How Bees Can See the Invisible


{music} Welcome to It’s Okay To Be Smart, I’m DOCTOR
Joe Hanson [cheering and music]. For bees and flower blossoms, springtime is
all about two things: feeding and fertilizing. See the flowers want to pass their genes on
to the next generation, and the bees need to eat so they can do the same. So they use
a little teamwork. But how do bees find flowers? And how do flowers find bees? What does a
bee see when they see one of these? For millions of years plants have evolved
to depend on insects and other pollinators to carry their genes on to the next generation. A flower is like a big neon sign they use
to say “land here!” In return for getting a helping hand in making
baby plants, most flowers offer up a tasty treat in the form of nectar. It’s like a dinner date, only you eat afterwards. Biologists call this kind of arrangement “mutualism”.
The flower gets to spread its genes, and the worker bee gets a sugary drink and packs her
knees with golden protein-rich pollen to take back to the thousands of hungry mouths back
at the hive. Everybody gets what they want. Flowers sure look pretty to us, but bees see
them in a completely different light. Literally. Not only do they see the world through these
compound eyes made of thousands of individual pixels, they see a world bathed in ultraviolet.
Way beyond what our eyes can see. We see this. And they see THIS. See, special pigments absorb the UV light
and they paint this big bullseye in the center of the flower, guiding the bee to the tasty
nectar and of course, that sweet, sweet pollination. Now the relationship between flowers and bees
goes way beyond the visual. Scientists from the University of Bristol recently discovered
that bees can sense a flower’s electric field. Just like when you run across a carpet in
your socks, bees build up a positive charge as they buzz through the air. And flowers
are slightly negative. This helps pollen jump from the flower to
the bee like electric velcro. It also helps the bee figure out if another worker has already
visited that flower and slurped up all the goodness. Now, nobody knows quite how the bees sense
that electric charge, but their fuzzy little bodies might be buzzing like your hair when
you rub a balloon across it. Now, evolution’s been playing matchmaker between
bees and flowers for millions of years, resulting in one of nature’s closest relationships. So next time you see a bee buzzing around
the garden on a warm spring afternoon, imagine how their world looks, and think about how
much of nature is invisible unless you see it through the right pair of eyes. Thanks for watching! Leave us a comment and
let us know if YOU have a question. Make sure to subscribe, and as always, stay curious
. . . and stop to smell the flowers.

