Awesome Insects

The Bizarre Physics of Fire Ants

The Bizarre Physics of Fire Ants

You never want to get too close to a mound of fire ants. But from the comfortable distance of your browser, they’re neat little buggers. Vox explores some of the fascinating ways in which colonies stick together to form structures, and how they can act as both a solid or fluid.

True Facts: Trap Jaw Ants

True Facts: Trap Jaw Ants

With the help of footage from researchers, ZeFrank provides his lighthearted insights on the Odontomachus, a genus of ants with jaws that can open 180-degrees, then shut like a bear trap. In addition to grabbing prey, they can use their mandibles to eject unwanted intruders or extract themselves quickly from a threat.

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Ranger Ready Insect Spray

Ranger Ready Insect Spray

Don’t let mosquitoes and ticks ruin your outdoor adventures. Ranger Ready’s Picaridin-based insect repellents keep bugs at bay for up to 12 hours, and without neurotoxins like DEET, so they’re safe on skin. They come in three pleasant scents as well as unscented. They also make a long-wearing Permethrin clothing spray.

How Spiders Fly

How Spiders Fly

Despite their lack of wings, spiders can actually take flight. This video from the University of Bristol video explains a process called ballooning, in which spiders take advantage of static electrical charges and wind currents to carry silk – and their bodies – through the air.

Making a Hornet from Hardware

Making a Hornet from Hardware

Watch as a pile of ordinary brass nuts and bolts is transformed into a shiny sculpture of an insect by artist Ross the Random. We weren’t quite sure where he was going at first with the wing piece, but the finished work turned out to be quite amazing.

Lifelike Balloon Animals

Lifelike Balloon Animals

Masayoshi Matsumoto is no birthday party balloon artist. Nope, his specialty is creating complex balloon animals that belong in an art gallery. His inflatable sculptures require many more bends and twists than typical balloon art, resulting in greater detail and realism. Check out his YouTube channel for tutorials.

True Facts: Deception in the Rainforest

True Facts: Deception in the Rainforest

Among the awesome creatures in the rainforests are animals and insects that can camouflage into their surroundings, along with ones designed to scare off predators. Zefrank talks about these amazing evolutionary traits, accompanied by incredible imagery by photographers David Weiller and Thomas Marent.

Serenity Flying Ornithopter

Serenity Flying Ornithopter

This crazy-looking flying machine resembles some kind of angry dragonfly as it takes to the skies. Instead of engines, the remote-controlled Serenity Ornithopter flies by rapidly flapping multiple sets of wings. The back half of the video is entirely in Russian, but it provides a brief up-close look at the unusual aircraft.

Insects Take Flight in Slow-Motion

Insects Take Flight in Slow-Motion

Dr. Adrian Smith of Ant Lab is the man you want to see if you’ve got a question about bugs. Among his many buggy pursuits is capturing slow-motion footage of insects as they take flight. In this video, you’ll enjoy a variety of bugs lifting off, many of which are less graceful than you’d think.

True Facts: Army Ant Riders

True Facts: Army Ant Riders

ZeFrank takes a few minutes to explain the fascinating habits of Eciton army ants, from the massive community structures they build using their bodies, to their coordinated swarms, to their killer instincts and protein-rich dietary habits. You’ll also meet some unique insects that like to hitch rides on the ants.

Giant Metal Scorpion

Giant Metal Scorpion

The scorpions we encounter here in the U.S. are relatively small, but this oversize metal creature measures 8.25″ long. This awesomely creepy creation is made by Thailand artists Kreatworks using recycled automotive and machine parts. Also, it turns out that there are real scorpions that are almost the same size in South Africa.

Robot Hummingbird Films Butterflies

Robot Hummingbird Films Butterflies

Nature photographers John Downer Productions flew a realistic, robotic hummingbird deep into a forest packed with hundreds of millions of monarch butterflies. The drone captured amazing footage of the swarm as they awoke from their long winter’s nap in Mexico. From the BBC Series Spy in the Wild.

Kabuto Sumo Board Game

Kabuto Sumo Board Game

The guys behind BoardGameTables.com have created a fun, family-friendly game that anyone can play in about 15 minutes. In Kabuto Sumo, players take on the role of some badass beetles, and attempt to push their opponents out of the ring. Each wrestler disc has a unique shape and a special power that affects their moves.

