The Strange Powers of the Beaded Lacewing

21261786_SThere are many predators out there in the world. Some are big like lions or bears. Others are smaller like spiders, fire ants, or termites. Every day it seems we can add another one to the list, such as the Beaded Lacewing.

What do you know about the Beaded Lacewing? Probably nothing, but they make termites sweat and pop up in the place where they know the best, their own nests! That’s not the scariest part though; the Lacewing’s lethal weapon is their behind. Yes, their behind.

So what happens is that they hide out as larvae in a termite nest and when baby Lacewings want to eat something, they stun a termite with a “vapor-phase toxicant” released from its anus. As Wired puts it, “That’s a fancy way of saying it farts on it. In fact, their farts are powerful enough to immobilize six termites with one blow.” The magazine has coined the term, “Death Fart,” and we can see why.

One moment a termite is just wandering around the nest relaxing, maybe going from the termite fridge to the termite toilet when, all of a sudden, the Lacewing farts in its face and it becomes incapacitated. Going from fart to food is not a glorious way to go out, but the Lacewing knows what it’s doing.

What’s crazy is that the Lacewing measures about 0.07 mg. The typical size of their termite prey? 2.5 mg! “That is some seriously potent flatulence,” Wired says. What’s truly sad is that termites seem to be the only insect affected by this “Death Fart.” Tests performed on small wasps and book lice showed no effects. It’s still a bit of a mystery as to why termites are the only insects affected by the “death fart.”

The insect world is truly full of surprises. Who would’ve thought such a thing as a “Death Fart” would exist? For more information on the fascinating Beaded Lacewing, check out the Wired article and if you have any pest control issues, contact Blue Ridge Termite & Pest Management Group today!

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