When Bees Attack

When Bees Attack


Today’s video was requested by Lord Cinder. If you have any other topics you’d like to
learn about subscribe and let us know in the comment section below. What Is It? Bees are flying insects of the Anthophila
group, known for their venomous sting and producing honey and beeswax. Bees are adapted to feeding on nectar as well
as pollen and play an important role in pollination. This is the transfer of pollen from the male
part of the plant to a female part of the plant thus enabling fertilization and the
production of seeds. They range in size and length from 0.08 inches,
for some stingless bee species, to 1.54 inches for the largest leafcutter bee species. They have large compound eyes and antennae
which hold sense organs tasked with detecting smell, taste and air movements. Their mouth parts have a pair of mandibles,
which are adapted for chewing and a long proboscis used for sucking up nectar. Their bodies have three segments and wings
which, in flight, employ the same mechanics as helicopters. Even though the stinger averages only 0.007
inches in length, a bee’s sting can be very painful and may even cause death. Number 6 Chinese Woman
A video which became viral in China in July 2018 showed a woman who had been stung in
the face by a bee swarm, triggering an allergic reaction that rendered her features almost
undistinguishable. She’d been trying to catch bees and collect
honey up in a mountainous region when the insects attacked. As she filmed herself, the woman didn’t
seem to be very affected by what had happened and even made a two-line rhyme about it. It would roughly translate as ‘I was bored
and went in the mountain to catch some bees/But I was helpless when the aggressive bees stung
me’. Yet, her face had almost doubled in size. Her lips, nose, cheeks and left eye became
extremely swollen. This happened because her body’s defense
system had overreacted to the histamine component of the bee venom. Many viewers and commenters, including the
woman herself, found the humor in the incident but the truth is that things could have been
much worse. Where Is It Located? There are approximately 20,000 bee species,
grouped in various biological families with a worldwide distribution. The western honey bee, or the European bee,
is the best-known and can be found on every continent, except Antarctica. Bees can be solitary or live in various communities. True honey bees are highly social creatures
and their colonies are established in swarms consisting of a queen, worker bees and male
bees, or drones. Each of them has different duties and responsibilities
within the colony. Human apiculture or beekeeping has been practiced
for thousands of years, since Ancient Greece and Ancient Egypt. In Greek mythology, for example, honey was
considered to be the food of the gods. Beekeepers usually keep their colonies in
hives from which they collect honey, bee glue, beeswax or pollen, for personal or commercial
use. Number 5 Vern Roberts
Texas man Vern Roberts was mowing his lawn outside his Wallis home, in September 2018,
when he was attacked by a swarm of Africanized honey bees. The aggressive insects overpowered him as
he fell to the ground and he tried to stop, drop and roll. He could have been stung to death, if not
for his wife, Mary, who helped him get inside the house. In doing so, the woman was stung over 60 times. Roberts was stung nearly 600 times all over
his body, including his mouth and even down his throat. The paramedics arrived to the house but couldn’t
get to Roberts because his lawn was still swarming with bees. Roberts had to muster all the strength he
had left to walk outside and get to the ambulance. He was stung a few more times before he reached
the vehicle. He was rushed to the hospital and spent three
days in the intensive care unit but was expected to make a full recovery. How Will It Kill You? The bee is a type of kamikaze of the natural
world, as it typically dies after delivering a sting. After a honey bee delivers the venomous injection,
it leaves its barbed stinger inside your skin, and flies away thus tearing off its abdomen. However, the queen honeybee and other bee
species are known to have smoother stingers with smaller barbs and may sting vertebrates
repeatedly. Luckily, the queen doesn’t usually leave
the hive and mainly uses its stinger for dispatching rival queens. When the bee stings it delivers apitoxin and
releases alarm pheromones which may attract other bees from the hive to the location. These pheromones do not dissipate or wash
off quickly and the other bees that are attracted may exhibit defensive behavior and target
the victim with hundreds of further stings. A strong attack from an aggressive swarm may
even cause death. The main component of the bee venom which
causes pain in vertebrates is a toxin called melittin. For people allergic to bee venom, a sting
can trigger an anaphylactic reaction which may cause death. Africanized honey bees are the product of
cross breeding between European honey bees and the African honey bee. Since 26 swarms escaped from quarantine in
1957, they’ve spread throughout the Americas. There’s a reason why Africanized bees are
commonly known as killer bees. They’re more aggressive, react faster to
disturbances and may chase the victim a quarter of a mile. Along with killing horses and other animals,
their responsible for at least 1,000 human deaths, with victims being stung thousands
of times. Number 4 Kristen Beauregard
In July 2013, Kristen Beauregard and her boyfriend were at their North Texas farm with their
miniature horses when they were attacked by a swarm of around 30,000 bees. Beauregard was exercising her Shetland pony,
named Trump, when he started to kick and jump. Within seconds a swarm of bees started stinging
them. According to Beauregard, there were so many
of them that they blocked out the sun. The 44-year-old, her boyfriend and even their
horse tried to escape the cloud of bees that was stinging them by jumping in the pool,
but it didn’t help. As they came up for air, the bees stung them
in the face and nose. Beauregard eventually managed to get to the
house, where she called 911. Firefighters in protective gear arrived at
the scene and sprayed a special foam substance to disperse the bees. Beauregard had been stung about two hundred
times and her boyfriend about fifty times, but they both managed to survive the attack. Trump and a 6-year-old show horse called Chip
died as a result of the numerous stings they’d sustained. Additionally, the bees killed five hens and
also stung the couple’s dog. Number 3 Paula Andrea Ramos Molina
An attacking bee swarm can sometimes induce such panic and confusion in their victims
that it leads to tragedy. Such was the case for 22-year-old Paula Andrea
Ramos Molina. As forestry engineer in Colombia, she was
part of a team carrying out an assessment in a rural area of the Caldas district, in
September 2018. As Ramos Molina and one of her colleagues
were examining the area assigned to them, they accidentally dislodged a killer bee hive. The furious insects swiftly descended upon
them. As they ran away from the killer bees that
were repeatedly stinging them, both Ramos Molina and her colleague fell off a cliff. Tragically, the young woman broke her neck
in the fall and died instantly. Her colleague, whose name hasn’t been released,
suffered multiple injuries and countless stings. They remained in the hospital and were considered
to be in grave condition. How to Survive? Wear light colored clothing and don’t disturb
bee hives. If you find yourself swarmed, don’t try
to swat at them or kill them, as the bees will only attack you more fiercely. Don’t jump into a body of the water as they’ll
simply wait for you to resurface and sting you then. Cover your head and face and run away until
the bees stop chasing you. If you’ve been stung multiple times, seek
immediate medical attention. The first and most important part after being
stung is removing the stinger, regardless of the method, and cleaning the wound with
soap and water. A cold compress or icepack can be applied
to the affected area along with taking aspirin, acetaminophen and Benadryl to help ease the
itching and pain. Avoid scratching the area as it will only
increase the swelling. Seek medical attention if the swelling covers
an area greater than 3 to 4 inches or if it persists for over a week. Those who are allergic should use a self-injectable
EpiPen as the release of adrenaline will help prevent an anaphylactic shock, which can be
fatal. Number 2 Graham Williamson
The case of Graham Williamson serves as a tragic reminder that size doesn’t matter
when it comes to bee attacks. It also emphasizes the importance of knowing
what you’re allergic to. The father of three from the West Midlands
region in England was 6.5 feet tall and weighed 240 pounds. Because of his stature, he was nicknamed ‘Hulk’
by his friends. Unfortunately, Williamson never knew that
he was highly allergic to bee stings. While mowing the lawn outside his home, in
July 2018, he was stung by a bee on his foot. He fell to the ground and his wife, Julie,
tried to resuscitate him. The paramedics arrived to the scene and took
Williamson to the hospital. Julie and his children held vigil at the hospital
while the doctors kept him sedated, to give his body time to recover. There was a brief moment of hope when his
kidneys started functioning again but he eventually lost his fight for life. The cause of death was determined to have
been anaphylactic shock. Number 1 Rogerio Zuniga
In June 2015, a South Texas farmer died after he was overwhelmed by a swarm consisting of
hundreds of killer bees. 54-year-old Rogerio Zuniga was using a tractor
on his field, near Rio Hondo, when he accidentally hit an old concrete irrigation pipe with the
disks from his harrow. The pipe was home to a 20-foot bee hive and
the insects came storming out attacking Zuniga inside his tractor. He got out and tried to run away but the swarm
followed him. What happened next was like a scene from a
horror movie, according to his sister Lisa. She told a media outlet ‘…he collapsed
and they stung his body to death. He had gaping wounds, the bees shredded him
basically. It was horrible.’ Zuniga was found dead at the scene and, in
the aftermath, an exterminator was brought to kill the bees and clear the pipe.

