Do Insects Go to War with Other Insects?

Insects Go to War with Other Insects: Fact

The harsh truth of the animal kingdom is that insects are constantly battling for food and survival. Can their attacks be more coordinated for a specific purpose like an army? Let’s find out in this month’s fact or fake.

Humans aren’t the only species to carry out war. In fact, several animals execute acts of aggression against each other for one reason or another en masse—particularly insects. Whether it’s highly-executed raids on a neighboring colony to usurp their shelter and resources, prolonged invasions to shrink the size of enemy defenses, or even the practice of taking prisoners as slaves, various insect species from ants to bees exhibits these traits and tactics.

Scientists have uncovered that some bee species wage prolonged battles of attribution against other colonies. While attacking in large groups, the Trigona genus of stingless bees have been documented luring drones of other colonies from the hive and will immobilize them one-by-one with their jaws until all the defense forces are neutralized. These battles can last for days to weeks with other colonies entering the fray due to danger pheromones bees secrete alerting others of danger nearby.

When Japanese giant hornets wage war on an unsuspecting honeybee hive, the inhabitants will defend themselves. One-by-one, they swarm the hornets and vibrate their wings to raise the internal temperature of the invaders and effectively “cook them” from the inside out.

Ants, however, are probably the most comparable in enacting war practices historically used by humans. Protomagnathus americanus, the “slave-making” ant, conducts highly-crafted raids on other species that appear as if they came straight from a spy movie. While infiltrating a colony, slave-maker ants mimic the host ants’ emergency pheromone that signals them to evacuate. After the mass exodus and dispatching any leftover host ants, the slave-maker ant stays true to its namesake by abducting the larvae and bringing them to their colony. The larvae, even though they’re from a different species, will grow up to serve the needs of their captors. Wow!

If you need help addressing the war insects are waging against your home, contact your local Orkin professional for a free estimate and a customized plan that’s right for you.

“Do Animals Go to War?” National Geographic

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