Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Beneficial Wasps

We have certainly been seeing a huge variety of wasps and bees this year. Each year we have more and more blooms and although I used to be afraid of bees, I can now bend my face down into the flowers beside them to pull off some dead leaves or seeds I want to collect. They are amazing little critters and such wonderful examples of diligence.

Here's a bit of information on the benefits of wasps from Creation Moments:

There are several thousand species of wasps that lay their eggs inside crop pests or use the pests for food. These wasps have become a popular form of natural pest control among farmers and gardeners. Researchers have now discovered that the wasps do more than simply feed on the pests or use them as food for their young. Typically the wasps will inject their eggs into worm-like pest larvae.

It has been discovered that the wasp eggs are coated with a virus that holds the pest larvae in the immature stage until the developing young wasps have no more need of the egg. The virus appears to move to an organ inside the pest larva and affects the insect's immune system. It also acts on the larva's endocrine system to take away the larva's appetite.

So the pest larva destroys less crop, and being starved for food, fails to develop into an adult. This gives the wasp eggs plenty of time to develop into young wasps who will finish off the pest.

Researchers are still trying to discover exactly how the virus's carefully orchestrated attack strategy works. However, clearly no creature nor the creation itself invented this strategy. It could only have been conceived and built by a Master Biochemist and Physician!

Reference: Raloff, Janet. 1985. Virus allows wasps to kill crop pests. Science News, v. 128. p. 22.

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