Category Archives: PEST CONTROL

Enormous Insect Swarms Are Sometimes Found On Weather Radars

Enormous Insect Swarms Are Sometimes Found On Weather Radars25332397_s

We have all seen weather radars while watching the weather channel or local TV news stations. Obviously, weather radars are designed to locate and track large areas of meteorological activity. Enormous masses of humid air that produce rainfall are tracked with modern weather radar technology in order to predict which regions will experience rainfall. The movement of snow, hail, tornadoes and hurricanes can all be tracked with weather radar. Of course weather radar can pick up other moving masses as well, but they must be exceptionally large in area in order to be spotted by radar. Every once in a while an expert will find a large mass of activity on radar that is not weather-related. In most of these cases large formations of certain airborne animals are being picked up by radar. Sometimes these animals are birds, but most of the time the unusual formations turn out to be huge swarms of insects.

It is rare for an insect swarm to become large enough to be picked up by weather radar, but it happens. In many cases, experts cannot always agree on what is causing certain formations to appear on weather radar. It is not uncommon for mysterious formations to appear and eventually disappear from radar while never being conclusively determined to be insect swarms. For example, back in 2013 the entire northern half of New Zealand was covered by some form of mass. A few experts thought that the formation could have been a dust storm, but most experts thought the formation was an insect swarm. However, experts could not agree on which type of insects were swarming to create the large mass.

Sometimes massive formations found on weather radar are conclusively found to be caused by massive insect swarms. In 2015 weather radar in Texas picked up formations that were around fifty miles in area. Not long afterward experts found that the radar formations were actually massive beetle and grasshopper swarms that were flying twenty five hundred feet above the ground. In 2014 a swarm of mayflies appeared on weather radar in Wisconsin. According to meteorologists in Wisconsin at the time, there is always at least one insect swarm that shows up on weather radar every year. Butterflies are also captured frequently on weather radars in Colorado. A seventy mile wide butterfly swarm was located on radar in Colorado as recently as October of 2017.

Do you think that butterflies would show up more easily than most other insects on weather radar due to their relatively long wingspan?

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Which Types Of Mammals Consume Termites?

Which Types Of Mammals Consume Termites?

It goes without saying that humans in many parts of the world consume termites. Termites are considered one of the healthiest, tastiest and most prized types of edible insect. In addition to humans, there are obviously several types of animals that hunt and consume termites. When considering different types of termite predators, other insects and birds quickly come to mind. It is also well known that many types of snakes and lizards consume termites, but what about mammals? Other than humans, the only mammal that may come to mind as a predator of termites is the anteater. However, there are several mammals that occasionally feed on termites as termites are rich in phosphates, fats and proteins. Some mammals receive a bulk of their nutritional needs from termites. The most common mammalian predator of termites are bats.

Insect-eating bats (Chiroptera) are highly skilled termite-hunters. These bats feed on termites that swarm at dusk and during the nighttime hours. Bats have been found darting toward groups of swarming termites with unique precision. In addition to bats, both foxes and bears have also been found consuming termites. The Indian fox will wait for flying termite alates to emerge from their underground nests through holes in the ground. Termites are a preferred source of food among Himalayan black bears, but it is the sloth bear (Melursus ursinus) that seems to hunt down termite meals with the greatest degree of enthusiasm. Sloth bears will put forth a substantial amount of effort in order to locate and consume a multitude of termites. The sloth bear finds termite-meals by locating termite mounds. Once a mound is located, this bear will use its sharp claws to pull the mound apart, resulting in the complete destruction of a mound. The mound-dwelling termites are then “sucked up from their galleries” in order to satisfy the bear’s craving for termites.

Have you ever encountered an abandoned termite mound that looked to have been attacked by a larger mammalian animal?

 

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Cockroaches May Hold The Key To Future E. Coli And MRSA Treatments

Cockroaches May Hold The Key To Future E. Coli And MRSA Treatments

We all know that cockroaches are disgusting. These insects rummage through garbage and sewage just to pass the time. Dangerous forms of bacteria can then follow cockroaches everywhere they go, including the food we keep in our cupboards. Despite the excessively and continuously dirty state that cockroaches are in, researchers have found that roaches rarely cause human illness. In fact, one group of researchers believes that roaches can benefit human health. It is hard to imagine any scenario in which cockroaches benefit humans. The suggestion that roaches may be beneficial to human health would strike some people as laughable. Despite their reputation, there is evidence to suggest that cockroaches can be used in order to develop more effective methods of treating E. Coli and MRSA infections.

