Wasps and Hornets

Gavin Pitts is back with Joe, Kevin, and Toren to discuss wasps, from the world’s smallest of the amoeba-sized Fairy Fly to the Asian Giant Hornet! Plus the difference between wasps, hornets, ants and bees, how the Green Fairy Wasp “drives” cockroaches around via their antennae, a pop quiz on the Schmidt Sting Pain Index, several recent wasp-related deaths, and some terrible wasp-related movies.

News: We’re doing another live podcast at EXP Restaurant & Bar with special guests Sneaky Dragon and a live One Minute Medical School! Details at tickets available at Caustic Gear.

Music: “I Got The Stinger” by Jabo Smith’s Rhythm Aces




22 Responses

  1. I was just telling a coworker about how wasps can create zombie slaves last week, awesome. I’ll send him this link so he can learn more.

    In the roll-playing game Exalted there are Wyld-mutated monsters called heart wasps which implant their eggs in people who sleep outdoors when travelling between towns without taking the appropriate precautions. the eggs hatch (and the larvae consume the heart first, hence the name) and the magical creatures are able to temporarily animate their new home and guide it to any nearby towns or settlements. then when matured they burst forth at night and infect new hosts. the victims are said to appear dim-witted, puffy, and tend to hum to themselves monotonously.

  2. Glad to see Gavin used so many of my suggestions 🙂 A few minor goofs though – even leaving out the sawflies, who are in the Symphyta, not the Apocrita, there ARE vegetarian wasps. Gall-forming wasps, for example, and even more importantly the Fig Wasps.

    Also, wasps can come in any colour including neon blue, although the brighter they are the more likely they are to be advertising a painful sting.

    And a Fourth Doctor story, Ark in Space, featured the giant space-faring parasitoids the Wirrrn, and a number of actor horrified by green bubblewrap. Although given what the Wirrrn were doing to the crew of the space station, horror is *absolutely* justified 🙂

  3. btw- I don’t know why my mouth manged “petiole” to “pedicle”, and I didn’t catch it. Clearly I have a wasp grub in my tongue and/or brain 🙂 Wasp waist= Petiole. 🙂

  4. Looks like this site is getting scraped by spammers and scanners. Just got this in my inbox.

    This email is from China domain name registration center, which mainly deal with the domain name registration in China. We received an application from kenpo Ltd on June 24th, 2013. They want to register “causticsodapodcast” as their internet keyword and China/Asia (CN/ASIA) domain names. But after checking it, we find this name conflicts with your company. In order to deal with this matter better, so we send you email and confirm whether this company is your distributor or business partner in China or not?.

    [snipped by Joe to remove spam links]

    1. You’re getting that because you use your email address in your Name field when commenting. The email field is not displayed publicly but the name is.

      I’ll edit all your posts to say just “gmuir77” for your username. If there’s something else you’d rather use, let me know.

      That’s a pretty regular spam email for any domain owner. I also get a couple of actual bulk sellers of caustic soda assuming I’d be interested and spamming me with “great deals” about once a week.

  5. Great episode guys! Really funny and entertaining.

    I have to say that this podcast would not be nearly so good if it weren’t for those terrible accents you do. 😉 Love them. “Go hillbilly!” – one of my favourite quotes from you guys! This was especially funny in this podcast, cause the guy you gave the hillbilly accent to was actually a trained entomologist, probably not a hillbilly. Check out the video Raptor Chick posted for his accent.

    Gavin, you are true Caustic Soda material, given that your American accent was just about as bad as Kevin’s Australian accent (which actually sounds more like a Scottish accent, as do all of his accents regardless whether they are actually from Scotland). I recommend that you have a spinoff podcast where you read the news from other countries with their accents! That would be awesome.

    Thanks again for making my favourite podcast.

    1. Super great accent work. Such enthusiasm while simultaneously burping and melting! So refreshing to my linguist’s ear from Kevin’s accents, which invariably pass through Russian, have a good chew on Scottish and end in Drunken Head Injury.

  6. Okay I’m going to clear up a few things about the Hunger Games scene you guys talked about, first thing in the book she climbed 30-40 feet (sorry for the imperial system) up the tree not 20 like in the movie. Second the book explained that the girl with the bow was supposed to be a horrible shot and only had the bow because she wasn’t as good as the others with a sword (or something like that its been a while). And that’s why they gave up with the bow after a couple of shots because they didn’t want to waste all their arrows (she really was terrible). They even tried climbing the tree but couldn’t get to her because the branches were too thin (Katniss was an experienced climber and small enough to get that high) After they decided to wait her out they did set up a sentry but they fell asleep during the night. The movie made the scene really ridiculous (it was already a little far-fetched) as it did with almost every scene.

  7. Addition to the Pop Culture section.


    Her real name is Janet Van Dyne, she was able to shrink to insect size, grow translucent insect wings and can discharge bio-electric energy blasts which she called her wasp stings. She is one of the five founding members of the Avengers and the one who gave the group its name.

    She was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1963.

    She last appeared in The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes cartoon series where they changed her back story a little from the comics. Would love to see her character in the movies but doubt that will happen.

  8. Hey guys,

    LOVE the podcast but this particular episode has taken me a very long time to be able to gain the courage to download it. Thought you might enjoy the story of possibly the worst and embarrassing day of my life.

    This happened to me 5 years ago when I was 17, it was summer and the weather was great but it was getting a little cold and dark out. Me and my boyfriend at the time decided that we should make a fire while we waited for our friends to show up at our usual spot at the river.
    First of all my boyfriend was the first person to go to the little woods that was about 40 meters away from where we were set up. After a while he came back with about 4 twigs and decided to go and do the job myself, before I left he told me to careful of “the stinging nettles”.
    I go over to a huge dead empty tree and start kicking bits of the wood off in hope to get a big chunk to avoid keep going back. All of a sudden I feel the stinging nettles my ex was talking about and suddenly, I’m in a CLOUD of something and they sound angry as hell.
    I’m being stung left right and center before I sprint out of the woods and too our spot.. I start taking of my clothes as fast as I could as they were getting stuck in my mesh top and great, my friends had arrived. In front of 15 of my closest friends I was screaming like a maniac, running out of the woods, almost completely naked.
    I got stung over 120 times and was in the worst possible pain imaginable and to this day, I cant forget the look on my friends faces.

    But thanks for the episode,it was great! It’s made me a little less scared of them now.