For over 38 years, it was thought that Wallace’s giant bee had been extinct. But come to find out, the few that were left were hiding in a termite nest in the Maluku Islands in Indonesia.
Scientists were able to find a female specimen of the world’s largest bee after multiple days of searching termite nests in the heavy heat of tropical forests in Indonesia. They were able to find a hole that was large enough for a bee the size of Wallace’s giant bee.
The bee is named after British naturalist, Alfred Russel Wallace, who first described the bee in 1858. He described them as a large black wasp-like insect with the jaws of a stag beetle.
The female bees are the ones that are the largest as they measure almost 1.5 inches in length while their wingspan is over 2.5 inches. The male bees are not nearly as big as their female counterparts.
Wallace, who had encountered thousands of specimens over his many expeditions, was not very interested in the bee that would be named after him, only writing one sentence in his journal.
While this rediscovery is being celebrated by the scientific community, there is worry about the very vulnerable bee as this could cause poachers to want to find the bee and sell it. A specimen of a dead Wallace’s giant bee was sold for $9,000 in 2018 on eBay.
Other worries also include the deforestation of the area, which is facing many species native to Indonesia.
This is a huge issue that we have to face as we are causing the extinction of thousands of animals and insects due to things like deforestation and global warming. It is up to us to help insects like Wallace’s giant bee survive and live peacefully.
Photo from NBC News