Bugger off

Don't Read this if you are Afraid of Bugs
Posted on 04/26/2021
Picture of a cicada





By Mia Ross

          When I say bugs, I don’t mean the ones that ruin Microsoft teams when you really need it.  I mean the original, six-legged three body pieces that fly and crawl.  Some are poisonous, venomous, or neither.  Either way, there are thousands of species of insects out there.  However, we are just focusing on two: The Cicada and Giant Asian Hornet.  Let’s get started with the Cicada. 

          Today, we know over 3,000 species of Cicada are out there.  Why does this matter?  Well, Cicadas possess a unique life cycle.  Insects typically spend time going through change or at least a little time as a larva.  Cicadas really take their time during this stage.  This means that they spend up to thirteen or seventeen years underground.  When their time underground is over, they emerge in a massive brood. 

          For people who don’t know much about Cicadas, these black and dark green things with big red eyes and a pair of wings pop out of the ground!  They come out to breed and then die, leaving the next brood underground for 13-17 years.  Cicadas are also more commonly known for the loud, ear-piercing call they have.  It frightens people and can get loud to the point where you want to plug your ears.  Are they dangerous?  No.  Cicadas do not sting nor bite, so the biggest threat they pose is their loud call.

Remember to keep watch for the Cicada’s emerging to get some amazing pictures because it will be a long time before the next brood is ready!     

          The Giant Asian Hornet is an uninvited guest in North America.  You might know it for another name, the Murder Hornet.  These supposed “Murder Hornets” have caused worry and panic over the U.S throughout 2019-2020 and still worry some in 2021.  So far, one nest has been found and destroyed in Washington state. 

This possess a question, are they a possible threat? And if so, how?  Giant Asian Hornets target beehives in their natural habitat.  You would think, bees sting and swarm, what could they not overcome?  As it turns out, these hornets might end up on the list as a threat to bees in North America alongside humans and other invasive species because the Giant Asian Hornets kill bees by beheading them and feeding it to their own larva.  They do this in swarms and are much larger than bees at 1 ½ to 2 inches in length. 

          The Asian bees have had millions of years to adapt to these hornets and kill them with what is called a “bee ball.”  Bee balls are the worker bees automatically clustering around the hornet and kill it with the heat that their bodies generate from movements. These Asian bees are smart and efficient in their strategy, whereas North American bees do not have this technique installed with millions of years for practice and won’t anytime soon.  Keep this in mind though, Asian Hornets do pose a potential threat to our bees, but only one nest has been found, which is not a reason to panic.