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The Flies That Cause Blindness In Humans Regularly

Filed under: Pest Control — Tags: — New Jersey Pest Control @ 2:55 am July 24, 2017

The Flies That Cause Blindness In Humans Regularly

When it comes to the dangers posed by flying insects, most people seem to think that nothing could get worse than catching a mosquito-borne disease. There is good reason to fear mosquitoes since they have been all over the news since the Zika virus started ravaging certain areas of the world. However, some people may not consider mere death to be the worst of fates. For example, some people fear the loss of sight much more than dying. You can probably guess where this article is going, and you are correct, there is, indeed, a flying insect that can cause blindness. However, the good news is that The National Institutes of Health are spending millions in order to combat this blinding insect-borne disease with a new vaccine.

This blinding disease is known as, onchocerciasis, or river blindness, and it is caused by a parasitic worm referred to as Onchocerca volvulus, or simply the blackfly. River blindness is the world’s second leading cause of infectious blindness. This disease commonly infects individuals living with sub-saharan africa, and only very rarely within the Americas. The disease is endemic in thirty one countries, including Yemen. The parasitic worm is transmitted to humans via blackflies.

These flies dwell near rivers and other bodies of water, and once they enter the human body, they can survive and reproduce immediately, even without the victim experiencing any symptoms for several years. The larval worms are quickly spread to the skin and eyes of its human victims. Blindness will occur eventually, but the rate at which the parasitic disease progresses varies from person to person.

The NIH has recently given a grant to the Baylor College of Medicine with the hopes that a vaccine could soon be developed. The National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor has been given 3.6 million dollars and a five year timeline in order to create an effective vaccine.

Had you ever heard of the disease known as river blindness before? Do you believe that this disease is underreported in favor of coverage concerning Zika?

 

 

 

The Crazy Reasons Why The Ancient Egyptians Deified The Dung Beetle

Filed under: Pest Control — Tags: — New Jersey Pest Control @ 1:07 am July 21, 2017

The Crazy Reasons Why The Ancient Egyptians Deified The Dung Beetle

The ancient Egyptians are credited with forming one of history’s first civilizations. Historians could tell you all about the many accomplishments made by the ancient Egyptians, some good and others not so good. As you can imagine, the ancient Egyptians did get many things wrong, and this includes their beliefs about dung beetles. There are many animals that ancient civilizations held in high regard. For example, most of us know that the ancient Egyptians deified cats. Obviously, scientific knowledge was lacking back then, and that would be putting it mildly. So when it came to understanding the nature of many of earth’s creatures, the ancient Egyptians were nearly always off the mark. The beliefs they held about dung beetles was certainly no exception.

Since dung beetles live their entire lives playing with their own excrement, you would not think that these insects would hold a divine meaning to any group of people. In fact, dung beetles even resort to coprophagous activities, meaning they eat their own feces. There are currently around six thousand dung beetle species documented in the world. One of the most well known among these species is the Goliath dung beetle, which is one of the largest insects on record. The scarab dung beetle is probably the most popular dung beetle of all. The popularity of the scarab dung beetle is likely due to its depiction as an evil entity in the film entitled The Mummy. In reality, scarab dung beetles were revered by the ancient Egyptians.

Scarab dung beetles roll feces into spherical balls, which they then continuously push across the ground. It was this dung beetle behavior that fascinated the ancient Egyptians because they believed that the spherical dung resembled the sun. This ancient civilization believed that the spherical dung package would eventually disappear, much like how the sun disappears at sunset. This is why the ancients Egyptians worshiped a solar god, which they depicted as having the head of a scarab beetle. It goes without saying that these beliefs existed long before Galileo left his mark on the field of astronomy.

Which other insects do you know of that were revered by past societies?

Harry Potter Fans Rejoice As They Finally Have a Real-World “Aragog” Spider

Filed under: Pest Control — Tags: , — New Jersey Pest Control @ 1:29 am July 20, 2017

Harry Potter Fans Rejoice As They Finally Have a Real-World “Aragog” Spider

Any true fan of the Harry Potter series knows who “Aragog” is, you know, Hagrid’s giant sentient spider friend introduced in book 2 of the series, “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets”. How could anyone possibly not remember the fateful meeting of Aaragog, in which he almost let’s his spider colony attack Harry Potter and Ron Weasley in the “Forbidden Forest,” despite being close chums with the beloved giant Hagrid. Eve if you’ve only seen the movies, it would be hard to forget the scene where the absolutely mammoth sized spiders converge on Harry and Ron, probably almost scaring the daylights out of the audience as well as the characters. Well, we now have our own real world version of Aragog!

