Wasps have sharp senses of taste and smell. They also possess advanced ways of communication that help them to transfer the needed information about danger or threats quickly in order to protect their nests. These ways heavily rely on their senses and ability to recognize certain messages by using these senses.
Wasps do not understand humans. It is not possible to pass concrete information to them as there is no common method of communication. Nevertheless, wasps are able to perceive human movements and even can be trained in a specific environment under artificial conditions.
Communication with humans lacks a shared canal. Wasps have a strong sense of smell and taste they use for communication. Their senses help them survive in the change of weather. They also play a very important role during hibernation. Wasps are able to recognize the smell of their food and identify chemical signals that can be related to danger, food, temperature, etc.
How do wasps communicate?
Wasps are able to communicate in several different ways. These include releasing and smelling pheromones. Humans can not smell these pheromones, but for wasps, they are direct signs of danger to other wasps.
Moreover, these chemicals can be used for communicating a wide range of things, for example, mating, protection of the nest, messages about food sources. The pheromones go with a certain smell which determines the significance of the message to other wasps.
Wasps are also able to communicate through tapping their stomachs. Scientists have discovered this way of communicating between wasps recently. The research suggests that wasps bang their stomachs against the nest walls to communicate with family. (How do wasps hear? Learn it here: Can wasps hear? (Function, Limitation, Ultrasound))
Depending on the rhythms and drumming patterns, the messages can indicate different things, such as the location of food sources, the quality of food, etc. Previously it was thought that in this way, the wasps were showing that they are hungry, but new research suggests it’s an advanced way of communication between wasps.
Also, wasps can use their wings to signal danger to other wasps. The wasp wing beat varies from 117 to 247 beats per second. This signal can stimulate other wasps to protect the nest from danger.
Another interesting fact about wasps is that social wasps are able to recognize their colony mates by the special odor they have. And this means that the wasp, which doesn’t belong to a certain colony, will be treated in a different way if it approaches an unknown nest. Here wasps also can use their pheromones to signal potential danger.
Can humans pass information to wasps?
Humans can not pass the information to wasps. Wasps have completely different communication than people do, so it’s impossible to communicate with wasps. However, there are certain things that can serve as communication, meaning rapid movements can be perceived as a danger by wasps.
As mentioned above, wasps can also communicate via pheromones that humans can’t smell. And the wing beat of a single wasp is impossible to notice and hear. Their ability to understand the chemical signals for hunger, aggression, and alarm accurately is the most powerful sense that the wasps possess.
How do wasps react to humans?
Wasps are very good at identifying danger through movements. Rapid moves make a wasp think that there can be a potential threat. That’s also when the wasps start using their defense mechanism – sting.
The combination of several senses, such as taste, smell, and sight, helps a wasp to detect certain movements. Usually, when someone sees a wasp, the reaction is always the same: quickly moving hands and trying to kill the wasp. (Also rarely known: Do Wasps Sense Fear?)
Mostly, this reaction doesn’t work, and the human can get stung by the wasp. And the main mistake here lies in the bad reaction: sudden and rapid movements.
Wasps do not specifically react to humans; they respond to their behavior.
That’s why people always recommend staying calm when a wasp is around you and then slowly walk away from the area where the wasp is. If a wasp lands on you, there should be something that attracts it to you, for example, your smell, perfume you’re wearing, sweat, etc.
If you want to avoid getting stung by a wasp, you should wear yellow, white, or other pastel or pale colors. This works well if you’re going on a picnic to the areas where there can be wasps nearby.
More helpful tips in my article 7 Things You Should Do When a Wasp Lands on You.
Can you train a wasp?
There are many examples where scientists tried to train wasps; however, this is not possible in everyday life settings.
For example, researchers from the University of Michigan trained wasps to make them recognize the faces of other wasps. Individual bees and wasps can be trained to learn problems for a sugary reward.
The results of the research showed that wasps are able to recognize and remember other wasp’s faces accurately. Moreover, the wasps are also able to learn to recognize human faces as well.
The wasps have the ability to learn and recognize the landscapes surrounding their nests. It’s all due to the specialized brain mechanisms that evolved in the wasp brain. There is no evolutionary reason for wasps to learn and process human faces; however, their brain can learn recognition by creating the holistic representation of certain complex images.
This helps to put features of the human face together in the wasp brain, which results in recognizing a specific human face.
Due to their incredible sense of smell, wasps can be used to detect specific chemical odors. And research from the University of Georgia shows that someday wasps could be used to find explosives, illegal drugs, and even buried bodies.
Using wasps could be even cheaper than using trained dogs, and the results could be much better due to the chemical detection abilities of wasps.
Of course, an average person without any knowledge about wasps can’t train a wasp. It’s almost impossible because you need to have a specialized lab and a team of researchers to conduct specific wasps training.