It’s official — People on Yelp love Certified Termite & Pest Control!
Protecting Your Family From Pests Since 1974!
It’s official — People on Yelp love Certified Termite & Pest Control!
The World’s Rarest Insects Can Be Found At A Unique Insect Museum In Turkey
The world is full of insect museums, but a particular museum located in Turkey is perhaps the most notable of all. More than fifty thousand insect specimens can be studied at Turkey’s Atatürk University Faculty of Agriculture in Erzurum. This museum may not house the largest number of insects, but there is a good reason as to why entomologists around the world visit Turkey’s museum more often than others. Virginia Tech’s insect specimen collection includes four hundred thousand different insect species. Although Virginia Tech’s entomology museum is home to hundreds of thousands of insects, most, if not all, of the insect specimens located there have already been described in scientific literature. However, most of the insects at the Turkish entomology museum have never been studied before. Some of the strangest looking insects in existence today can only be found within the country of Turkey.
There is an understandable reason as to why Turkey’s entomology museum is home to thousands of insect specimens that are completely unknown to science. Although the country of Turkey borders other countries, many experts consider Turkey to be an island where only the most exotic insects exist. Turkey is home to one hundred thousand different insects living in the wild. Since there are probably well over one million different insect species living in the world today, one hundred thousand insects may not sound like a lot. But the entire continent of Europe does not have an insect population as high as Turkeys. Of the fifty thousand different species that are currently stored in Turkey’s museum, only twenty thousand of them have been described by scientists. This leaves thirty thousand insect species that have yet to be studied. Some of the fifty thousand insects now stored at the museum came from countries other than Turkey. However, the majority of specimens are found only in Turkey and nowhere else. Turkey is a unique country in that its environment is more conducive to a wide variety of different forms of insect life when compared to neighboring countries. If you have ever wanted to discover an insect so that you could name it after yourself, then don’t bother with searching through your backyard; instead just visit Atatürk University in Turkey.
Would you be interested in visiting Atatürk University in Turkey in order to look at certain insects that have never been seen before by experts?
It goes without saying that some people choose to have children too early in their lives. Apparently, teen pregnancy rates are particularly high in the United States. This should not come as a surprise considering that MTV airs a show that is entirely centered around struggling teen parents. Obviously, this particular social issue does not apply to the animal world. Gorillas, bears, arthropods or any other animal can reproduce at any sexually mature age without having to worry about finding a reliable daycare so that their parents can finish college. However, there is one particular insect species that may be pushing it a little by becoming pregnant while enclosed within an egg inside of their mother’s belly.
Most aphid species are born pregnant and only produce females. This is due to a modified system of meiosis that skips the reduction division, thus maintaining diploidy and heterozygosity. Males can also be produced through asexual meiosis due to a mechanism that discards the X chromosome. Aphids can also reproduce sexually in addition to asexually in order to produce a more genetically varied population that is more resilient to disease and other harmful environmental threats. Aphids choose to revert to sexual reproduction when a threat to their existence becomes noticed, such as harsh weather. A more genetically diverse aphid population can better withstand environmental catastrophes than a genetically identical population.
While the particular form of asexual reproduction demonstrated by aphids is incredibly rare in other organisms, some insects spend a majority of their lives as larvae and a very short time as adults. For example, the Cecropia moths of North America spend two months as larvae before spending less than ten days as adults. As larvae, these moths feed constantly in relative safety from predators, but during their short time as adults, they are unable to eat anything, as their digestive system is not developed enough to process food; instead, these moths spend their short adult lives struggling to find a mate for passing on their genes.
Do you know of any other insect species that reproduces asexually?
Multiple Group Homes Have Become Infested With Bedbugs
Every government in the world has a responsibility to ensure that adults with developmental disabilities are properly cared for. In the United States the St. Clair Associated Vocational Enterprise (SAVE) is one of many associations that provides care to adults with disabilities. Organizations like SAVE are commonly referred to as “group homes”. As you can understand the relatives of people with disabilities often scrutinize different group homes carefully before choosing a group home that is ideal for their relatives. Typically, group home officials conduct their jobs with the utmost responsibility. However, a recent bedbug infestation has been found within more than one SAVE group home. According to some former employees, the responsible officials working for SAVE failed to eradicate a bedbug infestation in a timely manner, which led to several bites sustained by both workers and individuals residing within the group homes. The perceived failure to handle the bedbug crisis eventually led to the resignation of two SAVE employees.
