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Termites Cause The Removal Of A Beloved Tree

Filed under: Horizon Pest Control,Termites — Tags: , — New Jersey Pest Control @ 4:19 pm September 29, 2017

Termites Cause The Removal Of A Beloved Tree

We all know that termites can destroy valuable homes. And most of us know that termites are active consumers of plant-life. However, most people only complain about termite damage when homes have been affected. How often do you hear about the sad loss of an admired tree due to termite damage? Probably not very often. However, some people take decades old trees very seriously. For example, in San Diego, California, the Coral Tree Tea House in Old Town’s Heritage Park has recently been reopened after a historically significant tree was removed from the property. The Coral Tree House obviously gets its name from the majestic-looking coral tree that was a prominent feature at the park for six decades. Now, many members of the public, and even state politicians, are lamenting over the loss of the tree. The tree split and fell over a couple of years ago, and it stayed in that condition until finally being removed. State officials say that the tree fell over due to natural causes, but the individuals who run the Coral Tree House insist that termite damage brought the tree down. Pam Catania, one of the caretakers of the Coral Tree House, believes that the tree would still be standing if it had been sprayed with termite-killing insecticide.

The loss of the tree has been a major blow to the people living nearby in the surrounding neighborhood. Even former state Senator Larry Stirling has admitted to being disappointed over the fate of the tree. According to Stirling, waking up and seeing the tree missing from the park was “like being hit with a cold bucket of water while sleeping.” Stirling demanded that Supervisor Ron Roberts explain to him why the tree was removed. However, Stirling never received a response. Stirling claimed that the law allowed for public records regarding the tree’s removal to be released. This prompted the Department of Parks and Recreation Director Brian Albright to respond to former Senator Stirling’s inquiries. Albright claimed that the “DPR recognizes the value and significance of the coral tree at Heritage Park,” and that the tree unexpectedly fell as a result of natural causes. However, Pam Catania and her family insist that termites brought it down, and that the DPR failed to spray the tree with insecticide. A mature coral tree is now being sought as a replacement.

Have you ever experienced a termite infestation that caused a treehouse or a swing to be removed as a child?





The Pikachu Pokemon Spider!

Filed under: Pest Control — Tags: — New Jersey Pest Control @ 3:19 pm September 28, 2017

The Pikachu Pokemon Spider!

The love of the show/game Pokemon has literally become a global phenomenon, as was demonstrated when the Pokemon game for smart phones came out and so many people were obsessed with it that some actually died in their relentless pursuit to “catch em all.” I’ll admit, I also downloaded the game, but have yet to actually chase down these critters all over town. So, imagine the fervor that would erupt if there were an actual Pokemon looking creature out there! Well, you no longer have to imagine it because the bug world has already happily provided one. And as luck would have it the pokemon this being resembles is the star himself/herself, Pikachu!

Yes, Pokemon have existed for centuries and we never even knew it. Of course, it also happens to be an arachnid, one of the most hated of bug creatures. But even those arachnophobes out there will want to check this spider out. The spider in question isn’t even one that hadn’t been discovered yet, but has been around for a while and is quite common. How has no one noticed this critter before?

All you Pokemon fans out there need to look up the Micrathena sagittata, or Arrowshaped Micrathena, spider. The females of this species have backsides that look like a dead-on mirror of the Pokemon called Pikachu’s head. To be more specific, this lady’s behind is shaped of a squirrel-like creatures head, with two horns/ears protruding from the top of its head. What’s more, this section of the spider’s body happens to be colored a bright yellow, with little black tips on the ears, making it a dead ringer for everyone’s favorite Pokemon.

This spider is not the result of some strange genetic experiment either. You can find one of these bright yellow ladies all over North America, as well as Canada and all the way down through Central America. They tend to hang out “among shrubs and other foliage” of “deciduous woodlands and forest edges.” Now fans of Pokemon, and particularly the Pokemon Go game, can go on a real-life hunt for them. It’s as if fiction has crossed over into reality and we’re all living in some hybrid fantastical/realistic world filled with brightly colored monsters/cute critters. Do dragons exist too?!

Have you ever spotted an insect or spider that closely resembled a creature from fantasy?