Simon Lee, a postgraduate researcher, has discovered nine different molecules in the tissues of roaches and locusts that are toxic to many forms of dangerous bacteria. These days some bacterial infections are becoming difficult to treat due to their resistance to existing antibiotic medications. Some people are even dying as a result of MRSA infections. These infections were treatable decades ago, but today entirely new forms of treatment need to be developed in order to keep MRSA infections at bay.

After Lee conducted several experiments with cockroaches he found that cockroach tissues were able to kill ninety percent of MRSA and E. coli bacteria. The tissues were able to kill dangerous forms of bacteria without harming human cells. At the moment it seems that these molecules could be used successfully to eradicate dangerous bacteria from humans. Not only can cockroach tissues be used to replace current antibiotic medications, but people can use these potential forms of medication in place of effective treatments that cause too many unwanted side effects.

Would you feel comfortable receiving medications that contain extracts from cockroaches?

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A Female Only Stick Insect Species Has Produced The First Male In Recorded History

A Female Only Stick Insect Species Has Produced The First Male In Recorded History

Stick insects are unusual insects for a variety of reasons. Of course they possess a bizarre stick-like appearance that helps them remain hidden from predators, but stick insects are also reproductively unique. For example, the species of stick insect known as Acanthoxyla inermis does not require males for reproduction. These insects are comprised entirely of females, as far as researchers have been able to determine. Instead of sexual reproduction via male fertilization, these female stick insects can reproduce asexually. This form of reproduction is referred to as “parthenogenetics”. In fact, these stick insects are so well studied, that even the foremost stick insect experts in the world did not believe the claim that a male specimen had been found. Researchers in the United Kingdom have discovered the first male member of the species Acanthoxyla inermis, which may indicate that the females are finally ready to reproduce sexually.

The male insect was discovered by an insect enthusiast who immediately found the insect to be odd looking. After finding the specimen, the man promptly called the nearest entomology office. Experts confirmed that this stick insect was a “mutant male” after applying DNA sequencing technology. Right now researchers are curious as to how the larger population of female stick insects will treat this lone male. Like all other evolutionary events, the existence of this one male occured by chance, now researchers are curious to learn if this one male stick insect will contribute to future generations, and therefore alter the evolutionary trajectory of the Acanthoxyla inermis species. Unfortunately, the male stick insect has recently perished and is now a part of a museum collection, but more male stick insects will likely pop-up in the future. Experts believe that this stick insect species will embrace sexual reproduction once again due to the evolutionary advantages it has over asexual reproduction. Researchers are still trying to figure out how this insect species became all-female in the first place.

Do you believe that more asexual insects will exist in the wild a million years from now? Are insects more apt than other animals to develop the ability to reproduce asexually?

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What Makes Termites Different From All Other Types Of Social Insect

What Makes Termites Different From All Other Types Of Social Insect

The fact that termites are social insects is widely known. However, most people may not know that termites are not closely related to other social insects. With the exception of termites, all social insects belong to the insect order known as Hymenoptera. Termites, on the other hand, technically belong to the order known as Blattodea, but they used to belong solely to the Isoptera order. The Blattodea order of insects include cockroaches. Experts used to believe that termites and cockroaches belonged to different orders. However, recent genetic evidence has demonstrated that termites are closely related to cockroaches. This discovery led to termites being reclassified as members of the Blattodea order. Now termites are classified as belonging to the Isoptera “sub-order” of insects. Despite this recent change in taxonomological organization, experts still refer to termites as members of the Isoptera order of insects in most scientific publications.

A study conducted in 2007 found that termites were actually social cockroaches. Recent advances in scientific technology have revealed that termites branched-off from a type of wood-boring cockroach species that is now extinct. The first termites on earth predated all other social insect species.

There are many differences that exist between termites and all other forms of social insects in the Hymenoptera order. For example, termite workers and soldiers possess underdeveloped sex organs, but all termite workers and soldiers can potentially develop into either sex. However, Hymenoptera insect workers and soldiers are always female.

For more than a century, termites have been referred to as “white ants”. This misleading label still creates confusion today. When sophisticated microscopes were developed, researchers noted several differences between termites and ants. Some of these different termite features include straight antennae, four wings of equal size, broad waist of the thorax and a broad abdomen. These bodily features allow experts to immediately distinguish between ants and termites. Termite queens are different from all other social insect queens in that they live for a much longer period of time. Some termite queens can even live to fifty years of age. However, some queens belonging to particular ant species can live for as long as thirty years.

Do you think that there may exist another type of undocumented social insect that is not related to Hymenoptera insects?