A recently discovered species of wolf spider was named after Aragog, when scientists noticed it had a number of physical similarities with the fictional character. This new species of wolf spider dubbed Lycosa Aragogi was discovered in a mountainous area of southeastern Iran. The researchers that discovered the new species of wolf spider noticed that it had undeniable similarities to the character of Aragog, who was actually modeled after the wolf spider.  Of course, this Aragog is quite a bit smaller than its fictional counterpart, reaching about 1 inch long and 2 inches wide. However, they both have similar exoskeletons covered by a furry exterior and eight inset eyes.

The Lycosa aragogi spider is quite an aggressive hunter, just like its fictional counterpart Aragog. These spiders are not web-builders, but rather hunt at night, basically eating up any critter it can overpower such as crickets and other small insects. While they are venomous, they are not toxic or large enough to harm humans. The scientists that discovered the Lycosa aragogi were inspired to name the spider after the character in Harry Potter because of its strong maternal similarities to Aragog. Despite Harry and Ron being close friends of Hagrid, Aragog still allowed his beloved colony to attack the two wizards. Wolf spiders are very protective of their young. They will carry their egg sacs and then their young around with them on their backs all the time. Sometimes those numbers will rise above a hundred little spiders hanging around on top of them at all times. That’s a dedicated mother. Thank god they’re not similar in size to the beloved Aragog.

Have you ever seen a wolf spider carrying its egg sacs or baby spiders on its back? What do you think of scientists’ choice to name this new species after the Harry Potter character Aragog?

Inasive Insects In the United States

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — New Jersey Pest Control @ 1:56 am July 19, 2017

Inasive InsectsInvasive Insects

As a result of the September eleventh terrorist attacks that tragically resulted in the deaths of thousands, America has become more vulnerable to the invasion of nonnative insect pests. On the surface it would seem that terrorist activity within America could not possibly be related to nonnative insect pest invasions. However, studies show that there is, indeed, a link between the United States government’s anti-terrorism efforts and the increasing amount of nonnative insect pests that have found their way onto American soil.

After the 9/11 terrorist attacks nearly all government agencies began to focus solely on preventing further attacks. Even departments of the US government that would seemingly be unrelated to anti-terrorism efforts were reformed in order to help prevent further terrorist attacks. Of course, government agencies like the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency exist solely for the purpose of protecting America from dangerous foreign influences, such as terrorist attacks. But even government funded agricultural scientists were ordered to abandon all efforts aimed at preventing nonnative insect pests from entering the US; instead these agricultural scientists were reassigned to anti-terrorism units. For example, the United States Border Control and Customs department has many agricultural scientists employed in order to prevent nonnative insects from entering America via shipping containers and other common routes. However, these agricultural scientists were absorbed into the Department of Homeland security, and reassigned to tasks that did not involve preventing insect pests from entering America. This is one reason why more nonnative insect pests have found their way into America, where they have since caused millions and even billions of crop damages alone.

Everything from citrus groves to forested regions in the US have fallen victim to the damage caused by foreign insect pest invaders. This invasion has resulted in higher grocery prices, as well as hurt the economy. The damage to various crops has made fruit and vegetable prices increase as a result of the pest-induced crop damage.

Do you believe that the US government should have employed more government workers in order to ensure that America was not left vulnerable to nonnative insect pests?

Robots Are Being Built With Electronic Dragonfly Brains

Filed under: Pest Control — Tags: — New Jersey Pest Control @ 3:12 am July 18, 2017

Robots Are Being Built With Electronic Dragonfly Brains

50387554 - vector dragonfly isolated and colorful.

These days, robotic engineers are doing everything in their knowledge to create robots that mimic insects and spiders. So far there has been a multitude of engineering successes concerning this particular goal. These robotic-bugs are often built at the request of the government and under the auspices of the military. Many of the flying robotic-bugs are created to be just what you may think–drones. But this is not always the case, as some of these airborne robot-bugs are meant to aid rescue workers during search and rescue missions. Sometimes people may be trapped in an area that is not accessible to rescue workers. In these cases flying robotic-bugs are remotely flown into a narrow area in order to find signs of life. Despite the great leap forward made by researchers in the field of robotic engineering, many researchers insist that many of these robotic-bug prototypes are not sufficient to complete the task that they were built to carry out. Not all flying robotic-bugs can be controlled by remote; sometimes autonomous flying robotic-bugs will be necessary. This is why a team of researchers have engineered a dragonfly brain, which is an insect that possesses great eyesight and is able to accurately identify prey, even when located afar.

