Protecting Your Family From Pests Since 1974!
Insect pests are a major problem for farmers all over the world. The particular insect pests that cause the greatest damage to crops change from year to year. One year some farmers may fear crop damage from mites, while the next year may see more aphids than mites. Not knowing which insect pest will be most problematic to a crop within a given season obviously makes eradicating them a difficult task. Typically, farmers will apply the same insecticides to their crops every year, but one single insecticide may be more effective at killing one type of pest over another. Also, failing to switch up pesticides can result in insect pests developing genetic resistance to a particular insecticide. The job of eradicating insect pests from crops would certainly be much easier if agricultural workers knew which types of insect pests they would be dealing with before the season starts. In addition to killing insect pests, farmers want to preserve beneficial insects that kill harmful ones. Unfortunately, insecticides also kill beneficial pests if the right ones are not used. As it turns out, several academics from multiple universities have developed an insect-monitoring device that can give farmers an idea of which insect pests will become the greatest threat to their crops.
Researchers have developed a new insect monitoring device that they are calling FlightSensor. This device analyzes the different insects that are flying around in the sky above a crop. This device can count the number of individual insects present over an area above a crop, as well as how many different species of insects exist over a crop. Not only that, but the device can even identify each particular species of insect that comes near a crop in any given period of time. For example, before the growing season, during the winter and into early spring, the device can be used to track insect populations near a crop. This preventative monitoring can allow farmers enough time to identify the particular pests that will cause the most harm to their crops, thus enabling them to choose the proper insecticides for the job.
Do you think that this insect monitoring device will be in regular use within the next decade?
For termite researchers, understanding how termite swarms function and when and where they occur is a necessity. Alates are the adult reproductive termites of the colony and they are responsible for perpetuating the species. Alates must be genetically diverse in order to keep the species healthy, but alates can sometimes reproduce asexually. If too much asexual reproduction occurs, then genetic abnormalities could result. These abnormalities could perpetuate to the point where the species would eventually become extinct. This is why termite alates must limit their asexual reproduction.
Termites are extremely old organisms, as they have been on the planet for hundreds of millions of years. When it comes to subterranean termites, reproductive swarming alates are produced by the colony’s queen just like any other termite colony. However, subterranean termites can also produce secondary and tertiary reproductives that can reproduce without going through the swarming process. These secondary and tertiary reproductive start out as workers or nymphs. Eventually, if more reproduction is needed, the queen’s pheromones can be released in order to prompt workers and nymphs to mature sexually. During their sexual development, these workers and nymphs never grow wings for swarming; instead the reproductive workers and nymphs reproduce asexually within the nest. This asexual reproduction has its advantages for the whole colony, but this reproduction must be limited in order to protect the genetic integrity of future colonies.
The state of Texas sees many termite swarms throughout the year, as there are four different termite families that exist in the state. During late winter and early spring, native subterranean swarms occur. Later on, during the month of May, Formosan subterranean termite swarms commence. During late spring and summer, drywood and dampwood termite swarms begin. Lastly, desert and agricultural termites swarm in the fall. This means that termite swarms in Texas occur nearly year round and with much overlap.
Do you think that nearly every adult Texas resident has spotted at least one termite swarm during their lives?
The island country of Haiti contains urban areas that are no different from big cities that can be found in any country. Numerous buildings that are made from concrete and rebar can be found in Downtown Port-au-Prince. However, Haitian architecture goes well beyond the typical concrete jungles that exist in big cities like New York City and Los Angeles. For example, the country is rife with strange, yet beautiful looking homes that were made from lumber materials. These houses are known as “gingerbread houses”, and tourists from all corners of the world travel to Haiti in order to get a peak of these opulent houses. Gingerbread houses were constructed by early French colonials in Haiti, and Haitian natives continued to build these houses after the French abandoned the country. The houses were built in order to accommodate the country’s emerging middle class during the 1800s. Although the homes are made from wood, they tend to stand up better to Haiti’s frequent hurricanes and earthquakes than brick and concrete homes do. For example, the wooden structural design of gingerbread houses can bend in accordance with seismic disturbances, and the steep-pitched roofs allow hurricane winds to blow against them, as opposed to up and under them. Unfortunately, these houses have not fared well against another destructive force that is common to Haiti–termites!
