I've got to admit, I'm confused by something here. I'm watching 2x20, and the two Hives heading towards Earth is treated as a bit of a doomsday scenario. But I'm confused as to exactly how they are such a threat - even assuming that at this juncture, Earth depleted the ZPM powering the Ancient weapons chair.

If the Wraith were to bombard Earth from orbit, they'd be killing all the humans they're trying to feed on. And it's not like they have massive information about Earth society, so how would they know where to target more strategically? It's not like sensors designed to detect Ancient weapons chairs are going to locate Earth-made chemical based weapons stockpiles.

It seems to me like a couple hundred Darts, whilst nasty, would not withstand the planet's military. The United States Air Force (USAF) alone has ten times that many air-to-air fighters according to Wikipedia, and Darts are shown to be quite vulnerable to Earth-made anti-air weapons. Even if the Wraith strategically bombarded all of the airfields before sending out the Darts, there are probably more than enough hand-held anti-air launchers to take them down.

Not to mention that even thousands of Wraith warriors on the Hives is not an awful lot in terms of modern military components, and the Wraith are never shown deploying any kind of land vehicle or heavy land weaponry. You can't exactly stun a tank.

In short, not that Earth forces would not take losses, but I struggle to see how the Wraith could effectively cull a planet the size of Earth with perfectly effective anti-personnel and anti-air weapons. I found the Goa'uld to be a more believable threat because orbital bombardment was a viable option for them- they had way more ships and didn't want the human population to survive.

So how is it that the Hives are treated as such an epic threat?

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    Because they would reveal the secret, that the military has been involved in multiple ongoing extraterrestrial wars to the general population?
    – Zoredache
    Nov 10 '13 at 20:48

The Wraith threat is a problem on multiple levels in terms of their ability to do damage, their ability to affect the Earth and Earth's ability to defend against the threat.

  1. They Wraith could use their technology to simply bombard all major sites of human existence. While this would kill millions, it would also undermine the Human infrastructure necessary to support a society of our size.

  2. It would also allow them to find and recognize all sites of effective Human resistance. They would either bombard those sites from orbit or infiltrate and with their superior physical abilities take such sites by force.

  3. One the resistance has been taken and the Stargates found, (assuming Humans didn't bury, hide or destroy the gates, they would find a way to power the gates and bring in reinforcements from the Pegasus Galaxy. While two ships may not be much of a threat, the Wraith have enough ships to subjugate a good portion of the galaxy, much like they did at home.

  4. After destroying sufficient infrastructure to return us to the Stone Age, they would simply feed until they had enough and then isolate the planet. Once the gate was theirs, they could use the Earth as a beachhead to try and spread out in the Milky Way Galaxy.

  5. With the Wraith's 'take no prisoners, show no mercy mentality', I don't see them holding back in their attack methods and using advanced science to damage the environment of the Earth to make it more difficult for Humans to survive, while they would be far less impeded. Dropping asteroids from orbit could make the Earth fairly inhospitable to the Human race in short order and a strategy well within the Wraith playbook. They didn't dominate a section of the Pegasus galaxy even with their relatively-speaking lower quality technology by playing fair.

  6. We also know a Hive ship using a ZPM would be nearly unstoppable by Human technology. So their first strategy might be to infiltrate any place on Earth with a ZPM and refit it to their Hiveship.

Wraith technology is rarely able to reach its full potential due this inefficient power generation, which was demonstrated when a Hive ship was equipped with at least one Lantean Zero Point Module, making it all but invincible, possessing far improved structural integrity, hull density and weapons capabilities. This ship was incredibly powerful, able to best even a fully powered Atlantis in battle and it took a nuclear weapon being detonated on the inside of the ship to destroy as it was too powerful for weapons fire, even Ancient drones, to take out. (ATL: "Enemy at the Gate")

Given that the Wraith were once a species which bred out of control until they were forced into hibernate while new food supplies were found or could be brought back from near extinction tells me they are a, from a biological standpoint, an invasive species with Human level intellect, superior physical abilities and several technological and biological advantages which put the Earth in great danger should they find their way to the planet. While their technology is inferior to most of the known advanced races, it is still superior to what is used on Earth, and even two hives should be considered a dangerous threat to Humanity.

  • Though humanoid in appearance, the Wraith are genetically closer to the Iratus bug than humans. The Wraith possess none of the normal human inhibiting proteins, giving them a frighteningly efficient regenerative mechanism in their genetic makeup, allowing their bodies to heal themselves.
  • Their regenerative abilities are so powerful that, as long as the cells are properly nourished, it is unlikely that the Wraith ever die from natural causes the way that humans do.
  • These abilities are powerful to the point that dismembered body parts have the ability to move on their own. This makes the Wraith incredibly resilient and able to survive weapon fire to the crushing depths of the ocean floor without any form of mechanical assistance. As seen in the Atlantis episodes: "Rising", "The Gift", "The Defiant One", "Submersion".

