Top 10 Facts - Insects
Insects are everywhere, and with the temperatures warming up, we can only expect to see more of them in the coming months.
In today’s video, we cover the “top 10 insect facts.” We specifically cover some of the more unusual and fascinating insects that you probably haven’t heard of before.
We recommend watching the video version of this post, which you can do by pressing HERE.
Warning: there is some intense footage. Proceed with caution, if you get squirmy at insects!
For those that rather not watch but listen, we have an audio-only version you can download on our blog page right HERE.
Without further ado here are the Top 10 Insect Facts.
#1 Insects Are… Everywhere
The number of insect species is believed to be between 6-10 million. There are too many to possibly count, and every day entirely new species are discovered!
Insects can evolve at a super fast rate due to their high reproductive numbers as well as quick reproduction rate. This allows for more genetic mutation quicker.
There are SO many insects, and ecosystems around the world are SO dependent on insects, that without insects it’s likely humanity would not be able to survive (despite as annoying as they are…).
#2 Are Spiders Insects?
No. It’s a common misconception that spiders are insects, and we can’t blame anyone for having that! They look quite the same.
Insects have three body parts: the head, the thorax (which has wings & 6 legs), and the abdomen. Spiders are “arachnids,” which only have 2 main body parts.
Despite that, spiders are still creepy, but there’s one pro to them: they eat other annoying insects like flies!
#3 The Deadliest Creature on Earth
Mosquitoes as a single species are some of the deadliest creatures on Earth, and technically THE most dangerous creatures to humans.
They can easily spread deadly diseases such as malaria, causing hundreds of millions of cases of illness yearly (this is not exaggerated either).
The death toll by mosquitoes alone is estimated to be nearly 1 million people- yearly!
To make matters worse, mosquitoes are some of the fast-evolving creatures. In the past 100 years, an entirely new species of mosquitoes has evolved specifically for the “London Underground.”
#4 Male Bees?
Female bees make up 95% of a bee colony. Males are simply referred to as “drones,” and they don’t do a whole lot- seriously.
Unlike female worker bees, male drones do not have stingers. THey also don’t gather nectar or pollen.
The primary role of a drone bee- or male bee- is to mate with an unfertilized Queen. There’s nothing else that they are required to do.
#5 Deadly Reproduction
While male drone bees have it good, male praying mantises have it far from good.
About 20-25% of the time a male praying mantis has a happy encounter with a female praying mantis, the female praying mantis cuts off the males head and eats it alive during the act.
Sometimes the male tries to escape, but they’re not always successful. In some cases, the male doesn’t even try to escape- talk about being blinded by love!
Scientists have extensively studied this behavior, and it has been discovered that if the male is killed by the female during “the act,” then the female gets more of the sperm, and the female is significantly more likely to take his offspring.
The dead male praying mantis body is also used as food for the female, allowing her to stay safe and not need to hunt for a while.
Technically speaking, from an evolutionary standpoint, it is better for the male to be killed and eaten alive during the act by the female… That explains why this fascinating (yet morbid) behavior is so common in the species.
#6 Living Headless
A praying mantis will die if it gets its head chopped off, but not cockroaches!
Cockroaches can live for WEEKS without their heads. This is because they’re able to survive for weeks without food & water. The organs to move the body around and live are all found within the body, unlike in humans where the brain controls many of our behaviors (ie. moving, etc.).
When the head is cut off, the cockroach will simply cover the wound and continue on. Eventually it will die as it has no way to eat or drink, BUT for weeks it can continue, freaking us humans out, and potentially even reproducing…
To terrify you some more, here are some other creepy cockroach facts:
- Cockroaches can hold their breath for 40 minutes. Flushing them down the toilet is unlikely to kill them for this reason.
- Cockroaches can survive nuclear explosions due to a high level of radiation resistance.
- This means that if we nuke ourselves & flood the Earth, the last surviving humans will likely enjoy this Earth with countless cockroaches which were also capable of surviving.
- Cockroaches are evil. Pure evil.
#7 Painful Birth?
Female human births are often unpleasant, but at least children don’t eat their mothers alive in humans!
The “twisted-wing parasite larvae” eat their mothers. Before we explain this one, these creatures are equally as creepy as cockroaches.
They literally spend their whole life inside of bees, wasps, and cockroaches, and any other insects that they are injected into.
The adult males grow wings and leave the host to find females to mate with, but the females don’t grow wings- they often stay inside of an insect host, or find another.
The adult male wings fly around looking for females to mate with. How do they find females?
When a female has gotten inside an insect, they simply stick their butts out, and allow the male insect to mate.
The female- which mind you, is living INSIDE of another insect- then gets pregnant. She eats the insect from the inside out for food.
When her young are ready to be born, they forcefully eat HER from the inside out, killing and devouring her, and also devouring the host insect that she got inside of.
So… A female insect finds a host insect (ie. a cockroach), goes inside it, eats it from the inside out, gets pregnant, then gets eaten from the inside out, and then her young finish eating the original host insect from the inside out.
Insects are something else…
#8 Vampire Bugs
Assassin bugs- yes that’s their official name- sneak up on other insects such as caterpillars, beetles, flies, bees, and as you know our favorite, cockroaches.
They stab the insect with their long needle-like mouth, and inject the insect with their saliva.
Their saliva is toxic, and turns the insides of the bug into mush which can be sucked up.
Sometimes the assassin bug doesn’t wait for the victim to die before sucking it up. The assassin will just hold the bug down with its legs, and suck its insides out, while the insect is alive.
All that remains after this process is a hollow shell of what used to be a living insect.
#9 Voodoo Wasps
Another insect which lives up to its name… Female voodoo wasps lay their eggs inside of a live caterpillar’s body (sound familiar to a previous insect?).
After the eggs hatch, the pupae crawl out of the caterpillar, and per standard parasite insect behavior, eat the caterpillar from the inside out.
What’s terrifying is that during this process the caterpillar appears dead, but when a predator comes near it, the caterpillar wildly thrashes about as if a spell has been cast on it.
The result is that the predator gets scared and leaves.
Somehow the female voodoo wasps, or the young, are controlling the caterpillar to be dormant when the eggs are inside, and then animating it when needed to scare off predators, so that they don’t get eaten.
#10 Ant Supercolonies
How big do you think the largest ant colony is?
Ant supercolonies are GIANT, spanning larger than some countries. This isn’t made-up but a well known fact!
Ant supercolonies span thousands of miles in some instances, and they are composed of several smaller colonies working together in a huge alliance, much like the European countries compromising the European Union, or the American states making up the United States.
To top it off, these supercolonies have vicious, intense warfare with each other for as long as we’ve been observing them.
The borders of these supercolonies are constantly changing, with intense warfare between the varying species of ants pushing back and forth the front lines for either side.
Bonus Fact: Insect Pandemics
You know how the Covid-19 pandemic is happening? It happens to insects too, especially ants.
Ants are extremely social creatures. Viruses that spread socially LOVE ants, and they can quickly wipe out portions of a colony as the ants have no ability to prevent the spread of viruses & diseases.
We’re not alone in experiencing pandemics. For what it’s worth, ants do, too.
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