Zahra Bagheri, a PhD student at the University of Adelaide, is working to create an autonomous flying robot that can locate and track objects in the same manner as some of nature’s most optically gifted specimens. In this case, Bagheri is engineering robots that can see as well as dragonflies. Another reason to choose insects as a model for autonomous flying robots is their natural efficiency. For example, insects have small brains, but they are, nevertheless, capable of complicated neural processes that would typically require a large generator to mimic robotically. The finished product was tested, and the robotic-dragonfly, if you will, was able to locate certain objects within a cluttered room on its own. This test marked the first time a flying robot was able to target particular items autonomously.

Which other insects would be useful as a model for search and rescue devices like the one described above?

 

 

Can Barklice Infect Humans Or Animals?

Filed under: Horizon Pest Control,Pest Control — Tags: , — New Jersey Pest Control @ 3:21 pm July 17, 2017

Can Barklice Infect Humans Or Animals?

Booklice and barklice both belong to an order of insects known as Psocoptera. Some experts consider it unnecessary to draw a distinction between these two types of the same insect. Some Psocoptera prefer to dwell within indoor conditions that are populated by humans, and others prefer to spend their lives outdoors. Barklice thrive in moist conditions, such as under trees and in areas with heavy vegetation. Whereas booklice are often found in close proximity to humans, which is probably why they are often mistaken for parasites that can harm humans and other animals. Despite the fact that their names contain the word “lice”, the Psocoptera is not a parasite. This bug likely got its name because it resembles small parasitic insects, especially booklice, which are smaller than barklice, and live within human dwellings.

Barklice possess long antennae, and they prefer to feed on fungi, lichens, algae and many different plant products, such as pollen. Most barklice are below six millimeters in length, but they can reach ten millimeters in length. These bugs also have wings, which make them look similar to aphids, but their broad heads, and fierce looking jaws are features that are quite different from those of aphids.

Booklice, on the other hand are significantly smaller, but they are clearly the same as barklice. Booklice are often smaller than two millimeters in length. Although booklice are not parasitic, they do often damage property, such as wallpaper paste, grains, bookbinding and other starchy products. Booklice have often been found feeding on historically important books that are found in museums, and they are considered pests within grain stores. Booklice can sometimes manage to invade bird nests, but they do not feed on birds, as some may assume; instead these bugs feed only on the remains of feathers or skin cells. So if you spot a parasitic-looking creature in your home, then just hope that they are booklice.

Have you ever heard of the bugs infesting a home before?

 

Mosquito Prevention Tips!

Filed under: Mosquito Control,Mosquito Control New Jersey,New Jersey Mosquito Control — New Jersey Pest Control @ 5:29 am July 14, 2017

To prevent the health risks that can potentially accompany an already-pesky mosquito bite, be sure to follow these mosquito prevention tips: Mosquito

  • When spending time outdoors, apply an insect repellant containing at least 20% DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon-eucalyptus, and reapply as directed on the label. People who are spending long amounts of time outdoors should also consider wearing long pants, long-sleeved shirts and closed-toe shoes to limit exposure to mosquitoes. The main type of mosquito that carries Zika is a daytime biter, so taking preventive measures at all times of the day is crucial.
  • Anyone traveling outside of the United States should be aware of travel advisories currently in effect. Pack plenty of insect repellant and protective clothing. If a person falls ill upon returning home, seek prompt medical attention.
  • Mosquitoes need only about a half an inch of water to breed, so homeowners should eliminate areas of standing water such as flowerpots, birdbaths, baby pools, grill covers and other objects where water collects.
  • Even children’s toys like buckets and sandboxes can collect water and become a breeding ground for mosquitoes right in the backyard, so be sure to keep these objects water-free.
  • Screen all windows and doors, and patch up even the smallest tear or hole on screens.
  • If there are concerns about mosquito activity on the property, contact Horizon Pest control company or the local mosquito abatement district.

Citizen Scientists Uncover New Information About The Monarch Butterfly

Filed under: Pest Control — Tags: , — New Jersey Pest Control @ 4:19 pm July 13, 2017

Citizen Scientists Uncover New Information About The Monarch Butterfly

Becoming a professional entomologist involves dedication to the field, and rigorous schooling. But that does not mean that a regular Joe cannot contribute valuable bug-related data to the discipline of entomology. All over the world insect enthusiasts dedicate their free time to furthering the scientific knowledge concerning insects. Some of these volunteers possess training in the science of entomology, while others do not. These volunteers are referred to as citizen scientists. Any academic discipline that you can think of is assisted by the studious efforts of citizen scientists. Sometimes colleges and universities will encourage average citizens to contribute to the study of a particular academic field by sponsoring programs that facilitate extra-academic research. For example, back in 1999, the Monarch Larva Monitoring Project aimed to encourage citizen scientists to collect data concerning the nature of the monarch butterfly. As a result of this long running program, researchers have gathered invaluable data relating to the flies that attack monarch butterflies.