In September two SAVE employees, Leslie and Sharon French, notified their immediate supervisors about insects that were causing minor injuries to residents. In October, the two employees discovered that bedbugs were the insects responsible for the injuries. This discovery was immediately reported to their supervisors, but it was not until November 8th that SAVE’s executive director, Paul Wibbenmeyer, was notified about the bedbug infestations. Luckily, Wibbenmeyer sprang into action and contacted a pest control professional immediately. On November 9th only a few of SAVE’s eight homes had been treated for bedbugs. In response to the allegations of neglect on the part of the on-site supervisors, the spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Human Services, Meghan Powers, will “look into the matter”. The executive director has declined to comment, and Powers insists that any negligence will be handled by the state of Illinois. The association known as the Developmental Disabilities and our Bureau of Accreditation will also have questions that they will want to ask. Although bedbugs do contain pathogens, they cannot spread diseases to humans.
Do you think that bedbugs posed a great enough risk to the resident’s to justify terminating employment?
In case you have not noticed, many insects seem to be attracted to light sources. Moths demonstrate the most obvious example of this particular, and in their case, dangerous attraction. You have probably noticed other insects gravitating toward light bulbs, and it is not unusual to find a variety of different insect corpses lying beneath lamps and other light fixtures, clearly indicating that their death resulted from contact with a hot bulb. Moths are often mocked for their seemingly stupid habit of darting head first into searing hot light sources. This behavior raises the obvious question as to whether or not moths and other insects can sense the heat that emanates from light bulbs. It is important to remember that light bulbs did not exist during the greater course of moth evolution, which is why they have never adapted an ability to sense the heat from light bulbs. If light bulbs did exist, say, thousands of years ago, then moths would likely have become extinct by now. While it is clear that moths are attracted to light, there are numerous other insect species that flock toward light sources as well, but not as many as you may think.
Many insect species are not attracted to light sources of any kind, while other species are attracted to both artificial and natural light sources. There are also many insect species that are only attracted to artificial light sources, and there are yet others that only gravitate toward light bulbs and not other artificial light sources. Moths rely on lights to navigate during the nighttime hours, and they quickly fly toward the brightest light sources available, which are almost always light bulbs. Moths and butterflies are two closely related insect groups, both of which belong to the Lepidoptera order. Despite their close relation to moths, butterflies are not attracted to light bulbs. Cockroaches and some ant species will go out of their way in order to avoid bright sources of artificial light. Many flying insects, like mosquitoes and true bugs, gravitate toward light bulbs in order to stay warm when outside temperatures drop. Some insects gather around light bulbs solely for the purpose of catching easy prey that can always be found hovering around light sources. Researchers are still unsure as to how moths were able to thrive despite being attracted to the light produced by campfires.
Have you ever witnessed an insect die an immediate death upon darting into a hot light bulb?
It is well known that some termite species construct nesting mounds that can protrude as high as 30 feet from the ground. Termite mounds can be found in South America and Australia, but the most well documented and awe inspiring mounds can be found in Africa. People from all over the world travel to African countries in order to view these amazing mounds on location. What may not be as well known, but perhaps even more astounding, is the ability of some mound-building termite species to cultivate mushroom crops for their own consumption. For example, in the African country of Namibia, mound-building termites cultivate mushrooms that are notable for their large caps, which are often the size of a large frying pan. These mushrooms are not just consumed by the termites that farm them, as the people of Namibia consider these mushrooms to be a delicacy.
