Louisiana is a major producer of pecans. According to one expert, the sale of Louisiana pecans will likely reach five million American dollars for the year of 2016. However, this is number is disappointing when considering how much money was lost due to insect-pests.
Two years ago pecan farmers in Louisiana suffered tremendous losses in revenue due to insect related damage to pecan crops. Despite this setback, pecan farmers were hoping that 2015 would be different, and high yields and growing profits would return, but it didn’t. However, in one stroke of good fortune, prices and demand remain strong for pecans.
Pecan harvests usually begin in October of every year, and ideally, the harvest ends by thanksgiving. However, wet weather often postpones the end of the harvest until January. Due to the same factors that led to the decrease in pecan sales last year, pecan specialist, Charlie Graham, predicts that 2016 will likely look just as dismal for pecan farmers.
Which types of bugs are beneficial for pecan crops?
Beer Can Now Be Made With Insects – Soon we may be seeing products such as “Bugweiser” at our local grocery stores. Researchers at North Carolina State University are working on a new method of beer making. The process is largely the same as normal beer production, but with a minor difference. The new beer being tested at the University includes yeast procured from bugs as one of its ingredients.
Researchers start the process by collecting wasps from the wild, and then they proceed to grind them up in order to extract all the usable yeast from their bodies. Once the yeast is extracted it is placed into a petri dish so that it may grow to the size necessary for brewing. Next the researchers take the yeast to a brewery to create and test out the new insect-inspired beer.
All those who have tasted the bug-brew have described its taste as being more sweet and tart than your typical beer. Although finding new methods of creating beer may sound like a noble academic pursuit to some, others may think that making beer does not need to be improved. However, the taste of the bug-brew seems to be universally praised.
Would you be willing to buy beer made from bugs if such a beer were to be less costly?
This is the time of year when insects are going into chill-mode, or they just die. Some bugs hibernate over the winter, while other bugs will die, or succeed in finding a warm shelter during the winter months, such as your home. In any case, bugs tend to resort to a variety of different survival methods during the winter months, and some methods are more surprising than others.
Some insects, such as crickets, grasshoppers and praying mantises, leave their eggs behind for the winter before they die. Of course, there are many insects that succeed in migrating long distances, and into environments that are completely different from where they came from. For example, dragonflies, and the lesser-known tiny potato leafhoppers can migrate to other regions of the world with completely different and more hospitable climatic conditions.
Other bugs, like the stinkbug and boxelder bugs, count on finding an indoor location in order to live out the cold winter. If these insects fail to find a warm location to chill out for four or five months, then they will certainly die as these bugs can only seem to survive in dwellings made for humans. However, many other bugs are content with the warmth that can be found underneath a rock. These are the bugs that you don’t need to worry about this winter, but keep an eye out for roaches since they prefer the comfort of your home during the winter months, and they make for bad Christmas guests.
Have you ever studied or even heard of a method of winter survival for bugs that was not mentioned in the above article? NJ pest control services
The world-renowned acrobatic act known as Cirque Du Soleil will be staging a new performance that focuses on the movements and the general physical nature of insects and spiders. The performance has been titled “Ovo”, and it will premier during the spring season of 2017.
A press release from the performance group described the upcoming insect-inspired event as showing the lifecycles, work and physical movement of spiders and insects in a manner that is meant to educate. The word “ovo” means “egg” in Portuguese, and this word was chosen as the title because the performance will begin with a single insect egg that hatches into hundreds of tiny and bustling insects.
The highlight of the show will include a high-flying act, in which performers operate together from ropes suspended from the ceiling. This is one example of the spider-like imagery to be expected from the show. Tickets go on sale in December.
Do you think that it is important to educate the public and the young about insects, and the benefits they provide for mother earth?
It seems that when they’re not trying to find ways to cure the most horrific diseases in existence, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) put on art exhibits that also have to do with death and disease. At the moment photographs of disease vectors such as mold, mosquitos, and louse by photographer Jim Gathany are on exhibit at the CDC.
This is basically an exhibit of everything that makes up our nightmares. There is a photograph of a female Anopheles gambiae mosquito, which also happens to be the main culprit behind the spread of malaria, mounted on a microscope slide that highlights the insect’s mouthparts and antennae. A female black widow spider is featured spinning a web on a tree branch. This is, of course, the same female black widow that can inject a deadly neurotoxin more powerful than that of a rattlesnake. The exhibit is full of more of the most deadly things on earth. Oddly enough, Gathany manages to find a kind of beauty through these photographs in these nightmares that one doesn’t often get to see. I guess even the most horrifying creature has it’s own kind of beauty.
What other kinds of terrifying disease vectors do you think should have been included in this exhibit? Do you think Gathany manages to find beauty in the horrifying?
A bug known as the “cottony cushion scale” is a common agricultural pest, but not just any pest. This super-small bug is able to procreate without the help of males, well…kind of. It is more like the females absorb the males, and are then able to reproduce as anatomical hermaphrodites.
Sometimes when females are developing in fertilized eggs, extra sperm will find its way into the bodies of the developing daughters. This sperm will then develop in the eggs of the female. What results is a female that is able to reproduce on its own with her father’s reproductive organs. In other words, the female’s father is both the father and the grandfather of her own offspring.
