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Hey, everybody, it's us and we're here to talk to you about, get this, our book, we have a stuff you should know book coming out this November, and you're going to love it and you can preorder it now. That's right.
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Welcome to Stuff You Should Know. A production of by Radio's HowStuffWorks. Hey, and welcome to the podcast, I'm Josh Clark, there's Charles W. Chuck Brint. Jerry's out there somewhere, which makes this stuff you shouldn't. So, yeah, old school insect, a dish from Robert Lambe. I know it's it's got mouthparts in it, but it's no Tracy Wilson joint. Yeah, but it's still good. It's super charming. It starts Robert starts this article out from the perspective of a spider who has been dragged into a wasp's nest and is about to be eaten alive by a WASP larva.
Yeah, it's pretty interesting. Yeah, it's a good article, I guess, is what I'm trying to say, and if you are not familiar with Robert Lamb, then friend, you are missing out on not one, but two, No. Three really great podcasts that that guy has put out. What is it stuff to blow your mind?
Of course, the stalwart science tech on that tech sort of science plus show.
Yes, in depth, like super deep rabbit hole. Interesting stuff. And then he did one called Transhuman.
Yeah, that's a fiction scripted. Sci fi. Very cool. Yeah.
And then also he and Joe, who he does stuff to blow your mind with, also do invention too, which is kind of an in-depth rabbit hole thing about invention. So check all those out, everybody. Yeah.
It was fun to kind of get back to basics with a nice little insect cast on wasps. And dude, I went outside today on my side deck to let the dogs out and lo and behold, I looked wuk.
What I was you said, who let the dogs out? Sorry, you said let the dogs out. So I had to I thought I thought you're saying wait, wait, wait. No, no.
I was saying woo, woo, woo, woo. Oh, boy. Those of us on the ground. OK, good. All right. Right.
Did I knock the legs out from under that story?
This is just a wasp nest. But it was, you know, the timing. Was it alive? Oh, I didn't get to see it. It was it was not attached. I think it had fallen. So my guess is that it did not have any more wasps residing in it.
Man, that's going to be a real letdown because it's the middle of summer right now. So they're they're wanting to. Like there was probably lava in there, huh? Yeah, that's that's really weird. They must have abandoned it then. Yeah.
And Warsaw, you know, I think, you know, everyone loves the bees now because they should because bees are awesome and bees produce honey and we want bees to stick around. But I think wasps and hornets, which are a type of wasps, are still just so maligned and they're the ones that people will reach for their can of raid to spray and.
No, cool. Yeah. And you shouldn't don't do it. Let the wasps live. I'll go ahead and say it.
Now we're going to say a bunch, but let them live totally. Chuck, thank you. Yeah. We're here to open everyone's eyes to the function and purpose of WASPs existence. They're not like mosquitoes. Remember, in the mosquito's episode, we basically concluded that there's no reason for mosquito killing around and they just are terrible wasps.
They're not like that. And I think Robert does a really good job of basically pinning down why wasps get such a bad rap. One is that there stings pack such a wallop compared to other stinging insects. Yeah, it hurts. And we'll talk about there's things in the venom that goes along with it, which is OK. That's fair. Like nobody wants to be stung by a WASP. It's really it can ruin your day. And then also the other thing is, is that if you pay attention to wasps, you realize that they live these really brutal grizzled existences.
They're their predators. And in fact, in their habitats, their apex predators, they're like sharks and lions. But for the bugs and sometimes small animals that live around there, like I didn't watch any of the videos that I could have because I'm just really over animal death, even if it's nature. Oh, really? Yeah. When I was doing the end of the world with Josh Clark, like, I went into it just feeling fine about that.
It's just nature. That's the way things work. And then one of the guys I talk to is David Pierce, who you and I talked to actually first in our Super Stuff, Guide to Happiness. Oh, yeah. But I went back and interviewed him and his whole jam is like we could actually eventually engineer the biosphere so that there isn't any suffering among animals. And like what we take is natural, isn't necessarily have to be that way. And it's really changed how I view like violence even among animals.
So anyway, the upshot is I didn't watch any videos, but one of the ones that I saw the title was WASP Kills Baby Bird. So that video is out there, if you want to see that. But I just can't I don't I don't like to see that stuff anymore, you know? Yeah. I mean, I didn't really enjoy it before, but now it just bothers me. Yeah, I get it, that's I live with a person who can't watch anything like that, so I get it.
