Wasps are very visual insects.

They depend on a keen sense of sight to catch moving prey. They are less good with static objects, especially from a distance.

In a similar way to the Waspinator fooling them into thinking it is a real enemy nest, orchids mimic female wasps in appearance and smell to elicit copulating behaviour by the male wasp and thereby pollination of the orchid.

Wasps can recognise each other’s faces and bodies, not just through chemical communication (releasing pheromones), their faces are far more different than you’d expect.

In a study by Cornell University, the researcher painted wasps’ faces and abdomens, altering their yellow markings. Put back in the wasp’s nest, these painted wasps were the victims of considerable aggression. “Wasps did not immediately recognize the alleged intruders, and fights among former friends broke out,” the researcher said. The same occurred when a number of wasps were given a different scent.

Normally, real invaders are mauled and killed.

In a really fascinating repeated experiment, two wasps from different colonies were put in a glass case together and, as expected, they fought. They were separated and removed from the case, then put back in the day after. Gradually as the week went on they became more and more relaxed with each other and by the end of the week, they would crawl around next to each other as if they were from the same colony.

Wasps respond to their environment based on visual stimuli, thus an artificial wasp nest like the Waspinator will be perceived as a competitor and threat, and will be avoided.

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