World’s Largest Bee Makes Comeback And We Are SCARED

World’s Largest Bee Makes Comeback And We Are SCARED


The Wallace’s Giant Bee was a species of
bee that hasn’t been seen alive since 1981. It was presumed to be extinct. But according to Scientists and conservationists,
they just found a female specimen. And trust me when I say this, this is a big,
big scary bee. Welcome back to inform overload, the news
channel for people who hate the news, I’m charlotte dobre. Hit that subscribe if you want news updates
that are actually interesting and follow the io team on instagram. So before I get into this video, I wanna know,
are you guys afraid of bees? Have you ever been stung by a bee? Let me know down there in the comments. The Wallace’s giant bee was first documented
in 1958 when british explorer and naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace discovered it when he
was on the Indonesian island of Bacan. He said it was a large, black, wasp like insect
with immense jaws like a stag beetle. Jaws? A bee with jaws? Jesus Christ. The bee was named after Alfred Russel Wallace. Not much is known about the Wallace’s giant
bee. Scientists know next to nothing about its
secretive life cycle. But what they do know is that the females
make nests out of tree resin inside active termite mounds. They burrow into the mounds of soil that are
built by termites. Sometimes these termite mounds are hanging
off of trees 8 feet off the ground or higher. Its been 38 years since The Wallace’s giant
bee has been seen, but scientists found a female be inside a termates nest in a tree
in Indonesia. And it definitely lives up to its name. The wallace’s giant bee is as long as an
adult thumb, 4 times larger than a honey bee. Which is like, how the heck has it not been
seen for almost 40 years. Was it mistaken for a sparrow because I would
understand that. Its wingspan is 25 inches, making it the largest
bee that currently exists on the planet. So how is it that this bee is so much bigger
than other bees? Well scientists think its island gigantism. Species located on islands can grow much larger
than similar species on the mainland because of a lack of predators. Another reason could be that Wallace’s giant
bees were more fit to colonize and survive on a new island. After four days of searching, on the expeditions
5th and final day, a team of scientists and conservationists finally found the female
specimen. They actually were convinced that they weren’t
going to find it, and then, there it was, inside a low hanging termite mound near the
road that they almost didn’t even stop to look at. The photographer described the bee as being
a flying bulldog of an insect. Damn a flying bulldog? I guess that makes sense. Honey bees make a lot of noise as it is, imagine
a bee 4 times the size. His name was clay bolt and he was the one
that took the first pictures of the bee alive. This discovery is exciting for scientists
who were worried that the Wallace’s giant bee had gone extinct. Maybe this means that there are some little
pockets of them still surviving. But that doesn’t mean that this species
isn’t in danger. Its habitat is threatened by deforestation,
and there are also collectors out there who probably know that the bee still exists. Robin Moore, conservation biologist with global
wildlife told the Indonesian government about the discovery and took steps to ensure that
the species remains protected. As you might already know by now, bee populations
across the world are headed toward extinction because of pesticides. According to Time magazine, populations of
more than 700 north American bee species are declining as a result of habitat loss and
pesticide use. We need bees because they pollenate flowers
and other plants. Bees pollinate 70 out of 100 crop species
that feed 90 percent of the entire world. Honey bees are responsible for 30 billion
dollars worth of crops every year. Those crops don’t only feed us, they feed
the animals that many humans eat. This discovery is definitely good news when
it comes to insect conservation, which is very important to life on earth. Anyways friends, that’s all I have for you
on that, it’s time to read out some comments from our video, the dark truth behind rosie
the abandoned great white shark. Ace Zavala – Girl you is the most chilled
m. Athangu. Goat Lord Veiny – came for the shark, stayed
for the dobre. Tye – your hair is nice poofy. Oh thank you, the 12 year old awkward teenager
inside me is very happy right now. Georgina Chase – love the blazer charlotte
– thank you my mom gave it to me. Dinosaur Hoodies – information overlard
johnny rogers. I don’t think you meant to say overlard
but I’ll tell johnny you said that.

