Protecting Your Family From Pests Since 1974!
As humans we cannot vomit on attackers as a form of defense. Well, most people surely cannot anyway. However, vomiting as a form of defense during enemy attacks is common in the insect world. For example, caterpillars of the small mottled willow moth will not hesitate to projectile vomit on their hostile enemies. These caterpillars are also known as beet armyworms. Many caterpillars possess defensive hairs that are usually quite effective at fending off enemies. However, the beet armyworm covers enemies in a special vomit that deters enemy attackers. A variety of different ant species are the most common predators to beet armyworms. The beet armyworm vomit is particularly bothersome to ants, but it only deters them from attacking, it does not kill them. This vomit could be thought of as a sort of pepper spray used by beet armyworms.
When a small number of ants approach one or more beet armyworms, the armyworms will promptly vomit their digestive contents onto the nearby ants. The compounds in the armyworm vomit cause ants to frantically clean their heads, at which point their plan of attack fails. The compounds that are contained within beet armyworm vomit act as surfactants. For example, the vomit envelops over ant bodies, including their heads. In order to prevent death by drowning, the ants must frantically clean themselves of the digestive fluids. When the vomit covered ants become preoccupied with cleaning themselves of vomit, beet armyworms make their getaway.
Although this method has proven to be quite effective against ant attacks in laboratory settings, the vomit will obviously not suffice to protect the armyworms from large numbers of invading ants. However, the vomit does protect beet armyworms from a number of different solitary insects. Upon analyzing the caterpillar vomit, scientists found that it acts as a surfactant, which is a fluid that covers an entire object on contact, as opposed to simply dripping off like water. Insects make frantic efforts to remove this surfactant substance from their bodies after being attacked by beet armyworms. Surprisingly, researchers found that beet armyworm vomit acts as a surfactant no matter what the caterpillars eat. This is the first time an insect’s bodily fluid was found to act as a surfactant. But researchers believe that the method of vomiting surfactant substances as a from of defense may be widespread among insects.
Do you believe that surfactants would deter spiders from attacking caterpillars?
An Incredibly Small Butterfly Species Has Set A Record For The Longest Non-Stop Flight
It is important that butterflies migrate to hospitable regions during seasonal transitions. Butterflies are sensitive to small changes in temperature, which is why they have adapted the ability to fly long distances without stopping for a break. Butterflies are not the fastest of fliers, but they can sure endure long flights. For example, the painted lady butterfly is capable of flying great distances without stopping. In fact, this butterfly can fly over distances that span twenty five hundred miles without stopping once.
Two researchers working for National Geographic Magazine recently traveled to Africa in order to study the painted lady butterfly species. The researchers were specifically attempting to determine where the painted lady goes during the winter months. Researchers have already learned a lot about this butterfly’s migratory behaviors. These butterflies are located on every single continent except for Antarctica and South America. During the summer painted ladies are abundant in the United States. Before the onset of winter, these butterflies migrate south to Mexico. These butterflies have also been observed migrating from Eurasian territories to the Saharan desert. Once the butterflies reach the Sahara, they disappear, leaving no trace of themselves behind.
The two researchers eventually tracked the painted ladies destination to regions within tropical Africa. Over twenty thousand of these butterflies were found concentrated within one hectare of land in certain regions of Chad, Benin, and Niger. This finding amazed the two researchers as this proved that the minute painted lady butterfly species is capable of continuous travel spanning a distance that cannot be matched by any other butterfly species. Surprisingly, this butterfly species is only two inches in length. Tracking the painted ladies was difficult as they travel at altitudes that other flying insects can not even approach. Painted ladies also change their migratory destinations and they do not always migrate at the same times of year.
Do you know of any other insects that can traverse over entire oceans in order to reach new continents?
Do Insects Pollinate Venus Flytraps?
