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Do flies and wasps feel anger?

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AMscientist | 15:08 Thu 15th Dec 2011 | Science
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Hi there i'm a amateur scientist and have always been interested in science and to date have racked up many hundreds of experiments some of which i'll be sharing with you.

During summer my house like others were full of flies and wasps, as usual i'd spray them and they'd go mad for a bit and dive bomb you which had me thinking is the divebombing random as we're in the way or are the flies and wasps specifically going for us?
This led me to conduct several experiments where i'd have a life sized mannequin with my worn clothes with my dna, pheromones and sweat to replicate a human being i also had a tower of similar size constructed of organic material.

The experiment was 30 times of having flies and 30 times of having wasps and they were sprayed with many different chemicals and chemical mixes for 30 seconds bursts whilst i was out of the room and this was observed and recorded by myself via several hd video cameras.


Flies, out of 30 times the flies flew into the "human" 27/30
Wasps out of 30 times the wasps flew into the "human" 30/30

This tells me that i their dying seconds they made a conscious decision to "Attack" the human as they avoided the organic material most of the time.

What do you think of my findings?


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I think You need to get out more!
lmao Gowron
I think it a reasonable conclusion but I'd be concerned that you can not tell the reason for the apparent attack. Can one really assume an emotion of anger as the cause ? Can it not just be down to instinct ? For the wasps there would be useful to have evolved a way to protect the nest. I'm less sure about flies though.
think you need to get yourself a girl friend......
These are handy for the Home AMscientist

I wouldn't have thought flies or wasps felt or thought anything. They don't have brains as such, just a rudimentary nervous system. They're driven by pre-programmed instinctive responses to various stimuli, don't ask me how that works - haven't a clue!
Excellent findings that need publication in a suitable scientific journal - I'd suggest Beano or Dandy.
Your experiment has no functional value. It needs to be repeated many times with individual chemicals to find out which is most likely to engage a reaction. Doing this test with mixed and/or named chemicals is like walking across a bury road blindfolded and if you make it to the other side to say it is 100% safe to do so.

Have you considered that the 'divebombing' may not be not intentional, at least by the flies?

Insects have different taste sensors, some even in their feet, so they may just be trying to avoid the toxic droplets. In fact, this is what I would deduce.
busy road...
Are you hallucinating on LSD, by any chance?
In my experience wasps have nothing but anger, especially when they are brahms & liszt after feeding off the rotten pears at the bottom of my orchard.
I think they do feel anger, I mean if someone was spraying chemicals on me I would definately attack them, wouldn't you.
Fascinating. Takes me back to the days when I used to review D.Phil dissertations.
What control did you have?
Did you have 30 flies / wasps that weren't sprayed? How did they behave?

Please define 'attack'. Did the wasps atempt to sting the dumy? How do you know they weren't seeking refuge?
It's a valid experiment, even if you can only apply your conclusions to that particular spray.

As for the response being just "instinctive", surely anger is instinctive even for us humans. People dont tend to put rational thought into being angry! :-)

A tally of hits on the "organic matter" would have helped though. What sort of organic matter is this btw? Meat? Veg? A mixture of the two? And how did you manage to spray the stuff while out of the room?
The results of my own experiments show that most times the offending insect heads straight for a source of daylight, window or door, with their nervous systems in catastrophic failure. I imagine their instinct is to get away from the source of the toxin and try to get clean.

Of course in fairness, my house isn't manky enough to have that many flies hanging about. :)
As an ex pest controller I can tell you that wasps do get a tad wound up when you mess with their nests!!
I think we're getting trolled softly. But i'd love to hear about the other hundreds of experiments. Also I think that you need to clean your house more often if it gets full of flies in the summer.
When hornets get drunk on rotten figs in our garden they just lean on my shoulder, tell me I am their best mate and buzz off like a lancaster bomber with one engine misfiring. Almost completely harmless.
I think you should spend more time designing your experiment than carrying it out.

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