Wasp Uses Venom to Turn Cockroaches into Zombies

By Anupum Pant


The Emerald Cockroach Wasp A.K.A Jewel wasp – a metallic blue/green colored, 2 cm long wasp – is something that will blow your mind by the way it reproduces. More specifically, the Emerald Cockroach Wasp uses venom to hack into cockroach brains, turns them into zombies and lays eggs inside them. With time, this live yet immobile cockroach body is hollowed out by the larvae of the wasp and the young ones come out eventually.

How does it reproduce? (details)

At a time when the female Emerald Cockroach Wasp is ready to lay eggs, it competes with the other females to find a host to lay their eggs. When a wasp finds a good host – only this one kind of cockroach – the weird reproductive activity begins.

  1. The wasp attacks the cockroach and injects the first dose of venom into its central nervous system that is aimed at making the front legs of the cockroach paralyzed. Killing the cockroach with its venom is simple for the wasp, but keeping it alive is what matters here. So, the right amount of venom at the perfect place is injected.
  2. Now, when the cockroach can’t move its front legs, the wasp attacks again at a perfectly still moment to inject the second dose of venom. It carefully sticks the stingers into the brain of the victim in a way that the perfect amount of venom reaches the exact place in the brain of the cockroach which controls escape reflex. In short, it performs a micro neurosurgery and turns the cockroach into a zombie – Now it gets completely under control.
  3. Next, the wasp chews off half the antennae from the cockroach’s head and drinks its blood to gain energy.
  4. Then it grabs the cockroach by its antennae and hauls it into a burrow, lays the eggs on the abdomen of the cockroach, goes out and obstructs the entryway of the burrow using small pebbles to ensure that the host doesn’t escape. The calm zombie-cockroach is left in there to take care of the larvae for several days.
  5. The larvae hatches, drills a hole into the body of the cockroach, eats it from the inside, hollows is and comes out after a few weeks as a grown up wasp. The cockroach is dead.

Did you know? There is funny sticker selling on the internet – Jewel wasp vs. Zombie cockroach sticker. (Just FYI. I have no affiliation with it)