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The Tiniest Backyard Rodents in the World

Filed under: Animal Control — New Jersey Pest Control @ 3:48 pm May 31, 2017

You know what a normal possum looks like, and you’ve probably come across a mole or two in your time. But did you know that there are super tiny versions of these backyard rodents? Some of the smallest mammals in the world come from the possum and mole families. These mini versions of common rodents will probably make you want to hold one and cuddle the cute things as opposed to the normal response of disgust for the normal versions. Here are some of the tiniest backyard rodents in the entire world!

The pygmy possum clocks in at around 2 to 4 inches in length and a mere 10 to 45 grams in weight. These mini-possums are actually part of the marsupial family despite having little resemblance to other members like the kangaroo or wombat. In everything but size, these cute little critters are almost exactly like their larger counterparts. Pygmy possums are nocturnal and like to hang upside down from trees using their tails to hang on. When the temperature drops and winter arrives the pygmy possum will roll itself into a tight ball, using its ears to cover its eyes, and enters a temporary period of hibernation. Unfortunately, you probably won’t catch sight of one of these petite possums unless you travel abroad, as they are found primarily in Australia, Papua New Guinea, and Indonesia.

One tiny backyard rodent you can find in the States is the American shrew mole. This miniature mole looks just like its larger cousin, with a long snout with a flattened tip emerging from their oval body, and sharp, pointy claws on its paws designed specifically for burrowing. However, this little critter weighs in at only 10 grams (approximately the same weight as two nickels) and is only 2 ½ inches long, with a tiny 1-inch-long tail to boot. While its larger mole cousins live most of their lives underground, tirelessly digging tunnels in an effort to create a massive underground labyrinth spanning the entire country (little did you know, it’s been the moles trying to take over all along), the American shrew mole comes out into the world above much more frequently, and can often be spotted by any wildlife enthusiast wandering above ground in search of food. They even hunt insects and can climb bushes to get them if they need to. These cute mini moles can be found in the forests of the northwestern United States.

Have you ever seen what looked like a really tiny version of another common backyard wild animal? Did you find out if it was really a completely different version of that animal?

Ants Don’t Waste Any Time | New Jersey Ant Exterminator

Filed under: Ant Control,New Jersey Ant Control — Tags: — New Jersey Pest Control @ 3:44 pm May 30, 2017

Ants Don’t Waste Any Time | New Jersey Ant Exterminator Ants Don’t Waste Any Time | New Jersey Ant Exterminator

Ants are everywhere, but when they are not crawling on us they don’t seem so deserving of hate. There are many articles in existence describing various insects, but ants seem to be covered more often than other insects. This could be because ants are actually pretty fascinating creatures with advanced abilities. For example, ants are able to calculate the shortest distance back to their colony while out foraging. Many of you probably heard about this particular study since it was published in a popular science magazine, and the topic has also appeared often enough on the Internet. But just because a distance is the shortest, does not mean it is the fastest. How can ants tell which route will be faster?

Ants are small creatures, so if the surface that they walk on changes, it can have a big impact on their ability to travel on that surface. Researchers recently conducted a study that had ants walking on surfaces that were composed of different materials. Using fire ants, researchers recorded the amount of time that it took for several ants to crawl on different surfaces. It was found that ants will always travel in the direction that takes the least amount of time, no matter what the ants are crawling on.

 

The ants in the study travelled in a way that was similar to how light travels according to Fermat’s Principle of Least Time. Fermat’s principle of least-time states that light will always travel on the path that allows it to travel the fastest. The researchers had the ants travel on smooth polyester, rough polyester and polyethylene glass. The ants could achieve the fastest speeds on surfaces that were smooth. So just as light can refract better on a smooth surface as opposed to a rough one, ants can instinctively crawl in the direction that is the fastest, even though the ant cannot see anything ahead of it.

Which insects do you think are the most intelligent of all insects?

Insects Instead Of Meat Could Help Reduce The Harmful Effects Of Climate Change

Filed under: Pest Control — Tags: — New Jersey Pest Control @ 4:16 am May 26, 2017

Insects Instead Of Meat Could Help Reduce The Harmful Effects Of Climate Change

No meat-eater in the United States is going to give up his/her beef for a portion of insects. After all, people eat meat because it tastes good, and not because it has protein. So until bugs start tasting good, edible insects will never become popular within the United States. Then again, who has really tried eating an insect? Maybe insects are even tastier than beef. In any case, cutting the beef in favor of a diet rich in bugs could dramatically reduce the effects of climate change.