When Executioner Wasps Attack

When Executioner Wasps Attack


From their feeding habits to their tissue-damaging
venom, here are 8 stinging facts about the executioner wasp Number 8 It’s native to South and Central
America The executioner wasp is a large, yellow, and
brown insect that can be found in countries ranging from Mexico to northern Argentina. These insects belong to the order hymenoptera,
which also includes other species of wasps, bees, ants and sawflies. They tend to prefer coastal and humid locations
and are prevalent in tropical forests. This species doesn’t seem to be particularly
territorial, as their hives have often been found near other nests housing Polybia and
Mischocyttarus wasps. Since they prefer tropical weather, the females
hibernate during the winter. They become plumper and fuller during autumn,
in order to withstand this period of stillness. The executioner wasp feeds mainly on caterpillars
and nectar, but will prey on other small insects as well. Today’s video was requested by goated2kplayer9990. If you have any other topics you’d like to
learn about subscribe and let us know in the comments section below. Number 7 It can sting more than once Unlike bees, the executioner wasp and all
other similar species, have no fixed limit of times they might sting their prey and perceived
enemies. Bees must carefully choose when to use their
prime defense mechanism as they end up losing both their stingers and a great portion of
their digestive tract. This leads to the bee perishing soon after
the attack. The wasp, however, merely runs out of venom,
and must simply wait for it to be replenished. They’re capable of portioning the venom
they release in each sting, and their poison gland is in charge of renewing it. There’s nothing that prevents them from
continuing to sting once the venom is drained, though. This makes them far more likely to attack
on demand, and makes them especially dangerous, as they can continue to assault their victims
until they no longer feel threatened or annoyed. The executioner wasp is not a particularly
territorial insect, but it won’t hesitate to attack when it believes its hive’s integrity
is in danger. Before we continue with our list, answer this
question. How many queens are usually found in an executioner
wasp’s nest? Is it: a. More than 10
b. Five
c. One
d. None Let us know what you think in the comments
section below and stay tuned to find out the right answer. Number 6 Their nests are often small and underpopulated Though most wasp nests usually house up to
6000 individuals during the peak of summer, executioner wasps prefer to keep their groups
small and tight-knit. These hives tend to be around 3.5 inches in
diameter and accept groups of 4 to 13 individuals. This particular type of wasp is sociable by
nature, and their nests usually include several horizontal cells where their offspring are
kept apart from the rest of the group. The young are also protected from possible
predators and dangers. In urban areas the executioner wasp’s hive
hangs from the edges of roofs in cities and towns, where they can find protection from
the wind and the rain, while also remaining hidden. In the wild, they’ll choose low branches
of spiky trees instead, with a preference for areas close to swamps. Their hives may be small but executioners
are actually the largest among the neotropical wasp species. Even though it owns an incredibly painful
sting, this insect is surprisingly nonaggressive. That is, of course, unless it’s provoked. Number 5 Only female wasps have stingers There are many differences between male and
female wasps. Not only are the males of the species usually
smaller and thinner, but they actually have no stinger at all! If you’re stung by an executioner wasp,
there’s no doubt that a female was the culprit. These significant differences occur because
the female’s anatomy has evolved in accordance to the extra weight and space required to
carry the eggs, making their abdomen larger and more prominent. The reason they carry a stinger while males
don’t, is related to their reproductive system. The ovipositor allows them to deposit the
eggs to be fertilized and in turn, grants them their greatest defense mechanism. Even though a male wasp can’t actually sting
you, sometimes they’ll mimic this act while defending themselves purely out of instinct. Number 4 It has spiky mandibles The executioner wasp has short yet wide jaws
outside their actual mouths, which they rely on for practical use during their daily chores. Working as tongs, these mandibles allow the
wasp to cut pieces of vegetation, grab small objects or even dig sections of their hives
while constructing them. It also works as a terrifying way of seizing
a tiny insect and killing it, usually by decapitation, in order to get a quick meal. In addition to these appendixes, the executioner
wasp also owns large teeth, with the third one usually being considerably larger than
those of other species, making it a terrifying predator for bugs living near their nests. They are notorious for their long lifespans,
managing to survive for 6 to 18 months, which is far more than other wasp species. Number 3 The pain of being stung by one can
last over 24 hours! In 2015, a YouTube personality known as Coyote
Peterson decided to conduct an experiment to test the physical effects that being stung
by different venomous insects had on the human body. He uploaded several videos to his channel,
comparing different stings and the pain they produced. During the fall of 2018, Peterson decided
to get stung by the Executioner wasp, which he claimed would be the last video he uploaded
from this series. Apparently, not only was the sting incredibly
painful, but the discomfort didn’t subside for almost 36 hours! Not only that but he claimed that the residual
effects, though far milder, lasted for another whole week. The YouTuber stated that this particular sting
had been far more severe than the Japanese giant hornet’s and the bullet ant’s attacks,
which are described as two of the most painful stings in the world. He thus dubbed the executioner as the “king
of the sting”. Number 2 Its sting doesn’t appear in the
Schmidt sting pain index Justin Schmidt was an entomologist born in
the late 1940s, who won a Nobel Prize for physiology back in 2015. He created a sting pain index, in which the
distress caused by hymenopteran attacks was analyzed and classified into four distinct
classes. Schmidt claims to have been stung by the majority
of Hymenoptera insects. Pain level one is the mildest and includes
insects like the southern fire ant and most normal beetles. Level four, on the other side of the index,
is reserved for the most critical levels of pain, only for the worst possible stings. The bullet ant and warrior wasp can be found
at this level. In fact, the bullet ant was the only insect
to be given a rating of 4+. At the time Schmidt created his classification,
the executioner wasp hadn’t been discovered yet, and thus it doesn’t have a real position
in the index. Peterson, who we’ve previously mentioned
on this list, claims it was, without a doubt, the worst sting he’d experienced during
his experiments. So, how many queens can usually be found in
an executioner wasp’s nest? The right
answer was c, just one queen per hive! The worker wasps will not tolerate more than
a single monarch, and if several queen wasps are born in a certain colony, the original
one will murder the would-be-usurpers. This is meant to avoid creating confusion
within the hive. Number 1 Its venom can cause tissue necrosis Not only can the executioner’s sting be
excruciatingly painful for those suffering from their attack, but it can also leave behind
permanent scars. Since it’s a relatively small insect, the
effect its venom has on an adult human being won’t be long-lasting, but the marks it
leaves behind may very well be. Not only will it cause inflammation in the
affected area, which can last up to a few days, but it can also tear the tissue surrounding
it, creating small indentations or holes in the skin. This can produce a permanent scar in an adult. If it can inflict this level of damage on
mammalian skin just imagine the harm its venom would cause a small insect! Thanks for watching! Would you rather try to outrun a group of
bees and risk getting caught by all of them, or allow a single executioner wasp to sting
youw on the nose? Let us know in the comments section below!