So there are more than twenty thousand species of wasp. And like I said, hornets are a kind of wasso if you hear I mean, you would call a Hornet, a Hornet, but you can't necessarily use them interchangeably.
But a hornet is a wasp and there is a lot of, you know, over that 20 thousand species, there are a lot of different kinds and a lot of variety as far as what they look like and what they're shaped like and what color they are and how they like to live their life.
But as with every insect cast, we're going to go over those body parts. Sure, and his mouthparts is in there somewhere and it starts with an exoskeleton, just like all the little insect buddies have that chiton exoskeleton and in the case of the wasp, they are very segmented out. They have three segments. They get your head, which has got those antennae, the sensory antennae. You get those mouthparts because they lick and they bite. And then you have the very cool looking compound eyes and simple eyes, these sort of kidney shaped eyes of a wasp that are very sort of signature.
Where are they known as in your Italian accent? Osili So in the Italian, if a vowel follows a C, it's like, yeah, it makes it sound. If a C is followed by an H, it makes it sound. So is this really pronounced Michelli. Yeah, OK.
I think in like among biologists they probably say, oh Caselli. But since you're doing the accent, sure. I wanted to set you up for a lesson in that. OK, so you got the head has some eyes also has a brain.
Chuck. Yeah. Which I saw supposedly wasps are among the smarter insects out there. They can recognize each other by face, by facial markings. Did you know that? Yeah. Hey Steve. How are you doing. Sting anyone. I'm doing OK, Ted. Thanks for asking. Just killed the baby bird. Some weirdo was was filming it and put it on the Internet.
Well, actually, Steve would say, no, I didn't sting anyone because I'm a man and I don't sting. Oh, yeah, that's a really great point, Chuck, which we'll talk more about later, you'd find the stinger in the abdomen, which is the third part, the lowest part of the the wife's body, but only in a female, which I think this is true for Furbies, too, if I'm not mistaken.
Yeah, I don't remember. We've done a lot of good bee stuff. Yeah. And then in between those things, you got the thorax which has the six little legs and then those, those really quick flap and wings. Yeah. So in between the thorax and the abdomen you have a very narrow waist which usually is what gives away a wasp. You can look at it and be like that's a wasp. Yeah. It's like it's got a corset on it.
Unless it's a hornet. Hornets are much chunkier, more rotund. Yeah, but they are, like you said, a kind of wasp. Um, and actually I think the the genus that Hornets fall under is called Vosper and Vesper in Italian means wasp. So hornets are wasps in Italian. OK, ok. So I think one of the coolest thing about the WASP is the, the history and the evolution of this thing, along with some pretty horrific stuff that's going to follow.
But about in the Cretaceous period, about one hundred million years ago, you had to kind of take a snapshot of planet Earth to understand how the WASP forms. And back then, they didn't have all these flowering plants like like we have now. There were a lot of conifers and these evergreens depended on the wind to spread their seed around. They weren't counting on the insects to do this kind of thing at this point. And and we should also mention that answer a cousin of the WASP, which makes sense.
They look kind of ant like.
Yeah, I think they finally figured out that ants evolved out of mud. Doggers, they're their closest relative. OK. It kind of makes sense, I think they have some, like, behavior, yeah, like of the age of the during the Cretaceous period, these wasps were carnivores and they preyed on spiders and other insects. And as plants started to evolve, they realized that, hey, there's a lot of insects flying around, going back and forth, like we're just using the wind to carry our seed around.
Why don't why don't we get these insects to work for us, basically, and they can do the job. Yeah.
So there was the rise of the angiosperms, which is, you know, whenever you think of a flower that the bee visits and moves from place to place carrying pollen, that's what an angiosperms is. Rather than having to just depend on the wind, you can depend on the insects. And so eventually, over time, these wasps, these early predators that used to feed exclusively on other insects said, well, you know what, this this all nectar thing and the pollen thing I can get with this.
So they started to change their diet from insects to pollen and nectar. But the weird thing is, rather than developing a way to feed their young from pollen and nectar like honey bees, which I think is another reason people like bees and don't really realize is it realize it is that their little vegetarian vegan animals. Yeah, maybe. No, they don't hurt anybody. They'll still defend themselves, but they don't want to go hurt anybody. They're very peaceful.