The Termitomyces schimperi mushroom species is referred to as omajowa (plural), and ejowa or ejova (singular) by Namibians. Although termites only farm these mushrooms in Namibia, they are known in other countries as well. For example, Germans refer to ejowa mushrooms as Termitenpilz. The average ejowa mushroom weighs around 1 kg and the diameter of a cap is typically around 25 cm, making these mushrooms the largest of all termite-cultivated fungi. In addition to their large cap size, the stems of ejowa mushrooms are usually around 50 cm in height. These mushrooms are cherished by Namibians, some of whom search for them near termite mounds in order to consume and/or sell them at roadside stands in the country. Of course, there does not exist enough ejowa mushrooms to fill store shelves, so Namibians have tried cultivating these mushrooms on their own. Unfortunately for humans, termites are superior farmers, as human-grown ejowa mushrooms do not reach the size or taste standards of termite-cultivated ejowa mushrooms. Ejowa mushrooms reportedly taste like meat, particularly veal, and they are often used as a stand in for meat in recipes. It has become tradition in Namibia to search for ejowa mushrooms every rainy season. The mushrooms are found protruding from termite mounds, and it is customary for mushroom hunters to leave behind a few omajowa for the termites inhabiting the mounds.
Are you curious as to what a termite-cultivated mushroom tastes like?
A Man Causes An Explosion Trying To Kill Cockroaches
When it comes to exterminating insect pests, sometimes it is best to call a professional. You would think that operating a can of bug spray would be a straightforward matter, and certainly not dangerous. However, you may want to rethink that as a man from Australia nearly blew himself up recently after using a can of bug spray to kill a few cockroaches.
In fairness, the explosion was not caused solely by the can of bug spray; instead, it is believed that the man had lit a match in his home after spraying his entire house with bug spray. Unfortunately, the man did not see fit to read the directions on the can of bug spray. If he had read the directions, he would have surely noticed the warning concerning the highly flammable aerosol. Unfortunately, he did not, and as a result a significant amount of property damage occurred. The man sustained lacerations to his hand and head. Due to his injuries, the man was sent to the hospital for treatment. Luckily, the property damage did not go beyond the kitchen area, and the other inhabitants of the house are in good health. Hopefully this roaches were killed in the explosion.
In other less exciting cockroach-related news, two children from Milwaukee have been rescued from a home with an extensive cockroach, bed bed bug and rodent infestation. According to the sheriff the two kids were three and eight years old. When police arrived at the home they discovered the children with nothing on except for shirts, and the home smelled like feces. The children were only noticed because police were attempting to serve their parents with court papers. Child protective services were immediately contacted in order to relocate the children to a safe home. The house has now been handed over to the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s office as evidence of child neglect.
Do you use bug spray regularly? Do you think that a bed bug infestation could be harmful to children?
Butterflies and moths both belong to the Lepidoptera order of insects. Butterflies are one of the most beloved insects due to their colorful and delicate wings, but moths are, well…not so beloved. It goes without saying that moths are not the most fascinating of insects, and they certainly are not what most people would consider to be beautiful. However, there exists one particular moth species that many people may already be familiar with, and most would agree that this species possesses objective beauty due to the unique skull-like design located above its wings. For those of you who have not already guessed, this moth species became iconic following its appearance in the acclaimed film entitled The Silence of the Lambs.
While this moth’s appearance is well known to most people above the age of 30, very few people know its species name. Surprisingly, even entomologists are largely in the dark concerning this species nature, as it was last described by researchers during the early 1900s. The moth species in question is officially known as Acherontia atropos, or the death’s head hawkmoth, as it is more commonly known. In addition to being unique for having a skull-like design on its back, this moth species also produces an audible squeaking sound in order to deter predators.
The skull-like design on this moth species’ back explains why several past cultures regarded this insect species as an omen of death. What may be even more interesting than this moth’s natural design, is the squeaking sound it makes in order to scare away predators. Despite the fierce look of these moths, their squeak is just about the only form of defense that they possess. The death’s head hawkmoth is one of several moth species that produce squeaks in order to repel predators. These moths produce their squeaking sounds by rubbing specialized body parts together, similar to how crickets and cicadas produce their sounds. The last time that this moth was studied was back in 1920, but the study was published in German, which is part of the reason why this species was forgotten in the english speaking world. Now, researchers are excited to study this moth in order to better understand how it produces its squeaking sounds.
Have you ever seen a picture of a death’s head hawk moth?