Act Wild for Lord Howe Island Stick Insects

Act Wild for Lord Howe Island Stick Insects


>>The Lord Howe Island’s stick
insect was thought to be extinct until a handful of survivors
were discovered clinging to Ball’s Pyramid just
off Lord Howe Island. A single pair was
brought to Melbourne Zoo where the invertebrate
team managed to literally bring the
species back from the brink.>>So from the single pair that
was removed from Ball’s Pyramid in 2003, Melbourne Zoo has bred over 9,000 Lord Howe Island
stick insects to date. The size is quite remarkable
on these animals as well. An adult can weigh
anywhere up to 25 grammes. The young start out bright
green, and then they turn to a mottled green
and then brown. And that’s when they start only
coming out at night to feed and to mate and drink and things
like that in their glass houses that we have set up
here at Melbourne Zoo. [ Music ] The Lord Howe Island stick
insect hatching video that I did took me quite
some time, about two weeks to actually finally
get it in the end. It was just a matter of getting
some eggs that were close to hatching in that time, and
then the success was there. And next thing that you know I
am videoing this newly hatched animal coming out of the egg, and that was purely
amazing to watch. [ Music ]>>Lord Howe Island’s
stick insects, like some other stick
insects, are able to breed without the need for males. This is called parthenogenesis. When they do this, the offspring
will be entirely female and essentially clones
of their mum.>>The Lord Howe Island stick
insect was thought to be extinct for nearly eighty years. And the main reason for that
was in 1918 a ship ran aground on Ned’s Beach on
Lord Howe Island. It was stuck there
for nine days, and in those nine days ship
rats or black rats had escaped onto Lord Howe Island. And they found the Lord Howe
Island stick insect very tasty indeed. And by the 1920s, 1930s
they were presumed extinct on Lord Howe Island. We are now able to breed them
successfully, and we are able to transport lots of eggs
and young to other zoos and breeders around the world. Being an invertebrate keeper at
Melbourne Zoo, it’s very lucky that we have been able to hold
such an interesting species like stick insects, something
again that was thought to be extinct on the planet. What you can do at home is
to look after invertebrates. You can also keep
stick insects yourself. They are fascinating
animals to keep. There are lots of species that you can actually
keep at home as pets. And one day soon with a lot
of luck and support we hope to get these stick insects back to their rightful home
on Lord Howe Island. [ Music ]