Researchers Will Decrease Mosquito Populations Through Inbreeding

Filed under: Horizon Pest Control,Mosquito Control — Tags: , — New Jersey Pest Control @ 2:50 pm September 27, 2017

Researchers Will Decrease Mosquito Populations Through Inbreeding | Mosquito Control

These days numerous researchers are focusing on methods that will reduce mosquito populations. Given the toll that Zika took on certain regions of the world last year, as well as the predicted increase in mosquito populations in the years to come, many scientists believe that humanity will be best served by exploring methods of mosquito control. Even private companies are beginning to explore the business of mosquito control. One business, Oxitec, is based in the United Kingdom, and this company breeds millions of insects every day for research. According to Oxitec biologist Karla Tepedino, at least sixty million mosquitoes are produced once a week within a factory located in Sao Paulo, Brazil. These mosquitoes are genetically modified in order to influence mosquito populations in the wild. Apparently, the company is planning on releasing mosquitoes that will die by breeding with distant relatives.

Once these genetically modified mosquitoes are released into the natural environment, they will mate with other Aedes aegypti mosquito species. However, the mosquito offspring will be spawned with a deadly genetic flaw, resulting in a quick death. According to Oxitec president Hadyn Parry, the factory in Brazil is the first factory of its kind. Nowhere else can you find an enormous mosquito production factory. The factory can provide Sao Paulo with a major economic boost.

The researchers, and the president himself, seem certain that this mosquito control method will work as planned, and will prevent massive amount of deaths from mosquito-borne diseases. This confidence comes as a result of six years of testing. This method has been replicated numerous times since 2011. The company carried out five field tests on the Cayman Islands and in Panama in order to record the decrease in mosquito population numbers. After the tests it was discovered that a staggering ninety percent of mosquitoes had died from the inbreeding experiment. At the moment, the factory is waiting for the approval Government Public Health authorities before they release the mutant mosquitoes.

Do you think that this company will receive government approval to release the genetically modified mosquitoes? Why would government authorities be concerned about this odd public health measure on the part of Oxitec?

Why Hasn’t A Lyme Disease Vaccine Been Developed Yet?

Filed under: Pest Control — Tags: , — New Jersey Pest Control @ 3:11 pm September 26, 2017

Why Hasn’t A Lyme Disease Vaccine Been Developed Yet?

Lyme disease is a devastating disease that can rob an individual of their life dreams. Living with the symptoms of lyme disease would be unbearable at times. So why doesn’t a vaccine for the well known disease exist yet? Lyme was first discovered in 1975, so there has been plenty of time for research and development. Will there ever be a lyme disease vaccine? Will there ever be a way to cure an infected individual from lyme disease? Victims of the disease are located all over the world. Is there at least an effort being made to develop a vaccine for lyme disease? Unfortunately, the answer is probably “no.”

Lyme disease was discovered in 1975, and first described in medical journals in 1977. Lyme disease used to be referred to as “lyme arthritis.” Since the 1970s incidents of lyme infection have been growing substantially. Apparently, each year sees an additional twenty thousand cases of lyme disease. However, experts in the medical field doubt this figure, and believe that the real rate of infection is at least three times greater than the one mentioned. In 2014 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention listed lyme disease as the seventh most common notifiable disease in the United States. Other diseases that were ranked higher included conditions such as chlamydia, HIV/AIDS, gonorrhea, hepatitis C, syphilis, and salmonellosis.

The first vaccine for lyme disease was developed by SmithKline Beecham, which is now known as GlaxoSmithKline. The vaccine was found to be seventy eight percent effective, but the method of administering the vaccine was a bit odd. The vaccine would stimulate human antibodies that attacked the bacteria located in the tick’s gut while it fed on the human host. The antibodies would destroy the tick bacteria before the bacteria entered the human host’s bloodstream.

The vaccine was named LYMERix, and it was licensed by SmithKline Beecham in 1998. However, the pharmaceutical giant decided to withdraw the vaccine from the market in 2002. Not only that, but another well known foreign pharmaceutical company chose not to duplicate the vaccine for themselves, despite having completed all testing on the vaccine. The decision to withdraw the long awaited vaccine, understandably, shocked the world. Humanity will most likely never see another lyme disease vaccine on the market again.

Why do you think the drug company withdrew the lyme vaccine? Do you think the decision was influenced by low profits?