When considering all humans alive on the planet today, Americans consume much more animal flesh than the rest of the world’s population. When considering plants, Venus flytraps consume more flesh than the rest of the world’s vegetation. Venus flytraps are exceptionally rare as a plant species. These plants grow only in their native North and South Carolina. Venus flytraps are well known for possessing jaw-like structures, which snap in response to nearby insects. These carnivorous plants feed on invertebrates, most of which are insects like flies and ants. Once this plant snatches an insect in its jaws, the insect liquefies into something akin to a nutrient shake. There are six hundred species of carnivorous plants alive today, but only Venus flytraps can consume flying insects right out of the air with a jaw-like feature. Beyond this, not much is known about these frightening plants. However, a recent study concerning Venus flytrap pollination has recently been carried out by researchers. This study has finally allowed researchers to gain a better understanding regarding the Venus flytrap’s diet.
Researchers have long been curious about which insects pollinate Venus flytraps. Since these plants prefer to eat insects, it is a wonder that any insect could get close enough to pollinate one of these aggressive plants. A group of academics have recently ventured out to an area rich in Venus flytrap plants in order to conduct the first ever research into this plant’s diet. In order to see what the plants were digesting, the researchers pulled the plant’s jaws open. The researchers were amazed at the diversity of animal life that had been found in all of the studied flytraps. Four hundred different pollinating insects were found in the plant’s digestive system. Of those four hundred insects, one hundred of them were distinct insect species. The researchers were also able to determine which insect species pollinated the plants the most. Sweat bees and long horned beetles both pollinated the flytraps more often than any other insect species. The long horned beetle is the flytrap’s most important pollinator, as it can carry the greatest amount of pollen. The Venus flytrap is currently being petitioned for inclusion on the endangered species list.
Have you ever seen a Venus flytrap in its natural habitat? Do you think that pollinating insects could ever learn to avoid the carnivorous flytraps on account of the danger they pose?
Why Can Bugs Access Homes So Easily?
Not long ago researchers published a study describing arthropod diversity inside of people’s homes. The study was troubling to homeowners who fear insects and spiders, as it turned out that our homes are more populated with creepy-crawlies than we had thought. The study’s results should not have been surprising since the world’s population of insects compared to humans is two hundred million to one. This estimate does not even include spiders. Since insects and spiders are so small and abundant on this planet it should be assumed that we have quite a few bugs living within our own homes. We humans have also been living among insects and spiders for well over one hundred thousand years. So some bugs have become accustomed to the human population. Perhaps some bugs follow humans for the food scraps that we tend to leave lying around within our environments. So now that we know that our homes are full of different insect and spider species, how can we keep them out?
Keeping insects and spiders from entering our homes will be difficult if not impossible, since the structural design of modern homes makes insect intrusions likely. If you ever want to live in a big house then you should be ready to coexist with insects and spiders. Houses with many entry points, such as doors and windows, contain a relatively high population of bugs. If you live in an apartment, then try to secure a unit that is above the ground floor. Not surprisingly, the amount of spiders and insects is high on the ground floors of houses and apartment complexes. If you like hardwood floors then you are in luck. Insects and spiders are more numerous in rooms that contain carpet. Hardwood floors are less hospitable to bugs. The areas of a home that are well ventilated are likely to contain a relatively high bug population. The most surprising finding in the study may be of concern to clean-freaks. Apparently, the more clean and tidy a home is, the more populated it will be with various forms of arthropod life. So if you hate insects and spiders, then you want to live on the top floor of a dirty and windowless studio apartment with no air conditioning or heat, and it must have hardwood floors.
Does it disturb you to know that several different insect species fight over living space in the hard-to-spot nooks and crannies of your home?
Soldier Bugs Are Being Dispatched To Kill Harmful Stink Bugs
If you have ever stepped on a stink bug, or have vacuumed one up from your carpet, then you likely know that these bugs are aptly named. The smell these bugs emit is foul, but the smell is not the worst aspect of the invasive stink bug. Stink bugs are major crop pests within the United States. They were first discovered in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and they have since moved into nearby states where they get right to work destroying sizeable portions of commercial crops. Luckily, researchers at West Virginia University’s Davis College of Agriculture believe that they have found a novel method of effective stink bug eradication. Researchers have raised spiny soldier bugs within laboratory conditions. The researchers are planning on releasing these soldier bugs into stink bug populated environments. The soldier bugs are native to the United States and they are predatory in nature. Most important of all, soldier bugs love to kill and feed on stink bugs.
