Pest control

Assassin Bugs Use Bait And Camouflage To Lure Unsuspecting Termites To Their Deaths

Assassin Bugs Use Bait And Camouflage To Lure Unsuspecting Termites To Their Deaths

 

Insects are constantly tending to their own survival during their short lives. Some insects are naturally endowed with more effective survival methods than others. No matter how well a particular insect species is protected from predators, no type of insect can afford to relax within such a hostile environment. This is especially true for termites. Termite predators are prevalent in most regions where termites can be found. There exists several different ant species that regularly declare war on termite colonies. Unfortunately for termites, ants normally win. Obviously, ants are relatively small creatures, so how would termites hold up against larger forms of insect prey? The answer is just as you would expect–not well. When considering all the different types of bugs that prey on termites, assassin bugs would have to be the most feared among termites. Since termites are elusive creatures, it is rare to find them defending their colonies against enemy incursions in the wild. Luckily, Dr. Elizabeth McMahon, a University of North Carolina biology professor, managed to observe a termite colony being attacked by a single assassin bug. What amazed Dr. McMahon was the assassin bugs use of bait and camouflage to lure its termite prey into certain death.

 

While conducting field research in the Costa Rican rainforests, Dr. McMahon noticed several termites venturing out of their nests for food. Strangely, she also noticed that a part of the termite nest had been moving. She quickly realized that this moving object was actually an assassin bug that glued fragments of a termite nest to its back in order to invade a termite nest unseen. Once the assassin bug reached the nest entrance it impaled an emerging worker termite with its mouthparts before sucking out all of the termites innards. However, the assassin bug was still hungry, so it used the termite corpse as bait to lure more termites toward the entrance of the nest. The assassin bug then killed the next worker termite and repeated the process until the assassin bug had consumed the innards of thirty one individual termites. These termites continued to move to the entrance due to their habit of consuming fellow colony members after they die. Termites need to consume dead colony members for the nutrition that they offer. The assassin bug’s camouflage was the perfect choice, as the blind worker termites assume that this camoflauge is just a part of the nest that had fallen apart. The worker termites never expect an assassin bug to be hiding behind pieces of their nesting shell. Dr. McMahon was the first person to document this predatory behavior, and she caught it on tape. The assassin bug’s seemingly intelligent baiting method remains one of the most sophisticated predatory behaviors ever to observed in insects.

 

Do you think that an assassin bug’s uniquely effective predatory behavior is a sign of intelligence in an insect, or is it a matter of instinct?

Moths Have Developed Particular Flight Patterns That Help Them Escape From Predators

Moths Have Developed Particular Flight Patterns That Help Them Escape From Predators

 

Unless you are a professional entomologist, you probably don’t have much to say about moths. Wasps are not the most exciting of insects, but if you have ever stepped on one, then you may have noticed something strange. When people crush moths, a powdery residue can often be seen coming off of them. In reality, this smokey-substance was not any type of powder; instead what you saw were scales. That is right, moths have scales too. In fact, the moth’s family name is Lepidoptera, which means “scale wing”. We all know fish to have scales, which may be necessary for some aquatic organisms, but why would a flying insect need scales? The scales that are located on a moth’s wings actually provide a number of beneficial uses.

 

Moths possess wings that are covered in scales mainly to assist with flight. When moths are flying around, air gets trapped in between their wings and scales, which creates lift. There is also another reason as to why scales are important to moths, and it turns out that their lives depend on these seemingly functionless scales. When moths get caught in spider webs, their scales come in handy. As you may know from crushing a moth in the past, a moth’s tiny powder-like scales can easily become detached from their wings. When a moth’s body adheres to a spider webs sticky surface, a moth can simply fly away while leaving their detached scales sticking to the silken spider web. Luckily for moths, it is the moth’s scales that attach to a sticky spider web, and not a moth’s wings. However, these scales can sometimes draw bird predators toward a moth, especially if the scales display a colorful design. In these cases, moths resort to an erratic flying technique that leaves birds dizzy as they try to track down their insect-meal. Butterflies also resort to this method of predator evasion.

 

Do you think that the scales on moth wings could be replicated in robots that are built to mimic a moth or a butterflies flight movements?

