It is easy to be dismissive of insects due to their small size – witness expressions like “I will crush you like a bug”. Yet some insects have overcome the limitation of their small size by working together in huge societies. These societies are so finely tuned in the way they operate that it is as if they were a single being – or, in the words of David Attenborough, a ‘super-organism’. By working together, these tiny creatures achieve great things. They are ecologically very successful and economically very important to people. In this documentary you will learn more about these societies and how they operate. You will learn that these insect societies are not all shining examples of cooperative utopias, and what happens when two insect societies meet head on. Watch, learn and enjoy, and as you move along in the documentary answer this series of questions. Type your answers into this worksheet. The Answer to any one question must not exceed 20 words.
1. Why does the sand wasp put a caterpillar into the hole it is going to lay her eggs in?
2. Why is it beneficial for the paper wasps to only have one wasp lay eggs instead of all of the females?
3. About how many different species of bees exist today?
4. What new material do the bees have to build their nests that the wasps never had?
5. How many bumble bees exist by the end of one season?
6. Why does the queen bee eat the eggs?
7. What are the largest bees that exist in the world?
8. Why is it that if you get stung by one of the giant Asiatic bees then you are likely to be stung by many more?
9. Stinging is an expensive type of defense why?
10. What other defense does e the colony have instead of stinging?
11. How does the moth avoid being attacked by the bees?
12. How are wood ants able to capture and kill prey much bigger than themselves?
13. What is a disadvantage of building a large nest?
14. What is the defense mechanism the ants use to prevent the disadvantage in 13 above?
15. How long can a queen flying ant live for? How many times does she need to mate?
16. What supports the ants to let them cross water that remains in the mangroves?
17. How do night ants compete against the harvester ants for seeds?
18. What do termites eat?
19. How tall would the termite homes be if they were scaled to human size?
20. Why do the magnetic termites build their homes in the direction they do?
21. What is the main purpose of the above-ground termite mounds? Why?
22. How many termites exist in a square meter?
23. How do the Matebele ants attack the termite mounds?