Raising insects in order to have them eradicate other insects is a type of biological pest control that researchers are hoping will work, but there is one problem. Fully grown stink bugs are too large for soldier bugs to kill. This means that soldier bugs are only useful for pest control as long as the stink bugs have not reached full maturity. However, the soldier bug’s talent for killing and consuming young stink bugs and their egg is undeniable.
Unfortunately, during this time of year stink bugs are commonly found within people’s homes. Stink bugs waste no time invading homes when the temperatures drop during the fall season. The researchers have also worked with the United States Department of Agriculture in order to mass produce a parasitic wasps that has a particular taste for stink bugs. However, this plan was scrapped as using the parasitic wasps as a form of biological pest control was too risky. This is because the parasitic wasps that hunt for stink bugs are actually native to Asia, making them an invasive species within North America. The researchers were not sure if the Asian wasps would cause damage to native insect or plant species within America.
Do you think that using soldier bugs as a form of biological pest control is risk free?
Entomologists From All Over The World are Flocking To A Region Full Of Mysterious Bugs
Exotic regions that are located in warm tropical climates contain an abundance of different forms of insect life. Entomologists and other scientists visit insect populated regions regularly in order to conduct studies on particular insects and their environment. Continents like South America, Africa, Australia and parts of Asia are all home to numerous nature reserves that grant special access to researchers hoping to shed more light on the nature of some of the world’s more interesting and lesser known types of insects. When you try to recall the locations of well known nature reserves from around the world, you probably don’t consider Great Britain. However, Britain is home to one of the most popular biodiversity hotspots today.
Canvey Wick, also known as Brownfield Rainforest, was going to be the sight of an oil refinery during the seventies. Luckily for the well being of the environment, and many curious bug experts, the oil crash of 1973 caused British officials to cancel the planned construction of the oil refinery, but by this time construction efforts had already taken place. Today, the manmade landscape is the most significant aspect of this particular reserve.
When the refinery was undergoing the initial phases of construction over forty years ago, construction workers installed large concrete slabs into the ground and transported different types of soil to the region. Sediment from the Thames river was also regularly dumped into this region. All of these different types of soil are still present in the region today, and this allows for a variety of different habitats to coexist in this one small area. If the construction of the oil refinery had not been cancelled when it was, then this area would never have become so rich in different insect species.
The abundance of different soil types located within the Brownfield Rainforest has allowed for the survival of certain insect species that would have otherwise become extinct. In fact, experts are regularly finding insects in this region that have long been assumed extinct. The Brownfield Rainforest is Great Britain’s first and only rainforest to ever exist.
Would you be interested in exploring the Brownfield Rainforest?
There Are A Few Misunderstandings About The Praying Mantis
The praying mantis is likely the most recognizable of all garden insects due to its large size and interesting physique. The praying mantis seems perfectly designed for combat, as it is hard to imagine any other type of insect giving the praying mantis a run for its money. It is easy to miss a praying mantis if it happens to be surrounded by other forms of vegetation. Insects that are preyed upon by praying mantises almost never know what is coming. The praying mantis remains perfectly still while its head follows its prey by turning it to a full one hundred and eighty degrees. The mantis keeps its legs folded under its chin until its foolish prey has moved close enough for the mantis to strike. Once the mantis has its prey in a death-lock, the prey cannot escape the super-strong grip of the mantises massive arms. Once the prey, a grasshopper for example, is killed by the mantises grip, the mantis will eat the cricket like a hot dog initially, but finish off its cricket meal by chewing on the grasshoppers sides, similar to how we eat corn on the cob.
Many people are under the impression that the word “praying” in the name “praying mantis” comes from the mantises tendency to “prey” on different insects. Despite the fact that these two words are spelled differently many people will not be convinced of the truth. In truth the word “praying” comes from the praying mantises stance. The mantis holds its two front legs closely together, as though it is praying to heaven. In fact, the scientific name given to the praying mantis is Mantis religiosa.