Since the monarch-monitoring project began several years ago, volunteers have collected more than twenty thousand monarch eggs and caterpillars. Many of these specimens were observed to be parasitized by fly larvae.

It was found that nearly ten percent of the collected monarch larvae samples fell victim to parasitic intrusions. Not only that, but parasitic infections victimized monarch larvae more frequently during later stages of larval development. For example, once monarch larvae reached the fifth stage of development, seventeen percent of these mature larvae succumbed to parasitic infections. It was also found that the parasitic fly species, Lespesia archippivora, was the most common among all parasitic flies to infect monarch larvae. This parasitic fly species was already known to infect butterflies and moths, but not at this frequency. This particular finding indicates that the Lespesia archippivora comprises many different subspecies. This particular finding will become the focus of future studies.

Since citizen scientists are located all around the globe, do you believe that the data they collect can sometimes be more fruitful than data collected by a single entomologist?

Do Termites Eat Anything Other Than Wood?

Filed under: Pest Control — Tags: — New Jersey Pest Control @ 11:17 am July 12, 2017

Do Termites Eat Anything Other Than Wood?Termite

We all have heard that termites feed on wood, and hopefully you have not learned this from your own personal experience. Termites can destroy the natural beauty of forests, they can make homes unlivable, and they can even contribute to air pollution. But can termites consume any other material besides wood? Most people would say “no”, but this question deserves a second thought before answering. You will never find a termite feeding on any plastic or metal objects, but then again, you may find termites feeding on objects that are not, strictly speaking, completely wooden either.

Of course termites consume wood, but, more specifically, termites consume an organic material called cellulose. Cellulose is the hard inner material located within large trees, and plants. Even wood that has been treated during industrial processing still contains cellulose, which is obviously why termites have such a well-known reputation for consuming wood that is used to construct homes. This information may be well known. However, many people are shocked to find termites feeding on books, cardboard, cotton, and all types of paper.

This should not be surprising, after all, paper and cardboard are not just made from trees, but they are made specifically from cellulose. Some important documents have been completely consumed by termites. For example, a legal researcher once attempted to conduct research on India’s historical and modern use of the death penalty. Unfortunately for this scholar, termites had consumed the vast amount of paper documents detailing each death penalty case within India. One YouTuber from America showed how termites had damaged one of his most prized books. Even your clothing is at risk of becoming damaged by voracious termites since many clothing materials, especially cotton, are made from cellulose. So if you ever discover termites dwelling within your home, don’t forget to check your favorite clothes and books for termite damage in addition to the wood in your home.

Have you ever found termite damage in unexpected, or odd, places? If so, then where?

The Ants That Make The Lives Of All Other Insects Miserable

Filed under: Pest Control — Tags: — New Jersey Pest Control @ 9:17 am July 11, 2017

The Ants That Make The Lives Of All Other Insects Miserable

There is an ant in existence that can force all other ants to vacate an entire ecosystem. This menacing ant is known as the Asian needle ant. As you may be able to guess already, this needle ant is not native to the United States. Nobody knows exactly how the Asian needle ant arrived in the US, but experts were able to determine that these ants arrived on US soil from Japan. Entomologist first discovered needle ants within American forests during the 1930s, where they were observed to be traveling through forests located within the Eastern region of the US. These ants are unique in that they are capable of migrating from forests and into residential areas without being hindered by natural predators. These nonnative ants have since been found within a variety of different environments, including people’s yards where they are often found to be hiding out within potted plants. This is problematic since needle ants cause many insects to vacate forest environments that depend on insect activity in order to maintain the health of these forested ecosystems.

Asian needle ants prefer to feed on termites. However, many insects that exist within forested regions of the US are fair game for needle ant food. Unfortunately, many of these threatened insects are invaluable to the well being of forest environments. The insects that are most threatened by the presence of needle insects include different species of forest-dwelling ants. For example, acrobat ants, winnow ants, thief ants, and smaller sized black ants are particularly threatened by invading needle ants.

As a result of this needle ant migration through American forests many other insects, especially the ants listed above, migrate out of the forests where they are native. As a result of this displacement, forested ecosystems become vulnerable to ruin. For instance, acrobat ants and thief ants consume insect pests that feed on trees. Once needle ants force the native ants to leave their natural environment, insect pests are free to destroy just about every plant and tree that exists within forests. Sadly, as with many other nonnative insect pests, there does not exist any clear solution to the problems that they cause to various North American ecosystems.

Have you ever heard of any pest-control methods that could potentially work to rid North American environments of devastating nonnative insect pests? If you have, which strategies seemed most feasible?

 

 

 

 

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