A team of researchers recently gathered together to calculate the effects of an entire population switching to insects instead of meat. According to the lead researcher, Dr. Peter Alexander, small changes in consumer behavior, such as cutting out beef from our diets, could cut down on food waste, and it may help usher in a new era of bug eating.

If half of the meat available worldwide was replaced with crickets and mealworm grubs then farmland use would be cut by a third. This achievement would, in turn, dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions that result from deforestation. Farmers would not need as much fertilizer, animal feed, or water, which would also save a lot of natural resources. Also, methane emissions from cows would drastically reduce as well. There seems to be a plethora of problems that could be solved if only we opened our hearts, and mouths, to edible insects.

Some companies have been toying with the idea of using insects during food processing in order to help westerners transition from beef-based protein to insect-based protein. However, I have a feeling that this move would only make consumers angry. But for those that don’t want to save the world by eating insects just bear in mind there is always imitation meat.

Do you see yourself consuming insects in the future for environmental reasons?

Can Spiders Think About Their Webs? | Spider Control New Jersey

Filed under: Pest Control — New Jersey Pest Control @ 5:15 am May 25, 2017

Can Spiders Think About Their Webs? | Spider Control New Jersey

You may have noticed that spider webs don’t all come in the same size, or even the same design. There are circular spider webs, rectangular webs, hanging globs of webs, and of course, cobwebs. So why are so many spider web styles necessary? Do different webs catch different types of prey? Well, millions of years before humans inhabited earth, most spiders kept it simple with the classic circular design, but this eventually changed.

When spiders were using only circular webs they all resorted to the same predatory strategy. This strategy involved waiting patiently while a dumb insect walked into an obvious web. The spider would then go retrieve its insect meal–simple as that. However, at some point, spiders learned to build their webs horizontally. These horizontal webs were used as fishing platforms by the spiders. Now, during modern times many spiders will build what are referred to as cobwebs. These cobwebs look like spider webs that were made by spiders with no talent for web building. Then again, these sloppy looking silk-creations do serve a purpose. For example, the cobweb spider will dangle chunks of silken webbing from areas above their prey. When an unsuspecting insect gets snagged by a hanging cobweb, the spider will then pull the insect-prey into its living quarters so that the unfortunate insect can be properly eaten.

In 2008 a scientist, and a world-renowned expert on spiders conducted an experiment demonstrating that spiders can cast different types of webs based on the environmental conditions. The experiment showed a group of orb-weavers adapting to a change in their environment by using its web as a tool. Instead of waiting for their prey, when the orb-weaver’s net broke, creating a trap much like the hanging silken lures of the cobweb spider, the orb-weavers began to reel in their dinners. This behavior is not common to orb-weavers, but it shows you how much physical (maybe mental) effort these tiny spiders put into their webs. One expert, in response to this study, suggested that spider web building activity could be thought of as an extension of the spider’s cognitive system.

Have you ever seen any arachnid behavior that had you considering how much spiders could think and feel?

 

 

Some Ancient Male Bugs Used Their Legs To Attract Females | Horizon Pest Control

Filed under: Horizon Pest Control,Pest Control — Tags: — New Jersey Pest Control @ 11:07 am May 24, 2017

Modern damselflies mate in many different ways. According to one expert, the various ways in which male damselflies approach females could be described as cooperative or downright hostile, depending on the situation. However, a recent archeological dig has unearthed two fossilized, and now extinct, ancient relatives of modern damselflies. And their way of mating was similar in some ways to their modern counterparts, and different in others. For example, both modern and ancient male damselflies use their legs to attract females, but ancient damselflies were far more interested in legs than modern damselflies.

Modern damselflies engage in mating rituals that involve waving their legs in front of the opposite sex. But modern damselflies sometimes bypass the ritual in order to engage in a more urgent-form of mating. The ancient male damselflies were larger than modern ones, and they also had more ornate legs.

The ancient damselflies legs are adorned with eye-like designs and strange protrusions that appear decorative. Many entomologists believe that these eye-like designs were used to fend-off predators. However, two researchers, Zheng Daran and Wang Bo from the Nanjing Institute of Geology and Paleontology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, disagree with the above stated theories, and instead they believe that the showy designs were used to attract female damselflies. Damselflies have advanced and highly acute eyesight relative to other insects. This may indicate that damselflies are designed to resort to visual cues when attempting to attract a mate.