References from the Stargate Wikia: Wraith (species)

  • Virtually all of the alternatives you suggest would involve the mass slaughter of the humans they want to feed on.
    – DeadMG
    Nov 11 '13 at 16:29
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    There are billions of humans on Earth. Even if the death toll was extreme there would be plenty enough left for two hives after their loses and plenty for breeding purposes. From the Wraith perspective such losses are part of the process. Nov 11 '13 at 21:59
  • The Wraith have been shown to kill individuals or small groups before, but never mass slaughter.
    – DeadMG
    Nov 12 '13 at 16:50
  • They have also been shown to, at one point, to have conquered entire sections of their galaxy. I am certain uncounted billions perished. Nov 13 '13 at 0:03
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    Even if they didn't go to Earth, there are enough primitive worlds in vast quantity that they could feed on and expand their numbers. Even if Earth repelled them they would be able to cut a swath across the Galaxy, devouring worlds, building their forces and new hives. The problem with the Wraith is that they would keep coming back, and any individual victory would be a pyrrhic one as the Ancients learned. May 24 '16 at 21:18

So how is it that the Hives are treated as such an epic threat?

Whether or not such a small number of Hive ships would have actually been a threat (as determined by analysis in the other answers), they had to be treated as such because:

  • They know the city of Atlantis only survived the Wraith because of its shields, which the Wraith could not penetrate.
  • At this point in the show, as I recall, the SGC has yet to learn how the Wraith drove back the Lanteans to Atlantis, even though the Lanteans were at the height of their civilization.
    • What the Lanteans never learned about the Wraith will be discovered in 4x12, Spoils of War. The Lanteans could have won if they knew.
  • The Ancient technology found in our galaxy, that the SGC has been reverse-engineering, is inferior to what's been found on Atlantis.

So to err on the side of caution, the Wraith could never be allowed to know about our galaxy. As far as anyone knew, we would not have been able to stop them if they got a foothold on an unknown planet and spread from there.

  • There are also a lot of relatively unprotected humans in the Milky Way. Even if Earth was too well protected to harvest, the rest of the galaxy might provide a better feeding ground than in the Pegasus Galaxy. (not that such answers the actual question concerning the threat to Earth) Nov 11 '13 at 13:58

To start it off, the SGC would detect the hives with the long range sensors as they enter the solar system and prepare F-302 fighters to combat the Darts as the Daedalus is in Atlantis.

Once the hives reach orbit, I assume they'd deploy naquadah (or naquadriah) enhanced warheads to try and destroy them. Even if it worked on one ship, the other would send hundreds of Darts to cull humans all over the planet while the hive descends on the planet, blasting any armed resistance.

After a fair amount of humans have been culled, they'd deploy Darts to land warriors on the ground to feed. This would probably take place in major cities as their primary goal was to reach Earth and they accordingly stole information about it.

With the population in utter shock and ultimately subdued, the Wraith would easily find their way around; and with their regenerative abilities, they would heal from the few gunshot wounds given by the braver civilians. Once the military sends in ground troops, more darts would come to cull them before they could do damage. Once the damage was done, they would return to the hive(s) and return to Pegasus with the humans they've culled and share their knowledge of how to get to Earth. They'd just need to figure how to power a random gate to dial a planet in the Milky Way (the hives stole information about all the planets in their database) and send Darts to cull whenever they wished, and program their hyper drive engines to get to the Milky Way.

That is why the Wraith Hive Ships were perceived as a threat.


To my understanding precisely two things are stolen in 2x20. The coordinates of Earth and data on the Aurora mission, where a Wraith had tricked the ancients into upgrading their space-drive. Given these two clues, the Wraith Queen may decide to ally with other hives and lead any amount of Wraith to our planet. Despite the alleged infighting between Wraiths, I see all reason to be worried!


First of all, as in comment: that would reveal the existence of extraterrestrial lifeforms to Earth societies. Hostile extraterrestrial. And not a single one, but a number of them - the shock of that could alone destroy Earth economy and even if not the civil unrest would be dramatic - all that would most probably make ground for some Earth-born problems (China, Russia, Terrorists, Anti-USA, you name it) or at least make enemy attack much more likely to succeed due to chao. So this is probably the most important reason.

There is also technical possibility that they could bomb everything, or at least anything major, and then just gather up survivors for breeding. Given Earth population there would be still plenty people left, especially for only 2 Wraith Hives.

They had to have some ways to conquer planes, developed in Pegasus galaxy, either remaining from their War with Ancient (that would totally out-class any Earth military means) or their 'ordinary' feedings they carried out during last 10k years; it's very doubtful that they used whole huge fleets of Hives to conquer each single planet and take a note that some of them were more developed than Earth fe. homeworlds of Travellers or Ronon - they have still fallen and somehow I doubt that none of them didn't think of, or had, some fortifications or numerous army/navy/air arms.

Military-wise, yes it's unlikely that 1 or 2 hives alone would be able to conquer Earth. Even not united or so, where each country (alliance) fights for itself even if caught pretty much off-guard, as most of militaries are unknown & unfamiliar with enemy aliens that would suddenly drop from nowhere and started shooting their bases etc. Wraith, nonetheless more biologically-focused, had superior technology to Earth one at any given field: that would mean they would quite easily broke down military nets, searched for informations (even on 'basic internet'; also even majority of US forces wouldn't have any early - or sensible - warning before enemy attack) and so on.

The vehicles are general, IMO, plot-hole in that universe. For sake of common sense we could assume that they would be able to, quite easily, overpower them either with some EMP-pulses of sort or by employing their own vehicles that remained unseen for whole Stargate series (so did Earth ones except that funny 6-wheels with 0.50cal on top of them); going deeper into vehicle discussion we could assume that SG teams could easily benefit even from Humvees (seems like their top, any top in fact, is enough to block Dart beam device) and fe. SAR teams or bigger units deployed from Dedalus could bring along as much as even tanks or at least APCs.

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