a much better reason for doing that. They actually use their spitballs to make wasp nests!
A wasp’s paper nest is actually made out of small bits of chewed-up wood and saliva. Yuck! Other wasps prefer to build their homes out of mud or in the ground. Have you heard of Mud Daubers? You guessed it: they live in mud houses.
No matter where you find them, wasps will protect their homes, and the way they defend them is by stinging, so don’t get too close. Never hit their nests with a stick, you’ll make them mad and they’ll come right at you, stingers set on “go!”
Wasps and bees may have been the first inventors of fans and air conditioning. As temperatures soar outside, you will find the bees and wasps fanning their homes with their wings. The fast movement of their wings cools the nest, making it more comfortable for the queen, and the eggs that have not hatched yet. See how they work together for all? We can learn a lot about cooperation and survival from these insects!
Are you curious to see what a honeycomb looks like? The best thing to do, if you want to dissect a honeycomb, is to buy a honeycomb at the grocery store. Then, take the honeycomb and place it on a plate or cookie sheet. Lak at it closely. It’s an interesting design! Once you’ve examined the comb, here comes the sticky part: cutting into it! The honeycomb’s cells are made of wax, each one filled with honey. Each cell in the comb has six sides to it. These six-sided cells are known as hexagons.
Bees collect nectar from flowers. As they fly from one flower to the other, they spread the flowers’ pollen, which allows them to germinate into the fruits and vegetables we eat each day. Squash, pumpkins, melons, and most cucumbers are insect-pollinated, so the next time you eat a melon, or a pickle, thank a bee! Beans, peas, and tomatoes are self-pollinated and don’t require the help of an insect.
However, bees are often visitors of vegetables that are pollinated by wind or the plant itself. When the bees visit these plants, they are collecting nectar and pollen, very important for their honey making ventures. Because insects that pollinate are extremely important to our garden and food and flower growth, we should be very careful when using insecticides. Bees are not as active late in the day, so if we are careful to use insecticides that are not as toxic to bees, and apply them in the early evening, we’ll harm fewer bees in the garden.
Bees are everywhere you go, unless you’re at the North or South Pole. Bees aren’t very fond of the cold and need warm air to survive. Another thing that bees need is nectar, which they use for food.
Most of a bee’s day is spent finding flowers, going back to the hive, dancing to tell the other bees where the food is, and gathering nectar. Busy as a bee, is an accurate, popular phrase.
Nothing seems to break their steady rhythm, except for an intruder. If you’re that intruder, beware! Although bees are normally peaceful insects, they are armed with a stinger and they’re not afraid to use it, even though a bee that stings someone will pay for it with their own life within just a few hours.
Are you allergic to bee stings? Many people are and I hope you won’t have to find out the hard way! The best thing to do is to stay away from areas commonly used by bees. If you need to work in your garden, the late afternoon or early evening hours are best. Unless bees live in special bee-farm hives, bees will make their combs in enclosed spaces such as hollow trees.
The Bee’s Best Weapon
The bee normally keeps its stinger inside of its body, but takes it out if it is frightened or feels it must defend its home. the stinger, which has barbs on it, hooks into the flesh of the intruder and releases a poison into the wound. Scraping the stinger off quickly will stop the flow of poison.