Modern damselflies also use their legs to attract mates, but males are far less reliant on flashy legs than their ancient relatives when it comes to attracting females. Another researcher believes that male damselflies may have lost their flashy legs over time because their legs were attracting the wrong kind of attention, like dangerous predators. Also, their large legs with noticeable protrusions would not have been ideal for flying. The bulky male legs would have created a lot of drag for the airborne ancient damselfly. The factor, or factors, that are responsible for the genetic change cannot be determined with certainty, but this ancient insect is a great example of how insects evolved to become more efficient.

Have you ever spotted a damselfly with your own eyes? If you have, did you think that it was a dragonfly at first?

Raccoons: The Other New York City Residents

Filed under: Horizon Pest Control,Nuisance Wildlife & Animal Control,Pest Control — New Jersey Pest Control @ 10:21 am May 22, 2017

Raccoons: The Other New York City Residents

Have you ever lived in New York City? If you have, I am betting that you became well acquainted with raccoons. Even people visiting New York City make comments about the abundant raccoon population. Raccoons are normally tolerated by residents of New York City because the most abundant native animals in the big apple are probably cockroaches and rats. Even though raccoons are regarded as troublesome by many residents, at least raccoons are cute to look at. The raccoon populations in New York City have grown so rapidly that the Parks Department has made a video acquainting people with the fact that New York City is a raccoon’s paradise.

The video that was released by the New York City Parks Department explains how residents of New York City can safely cohabitate with raccoons. This video was not about adopting raccoons; instead the video focuses on ways for residents to protect themselves and loved ones from the raccoons that may own the city any day now.

Mitchell J. Silver, New York City’s Park Commissioner, was featured in the video asking residents of New York City to respect the wildlife that exists in the city. He also stated that New Yorkers share their city with six hundred other species of animal. The video specifically addresses the issue of feeding wild animals. The video states that feeding wildlife is unwise because feeding a raccoon only increases its chances of encountering another person. This encounter could turn out to be a violent altercation with a human. The overall message was one of respect for raccoons. This video was made as a result of a campaign known as Wildlife New York City. The campaign aims to better educate people on the nature of wildlife, and to dispel many harmful myths about wildlife that have persisted over the years. The video is easy to find on any social media outlet.

Have you ever taken note of the large raccoon population in New York City if you live there, or have ever visited the city?

Insects Are Destroying The Most Majestic Trees In The United States

Insects Are Destroying The Most Majestic Trees In The United States

The trees of southern California are tall and beautiful, and these trees often serve as a symbol for the beauty of the California landscape. Sadly, there is no clear solution to the problem of tree infestation by insect pests. However, a Los Angeles plant pathologist, Jerrold Turney, sees hope for the future of southern California’s trees, literally, in fact.

During Turney’s commute to work everyday he sees a variety of healthy trees that have, apparently, not been negatively impacted by the presence of insect pests. According to Turney, nearly everywhere you look in the southern region of California shows dead or dying oleander trees, olive trees and liquidambar trees. Sycamore trees and plum trees die right off of the bat. The period of time that it seems to take for these popular trees to die is no time at all. There seems to be no chance of saving some trees, even if a solution to the bug infestation is solved. The depressing sight that Turney drives past daily robs southern California of its natural beauty, and insects are to thank for that.

Turney’s report on the state of California’s plant life is not completely dire. Actually there are several trees that seem to be surviving just fine. For example, gingoe’s, pink trumpets, pine trees, pepper trees and southern magnolias are surviving, but many are a bit damaged. However, there is no doubt that some trees are more susceptible to the insect pests than other trees. The devastation that has resulted from mass tree death in California is overwhelming, so city planners are hoping to repopulate the area with new trees. However, these cannot be the same types of trees as the ones dying now since they cannot stand up to insect abuse. However, some of the healthy trees that Turney mentioned could be possible candidates.

Now, many experts and novices are competing in order to locate the most durable and insect-proof tree in existence. Once a tree type is chosen for its strength, these new trees will be planted in place of the old dead trees. I suppose that is one way to solve a problem.

Which type of tree do you think can stand up to abuse from insect pests?

 

 

Grubs Can Attract Skunks

Filed under: Pest Control — Tags: — New Jersey Pest Control @ 1:55 am May 18, 2017

Grubs Can Attract Skunks

Nobody likes an unkempt lawn, especially if the lawn in question is a cemetery lawn. Imagine having a cemetery lawn full of grubs that you could not get rid of. Now imagine having a problem with skunks tearing up your lawn in order to take those grubs. The Iron Mountain Cemetery is currently dealing with this strange scenario at the moment. Little did the groundskeeper, or most people in the world know, but apparently skunks love grubs.