Termites in Haiti are extremely aggressive and they have a rich history of inflicting structural damages in the country. Termite damage to gingerbread houses is most often found in walls, floor plankings, floor joists and porch posts. In Port-au-Prince, nearly every gingerbread house in the area has suffered some degree of termite damage. In an effort to preserve these structures in spite of termite attacks, officials in the country decided to rebuild termite damaged portions with brick masonry. However, this method of restoration often resulted in disaster, as termite damaged floors frequently collapsed under the weight of brick-constructed add-ons. One of the largest gingerbread houses in Haiti, the Patrice Pamphile House, has undergone extensive termite damages. In fact, nearly all of the wood on the house has been consumed by termites. Officials are hoping to save the house from termite destruction, but the original design probably won’t be retained following restoration efforts.
Since gingerbread houses draw capital from tourists every year, do you think that Haiti’s economy can crash due to nothing more than termite destruction?
Coffee is one of the world’s most treasured commodities. Without coffee, many Americans would not be able to function in the mornings. Many coffee drinkers can be picky about the coffee that they drink. High quality Colombian coffee that is expertly grown in the Andes Mountains is often preferred by the world’s foremost coffee snobs. Unfortunately for lovers of Colombian coffee, an insect pest is currently threatening coffee plant survival within the mountains of Colombia. Realizing the chaos that would grip the world if Colombian coffee were to disappear, a large team of some of the world’s most prominent scientists are working around the clock in order to eradicate an insect pest that has become a major threat to coffee plantations in Colombia.
The production of coffee provides numerous Colombians with a source of income. There are over five hundred family owned coffee bean farms in Colombia. The coffee beans grown in Colombia are responsible for filling one and a half billion cups of coffee every day. These coffee bean farms are currently under attack from various pests. Destructive fungi is a common pest that is being found more and more often in Colombian coffee bean fields. In addition to fungi, the coffee borer beetle is a type of insect pest that is rapidly destroying coffee bean farms in Colombia. In an effort to control this insect pest, the Cenicafe Research Institute has numerous researchers stationed in the Andes Mountains in order to study how the borer beetle operates. These scientists are being tasked with saving the world’s supply of Colombian coffee by any means necessary. The research team is focusing on unconventional methods for controlling borer beetles in coffee bean farms. Since Colombia is by no means a rich nation, researchers are exploring cost-free methods of borer beetle control. The scientists are researching how farmers can take advantage of the climate, the soil, and even specific insect pests in order to maximize the quality of coffee bean yields.
Do you think that coffee bean farms in Colombia will take a major hit from more than one insect crop pest?
Some people hate rainfall, while others cannot get enough of it, especially when the rain is accompanied by thunder. However, you will not find many people who claim to enjoy showers of insects and spiders. Although it may sound absurd, insects and spiders have rained down from the sky in various locations all over the world, even in the United States. These arthropod showers are never predicted by meteorologists, although enormous swarms of insects have been spotted on weather radar. In fact, these strange incidents cannot always be explained away with certainty by experts. You may think that inexplicable storms of insects and spiders are incredibly rare, but think again. Only two years ago, mysterious insects rained down from the sky in Colorado, and spiders sometimes rain down on the people of Brazil. Considering that, in some insect-heavy regions, up to six billion individual insects fly over people’s heads in just one month’s time, maybe it should not come as a shock that insects sometimes fall from the sky.
During the month of June in 2016, residents living in parts of Brighton, Colorado became overwhelmed by mysterious maggot-like insects that had been falling from the sky. The amount of insects that rained from the sky were numerous enough to completely obscure sidewalks. Many of the insects were dead by the time they hit the ground, but many were not, which made the ground appear as though it had been pulsating. The origin and identity of the insects were never conclusively determined, but one entomologist claimed that the insects were likely fly larvae that had been blow off of tree canopies as a result of rain and heavy winds. This is the same explanation that experts have provided to explain odd spider-showers that sometimes occur over areas of Brazil. One Brazilian, Erik Reis, posted a video to Youtube that shows massive amounts of spiders falling over Sao Paulo. The species of spider shown in the video is Anelosimus eximius, and they are well known for spending most of their time in trees. Heavy winds often blow these spiders, along with their webs, off of the canopies and into populated areas. These spiders can inhabit trees that are located high up within mountainous regions, so the origin of these raining spiders may seem mysterious to the people that witness them.
Would you respond with panic if spiders or insects started to rain from the sky where you live?
Humans have always had to struggle against the spread of insect-borne diseases. Some of the most devastating disease epidemics in history were spread by insects. For example, fleas were instrumental in the spread of the plague, which killed around one third of the European population at the time. For people living before the advent of modern medicine, the possibility of dying from insect-borne disease was far from remote. Deaths resulting from insect bites were simply a fact of life during the greater part of human history. This is why it is not surprising to learn that some of history’s most notable figures suffered from insect-borne diseases.