 

 

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Crab Spiders Catch Their Bee Prey By Making Flowers Appear More Attractive

Crab Spiders Catch Their Bee Prey By Making Flowers Appear More Attractive

There are plenty of things that can hinder a bee’s ability to pollinate flowers, but most of you would probably not suspect a type of spider to get in the way of a bee’s pollination duties. After all, spiders crawl on the ground, and they cannot fly. Based on this basic knowledge of spider behavior, it seems fair to assume that bees are safe from spider attacks while they are pollinating flowers. However, the world is rich in a multitude of different arthropod species, and spiders that prey on bees during pollination do exist. The crab spider, also known as a flower spider, is a bizarre looking spider specimen. These spiders are common in Australia and many other regions, including parts of Europe. These spiders have smooth and glossy bodies, and most species do not grow to be any larger than a centimeter in length. European and Australian varieties of crab spider are known for being remarkably colorful. This colorful exterior comes in handy when crab spiders camouflage themselves within a flower’s vibrant petals. Crab spiders are often found nestled within the petals of certain flowers for two reasons. One reason is to camouflage themselves from predators like birds. The second reason also involves camouflage, but in this case the spiders are waiting to ambush an unsuspecting and tasty pollinating insect. This method of preying on honey bees is quite effective, as the spiders are able to alter a flower’s colors in order to make them appear more attractive to pollinating bees.

Unlike humans, bees can perceive colors that are expressed through ultraviolet light. Bees choose which flowers to pollinate based on the attractiveness of a particular flower’s UV color scheme. Researchers have determined that crab spiders are able to use their own natural colors in order to make flowers appear more attractive to bees. Crab spiders will climb into a flower’s petals and sit in waiting for an unsuspecting honey bee to come and pollinate the occupied flower. Unfortunately for honey bees, the most desirable flowers are the ones that contain predatory crab spiders. Upon a bee’s descent onto a particular flower, a crab spider will emerge in order to snatch the honey bee from the air. Honey bees also use olfactory senses when choosing flowers for pollination, but when researchers inhibited the odors emitted by flowers, the honey bees still chose flowers that contained crab spiders. This finding clearly indicates that crab spiders have adapted an ability to catch honey bee prey by manipulating the way a flower’s color is perceived by honey bees. The shiny and richly colored exterior of crab spiders likely evolved for this reason.

Have you ever heard of any other type of spider species that preys on flying insects?

 

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Termites Render A Palace Uninhabitable

Termites Render A Palace Uninhabitable

Living in Hawaii is not all sunshine and beaches, as the islands are home to one of the most destructive insect pests in the world. Formosan termites are just another part of daily life for the natives of Hawaii, but sometimes termite-induced tragedy can sneak up on long-time residents. A Hawaiian man, Aldon Yamamoto, recently finished building his own home in Honolulu. Unfortunately, Yamamoto’s new house quickly became a haven for Formosan termites. The termites caused thirty five hundred dollars in damages that included an infested door frame and several beams holding up his ceiling. What happened to Yamamoto is not uncommon in Hawaii. When it comes to Formosan termite activity, most people think of New Orleans. This is understandable as New Orleans has seen significant termite-related property damages during the past two decades. Although New Orleans deserves attention for their struggles with Formosan termites, the wood-eating insects have been eating away at Honolulu for more than one hundred years. Nowhere on earth are Formosan termites more damaging to private and public property than they are on the Hawaiian Islands.

Not only are Formosan termites more numerous in Hawaii than they are in Louisiana, but the island state’s culture is more saturated with termites and everything termite related. However, the large Formosan termite population in Hawaii has been causing disasters that may also occur in New Orleans unless Formosan termites become more effectively controlled in the state. Termites may be considered an aspect of Hawaiian culture due to the historical landmarks that termites have destroyed in the state.

Back in 1845, Iolani Palace in Hawaii became ravaged by termites, and it had to be torn down only thirty years after construction had completed. When a second palace was completed in 1879, termites struck again. Eventually underground steel barriers were installed around the palace and a the palace’s foundation was reinforced in order to repel termites. Today a cutting-edge baiting system keeps termites out of the palace, which is now a museum.

Why do you think that Formosan termites arrived so much earlier on the Hawaii islands than they did in the continental United States?