WASPs are not like that because even though they generally most species of wasp adults eat nectar and pollen, they still kill other insects to drag back to their nests, to feed their young, to raise their young on. So wasps are technically omnivores at the beginning of their life. They're carnivores. And then later in life they grow into herbivores. Yeah. And then amazing it is.
WASPs are way more amazing than I realized.
So we take a break and talk about their stinger. Yes. All right. We'll be right back for Stinger Talk.
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All right, welcome to Stinger Talk. I'm Chuck. I'm Josh no, wait, no, I'm Ted. I guess it makes me Steve. Yeah, things are tough. You kind of mentioned early on it's you know, you get a yellow jacket and that that's that doesn't feel great. And obviously, we're talking about if you're non-allergic and it's not like a legitimate threat to your health and it's just the pain of the sting that we're rating here. Yellowjackets thing isn't great, but it was Sting and a Hornet sting is really something else.
It's it feels like it hurts more and for longer and for good reason, because it actually does seem like bee venom is its own thing. Shares a lot in common with wasp venom. WASP venom seems to be this extraordinarily highly developed like biological weapon. That is the cocktail of different kinds of compounds that all come together to produce a horrible pain sensation that lasts longer and has a greater impact on your body than anything the actual sting produces. And that's apparently the whole reason behind it, is it makes the WASP seem way less vulnerable than they actually are.
It seems like they're way more powerful and for all intents and purposes, they are. But like, if you if you could take the venom out of the sting, the sting would would do basically nothing to you. But because that the venom is introduced by that sting, that venom is so potent, it's like one of the worst things in the world to get stung by a WASP.
Yeah. And the actual stinger itself was it has a pretty remarkable evolutionary story. So here's what happens in the prehistoric times, is parasitic. WASP would use this ovipositor. That's actually the egg laying organ. They would use this pointy thing to lay the egg on a living insect, like they would lay the egg on the caterpillar. Then these little larvae would hatch out and then they would eat that caterpillar. The larvae would. So at some point, as things are evolving along, Mother Nature says, you know, what would be even better than this is if you could saw open that caterpillar with this ovipositor and lay eggs inside of this thing.
And that's exactly what happened.
Which made a lot of sense. And I think there's a lot of wasp species, there's at least some that still do this. Like rather than build a nest, they just go find an insect host and lay some eggs on it or lay some eggs in it and then just let the larvae eat the eat the inside out. But most, I think, have evolved to kind of use some different techniques, which we'll talk about in a little bit. But the the stinger itself stuck around even after it stopped being used to actually deposit eggs into the insects directly.
And you talked about the venom that's obviously produced in the venom gland stored in a little venom sac, a little burlap sack inside the wasp body, and then it seeps out. It's got it. It's a Barbella stinger. It's just like a straight little pointy thing. But it seeps out through these little valves and coats, the entire stinger. And so they store this stinger inside of a sheath and are always kind of ready to use it. And, you know, like we said, it's only the females because it was an ovipositor.
But the males can pretend like like they'll rear their little but your way and say, stay away from me. You don't know if I'm a male or a female. Right. You don't look too closely. Right. Right.
Which is just hilarious. But it also didn't show like a certain level of intelligence as well. I think so. Or at the very least, there's to bluff some. Yeah. To bluff. Yeah. You know, that's that takes intelligence, which is I think another another indicator that wasps are amazing.
Yeah. And like you sort of hinted at, the reason this venom is so powerful is it has it has a couple of functions is one is just the simple function of paralyzing those insects and the other is as a defense, like it's meant to sting something much, much larger and have that thing hurt so bad that it thinks it's hurt a lot worse than it is. And like just wants to get out of there basically. Right.
And then that combined with their very usually very bright colourings, because, you know, usually the more colorful an animal is, the more toxic it is. Yeah. Just kind of a universal symbol in nature to just steer clear in hornets. And wasps typically are fairly colorful as far as insects go. So those two things combined can teach a larger animal pretty quickly to just leave them alone. And that's kind of how how wasps have made it this long.
I mean, they've been around for more than one hundred million years, you know. Yeah. That's a pretty successful species or family of insects. Yeah. And that includes humans, obviously, if. Sure. If you go poking. And a hornet's nest or washiness, and you get stung, you're not going to finish the job, you're probably just going to get out of there.
Yeah, yeah. Hopefully you can learn your lesson that first time, you know. Yeah. Or maybe you don't even have to learn it directly. You can just know to stay away from the wall.