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Hornet Flight Slo-mo

Hornet Flight Slo-mo

Nature photographer Lothar Lenz captured this incredible macro slow-motion video of hornets in motion, as they fly around, sip water, and live their lives near his home in the Eifel region of Germany. The crystal clear sounds of the buzzing insects are especially immersive with headphones on.

Human vs. Giant Spider Web

Human vs. Giant Spider Web

Walking into a spider web can be a sticky and annoying situation for both humans and spiders. But what would happen if spiders and their webs were much larger? Could you extract yourself before you get wrapped up like a giant fly? What If ponders this horrifying situation in a video that’s definitely not for arachnophobes.

Ant Colony Time-lapse

Ant Colony Time-lapse

Chip Channel spends most of his time restoring rusty old toys. He also has an ant farm. Watch as these industrious little harvester ants start out with a clean slate of sand, and proceed to build out a complex maze of tunnels for their colony to call home. Everything you see here happened in 24 hours.

Insect Takeoffs

Insect Takeoffs

Despite their size, insects feature some incredibly sophisticated organic engineering. Using high-speed macro photography, Ant Lab shows off the way that eight different types of bugs take to the air. That plume moth looks a little drunk when it takes off.

The Mighty Weaver Ant

The Mighty Weaver Ant

Kurzgesagt introduces us to the oecophylla weaver ant. These long-legged insects dwell in tropical jungles, building incredible colonies that spread upwards and sideways between trees. They’re not only incredibly industrious, they’re fierce warriors and defenders of their kingdoms.

Tortoise Beetle Take-off

Tortoise Beetle Take-off

Before his passing in 2019, scientist and photographer Andreas Kay captured some amazing imagery of the diverse lifeforms in Ecuador. We especially enjoyed this slow motion, macro footage of a tortoise beetle as it opens its wings and lifts off. He also rigged up a spherical treadmill to shoot footage of insects as they walk.

Hoppers in Slow-Motion

Hoppers in Slow-Motion

After introducing us to the charming little globular springtail, biologist Dr. Adrian Smith AntLab wanted to capture slow-motion footage of other jumping insects. In this fascinating video, you’ll see how leafhoppers, treehoppers, planthoppers, and froghoppers spring up off of the ground and take flight.

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Murder Hornet Action Figure

Murder Hornet Action Figure

In case you missed it, one of the many threats facing humanity (and the insect world) is the Vespa Mandarinia aka “Asian Giant Hornet” aka “Murder Hornet.” Revoltech’s RevoGeo line is offering an incredibly lifelike 7″ long plastic figure that captures every detail of the terrifying flying killer, complete with posable body parts.

A Virtual Firefly Experience

A Virtual Firefly Experience

Every time we see a firefly, childhood memories come flooding back of warm Summer nights in our backyard. Discover Life in America (DLiA) and photographer Radim Schreiber teamed up to educate us about these luminescent beetles, then wow us with soothing imagery from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

The Globular Springtail

The Globular Springtail

Not only does the Globular Springtail have an awesome name, it also has the ability to perform crazy fast spins as it jumps into the air. Its rotational speed has been clocked at over 22,000 RPM, or about 374 flips per second. AntLab’s Dr. Adrian Smith captured slow motion footage of the little guy in action.

The Mad Haterpillar

The Mad Haterpillar

Scientist Steve Mould introduces us to one of the strangest insects we’ve seen. Like other caterpillars, the uraba lugens aka gum leaf skeletoniser gradually sheds its exoskeleton as it grows, but it keeps a stack of its old head shells stacked on its head like a crazy hat. And nobody seems to know why it does this.

Why Honeybees Love Hexagons

Why Honeybees Love Hexagons

If you’ve ever seen a beehive up close, you know how its made up of hundreds of nearly perfect hexagonal cells. Why is that, and how do bees know how to make such perfect geometry? TED-Ed provides a brief explanation of this strange intersection of evolutionary biology and architecture.

Fly

Fly

Petrick Animation Studio presents a very short film inspired by “real events” that happened at their Moscow, Russia office. Along the way, you’ll meet a fly guy named Fly, and follow him through his brief, but magical journey through life.

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