 

 

Public School Teachers Are Protesting Their School’s Bed Bug-Infested Conditions

Public School Teachers Are Protesting Their School’s Bed Bug-Infested Conditions

 

If you are in your adult years now, then you may not have had to worry about bed bugs in your school as a child. Sadly, bed bugs have become so numerous in the world that they are beginning to make appearances within schools. Just during the past two months, several stories have been released in the media that describe bed bug infestations within American public schools. Some of these bed bug infestations are not being handled properly by school administrative authorities. At least this is what several teachers and staff members at a public school in Buffalo, New York are claiming. In response to the administration’s failure to respond appropriately to the presence of bed bugs within a school, several teachers have band together in order to file a grievance against the school district’s leadership.

 

At the moment numerous parents in Buffalo are worried that their children are going to bring bed bugs home with them from school. Bed bugs have been spotted multiple times within the public school, which is being referred to as school number thirty seven. According to the Buffalo Teachers Federation President Philip Rumore, school employees, students and parents are all hoping that the school district will decide to professionally monitor and control the bed bug situation in the school so that teachers and students do not have to go to school worrying about bed bugs.

 

The school district sent letters to the student’s parents that describe the bed bug issue within the school. Pest control professionals have also visited the school. These professionals believe that the bed bugs were brought into the school by an individual. Students are worried about bed bug bites, and teachers are worried about both bed bugs and angry parents. The school district has claimed that if a student brings termites to their family’s home from school, then the school district will direct the affected families to the proper resources–that is big of them.

 

Would you allow your kid to attend school if you knew that the school was infested with bed bugs?

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Surprise Cockroach Sighting Causes A Crash

A Surprise Cockroach Sighting Causes A Man To Crash His Car

 

Hiring a pest control professional to inspect a home for insect infestations is a normal and everyday occurrence, but how often do people suspect insects of infesting their vehicles? Although it may seem out of the ordinary to discover large insects in your car, many people have reported finding insects in their car while driving. If you have a fear of insects or spiders, then you can understand how finding a bug in your car could be potentially hazardous. In fact, many people have caused accidents after discovering creepy-crawlies within their vehicles. Recently a sixty one year old woman crashed her car into an overhead bridge after becoming startled by an ugly bug that she found within her vehicle.

 

A female senior citizen crashed her red Mazda into a staircase that led to a road-bridge after panicking over a cockroach that she spotted in her car. Pictures of the crash have been posted to social media sites for all the world to see. The pictures show a car that has been badly damaged by making contact with the base of a concrete stairwell. Luckily, there were no pedestrians located on the staircase at the time of the crash. The woman was alone in her car at the time of the accident, but her son soon arrived on the scene to offer his shaken mother support.

 

Although it may seem obvious, a private driving instructor, Patrick Ong, recommends staying calm when pests are located in your vehicle while it is in motion. According to experts, the best way to prevent insects from gaining access to your car is to never eat in a car. Cleaning your vehicle regularly will nearly guarantee a lack of bugs in your car. Inspecting grocery bags for bugs is also recommended before placing them into your car, as insects often hitch rides from food-markets into cars. Cockroaches are easily the most common insects to invade vehicles. If roaches are spotted in your car during the daytime hours, then you can assume that your car is heavily infested with roaches that come out to eat during the night.

 

Have you ever spotted a cockroach in your car either when it was parked or while it was in motion?

 

 

Is America The Only Country That Struggles To Prevent Lyme Disease Infections?

Is America The Only Country That Struggles To Prevent Lyme Disease Infections?

 

Tick-borne and mosquito-borne diseases are both considered vector-borne diseases. Seventeen percent of all infectious diseases in the world are vector-borne diseases. More than one million victims of vector-borne diseases die annually. Here in America, lyme disease has become the most common vector-borne disease. The increasing rate of lyme infections in America is a major public health concern. Although ticks may be more of a problem in the United States than anywhere else, ticks spread lyme and other diseases in many different countries. In some African countries, tick-borne diseases are currently regarded as serious public health threats.

 

The very first outbreak of lyme disease occurred in the US state of Connecticut back in 1975. Since then outbreaks of lyme have occured in nearly all regions within Europe. Lyme disease is also considered a public health nuisance in certain rural regions of Asia. Lyme disease is currently the most common tick-borne disease in the northern hemisphere. However, lyme disease is certainly not the only tick-borne disease that has spread among large populations.