One of the most popular historical figures that suffered from an insect-borne disease was George Washington, America’s most memorable founding father. There is much controversy surrounding George Washington’s death. There exists dubious rumors about the various unconventional medical treatments that Washington supposedly endured in order to treat a host of different ailments. Despite the richly detailed stories that we often hear about Washington’s health, few people are aware of the fact that Washington suffered from bouts of pain that stemmed from his malaria. When Washington was a college graduate at the age of seventeen he went to work as a surveyor in Virginia. At the time, Virginia was covered in swamps that contained malaria-carrying mosquitoes. It was during this time that Washington sustained bites from these infected mosquitoes. Washington suffered from the disease until his death in 1799.
Napoleon’s most trusted General, Victor Emmanuel LeClerc, died of yellow fever after sustaining bites from infected Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes in Haiti. Some historians believe that LeClerc’s death ultimately resulted in Napoleon’s forced abandonment of American colonies. Charles Darwin also may have contracted a disease from an assassin bug in Argentina during his historic trip to the Galapagos Islands. In an effort to learn more about the interesting insect, Darwin had his ship’s crew hold the insect in order to observe its bite. Darwin himself reportedly acquired chagas disease after deliberately sustaining an assassin bug bite in the name of scientific inquiry.
Given the threat that disease-carrying insects once posed to humanity, do you believe that our ancestors thought about insects more often than we do today?
Certain types of children’s toys have caused controversy in the past due to blatant safety hazards. Decades ago, toys were manufactured without much thought for the possible health hazards that they may have posed to children. This is why any decent parent is sure to be mindful about the toys that they purchase for their young ones. For example, if a particular toy is small, then it could be a choking hazard. Most concerns are practical, but even the most cautious of parents would probably not consider the possibility that their children’s toys may contain insects. If you have a toddler, then you will not be able to help thinking about insects as being inside of your children’s new toys after reading this blog article. A mother recently found several insects within her child’s new stuffed animal. Amazingly, this is not the first mother to complain about this peculiar problem.
A mother has recently complained to a toy company about the insects that she had found within one of their products. The product in question is the popular Cozy Hugs stuffed animal, and this was not the first person to complain about the stuffed animal’s insect-contents. The Cozy Hugs stuffed animal is unique among stuffed animals as they emit calming odors after heating them within a microwave. According to the product box, the stuffed animals provide “soothing, microwavable aromatherapy.”
The stuffed animals contain lavender and wheat. Unfortunately, the wheat in the stuffed animals attract insects. According to the Oregon Department of Agriculture, the insects are most likely grain weevils. According to one disgruntled customer, thousands of insects spilled out of the stuffed animal when she removed the wheat content. Amazingly, investigators found that at least six other similar complaints had been lodged against the company. The company that manufactured the toy is a bit of a mystery, as angry customers cannot seem to track down a representative. It has been rumored that large amounts of the stuffed animals had been stored improperly, which led to insect infestations. It was reported that the insects had laid eggs within the products. It is safe to say that several more insect-related complaints will be lodged against the company in the near future.
Do you believe that improper storage is the best explanation for the insects found within the products?
Today bed bugs are well known and familiar insects to pretty much the entire human population living on this planet. People living within cold climates are not immune to the bed bug threat. Even if you live on the North Pole, you stand a chance of encountering bed bugs on the first plane you take to civilization, as it is unfortunately not uncommon to encounter bed bugs while aboard an airplane. Thank heavens pest control professionals possess the tools necessary to eradicate bed bug populations. However, even with the most sophisticated types of insecticides as well as the most cutting edge forms of pest control technology, bed bug populations continue to grow with each passing year. Since bed bug infestations are only becoming more numerous, one cannot help but to wonder how bed bug infestations were eradicated before pest control services became available to the public. As you can imagine, people living prior the invention of insecticides still found ways of getting rid of pesky bed bugs.
The revolutionary insecticide known as DDT was invented in 1945. The invention of this chemical established the field of pest control. It is not necessarily surprising to learn that insects used to be associated with filth, and it used to be common for affluent people to associate the lowliness and filthiness of insects with the impoverished state of the lower classes. Bed bugs were great at giving rich people this vulgar impression, which made an infestation of bed bugs a particularly shameful experience for members of the wealthy upperclass. When affluent people acquired bed bug infestations, they had their servants dedicate their time to killing the insects in any way that they could. The lower and middle-class were forced to indulge in this laborious task on their own. At the time, the United States Department of Health was tasked with addressing issues that called for bed bug control measures, but the rise of the pest control industry brought bed bug control to people’s front doors, and took the burden off of the government.
Have you ever managed to kill a bed bug on your own?