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Japan’s Largest Cemetery Is An UNESCO World Heritage Site That Contains A Termite Memorial

Japan’s Largest Cemetery Is An UNESCO World Heritage Site That Contains A Termite Memorial

Generally speaking Buddhism is one of several eastern religions that consider all living things to be sacred, even termites. If a Buddhist monk discovers a termite infestation within his living area, it would not be in accordance with his religion to call upon the services of a pest control professional. So what is a peace-loving Buddhist supposed to do when he finds himself at the mercy of termites? It should not be surprising to learn that this particular dilemma has troubled many strict Buddhists in the past. Termites are common and economically significant insect pests in the eastern hemisphere, which can make life hard for Buddhists living in Japan, China, India, Nepal, Tibet or any other eastern country. However, no matter how annoying or damaging some insect pests may be, Buddhists consider pest control practices to be tragic. In fact, Japan’s largest and most treasured cemetery contains a memorial to termites that had been killed by pest control professionals.

Located within the Koyasan Mountains of Japan is the Okunoin Cemetery. The cemetary, and the surrounding area, is registered as an UNESCO world heritage site, and it contains a memorial to dead termites. The cemetery is sacred to those practicing Shingon Buddhism. The area contains more than two hundred thousand graves of people who were strict followers of Shingon Buddhism while they were alive. The headstone located at the termite memorial reads: “termites, rest in peace”. The memorial is specifically referring to all of the termites that were killed by a particular Japanese pest control company. Since Buddhists hold all forms of life to be sacred and equal, it does not necessarily seem strange to find a termite memorial located within a cemetary that also contains several important figures in Japanese history.

The Japanese Termite Control Organization helped to create the memorial by providing a large tomb. This tomb was brought to the cemetery in remembrance of all of the termites that were killed by the termite control organization. While it is not known how much the termite organization paid for the large tomb, there are several other tombs within the cemetery that were purchased for millions of dollars. Not only is this termite-tomb located near the graves of some of the most influential monks in Japanese history, but the cemetery is widely regarded as the most sacred area within the country.

If you traveled to Japan would you be interested in visiting the termite tomb?

 

 

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Getting Rid of Ants, The Most Common Home Invader

Often considered the No. 1 nuisance pest, ants also pose significant health and property risk as they destroy wood and contaminate food items. And with more than 700 types of ant species in the United States, it’s not surprising that ants can quickly become a source of disgust, frustration and concern for homeowners.Pest Control

Some of the most common home invaders include:

  • Odorous House Ants: These ants get their name from the unpleasant odor they give off when crushed, often described as smelling like a rotten coconut. They typically nest in wall voids and crevices and prefer sweet foods.
  • Pharaoh Ants: Pharaoh ants prefer sweets, but also consume grease and even shoe polish. They live in extremely large colonies and keep warm near artificial heating sources like baseboard heaters and ovens.
  • Carpenter Ants: This species hollows out nests in both dry and moist wood, though they prefer the latter. They can be particularly hard to remove since their nests can be more difficult to locate.
  • Fire Ants: Fire ants can cause severe allergic reactions in addition to structural damage caused by chewing through the insulation around electrical wiring.

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A Newly Identified Wasp Species Is Being Called “The Freddy Krueger Wasp”

A Newly Identified Wasp Species Is Being Called “The Freddy Krueger Wasp”

We all know that wasps are to be avoided as they can inflict painful stings. Some wasp stings are more painful than others, but any wasp that has been named “the Freddy Krueger wasp” has to be bad news. A previously undocumented species of wasp possesses a series of jagged spines along its back. These jagged designs are used by the wasp to break free from its host. You would think that a wasp with such bizarre features would have been documented by scientists by now. However, this wasp is as small as a sesame seed, which makes them hard to spot in the wild. In fact, nobody has ever spotted one of these wasps in the wild.

The Freddy Krueger wasp has been officially named Dendrocerus scutellaris. These wasps are known for inhabiting Costa Rica, but no record of this wasp being located in the wild currently exists. Researchers from Pennsylvania State University have recently managed to locate a specimen that has been kept in storage ever since 1985 at London’s Natural History Museum. The researchers were able to learn many things concerning how this wasp lives in its own habitat. The wasp was also determined to be a parasitoid species based on its anatomical features. Parasitoids are insects that lay their eggs in a host-organism. Usually this organism is another insect. Once the wasp larvae hatch they eat their way out of the host and will eventually consume the entire body of the host once food supplies become low.

This wasp is only three millimeters long and it does not possess the pointed mandibles that most parasitoid insects use to escape their host’s bodies. Instead of using its jaws to escape from its host, the Freddy Krueger wasp uses its serrated body. Although these wasps sound like a nightmare, they are usually harmless to humans. As a matter of fact, Penn State researchers believe that this wasp could be useful for pest control purposes. These wasps could protect crops by preying on well known and highly destructive crop pests, such as aphids.

Do you think that Freddy Krueger wasps will be used for pest control purposes in the future?

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