The Billion Ant Mega Colony and the Biggest War on Earth

The Billion Ant Mega Colony and the Biggest War on Earth


In nearly every corner of the earth, ants wage war against each other. Their weapons are what nature gave them. Some have strong armor, deathly stingers, or sharp mandibles. And then there’s this
tiny and not very impressive ant, but it rules the biggest empire any ant has ever built. A colony spanning continents and fighting wars that leave millions of casualties. Let’s take a look at this unlikely warrioress, “Linepithema humile”
the Argentine ant. ♫ Kurzgesagt intro music ♫ This story begins in the floodplains
around the Paraná River, in South America, It’s a crowded ant megalopolis where dozens of ant species fight for dominance, including fire ants, army ants and the rather unimpressive Argentine ant. It measures only 2 to 3 millimeters in length and with its small mandibles, it’s surprising that it survived among its buff competitors. Their homes are equally unremarkable. Their colonies range from fairly small to very large
and could be found anywhere: Under logs, in loose leaf litter
or the former colonies of other ants. Here, Argentine ants prepare their most
effective weapon against their competitors: bodies. Most ant species have
only one queen to produce ants, while Argentine ants went all-in on numbers. For every 120 workers there’s one queen, laying up to 60 eggs a day. So their colonies grow fast and have millions or billions of individuals. Teams of queens and workers frequently branch out and found new colonies. But this strategy has a downside:
As colonies grow and produce a lot of offspring, mutations occur and new colonies adapt to new environments. Their DNA slowly changes from generation to generation and differences accumulate. So after a while the ants that left the colony will become more like distant cousins and start to compete with their mother colony. In their native South American range, this is how Argentine ants behave. Within their colonies they are very cooperative
and well-organized, but they fight vicious wars against other Argentine ant colonies and other ant species With equally strong opponents on every side, the Argentine ant became extremely
aggressive, fighting for every inch of ground. But it could never dominate its neighbours…
until humans showed up. We did what humans do and transported things around the world by ship. On one of them, a few Argentine ant queens hitched a ride as stowaways from South America to Madeira and New Orleans. The Argentine ants suddenly found themselves in a strange world. Instead of being surrounded by deadly enemies, they found only victims ⁠—
nobody could fight them effectively. Because only a few Argentine ant queens
were introduced to the outside world, the resulting colonies had very low genetic diversity. On top of that, the introduced Argentine ants kill up to 90% of their queens every year. Fewer queens, less genetic variation. So, as these colonies spread across the landscape, ants that left the colony were no longer
considered distant cousins. As a result, the new colonies form not opposing but cooperating parties called “supercolonies”. This is a very uncommon
strategy in the ant kingdom, only a few of the 16,000 ant species have evolved supercolonies. A supercolony was established on the
West coast of the USA and became a base for the tiny ants’ global conquest. Today, the Argentine ant inhabits the Mediterranean zones of six continents and many islands. This one supercolony was especially successful, establishing sister locations in California, Europe, Japan, New Zealand and Australia, forming one massive intercontinental megacolony of Argentine ants. This makes them the largest society on Earth,
more numerous than even the human one. But their success has changed the ecosystems they invaded. California is a perfect example of this. In their greed for more territory, the invading Argentine ants have overrun and replaced 90% of the native ant species, including several species of Californian carpenter ants. Although carpenter ant workers are giants, their colonies have only between 3,000 and 6,000 individuals and stand no chance against an expanding supercolony of billions of Argentine ants. Argentine ant workers attack by wiping toxic chemicals on their victims which irritates the enemy and marks them as a target for other Argentine ants. When they attack, the Argentine ants wash over their victims, clinging on to their opponents in groups
and pulling apart their limbs. It doesn’t matter how many of them die ⁠—
there are always more. Once the colony is overrun and exterminated, the Argentine ants feed on their victims brood and take over their home and territory. The Argentine ants’ numbers allow them to hunt down and devour such an excessive mass of different insects that over time some species disappear
from the ants’ territory completely. Argentine ants don’t care about working
with the local flora and fauna, they consume them and move on. And, if their next stop happens to be human property, they will rudely make themselves at home there too. They forage in dumpsters, bowls of pet food and sneak into kitchens to claim leftovers. Not just our homes: our gardens and
fields are also impacted by Argentine ants, since they tend to hordes of aphids as their cattle. The aphids feed from plants and produce a sweet honeydew, which they trade with the ants for protection. Since the ants have no major enemy to fear in their new homes, the aphids thrive and ultimately kill the plants they live on. So, on top of being a major disruption
for the ecosystems they invade, they are also a huge pest for agriculture. But the rule of the Argentine ant is being challenged. Parts of the super colonies have broken off and become their own empires. A merciless civil war has broken out. For example, the Lake Hodges Supercolony has been fighting against the Very Large Colony for years in San Diego County. A massive war is going on over a dynamic front line stretching over kilometers, an estimated 30 million ants die here each
year. On other fronts, an old acquaintance from the Parana River has risen from the shadows Red imported fire ants, which were accidentally introduced from their
old home to the coast of Alabama, Not only are the red fire ants fierce fighters
and more than able to deal with the Argentine ant, they are also able to form
super colonies themselves. Now the old wars from their distant home have been
taken to a foreign battleground. In the southeastern US the super colonies
clashed fiercely. The Argentine ants found themselves outgunned by the fire ants. The fire ants major workers are more than twice the size of the
Argentine ants and wield venom-injecting stingers, even though the Argentine ants
fought fiercely, the fire ants were too much for them. After countless lost
battles the red imported fire ant exterminated the Argentine ants super
colony from much of the southeastern US. This is one territory lost but the
Argentine ants will fight on. This amazing network of cooperating super
colonies is the biggest success in their history. And they’ll not give it up because of a small defeat. They will stand their
ground against any enemy that might arise. No matter if it’s on the Paraná River or on one of the large battlefields across the world. ♫ Background music winds up ♫ These videos were developed with the support of ‘Curiosity Stream’, a subscription
streaming service with thousands of documentaries and non-fiction titles. Kurzgesagt viewers can visit curiositystream.com/kurzgesagt to get a free 31-day trial to watch films like “Big World in a Small Garden”, a
documentary that takes a close look at the world of insects around us or other
documentaries by the likes of Stephen Hawking, David Attenborough, and many more, all available for offline viewing. Once your trial is over, the subscription
is only 2 dollars 99 a month. Curiosity Stream was founded by the same people
who started the Discovery Channel, with documentaries, spanning science, nature,
history, technology and lifestyle. It’s a great way to binge watch fun videos while accidentally learning things. Thank you so much to our friends at Curiosity Stream for supporting our ant’s obsession and making ant-bitious projects like this
possible, stay tuned for part three and visit curiositystream.com/kurzgesagt for your free trial. *Kurtzgesagt duck quacks while floating through space*
♫ Outro music ♫

