A thousand smart little things. Why did ladybugs become biting?

Weekly “Argumenty i Fakty” No. 37. With all the consequences. What is pouring from the tap 09/14/2022

2022 recorded an unusual phenomenon in the Krasnodar Territory — ladybug invasion.

Bright red beetles covered various surfaces in a continuous moving carpet. At first, the people rejoiced at the opportunity to take spectacular pictures, offering their hands as landing sites. But unexpectedly, the harmless creatures of God turned out to be very biting. The limbs, of course, did not chop off, but delivered unpleasant sensations. 

Tried on a tooth

From what all of a sudden? Isn is is one of manifestations of the collective mind of insects, when in mass, large crowd, so to speak, they become a formidable force? After all, serious scientists, entomologists, believe that  some insects have not only an individual mind (if you can call them that mental abilities), but and collective, which they acquire in a group of relatives. For example, one or two ants will not build an anthill, they simply will not know how to act. And only when a certain number of their collections, building skills seem to be found in some of     with premises for various purposes will begin to grow. Bees can communicate with each other using a specific language — “dance” on the surface of the honeycomb hive. This is how they transmit information about where to fly for nectar.

Science fiction philosophers picked up the idea of ​​a collective mind, bringing it to apogee: what if new civilizations literally grow and evolve under our feet? Now their representatives can build their own houses and negotiate with relatives. But, perhaps, they will evolve to the point that they will begin to compete for a habitat with a person (up to now, we, people, have been hard-pressing insects from their territories). And then, it turns out, ladybugs trying “on tooth” human, — are these harbingers of future civilizational conflicts?

“No, of course, what you! — Candidate of Biological Sciences, Researcher of the Department of Entomology of the Biological Faculty of Moscow State University Vladimir Kartsev confidently dismisses these calculations. — Just ladybugs in such a mass are uncomfortable, probably hungry, so they bite. But in vain you thought that these insects are completely harmless, — they may well attack under certain conditions, and some of them are generally predators. Of course, they are not dangerous for a person, but they can deliver unpleasant sensations.

And said the ant to the ant

However, the term “collective mind” entomology still has it. It is used in relation to the so-called social insects — those that live in colonies: ants, bees. Someone even says that colonies, families function as a single organism, consisting of many individuals.

“There are scientists who think so. But I don't support this idea.  In my understanding, the collective mind — it is the wisdom of natural selection, evolution, — explains Kartsev.

Why do ants build their nests in a certain way? Because they inherited certain skills from their ancestors, which were entrenched as a result of evolution: the moves must be of such a length, such a width, etc.  Similarly, bees: the knowledge of how to build honeycombs was inherited, as well as their bee language. But not everything is so simple in the world of these tiny animals.

“If the fact of the existence of the language of bees has long been known, its” signs ” deciphered and  in general, it is not considered a confirmation of the mind, then with ants — on the contrary, — continues Kartsev.   In their ability to communicate with the author of this discovery sees signs of intelligence».

Yes, it turns out that ants can talk. Among themselves, of course, but & nbsp; nonetheless & nbsp; less meaningful. Professor Zhanna Reznikovain a series of experiments showed that ants are able to transmit information about where food is located to their fellows. And, apparently, there are some numerals in their speech. Figuratively speaking, one can say to another: “Food along” the same path as yesterday, but “two turns further.” Apparently, ants can count up to more than 10. Amazing.

This language is considered a sign of the mind, because its skill is not inherited by ants, but acquired in the process of life. Therefore, the ant can only communicate with “colleagues”, worker ants, with which it runs along the same paths. But not with their "relatives" other specializations and not with aliens from other groups of their colony. “What's interesting — notes the entomologist, — it is still not clear exactly how the message is transmitted. Ants tap each other with their antennae for a while. But how exactly do they convey information — sounds, gestures, vibrations? However, the fact is that the information is transmitted, because the ant, having met an experienced relative, runs clearly to & nbsp; bait.

Ant's “tongue” — as yet an unsolved mystery. The reasons why the number of insects in a certain period increases many times over or decreases just as sharply are also unknown.

Why did an invasion of ladybugs happen this year (although                     it they simply multiplied in incredible numbers)? A protracted cool spring, when the aphids, which the cows feed on, have bred, environmentalists say. But this is not the first cold spring, and far from always bad weather gives rise to so many beetles.

And why is now "bad" wasps, which usually in August-September, clouds swirl around vegetable tents? As a rule, scientists can explain a fait accompli, but not predict what the next year will be: “mosquito”; or «bumblebee». This is still the secret of mother nature for us.

Evil Wasp

Wasps — also social insects. How intelligent are they?

Many of us are familiar with the story of    — on dacha terrace, under the window in high-rise building — a nest os is found. To the question "what to do?" on the Internet, they often answer: don’t touch, it’s better to give them a saucer with fruits (and someone also advises sausage). Like, the wasps will remember their two-legged “neighbor”, supplying goodies, and will not cause harm.

«Of course they will remember — laughs Kartsev. — The will be recognized by the smell. When I experimented with bees, they also learned to recognize me, they flew after me. But at the same time, if you accidentally press it, and sting! And              would not  — they are unreliable comrades.

The entomologist admits: a wasp won't attack if it doesn't feel threatened. “And” in general, they make a lot of warnings: first they curl, then they begin to dive and bang their heads, and only then, if they didn't manage to frighten the enemy, they sting. But it to be careful with insects is real if there are not more than a dozen. And when the number of individuals in the nest exceeds a hundred, they start guards that react to vibration. In nature, was has large enemies, such as bears that destroy nests. Behind your steps on the terrace, the wasp guard will feel the tread of the clubfoot, and the insects will go on the attack. And the venom of os is almost the same as bees. Allergies can develop from bites, which can be fatal for some people.

In general, wasp nests are best removed, but this must be done in a protective suit.

By the way, if you accidentally took a sip of soda from a container where a wasp quietly climbed into, and it bit you right in mouth, be sure to seek medical help, even if you are not allergic to bee    poison. A small swelling will still occur. And in the mouth sufficient swelling is enough to block the airways.

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