Most homeowners are familiar with a variety of pests, but how much do you really know about the little creatures you see each day? Insects are actually quite intelligent, and there is a lot about them that might surprise you. These five facts will give you an inside glimpse into the secret world of bugs and other pests.
1. The animal that has killed more humans than any other is the… mosquito.
Mosquitoes may be tiny, but their bite packs a punch; they transmit parasites from one human to another, causing diseases like malaria. More than one million people die each year from mosquito bites, and the tally has grown so large, it even exceeds the number of people who have died as a result of war.
Two fun facts about mosquitoes: only the females bite, not the males, and the insects are drawn to human beings because of the carbon dioxide that we expel when we breathe.
2. The award for the biggest insect brain goes to the ant.
Proportional to its size, the ant is the insect with the biggest brain. These little creatures outnumber humans about a million to one, and they are very social, residing in colonies with hundreds of thousands of other ants.
Ants seem to have a built-in earthquake radar, as they are able to detect a quake approximately 24 hours in advance. It is thought that they either pick up on changes in the Earth’s magnetic field or recognize changing gas emissions.
3. Honeybees pose a greater threat to human life than snakes.
While rattlesnakes and other poisonous reptiles are certainly dangerous, honeybees kill more people every year than all the various types of snakes combined. However, it is important to keep in mind that honeybees do important work; they pollinate about 80 percent of all flowering crops, which make up a large part of the human diet. As a result, most pest control companies will not destroy their hives and instead relocate them to another area where the honeybees can continue their work.
A few other things of note regarding honeybees: they never sleep and they fly at around 15 miles an hour. Also, they are the only insect that creates food humans can eat.
4. Dragonflies live for only a day.
Dragonflies have an extremely short lifespan, experiencing the world around them for about twenty-fours before they die. They are also very fast fliers, moving at a rate of about sixty miles an hour. They obviously have a lot to do in a short period of time!
5. A bug is an insect. An insect is not necessary a bug.
Bugs typically have two pairs of wings and a tube-like beak. Many insects, like butterflies and ladybugs, are commonly confused for bugs even though they are quite different creatures. So, the next time you want to use “bug” and “insect” interchangeably, think again.
Hopefully, the next time you see an insect creeping about in your kitchen or fluttering around your car, you will look at it just a little differently. After all, you never know what is going on behind the scenes with these little creatures.
Chris is a regular contributing guest blogger on all bug things weird and fascinating.