Big-headed Ant Colony (Part 2)

Big-headed Ant Colony (Part 2)


Hi, this is Jordan, updating you on my
Pheidole colony. I did a video on this colony about a month ago and since then they’ve doubled
in size. It’s been really hot here in Melbourne, Australia and so the colony has exploded in size. As you can see, they’ve started to produce soldier ants. They’re really young right now, you can see their heads are really pale and translucent. They’ve also started to produce alates as well, which kind of surprised me. They only have 300 or so workers at the moment. I was kind of expecting them to start
producing alates at the 1000 mark or something like
that. So, already producing some of those and
heaps of soldiers. I think there’s twenty or something
soldiers they’ve produced and that was just the space of a month or
so. Here’s one of the Queens. This colony actually has three queens. They started out with just one until they reached the 50 worker mark
or so and then I had a couple of Queens of this same species in a test tube set up that weren’t
really doing so well. They were in there for months and months and all they had to
show for it was a few eggs and weren’t developing very well. So I decided to
released the queens into this colony. The workers just found the Queens and
weren’t aggressive towards them, they just lured them into the nest and since then look to be doing fine and
laying lots of eggs. So here’s the outworld that’s attached to the nest. They really like this new space that I’ve set up for them. This is what I feed
this colony. Meal worms for protein and bits of fruit and tiny drops of honey for a source of sugary foods. I usually provide a test tube with water in it just in case the nest does get dry so they’ll always have a source water at all times, which is important. I’ve got a
fairly thick layer of sand there and they like to dig it up and move it around. They’ve actually built
an ant hill right where the tube connects to the outworld. So that’s it for this video. Let me know if you want to see more of these or different colonies I have. I’ve got a new Iridomyrmex colony I’ve just moved into a nest. So if you want to see that let me know. Thanks for watching.