So what's in that venom of some really good stuff. I actually found even more stuff than Robert included here, who there's some peptides and some enzymes. Some of the enzymes include phospholipids, ambi phospholipids and B and these actually break down the membrane lipid coating of cells in your body to basically spill their guts into your bloodstream. And that includes neurons. Neural cells can be spilled into your bloodstream when they encounter this peptide, which sends an excruciating pain notification to your brain and alert alert.
You're in a tremendous amount of pain. That's just like step one.
Yeah, they also have norepinephrine in there, which stops the blood flow temporarily. And that's why I like that. When I said it feels like it lasts longer, I feel like that's the norepinephrine nor epinephrine at work because it just sort of sits in one place and eventually the blood stream is going to kind of diluted away, but it kind of hangs out there for a little while. Yeah, that's just mean.
There's also acetylcholine, which actually goes to your pain receptors and stimulates them right now. And then there's also histamines in histamines are released by your body. They're responsible for the inflammatory response. But they also the the venom in a wasp's venom is includes histamines directly to just to make sure that it gets that inflammation good and good and primed. Yeah.
And then there's I was hoping you would take this part because of that word. You want to try it. Hyaluronic days. Oh, well, I use hyaluronic acid under my eyes, so. Oh.
Do you really know for sure. What's that.
It's like it's an acid.
Once it got into your eyes, I don't know. I think for bags and oh. Like I generally keep. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Just to keep your eyes looking sharp.
Oh wow. I noticed your eyes always look so sharp. I thought, I thought you'd notice eventually.
So that thing that you just talked about and then something similar on a day, Marcel de granulated peptide, this stuff actually melts through the connective tissue between cells and basically just sort of destroys those membranes and allows the venom to move a little more freely than it would ordinarily.
Yeah, and the Marcel de granulated peptide de granulated means that it basically goes to your mass cells and squeezes the histamines out of them. So not only does it contain histamines already, not only does it trigger a histamine response or release, it goes and gets it out of the cells that normally carry it around in your in your immune system. So it's just really mean, nasty stuff. One of the other things I saw that they've just started to kind of pay attention to is called Bready Brady Kynan.
And it's associated with chronic pain. Oh, wow. On top of acute pain production there, like how about a little dose of what it feels like to have chronic pain, too, in the mix of all this stuff? And then Chuck told me this is an astounding I got a couple more. One thing is just called antigen five, which is a cryptic as it comes. They don't know exactly what role it plays, but they know it's a very powerful allergen.
And then there's a couple of peptides that are antimicrobial which prevent the wasp from contracting an infection from a prey that it puts its stinger in. Wow. Yeah.
And then amazing, like, this is some amazing stuff. Yeah.
And I didn't see I saw that hornets can sting again and again and again, but I don't know about the wasp in general. Is that the case. Yes, definitely. OK. Mm hmm.
Because a hornet is just the type of what. So you've got like Dorber is the kind of loss of a hornet is a kind of wasp. And there's like many types of hornets, but they're all wasps.
That's right. You know, so yeah, they can sting again and again and again, which apparently is another reason why they're sting hurts so bad. They can do this to you and inject this venom into you. I saw one expert interviewed on a different HowStuffWorks article that said an average of 10 times, like, if you get stung by a WASP, usually you're going to get stung more than once and it can be 10 times, I guess on average.
I don't know if they just pulled that out of the air, but they were a WASP expert, so hopefully not. Well, you know, those amateur hornets that are making the news these days in the states, those things can kill small rodents with a full charge of a sting. Right. The Asian giant Hornet, which they found, I think think three of them in the Pacific Northwest that they thought they got rid of last year. But it turns out they survived the winter.
A queen did. Yeah. And, you know, they call it murder hornets because they kill bees. And those I didn't know this was a big because it was just sort of a back page thing. But in twenty sixteen, a package of murder Hornets was intercepted at San Francisco International Airport. Mm hmm. And the two, they destroyed that. So it didn't become a thing, but they're a real threat to be. So that's why people are sort of writing about murder hornets now invading as an invasive species here in the U.S..
Yeah. And I mean, it's really doing an injustice to the Hornets, unfortunately, because calling them murder hornets, like if you read some of the articles on it, like people will say outright, like, oh, they'll they can kill people very easily. And that's just absolutely not true. And it makes it sound like they're a threat to humans. Like you said, the big threat is to honeybees and specifically to European honeybees because they haven't evolved around murder hornets or Asian giant hornets, Asian honey bees have.