The degree of cannibalism among female praying mantises is also commonly exaggerated. In reality, females do not frequently consume males. However, if a female is starved she will not hesitate to eat whatever insect is closest. When males are decapitated during mating, the males will continue mating until fertilization is comple. It is almost never as simple as simply waiting to eat the male mantis post-mating. This would not be the worse way to die though
Do you think that post-mating cannibalism among black widow spiders is also exaggerated?
An Invasive Insect Is Infesting Numerous Homes
Having an insect infestation within your own home can severely disrupt your everyday life. You may have to move into a hotel for a few days, and you may feel iffy about setting foot into your home again. This is likely how many residents of Utah have felt this summer, as the entire state is now crawling with invasive insects. The invasive insects that are pestering so many homeowners are known as the invasive elm seed bugs, and they originated from the mediterranean region.
These insects have managed to infest numerous homes located within every region of the state of Utah. According to Ryan Davis, a diagnostician at the Utah Plant Pest Diagnostic Lab, the invasive insect is, luckily, harmless, and it started to infest homes about two years ago. The insects are similar in appearance to boxelder bugs, which are common, harmless and well known bugs that are located in a variety of American states. The elm seed bugs differ from boxelder bugs in that they are a bit smaller, and their red marking is not quite as bright as the ones found on boxelders. Unfortunately, these elm seed bugs are similar to boxelder bugs in that they have a preference for indoor living.
During the summer elm seed bugs can be found resting on trees, but during the winter they may try to gain access to peoples’ homes in order to escape the cold. These bugs can hibernate during the winter months by securing a safe location in various crevices and cracks located on houses or buildings.
Although elm seed bugs do not bite or carry any diseases, they do emit a foul odor. Most people who have found these bugs within their homes probably never thought of contacting a pest control professional until the bugs made their presence clear with their disgusting odors. The bugs are migrating to new areas quickly. Elm seed bugs were spotted in Idaho back in 2009, so it is only a matter of time before they begin to make themselves at home in states across the country.
If you knew that you had an infestation of elm seed bugs would you attempt to kill them all yourself, or would you contact professionals in order to have them eradicated from your home?
Luckily, unlike your typical microscopic mites that can cause scabies, spider mites are only damaging to plant life. However, similar to common mites, spider mites are incredibly small, and their presence on vegetation will likely go unnoticed until significant plant damage or plant death results. Spider mites are not insects; rather, spider mites are arachnids. They are closely related to ticks, spiders and scorpions. Spider mites are so named for their ability to produce silk. Their silk is produced within their mouthparts. Spider mites will often use this silk to cover plant leaves. Sometimes, their silk can even work to protect them from pesticides. This is only one of several reasons why extermination efforts can be tricky, and the destruction of spider mites is dependent on the use of particular insecticides.
There are several types of spider mites, and most are significant pests within North America. They can infest both indoor and outdoor plants. The most destructive and common type of spider mite in America is known as the two spotted spider mite. These tiny arachnids can feed on nearly any type of plant that you can think of including a wide variety of trees, shrubs, flowers, weeds, fruits, greenhouse plant-life and numerous commercial crops. These spider mites are active during the warmer months, but the females overwinter by seeking shelter beneath the soil.
The southern red mite is active during the cooler months, as its population sizes are highest around the coolest periods during the spring and fall. These mites are known for attacking nearly all evergreen trees. These mites are often found on azaleas, viburnum, Japanese and American hollies, and roses.
Spider mites are notorious for their stubbornness, as they are not killed easily. Pesticides are always essential in order to successfully decimate mite populations. Of course, pesticides are most effective when infestations are caught early. Two spotted spider mite infestations can sometimes be traced back to the area where the infested plant life was purchased. Luckily, spider mite pests can also be killed by natural predators.
Have you ever noticed signs of an insect pest infestation before you even spotted the presence of insect pests on plant-life? If you have, what type of insect pests were destroying the plants?