Picture a hornet so big it’s sometimes mistaken for a small bird, with a sting so venomous it kills about 40 people a year. That’s just one of the frightening creatures described on Fresh Air today by my guest Amy Stewart.
Stewart had a best-seller a couple of years ago called Wicked Plants, about strange and dangerous inhabitants of the botanical world. For her new book, Wicked Bugs, Stewart moves from flora to fauna, detailing more than a hundred species that creep, crawl, fly, sting, bite, infect, invade, and annoy us in ways that will fascinate and sometimes nauseate you.
She’ll describe a wasp that takes control of a roach by stinging its brain. That makes the roach docile so that the wasp that can lay her eggs on roach’s underside. When the eggs hatch, the larvae burrow into the roach’s abdomen to feed on its its organs. If you haven’t gagged yet, you’ll enjoy more stories of insects, slugs, snails, spiders and millipedes, all told in Stewart’s lively way.
Fresh Air is on at 3 and 7 on WHYY, 91FM. If you’re listening outside the Philly area, find a station here. And you can always listen, download a podcast or get more information on the Fresh Air website.