 

Many regions of Africa also experience tick-related public health scares. In these regions lyme disease is not the tick-borne disease to be feared; instead there is Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever. This tick-borne disease is currently causing unrest among many African people. For example, since August of 2017 several citizens of Uganda have sought treatment for Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic fever. Unfortunately, Uganda’s health minister is attempting to hide the country’s current struggle with tick-borne disease outbreaks. The health minister is asking the public to ignore the many news reports that are describing the full scope of the epidemic.

 

Despite the effort to hide the country’s struggle with tick-borne diseases, some victims are receiving the treatment they need. So far four confirmed cases of Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever have been reported in Uganda. But, there are likely many more undocumented victims within the country. Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever has infected people living in Europe and Asia as well. People living in north Africa also have to worry about another tick-borne disease known as “relapsing fever”. This illness is caused by the same bacteria that causes lyme disease. Despite the fact that neither relapsing fever nor Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic fever have vaccines, they can both be treated. Relapsing fever rarely causes fatalities, and basic antibiotics can speed up recovery.

 

Have you ever heard of relapsing fever before? Do you think that a vaccine for Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic fever will be developed soon?

Winter Season Still Poses Pest Infestation Risks | Pest Exclusion Services

Although some pests like mosquitoes seem to be out of sight in most areas of the country now that the weather is too cool, there are still many pests looking to get into your this time of year, such as rodents House mice can carry harmful diseases like Hantavirus and rats can cause property damage by gnawing their way indoors, ruining wiring and insulation.”

 

Winter is also a prime time for moisture problems to become established. Ice dams, clogged gutters and wear and tear on the home from wet, blustery conditions can create vulnerabilities in the home that can draw pests in.

 

To help homeowners protect against a winter pest invasion, Sureguard Termite and Pest Services recommends the following prevention tips from the Sureguard:

 

  • Look for missing roof shingles, ripped window screens and clogged gutters, all of which are entry points for pests.
  • Seal cracks and holes including entry points for utilities and pipes.
  • Replace weather-stripping and repair loose mortar around basement foundations and windows.
  • Keep basements, attics and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry.
  • Vacuum around doors and windows. Frequent vacuuming can catch invaders like spiders, silverfish, earwigs and beetles.
  • Inspect garages and outbuildings for rodents or signs of a rodent infestation. Organize cluttered debris, boxes and random items along the walls where mice may hide or nest.
  • Store firewood at least 20 feet away from the house and brush it off before bringing it indoors.

Desert Spiders Are the Masters of Building Sand Castles

Desert Spiders Are the Masters of Building Sand Castles

 

Every child knows the frustration that comes with painstakingly building a masterpiece of a sand castle at the beach only to have it suddenly crumble and fall apart. The sand is too dry and simply won’t hold the elaborate shape long before collapsing into a massive heap of shapeless sand in front of you. Some desert spiders, however, have been able to master the art of working with dry sand, creating vast subterranean tunnels and burrows out of only a few grains of sand at a time. These vast underground sand castles are somehow able to retain their form. They are so carefully engineered that the pressure of the wind blowing the sand above these underground castles and, in turn, the shifting weight of the sand surrounding the structure.

 

Researchers observed four different species of these desert spiders that build these elaborate homes in a new study to try and discover their engineering secrets. They found that each species had a different method to deal with building their homes in soft sand, but that they all were equally effective. The cartwheeling spider, also known as Cebrennus rechenbergi, used a method similar to how people build a well to excavate its tunnels. The spider slowly digs a hole in the surface and then secures it with a ring of silk, similar to when people will add a tin sheet to the holes they dig for wells that stabilize them. The spider does this continually, digging farther into the sand and then reinforcing the hole with spider silk until their burrow is complete. It seems that spider silk is what we need to build better sand castles at the beach.

 

Of course, this requires the spider to move quite a lot of sand without it crumbling in their arms. The cartwheel spider uses the long bristles that fringe its pedipalps and chelicerae to form a kind of mesh basket to hold the sand in and hold the grains together while its being removed. Another species of desert spider used its spider silk to bind the sand together and make it easier to carry out and away from their burrow. In fact, each spider seemed to have its own solution for keeping the sand clumped together so they could carry it away. Maybe these desert spiders can teach us a thing or two about engineering, improving our own methods of building new a better architecture.

