A now-viral photo of a wasp peering through a window with a massive bosom amassed tens of thousands of likes on Twitter in January 2021, with some readers giving the full-figured insect the nickname “Cardi Bee,” after Bronx-born musician Cardi B.
Cardi Bee pic.twitter.com/YXP44ds4Ll
— mark normand (@marknorm) January 20, 2021
But a reverse-image search revealed that the photograph in question was definitely manipulated.
A photograph of the insect — sans breasts — first made an appearance in 2018, on the Reddit thread “Photoshop Battles.” A photoshop battle consists of Reddit users uploading an original photograph for subscribers to photoshop and manipulate, and then submitting their original artwork to the subthread.
The original photograph, “A wasp on the window,” was shared in 2018 and had received more than a dozen submissions at the time, including other comical manipulations like the “Wapszilla” movie poster and the “bugs on the windshield” of the space-bound Tesla.
The now-archived thread also featured the NSFW manipulation, “Yo, let that wasp in!” submitted by Reddit user simulatedmind in 2018. It appeared to go viral again in January 2021 when Twitter user Neon Leon posted a photograph of the “new invasive species of hornet” — a nod to the Asian “murder” hornets spotted for the first time in the U.S. in 2020.
A new invasive species of hornet has been spotted across North America, the Asian Magumbo Hornet. pic.twitter.com/Scn8DNJqZ7
— Neon Leon (@Thegoryend) January 20, 2021
And while the above tweet received more than 44,500 likes at the time of this writing, another tweet made by comedian Mark Normand that nicknamed the insect “Cardi Bee” had garnered nearly 17,000 likes.
Snopes spoke with Robert Zuparko, a curatorial assistant at the California Academy of Sciences Department of Entomology, who was not able to identify the species of the insect but did confirm that it belonged to the family Vespidae, which is one of several groups that have “wasp” as a common name.
While the bodacious wasp doesn’t actually exist in its curvy form, the photoshopped version of the insect is an effervescent reminder of the internet’s ability to keep fact-checkers on their toes.