And they actually have a defense to wear when the giant hornets show up, like you were saying, they just like murder. Hauner is a good term if you're a honeybee, because just a few of them showing up at a hive can just destroy a colony a few hours. And they do it in a really brutal way. They like they decapitate the bees and just kill an entire colony in a few hours. And they do it because they're one of the few species that that they're omnivorous.
But most of their food comes from meat. They're mostly carnivores. So they're eating human babies. These bees basically. Yeah, they just carry your baby right off out of its crib. But they can wipe out a whole colony like this if they run into Asian honey bee colony. Those bees have developed a response where they'll swarm around one of the Asian giant hornets and they'll flap their wings a bunch and generate heat in the cook. The Hornet alive inside the swarm.
That was that's their defense. European honeybees, which make up a lot of the honeybees, most of the honeybees in the United States, they don't have that defense. So it's a big problem if the Asian giant Hornet gets a foothold here.
Yeah. And it will pack a lot more of a punch to you. They have about seven times potency as a honeybees venom. And as far as the pain scale, they likened it getting stung by a murder horn. It is likened it to like between three and 10, like if you were to be stung by three to 10 yellowjackets all at once. So awful.
Yeah, because the yellowjackets thing is nothing to sneeze at either. It's a wasp, you know. Yeah. I don't get I haven't been stung in a long, long time.
Knock wood, knock on wood. I got stung a couple of summers ago.
I'm not allergic or anything but you know my story I told it back with the bee thing was when I was hiking that time and I got tagged eleven times in the face and neck. Oh me. When I stumble, it was one of those underground hives that I just walked. Over and, you know, you see two or three boys going, oh, what's going on? Then you see ten and then all of a sudden they're everywhere and you're just running like a moron through the woods, toward the river, basically.
But, yeah, I got hit 11 times and. You know, that could have killed me if I was allergic out in the middle of nowhere like that. Sure. I thought you were allergic, so we just lied on that episode of the stuff.
It was painful that there was one, I think, that got the deepest on my eyebrow bone, my orbital bone. And it went straight through and I could I could almost feel it on my bone. And that's the one like I had a hard time getting it out. It was so embedded and it felt like somebody and I know I use the same analogy back then, but it felt like somebody had a tiny little you know, the little nails you hang pictures with, felt like somebody had that poking that bone and they were just tapping it with a hammer in this like regular beat his awful, terrible man alive.
Yeah. It sounds like you stepped on a yellow jacket nest because they they nest in the ground and they follow you to like.
Yeah, they were going to keep going until I got you going. Yeah.
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Listen to the art of the Hustle on the I Heart radio app, Apple podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. OK, Chuck, so we're moving on from Venom, I think we made our point venom from WASPs is pretty serious. And if you want to avoid getting injected with venom from wasps, you want to learn to know what a wasp nest looks like so you can avoid the wasp nest altogether because some wasps are more aggressive than others. And if you get anywhere near their nest, they're going to be like, let me just give you a little lesson about getting close to my nest.
And they'll say, sting you right. You want to get away. So the kinds of nests that you see hanging from trees, that's the kind of wasp nest. That's paper wasp nest. There's model bird nests. There's nests in the ground that are Yellowjacket nest wasps make a bunch of different kinds of nests. And for you to survive in the world, you have to know what each one looks like and be able to sense them out with your your nose.
Yeah, when I think of WASP Nest in Georgia, at least I think of that honeycomb style where it's just a bunch of little tiny holes and it looks like it's made out of paper because it kind of is in a way. Yeah, I think those are baldfaced hornets or wasps. I can't remember which one. I think those are the wasps and they actually chew up wood fragments that they'll get from, say, like your deck. Or if your kid only has those old timey wood toys, they might chew those up if they're in the yard and then they take that and turn it into actual pulp like paper and spit it out and make a basically a papier mâché nest.
Yeah. Which is pretty impressive. But that's why those things look like they're papier mâché, because they basically are.
Yeah. And they're light like papier mâché and they're fairly intricate. If you look at it and they have some of them have what looks like a little roof eaves, um, they can be there, like I said, super light so they can be dangling from a really small sort of thread, like, I don't even know what you would call it. Just a thread sort of like thread, I guess.