 

How else might one of these desert spiders securely build their underground tunnels in soft sand? Is there a method you use when building a sand castle at the beach that might work as well?  

How And When Did Insect Wings Evolve?

How And When Did Insect Wings Evolve?

 

Although insects are the most abundant types of animals on the planet, there is nevertheless a lot that researchers do not understand about insects. The relatively small amount of scientific literature concerning the origins and early lives of insects is understandable when considering that insects typically do not leave behind fossilized remains. This is obviously due to that lack of bones in insects. Once an insect decomposes, nothing is left to signify its passed existence. This lack of fossil evidence is one reason for the lack of knowledge concerning the origin of insect wings. This makes it necessary for entomologists to draw conclusion about the origins of insects by referring to modern specimens. For example, one researcher has successfully induced the growth of wings on a beetle’s abdomen, and the entomological community is learning a lot about insect wings as a result of this creepy experiment.

 

Yoshinori Tomoyasu, a biologist at Miami University edited the genes of a Tribolium beetle so that it would grow a wing on its abdomen. The wing was formed from tissue that is normally reserved for hind leg growth. Basically the wing had to rob the beetle of a hind leg in order to grow. This experiment confirms that wings develop from an insects hind legs. For years this has been one of three theories concerning wing development in insects. A second theory suggested that insect wings simply grew out of the dorsal region. And a third theory is referred to as the “dual origin hypothesis”. While these are all plausible theories, thanks to this recent experiment, researchers now know for sure that insect wings developed from the hind legs of ancient insects. The researchers were even able to determine which type of hind leg tissue makes up wing formation. Although this is a big step in the understanding of insect evolution, there is still much research to be done.

 

Had you ever considered how an insect’s wings and its hind legs are similarly placed?

An Airline Crew Refused To Fly After A Sizeable Bed Bug Presence Was Spotted On Board

An Airline Crew Refused To Fly After A Sizeable Bed Bug Presence Was Spotted On Board

 

One cannot help but to be amazed at how many times bed bugs have caused problems on board airline flights. After the last story made the rounds on the internet, many people likely thought that another airline-related bed bug issue could not, in all probability, reoccur. However, after a previous incident involving passengers being attacked by bed bugs on an airline became public a few months ago, a new story involving bed bugs on an airline is making the news. Recently, pilots for British Airways were forced to ground a jet due to the presence of bed bugs on board a flight.

 

While a British Airways flight was headed down the runway ready to take-off, passengers and flight crew noticed bed bugs climbing over the seats. The bed bugs were numerous enough to be seen from a short distance with the naked eye. Shortly before the plane took flight, the cabin crew complained about the bed bugs to the pilots, and the plane was grounded in order to vacate all passengers and crew. It was not until four hours later that the flight from Heathrow airport in London took off for its destination in Ghana.

 

British Airways has been under heavy scrutiny for a variety of reasons during the past few months. One common criticism directed toward the airline involves poor cleaning standards, and the hiring of cheap cleaning contractors. This most recent issue involving mass amounts of bed bugs on the seats of one of their planes only seems to confirm the rumors concerning cheap cleaning practices. Complaints alleging poor customer service and numerous cuts in employee benefits have also been directed toward the airline. One news source has claimed that bed bugs have been spotted multiple times on British Airways flights from Las Vegas to London. A spokesperson for the airline claimed that the bed bug infested plane had been taken out of service.

 

Do you think that keeping bed bugs off of airlines would be difficult given the prevalence of bed bugs in the world today?

Pest Proofing in Winter

  • Look for missing roof shingles, ripped window screens and clogged gutters, all of which are entry points for pests.
  • Seal cracks and holes including entry points for utilities and pipes.
  • Replace weather-stripping and repair loose mortar around basement foundations and windows.
  • Keep basements, attics and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry.
  • Vacuum around doors and windows. Frequent vacuuming can catch invaders like spiders, silverfish, earwigs and beetles.
  • Inspect garages and outbuildings for rodents or signs of a rodent infestation. Organize cluttered debris, boxes and random items along the walls where mice may hide or nest.
  • Store firewood at least 20 feet away from the house and brush it off before bringing it indoors.