At the moment the cemetery looks like it has been vandalized. According to one city official, the cemetery lawn looks as though somebody tore up each section with a rototiller. And all of this damage was caused by skunks, and only skunks. During the past two summers skunks have dropped by the cemetery for their grubs regularly. But during the previous years, the skunks only damaged one section of the cemetery. Luckily, the damage was fixable, and they were able to get rid of the few skunks eventually. This year, however, skunks have destroyed the lawn covering the entire property. The Iron Mountain Cemetery contains thirty sections and is seventy acres large, so that must be a lot of skunks.

Last year, the city hired a private company to remove the grubs from the ground. This worked to prevent the skunks from returning repeatedly. However, the treatment was costly, around seven hundred dollars per section. Since the property contains thirty sections, it is unlikely that the city will be able to afford to remove the grubs professionally.

Now, having exhausted every other option, the city is hoping to rid the cemetery of skunks by asking the Department of Natural Resources to give the city a grant or some financial assistance in order to take care of the problem. In any case, if you have grubs, then you may want to think about getting rid of them.

Have you ever noticed any type of wild animal being attracted to a particular plant?

 

 

Researchers Develop Holograms To Gain A New Perspective On Malaria

Filed under: Horizon Pest Control,Pest Control — Tags: — New Jersey Pest Control @ 1:05 am May 17, 2017

Mosquitoes are bad news. These flying pests are not only responsible for the severe itching that you perpetually experience during the summer, but they are also the world’s most prolific killers. Mosquitoes cause health problems in around five hundred million people every year; that is half of one billion! One mosquito-borne disease that causes a significant amount of death and suffering is malaria. Malaria alone is responsible for the deaths of, at least, 2.7 million people annually.

Here in the western part of the world, malaria is treated in a straightforward manner. In order to diagnose an individual with malaria in the west, all a doctor has to do is take some blood, and then analyze a small sample of the blood under a microscope. However, this is easer said than realized since analyzing blood in order to ascertain disease is a highly involved process that takes a lot of skill and education. The people that analyze blood samples are referred to as microscopists, and many malaria-ravaged countries in Africa are in short supply of these microscopists. This makes malaria impossible to diagnose until symptoms appear, and by then treatment options are too little too late.

However, it looks like scientists and engineers from Duke University have developed a new method of analyzing the blood samples. People living in poor countries can use holographic technology in order to diagnose the disease. The machine that creates the holographic image of the blood sample operates on an algorithm that can determine, beyond a doubt, if a blood sample is infected with malaria. Since this information has been released by the University, many private companies have developed smaller, lighter and more affordable holographic diagnostic machines. Some experts believe that this technology could mark the beginning of the end for many diseases that ravage the third world.

Have you ever cared for someone who had become ill with an insect-borne disease?

 

 

Try Something New And Take A Trip To Any One Of America’s Many Insect Museums | Insect Fun

Filed under: Horizon Pest Control,Pest Control — Tags: , — New Jersey Pest Control @ 2:32 pm May 15, 2017

Try Something New And Take A Trip To Any One Of America’s Many Insect Museums

We have all been to museums whether we wanted to go or not. But there exists a variety of different museums in the world that showcase a multitude of different and unusual aspects of the natural world. One type of museum (or zoo) that is gaining popularity fast is known as an insect zoo. These zoos exist to not only showcase unusual and remarkable insects and spiders, but they also exist as a conservatory for rare or endangered insects, and/or spiders. Although you may not know it, but there are actually many popular and renowned insectariums and insect zoos right here in the United States. In fact, the Natural History Museum in New York has recently spent three hundred and forty million dollars on an insectarium that will open at some point in the future.

One popular destination where you can learn all about the world’s diverse collection of insects and spiders would be the Los Angeles Natural History Museum. This permanent exhibition is known for having a rare species of spider that is known as the white-eyed assassin bug. This exhibition has also become popular for sponsoring the thirty first annual bug-fair. This event lasts for a period of two days from May 20th to the 21st, and it offers up cooked bugs for those interested.

On the other side of the coast there is the Insectarium and Butterfly Pavilion in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This museum has been hosting field trips for Philadelphia’s children for the past twenty five years, and its popularity reaches to all corners of the globe. This year the museum opened up the new Butterfly Pavilion, which details the different life stages of a butterfly. There are also well known, and respectable insectariums and insect zoos in many other states including Washington, Arizona, North Carolina, New Jersey and Oregon. And this is only naming a few of the most notable insectariums.

Have you ever visited an insectarium? If you have, then which insectarium did you visit?

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