Suspension, cable. Yes, suspension cable. Exactly. We'll go with that because it sounds like it's a little sturdier, although is that the kind that you found in your yard today?
Yeah, I found let the dogs out found one of those laying on the ground when I was a kid. You know, the big hornet's nest that are the big sort of, um, also sort of looks like papier mâché, but it's more grey and it doesn't have the little holes. It just got one central entry point and it's about as big as a football.
Yeah. Those were sort of like country decor.
Did you ever know anyone who had one of those in our house? Yes. Murderers, serial killers. We had one. My dad climbed up a tree to get one of these. It was emptied, thank goodness. And we had that thing, you know, mounted on a log above our fireplace for years. Really?
Yeah, it was weird. Oh, that's fascinating. Yeah. I don't remember which kind that is it. I, I mean, I've looked at so much stuff about what I think it was the white face in it if I'm not mistaken.
OK, is that who it is. All right. Yeah. They're very, pretty big in there. Yeah. Yes. And they're big the the like you said, the size of a football earnest's can get pretty big but yeah they, they that's a good one to avoid. I didn't realize that they were aggressive.
Yeah. You don't want to mess around with one of those nests. You don't want to go poking it.
From what I saw the mud doggers which actually make theirs out of mud. They're the ones that, you know, those tubes that usually come down from the ceiling down the wall. Those are actually mud tubes that the mud Dobber has made. And my daughter's we should say they're basically two kinds of wasps in the world. Australian Hornets, social in solitary and solitary is exactly what it sounds like. They it's just a single wasp, a female living on her own.
She'll mate with some male wasp and then go off, make her own nest, either burrowing into the ground or if she's a model, she'll make a mud nest. So when you see a model bird's nest, like stop and be like, I respect that because that was made by one single wasp on her own with zero help whatsoever. She made that nest, which I just find extremely impressive by chewing up mud and just slowly but surely building it, spinning mud out onto the wall.
Yeah. And if you're a social wasp, you are a sort of be like in there working for the queen, maybe more than one queen even. But you have these male drones that are there to mate and you have these female workers who build the nest and they hunt for food and tend to these little larvae. But it's basically all about getting the queen to live through the winter to the next season like they will all leave the nest. And I think I think the queen is the only thing that over winters.
Isn't that right?
Yeah. Yeah, the queen. Yeah. If they raise. Queen Larrivee, the queen will will live until the next winner and start over again, basically creating eggs of sterile female workers to help her to hatch and then help her build up the hive, raise male drones, her nose, the drone, the worker. No, drones are male. That's just used for reproduction, right? Yeah. And then eventually raised little queens. So it's pretty, pretty interesting, especially as far as like social insects go.
There are very few species of social wasps and hornets, but the ones they are that are pretty they're they're highly social, even among social insects. They have pretty intricate, complex societies like some of these the social wasp nests, I think, including yellowjackets. We'll have multiple queens. And there's one head queen who is basically beating up other queens to establish her dominance. And then she'll have the most eggs and then the next layer down will have the second most eggs and so on and so forth.
And that takes a certain amount of cooperation to maintain and respect that type of hierarchy, to keep that society functioning the way it should, especially considering you have to reinvent the wheel every year after winter comes and goes.
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And they talk to each other, too. In a way they communicate, especially if there's a threat via pheromones. So that's why you were more likely to get swarmed rather than just like if you're an actual threat to to a nest, they can send a signal that says, hey, everybody, this jerk over here has got to this kid has got a stick and he's coming at us. Yeah, let's get them.
And if they if they die, actually, they release that. It's like a byproduct of their death. Is releasing that same pheromones. Yeah. Man down. Basically, they turn into like Harry Dean Stanton in Red Dawn. They're like a revenge movie.
I guess I have that one. And I guess you didn't see the the video then of the the tarantula hawk said you're not into this.
No, but I've seen one in person actually. Yeah.
The Pepsi's WASP is known as the Tarantula Hawk because they lay eggs inside of a paralyzed tarantula and the larvae eat the tarantula from the inside out. And I was like, I got to got to see this. And of course, on YouTube, there is a Pepsi's WASP battling it out with a tarantula and it's no match and it paralyzes this tarantula and drags him back like a great distance.
