Solar-Powered Hornets

Looking for some "green" technology to cut your energy bills? Maybe you should check out the Oriental hornet. Unlike many other wasp species, the Oriental hornet (Vespa orientalis) becomes most active in the heat of the afternoon. In fact, the industrious insect digs its nest most intensely when exposed to the most extreme rays from the sun. This odd behavior caught the attention of researchers at Tel Aviv University in Israel. Using atomic force microscopy (which provides three-dimensional images down to an atomic scale), the team zoomed in on the brown and yellow stripes on the hornet's abdomen. Although the surface, or cuticle, appears smooth, it actually contains layers and layers of microstructures that appear to "harvest parts of the solar radiation." In other words, the hornet may be a flying solar panel.

Up close, the brown stripes reveal a ridge-like structure, somewhat similar to a terraced hill. As light rays pass through each layer, the structures split the light and trap extra energy for conversion into electric power. The yellow stripe also has many layers that trap light, although the structures are different.

[Read the rest of the article at Answers in Genesis.]