The Plant That Dissolves Insects Before Consuming Them
Some people are really into gardening, but there are many more people who find plants to be rather boring. Plants may be largely stationary, and they may not be as fun to have around the house as a dog or a cat, but plants are just as alive and just as hungry as any other pet. It is difficult to imagine plants as consuming living animals, even animals that are as small as insects. But such plants do exist, and they are known as carnivorous plants. One of the most well known types of carnivorous plants is the venus flytrap, but the plant known as the sundew is far more brutal in its treatment of insect prey. Sundew plants consume insect prey by first melting them with a corrosive enzyme. Some species of sundew require near constant feeding which can wipe out nearby insect habitats.
There are hundreds of sundew plant species in regions all around the world. Most sundew species are found in Australia, but the state of Florida is also home to sundew plants. Sundew plants vary dramatically in size depending on the species. Some sundew plants reach sixty centimeters in height. Sundew plants are covered with tentacles that appear to be water droplets or forms of dew. The appearance of these tentacles easily deceives curious insects. If an insect makes contact with the sticky tentacles that cover sundew leaves, they will likely not be able to escape. Once an insect is stuck in the tentacles, other tentacle-covered leaves come together in order to clasp the unfortunate insect, successfully trapping the it. The leaves slowly move together like hands squishing a bug. Sometimes one single leaf will roll up like a carpet in order to prevent an insect’s escape. The tentacles release an acid and an enzyme that liquifies the captured insect, which provides the plant with its required nutrients. Later on, the sundew leaf will unroll in order to discard the dead insects partially remaining outer shell.
Sundew plants can consume a variety of different insects provided that they are small enough in size. Some people cultivate sundew plants and feed them different types of insects. The most common insects fed to sundew plants include fungus gnats, fruit flies, ants, crickets and even small spiders. However, some ants and spiders may successfully escape a sundews plant’s dangerous tentacles. Sundew plants have even been used by farmers to control damaging fruit fly pests. Recent research has revealed that sundew plants compete with spiders for insect prey. In Florida pink sundew plants compete with wolf spiders for tasty arthropod meals. And the competition is reportedly quite intense.
Have you ever witnessed a carnivorous plant consume an insect in real life or on an educational program?
While humans are clearly the most mentally advanced group of animals that exist, some animals can show a degree of ingenuity that no human could ever match. For example, entomologists have been studying a millipede species that produces its own insecticides in order to repel predators. What may be even more impressive than this millipede, is the lemur that makes use of this millipede’s toxins for its own defensive purposes.
It is never wise to put a millipede in your mouth, as they are notorious for the harmful toxins they produce, but for red-fronted lemurs, this may be a good idea. Back in November of 2016, animal behaviorist Louise Peckre stumbled upon a lemur that was chewing millipedes that it had found on the ground. However, the lemur did not swallow the millipedes; instead, it rubbed the chewed pieces of millipede carcasses all over its body, particularly around the genital area. As it happens, the lemur may be doing this in order to kill and repel intestinal parasites by means of the millipede toxins.
Peckre witnessed this lemur’s bizarre behavior at Madagascar’s Kirindy Forest. In all, the lemur consumed three giant millipedes after rubbing a good portion of their ground body parts on its bottom half. By the time the lemur ceased this act, its entire bottom half had become completely soaked with a frothy mix of saliva and ground millipede parts, including, and most importantly, the millipede’s toxins. Later that very same day, Peckre witnessed identical behavior in two more lemurs in another area of the park. Although this behavior has never been witnessed before, Peckre and several of her colleagues believe that the lemurs were using the Giant Millipede’s toxins to combat intestinal parasites. This theory is in line with knowledge already gathered concerning the Giant Millipede’s insecticide-like toxins. The giant millipede produces these toxins in order to repel enemies, and the lemurs are using the millipedes for largely the same purpose. It also makes sense that the lemurs would focus on their genital area, as parasites exiting the their backside are killed while laying their eggs over the lemur’s toxin-soaked skin. The toxin with insecticidal properties is known as benzoquinone, and researchers are using it to develop insecticides.
Do you know of any other insect species that has been documented as self-medicating?