Yeah, he one pulling this tarantula across the ground, which is much, much, much larger. But the tarantula, like you said, it's no match. And even among humans, I think the tarantula hawks sting is like a four out of four on the Schmidt pain scale, like it's as bad as it gets because, you know, I've asked Mr. Schmidt how bad is it hurt?
And he's like, oh, my gosh, it's terrible.
He said, yeah, know. But yes. And they're very bright blue and orange, too, which is another yet another indicator like stay away if you see anything, it's really colorful. Just assume it can it can mess you up pretty good. Yeah. I don't like a hawk. That's the don't like that colorful frog.
So but even if they, even if it's not a wasp taking down a tarantula and laying eggs inside it, they eat the tarantula from inside out. Almost all wasp species, if not 100 percent of our species. Like we said, they raise their young by by paralyzing other insects, dragging them to their nests and laying the eggs nearby, leaving the bug to be paralyzed and still alive when the egg hatches and larva crawls over and starts eating that bug alive.
And this is one reason why wasps have such a bad rap, because it's just such a brutal it's like a horror movie circle of life. It really is. Yeah, especially from the perspective of the the insect. And apparently Charles Darwin said when he witnessed this happening to a cute little caterpillar, that it made it difficult for him to believe in an omnipresent and beneficent God, because what kind of God would allow a cute little caterpillar to do that?
Yeah, the thing is that Charles Darwin, I mean, he like to putts around in the garden, but he was not a farmer. If you're a farmer, you probably kind of happy to see a WASP larva eating a caterpillar because you're caterpillars eat your crops. And if you ask me, this is where we get to the part about the the roles that was played in the ecosystem and why you shouldn't just go willy nilly killing them.
Yeah, I mean, they'll bring in wasps. Farmers will sometimes if they have like the insect issue because the wasp was going to take care of that naturally. And you won't have to use, you know, insecticide and stuff like that.
No, it's also bees are usually. Kind of finicky, I saw, as far as what they'll pollinate and what they won't, wasps are not at all finicky. They'll pollinate whatever. So they're nonselective pollinators, which makes them like you could use them to pollinate any kind of crop, which makes them pretty helpful. And so they control other crop destroying insects and they also pollinate crops, too. So they are pretty useful. So that means that you shouldn't just go around killing them.
I think we should say it again.
No, you shouldn't kill anything except mosquitoes, fleas and ticks.
And you also can't say, well, they're they're a threat to humans because I looked up some stats. Chuck, you ready for this? Yeah. You're not going to get killed with from a WASP.
You know, I mean, yeah, but no, you're not. So combined these wasps and hornets and hornets are just another type of wasp. Is that so. Yeah, I hadn't heard. They kill about 62 Americans every year from anaphylactic shock. Right. Oh.
By contrast, 300 Americans die from falling off of ladders every year in the U.K. Get this, between 2006 and 2007, eight people died from bees, wasps or hornets things. I'm including bees here, by the way. And then in Australia, where you would guess that half the human population is killed off every year by bees and wasps and has to regenerate every spring. Now, between 2000 and 2013, there are only 27 deaths total for that 13 years from bees, wasps and hornets things, which is pretty astounding.
But it all goes to say, like, don't listen to the murder horn at wrap the Hornets in the wash, turn out to kill you. They don't want you anywhere near their nests, but they're not like trying to to to wipe out your family. They just want to be left alone. Basically, the murder rap.
Now, here is a hornet and it's here to say I come to Little Fruity Pebbles in the joint.
I think I can't wait to listen to this one because I'm pretty sure you said that they kill sixty two million Americans every year. No, I think you did. I might have been hearing things.
I might have been a computer glitch, just 60 to six to the two.
I really am curious on if you said million. So we'll find there'll be an Easter egg for us only.
So, yeah, don't kill the wasps.
If you have what you think is a WASP problem at your house, you really don't unless it's you know, I mean, if you have a really big washiness like right above your front door or something, I could see maybe a case being made for removing it, having it professionally removed, or if your kids are playing out back and there's a sinkhole from a yellowjackets underground.
Yeah, hundreds of Yellowjacket. And if you're allergic, you're getting that removed, too. But in general, like wasn't and after you, they don't want anything to do with you. They're not aggressive toward humans unless you're pocan their thing with a stick. I love this. Robert says in this takes like nerves of steel. And he's like, if one lands on you, don't panic, avoid swatting it or making swith movements.
