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Use of Insects in Wars Throughout History


Military Insects

The Romans found bees to be an extremely useful military weapon. They would collect beehives and place them on catapults and fire them into beseiged cities or an attacking army. Castle defenders adopted this idea during the Middle Ages and would drop an occasional beehive onto the heads of an attacking army.

During World War One, the soft light emanating from glow worms were used by soldiers to read maps of the battlefield in the trenches at night.

Spiders were used by weapons manufacturers to spin silk that was used for the production of crosshairs in bomb sights.

The Germans used the Colorado potato bug to destroy potato crops in France during World War One and allegedly dropped boxes of potato bugs over Great Britain during World War Two to starve the English into submission.

In 1963, experiments were done to train “guard bugs”. The hope was that mosquitos, fleas, and other insects would act differently when they encountered humans and could be used as an insect tripwire to alert when an enemy was near.

Currently, honey bees are now being used to detect landmines. Researchers have had success by putting trace amounts of target chemicals used in explosives into the honey bees’ food supply. The bees are then released and will instinctively forage for food where landmines are buried since their senses can detect the same chemicals that they are conditioned to believe is where the food is located. By observing the locations where most of the bees hover looking for food, the researchers are able to detect the probability of where landmines located. The bees are about 97% accurate in finding landmines in controlled situations




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