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Fatal Farts: Can the Beaded Lacewing Insect’s Silent but Deadly Flatulence Really Kill Termites?


There is a saying about passing gas that goes, “silent but deadly”. What if that were actually true? What if you could fart and the smell could take out your enemy? That could be really bad and turn into a serious problem for people, but in the insect world it is true and there is one insect that has a fatal fart. There is a really cool looking insect called a beaded lacewing that is able to immobilize its prey with a fart. Here is what you need to know about this little insect and how they work.

Beaded Lacewing Larvae

The larvae are the stage of the beaded lacewing that can be a real danger. The larvae live in the nest of termites and feeds on the termites themselves. When the larva is hungry and is ready to feed it will release a toxic vapor from its anus, essentially releasing a fart where the smell can stun up to six termites. This allows the larvae enough time to move over to the termite and enjoy a meal.

Beaded Lacewing Habitat Fumes

When placed in a laboratory, scientists tested the fumes from the larvae of the beaded lacewing and its effects on termites. They realized that the smell that was set off was lasting about three hours on the termites that were in the path. The termites that were immobilized and not eaten by about that three-hour mark eventually died. The size of the beaded lacewing larvae was half the size of the termites that were being affected. That means the power behind the fart had some serious gusto. While they were testing what happened to the termites, they decided to see several other insects and bugs that can be found around a termite nest. They tried the deadly fart on fruit flies, small wasps and book lice which all, in turn, were unaffected by the smell and it failed to immobilize any other pests.

Professional Residential Exterminators & Commercial Pest Control Management in Austin, Round Rock, Pflugerville, Leander & Cedar Park TX

There is not much known about the beaded lacewing but they have sparked some thoughts on pests that emit some type of methane. One thing that is certain is that no matter the kind of pest, most people don’t want to change them in their homes. Contact A-Tex Pest Management to set up an appointment to come out and spray your home today!