Bullet Ant Venom

Bullet Ant Venom


– So the other group of ants
[Dr. Corrie Moreau, curator/ants] that we have today are bullet ants.
[Dr. Corrie Moreau, curator/ants] – Why are they called bullet ants?
[Bullet ant, Paraponera clavata] – Well, they’re called bullet ants
[Bullet ant, Paraponera clavata] because their sting is so painful
[* causing excruciating pain, numbness & trembling] it feels like you were shot by a gun.
[* causing excruciating pain, numbness & trembling] – And you’ve experienced
this firsthand? – I have, just once, I’d like
to keep it that way. And so you can see they’re
actually quite tremendous ants, I mean, they’re really foreboding,
[* worker bullet ants are 18–30 mm long] they’re crazy big and they’re cool.
[* worker bullet ants are 18–30 mm long] – Are they the largest ant? – They’re one of the largest ants. There’s another genus called Dinoponera.
[Dinoponera, Dinoponera australis] In some ways larger.
[* females may surpass 30–40 mm in length] Not as painful of a sting, though.
[* females may surpass 30–40 mm in length] This is Paraponera.
[Bullet ant, Paraponera clavata] We’re studying the gut bacteria
actually in this group of ants. But we’re also
interested in the venom. And so what I was telling
you is part of the reason I brought them back
alive is that at one point I had tried to milk them, because
my colleague was like, “It’s because we weren’t sure if
we’d have permits to bring back alive.” – Yeah.
– You can just milk them. So I can show you how
I attempted to do it and I will tell you that it
didn’t work in the end. When I got the venom back
it was actually not usable. But let me grab my equipment. – It’s not every day you get to
milk a venomous ant. At work. – So this is our fancy equipment. So if you think about, like, how they milk the venom
from spiders, right? Usually they just have
them bite something and squirt the venom inside
and it’s the same principle. So again, we just have
our empty tubes, and we have a little
bit of parafilm, right, which is essentially just like
a waxy kind of paper-y thing that we can stretch
across the top of this. And we’re going to get them
to try to sting through the tube and deposit their venom
on the side of the tube. – Wow.
– Yeah. One thing I have noticed is, what’s really interesting
actually, is with these bullet ants, when you collect them in the
wild they’re incredibly aggressive. You disturb them at all, and they
just go into immediate attack mode. In fact in the field, if you
even like blow on them, you can physically
hear them stridulate, which is a way of communicating
between individuals. And now that they’ve been
in the lab for just a few days, they’re actually almost docile. And so I’m curious to see whether
they’ll even sting through this. But we’ll try. Yeah, see, this one stridulates. So now let’s see if we
put her abdomen up, yeah, she is depositing
her sting through. – Oh!
– See that? – Sting it! Sting it! – So you see, she’s got her sting out, this is where I don’t want
to lose control of her. She’ll try to sting through, oh, there, you saw that sting go? That’s huge.
– Yeah. Wow. Focus your anger. – We will try to get another one to sting
– Come on, ladies. – You look like a new victim,
raaah, let’s get her all mad. – Yeaaaah! Oh, she’s stridulating. – She’s actually kinda not
mad as much anymore. – They’re—they’re just
like, they’re like, “Corrie, we wanna hang out,
I thought we were cool.” – I know, that’s probably
exactly what they think. – Like, “Come on, Corrie,” “I read your latest paper about
climactic regional distribution” “of my sister species.” I don’t even know if that’s
what you’ve written about, I don’t even know if that—
those words even make sense. – You don’t read all my
scientific publications? – Um, I probably couldn’t
get through the abstract. Not—not just yours, but most. – I won’t take it personally. Oh, yeah, she’s got a very big sting,
so let’s see if I can get her to— – Yeah. Sting it. – So that’s how you milk a
bullet ant for their venom. So essentially, just getting them
to sting through this material, they have now
deposited their venom all over the top of this
and inside of that tube, so I can just shove
that in there and then take it back
to an analytical lab to look at what are the—what’s
the chemistry within the venom. Now, I’ve already told you that
that didn’t work so successfully, so in a sense, what we need to do
is dissect out the venom glad, and that’s where it
gets a little more tricky, because in this case, you
can see they’re big and— – Cranky. – Cranky. And they
don’t like to hold still. Do this under the microscope. Okay, so now, again, we’re
gonna just pull off her abdomen, oh God, these are some tough ants.
[* abdomen] Even tougher than the bullet ants.
– Wow. – So now we’ve got—
– You did it. – —her body separated
from her abdomen. I wanna just tease apart some
of the parts of the abdomen and then we can usually pull the
venom gland out through the sting. So I’m just gonna start
pulling apart the body, and since I don’t want to
rupture the venom gland, I wanna try not to stab too much. – Yeah, this is meticulous work, dissecting ants.
– Yeah. – What is the smallest ant that
you’ll work on under a microscope? – Oh, I’ll work on anyone. – Even the ones
that are so small that you can’t even see
them on the labels? – Yep, even those. I’ve had to
dissect out their guts, too. – How do you even get
forceps that small? – Suspense, right?
– Yeah, the pressure. – Yeah, nothing like having
to dissect on camera, too. As if it’s not hard enough, right? – Yeah, all the viewers are
at home, quietly judging you. They’re like, “Well, when
I dissected ants last—” – I was thinking they were biting
their fingernails in suspense. – Yeah, that too. – So at the one end, let’s see if I can put it
in a good orientation— you can actually
see the left side, if you look through
the microscope, you can actually see the sting hanging all the way out.
[* sting] – Oh yeah!
– It’s like a giant hypodermic needle. – Yeah. – And then starting at the
other end on the right side, we can actually start to see
those parts of the digestive system. So first you have the crop, right?
[* crop] So it’s that social food sharing organ,
which then transitions into the mid gut and then into what’s called the ileum
[* mid gut, * ileum] and then finally into the rectum,
[* rectum] and then alongside that is where the venom gland sits.
[* venom gland] – That’s amazing.
– Yeah, it’s really awesome. One of the things that’s cool
when you first open them up is that the contents within the gut, you can see fat and
you can see the trachea and all those other things,
and even within the gut, it’s either clear like it
almost looks like water, or sometimes you can see
things that look like waste, but within the venom sac,
it’s actually almost like oil. And so when you burst it,
it’s literally like oil coming out, not like liquid, like, you
know, in the same sense. – Cool.
– Yeah. – Nice.
– So now the question is, are you gonna hold
a bullet ant for 10 seconds? The Brain Scoop is brought to you by the Field Museum in Chicago It still has brains on it.