Just kind of sit there and it'll quickly fly off like I don't want to kill a WASP, but if a WASP lands on my arm, I'm not going to be like, all right, little fella, you're just just going to give you some time to mow the lawn. No, I would I would freak out and flail. I wouldn't swat at it because I feel like I would get stung for sure. But I would definitely sure do the.
Right, you got to try not to do that. You have to listen to Robert and don't panic. Good luck. Every time I see don't panic in the wild, I just assume that it's a reference to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, don't you? I think so. So there's there's standing still. That's one thing when one lands on you. OK, that's that's great things you can do to keep them from landing on you, though, or to not wear white and yellow outdoors.
Yeah, OK. I don't like white and yellow. The white yellow doesn't look good on me anyway, but those colors attract insects. You don't want to wear perfume because you may confuse them into thinking you're a flower. Sure. If you have your garbage can uncovered, don't stand next to it. You want to cover your garbage can. Yeah, especially if you're us. We got a we got the stink eye. Call it the stinkiest garbage can in Atlanta.
I think so nasty. Pretty bad, too.
It's a lot of years of cat litter. Oh, yeah, that's a stink dog poop, and then you you you can take down this yourself if it's below 60 degrees Fahrenheit or fifteen point five degrees Celsius because they're probably dead in there anyway. So it's a good time to take it down. But for the most part, we're just going to go ahead and say, don't take down a wasp nest that you want out of your yard by yourself. Just don't do it.
Hire a professional. There are people who will take money in exchange for coming to get a nest out of your yard. You can give them money for that. And they know what they're doing. So you can feel good about that, about hiring them. And it also supports local business, too.
Yeah, and don't get that one stray that sprays from like 20 feet away and just go home and, like, attack these nests with poison. Just don't do it.
No, stop killing things. What else you got?
I got one more thing. You have anything else? Nope. OK, so in Japan it always circles back to Japan, doesn't it, Chuck? Yeah.
If it's quality and good, including there, including the Asian giant WASP as well as yellow jackets and some other types of wasps, Japanese culture or culinary culture loves wasp larva. But to get WASP larva, you have to go out in the wild, find a wasps nest in the summer and then take it back home without getting stung and raise the larva yourself. And then when they're ready to go, you harvest them and eat them in the fall, which is pretty interesting in and of itself, right?
Yes, it gets even more interesting than that because to find a wasp nest in the woods, what they do is they take raw fish. Japanese love raw fish, but they share some of theirs with wasps and they leave it out as bait. And then when a wasp shows up, they'll take chopsticks and a little hunk of this fish meat that they have a string tied to and they'll hand it to the wasp in the wasp will fly off with the hunk of fish to take back to its larva, its eggs with the string dangling, which makes it easier to follow back to the nest.
And after doing this a few times, they're probably successful enough that they tracked the wasp all the way back. They don't lose it and they find the nest. And then that's when they take it home and tend to larva and then they eat it in the fall. That sounds familiar for some reason. I might have heard that before in that. Cool. Amazing.
Amazing. Well, that's all I've got for WASP Chuck WASP out.
So since Chuck said wasps out, that means it's time for the listener mail.
I'm going to call this Adam.
I think you were wrong. And Josh was referencing they might be giants. It's a long winded title, OK.
Hey guys, in your episode, how we almost got rid of polio, you read a listener mail that referred to how flame throwers work episode. However, I'm somewhat sad that the reference wasn't made for the They might be Giants song Istanbul, not Constantinople. Josh made the statement and it was a wonderful wasted opportunity. Well, that's exactly what you're talking about, right?
Yeah, I said not Constantinople. Yeah, but you were talking about they might be Giants song, right? Yeah, of course. You just didn't get me. He just didn't say, hey, by the way, that's what they might be. Giants song. Hey everybody, open up for the spoonfeeding.
Uh, I just thought I'd drop you both a line. I love the show and enjoy listening to it daily to and from work, especially the wit and dry humor here.
And it goes over your head. Yeah, right. He said it's very much my style. So much so that you aren't sure if that was a joke. Even told. Wow, this is getting very meta. Yeah.
You both make my commute tolerable and enjoyable. Thanks guys. That is from Adam P in Gulfport, Mississippi. Nice, Adam, for you. From now on, whenever I make a joke, I'm going to add Waka Waka.
And that'll be just for Adam. Thanks a lot and we appreciate that. Thank you for listening to us and for letting us rag on you. We do it lovingly and jokingly.
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