Researchers from Oxford University believe that soon all males of this particular species will become obsolete after several generations, and the males will only exist in the parasitic state described above. Talk about a dysfunctional family.
Can you think of any other insects or spiders that show strange reproductive habits?
Humans rely on the earth for everything, most of all for sustenance. Therefore, astronauts traveling outside of the atmosphere must rely on food that they take from earth. When a trip to Mars takes six months to complete, you can see the logistical problems in carrying such a vast amount of food into space. In order to solve some logistical problems associated with massive food transport to Mars, NASA is now considering using insects as a primary source of minerals and nutrients for the astronauts traveling through space.
A settlement on Mars consisting of six people would require fifteen curiosity rovers to transport loads of food ever twenty six months. Every year each of the six settlers will need two thousand pounds of freeze dried food for sustenance.
Eating insects in place of freeze-dried food is considered the best option for sustenance. Crickets may work best since they consume discarded plant matter, they can be raised in high numbers and in small spaces in a matter of weeks. And they require very little water. It seems the worst part about traveling to Mars is not the six month trip cramped in a space shuttle cabin, instead it would be the two thousand pounds of insects I would have to eat each year.
If you were willing to be one of the few to volunteer to travel to Mars would your mind be changed if you knew that you had to eat a large amount of bugs for years on end?
These days it is becoming more and more of a legitimate claim to say that Columbus was not the first person to discover America. Of course, many experts point to the Vikings as the original explorers to set foot on North American soil. And there is some pretty convincing evidence to demonstrate the latter scenario is more plausible. However, despite how smart, inventive and resourceful mankind has proven his own type of people to be, we can never measure up to one particular creature who makes navigating the harsh oceans look like a boring day at a water park. That creature is known, of course, as the Amaurobiidae spider.
This particular seafaring arachnid accomplished the impressive feat of traveling from continent to continent over ten million years ago. This aquatically gifted spider arrived in South America and South Africa Millions of Years ago. The seafaring spiders are believed by experts to have used pieces of algae or other small pieces of floating debris in order to survive their transcontinental trip by sea. The fact that this particular spider is able to survive months without food is pretty beneficial when it comes to boat rides that last from months to years, not to mention the fact that this particular genus of sea-friendly spider is miniscule. That is, the spider’s body grows only to a centimeter and a half in length. If this spider did, in fact, make a several thousand mile transcontinental trip across the sea while staying afloat on nothing more than a crummy piece of algae, then perhaps these ants live in a culture that values exercise and extreme feats of physical fitness.
What do you think the Amaurobiidae spider consumed for sustenance during its oceanic travels? Do the spiders have to eat during their sea travels, since the trips must last longer than a few months?
Do you think that the Amaurobiidae genus of spiders spread to different continents for reasons more plausible than transcontinental travel by ocean? Is such a small spider capable of withstanding the harsh ocean waters for thousands of miles without incident? Is there a more plausible explanation behind, what looks like, an intense desire on the part of the Amaurobiidae genus of spiders to indulge in extreme feats of physical prowess?
Some people cannot get enough of high-adrenaline activities, such as skydiving, bungee jumping or, of course, allowing oneself to be bitten and stung by dangerous bugs. Well maybe the last example is a little bit less common among high-risk activities, but for a man named “Coyote”, experiencing the pain of bug bites and stings is a way of life. Coyote Peterson is a youtuber who films himself encountering, and being attacked, by nature’s most aggressive insects and spiders.
One of Coyote’s most popular youtube videos shows his reaction to the notoriously painful tarantula-hawk sting. The tarantula-hawk is actually a wasp, and it is well known for delivering, what is understood to be, the second most painful sting of any insect. Some of Coyote’s other videos include him being stung by the vicious “cow killer ant”, as well as being pinched by crabs.
Although Coyote’s activities may seem unintelligent and dangerous, there is no doubting his youtube success, and the millions of people who eagerly anticipate his future videos featuring arthropod induced pain. Coyote’s youtube channel is called Brave Wilderness and his next video will show him traveling to Costa Rica in order to experience the intense pain that goes along with a bite from a “bullet ant”. The video will be released just before christmas.
Do you believe that Coyote’s youtube channel has any educational value?
Did you know that not all spiders use webs to catch their prey? The tiny trap-jaw spider is one such web-less arachnid. These critters, which can be found in New Zealand and South America, have jaws that pack a powerful punch at incredible speeds that are almost impossible to catch with the naked eye.
The trap-jaw spider has an unusual, highly maneuverable mouth structure that acts much like a mousetrap, clamping down on their prey at lightning fast speeds. They hunt on the forest floor, stalking their prey with their mouth held wide open until they get close enough to pounce on their prey and snap their jaw shut on said prey at incredible speeds. They’re kind of like a living bear or mousetrap…pretty terrifying if you ask me.
The amount of power required for their jaws to snap shut at the speed and strength that they do is impossible to achieve with only the power of their muscles. The trap-jaw spider actually evolved another mechanism that accounts for the large amount of power their jaws release that scientists are currently studying. The phenomenon is known as “power amplification” and has only been observed in a few ant species, and never before in spiders, making the trap-jaw spider the first to demonstrate it. This spider is truly a unique specimen that scientists are now studying in order to see if we can replicate the mechanism their jaw uses to create so much power. It could literally revolutionize modern technology.
What kind of practical applications could a mechanism that creates so much power have for us humans?