Ants Stand By To Protect These Amazonian Plants From Hungry Herbivores

Filed under: Horizon Pest Control,Pest Control — Tags: , — New Jersey Pest Control @ 3:23 pm September 25, 2017

Ants Stand By To Protect These Amazonian Plants From Hungry Herbivores

We all know there are some vicious ants in the world, and when their colonies become super-large, ants can go to battle with just about any type of insect, no matter how large. This is why ants are so important to the abundance of plant life in the Amazon rainforest. As you know, the Amazon rainforest is full of herbivore insects that constantly threaten the lives of plants. Obviously plants cannot move, so how do they defend themselves in an environment shared by numerous species of herbivore insects? Well, ants, of course. It turns out that plants offer ants shelter, and in return, ants protect plants from herbivore insects, both large and small. Researchers recently discovered that ants are called on for protection duty when two particular genes in the ant are expressed.

Researchers focused on a common plant found in the Amazon rainforest. This plant is referred to as Cordia nodosa (CN). These CN plants are clearly protected by a particular type of Amazonian ant that is referred to as Allomerus octoarticulatus (AO). This plant species and this ant species support one another, since the plants shelter the ants and the ants stand up to insects that are looking to consume the plants. The ants are like bodyguards to the plants. The plants act as a safe haven for ants by obscuring the ants from predators. When different animals benefit one another in nature, the phenomena is known aptly as “mutualism.” The ant/plant relationship being described in this blog is certainly not rare in nature. In fact, over four hundred species of tropical plants have developed structures called “domatia,” which can house ant colonies that defend the plants. According to researchers, domatia likely developed over the course of evolution because it had attracted ants, which always kept dangerous herbivore insects away. These ants seem to be the only protection from herbivores that plants have.

The researchers focused on two particular ant genes involved in foraging. The way an ant forages for food determines protective behavior towards plants. When the two genes were activated, the ants became vicious warriors, and were willing to attack the largest of insect herbivores, which resulted in less damage to the plant. The genes also led to more ant workers being recruited to fight, and the ants were better able to locate and kill herbivore enemies. This study was able to account for mutualism on an chemical level.

Do you think that these plants release chemicals that influence the ants’ foraging genes?

Entomologists May Be Underestimating The Loss Of Monarch Butterfly Colonies

Filed under: Horizon Pest Control — Tags: — New Jersey Pest Control @ 3:05 pm September 20, 2017

Entomologists May Be Underestimating The Loss Of Monarch Butterfly Colonies

You may have heard that 2016 was a bad year for monarch butterflies. Heavy storms in Mexico killed-off many monarch butterflies. Monarch populations were already in trouble long before the storms of 2016. Since the 1996 and 1997 winter months, monarch butterfly colonies have decreased by a staggering ninety percent, according to biologist Dr. Lincoln Brower. Dr. Brower and his research team have recently discovered that the initial studies concerning the loss of monarch butterflies in 2016 reported an amount of deaths that were far lower than the actual amount of deaths. Initially, it was estimated that only seven percent of the monarch butterfly population died as a result of the snowstorms that hit Mexico during March of 2016. Now, after further analysis, the actual amount of deaths is estimated to be closer to thirty to thirty eight percent.

During the spring of 2016 an area of forestland dedicated to preserving monarch butterfly populations was hit by a storm. The storm was a mix of snow, sleet, rain, hail and the freezing wind. The storm ravaged the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, which was declared a World Heritage Site by the United Nations nearly a decade ago. Typically, the forest serves as a “microclimate” for monarch butterflies. The dense forest protects monarchs from strong winds, rain, cold temperatures and other forms of harsh climate. These areas of forestland are important for butterfly conservation, since harsh weather can kill-off populations of delicate monarch butterflies. This protective forest climate was radically altered last year, which killed all of the butterflies residing within the Mexican forest. Dr. Brower wants to understand how to protect the forests that protect rare butterflies.

Dr. Brower, and other researchers, traveled the forests in order to determine the amount of butterflies that had perished during the storm. It was found that thirty one to thirty eight percent of butterflies in the region perished. However, this number could be much higher as much of the forest has not been visited. There is also a lack of studies concerning the monarch butterflies response to freezing cold temperatures. Without reference to such studies, it is hard to estimate how many monarch butterflies died during the 2016 storms in Mexico.

How do you think forestland could be protected from the damaging consequences of violent storms? Why do you think so many monarch butterflies are dying?




Do Not Kill Orbweaver Spiders In Your Garden

Filed under: Pest Control — Tags: — New Jersey Pest Control @ 2:09 pm September 19, 2017

Do Not Kill Orbweaver Spiders In Your Garden

As you are already likely aware, some spiders and insects are beneficial to the plants within your garden. After all, insects eat other insects. Some of the most damaging garden pests can be killed by certain arthropods that are abundant within some environments. For example, many gardeners living in the southeastern states, like Georgia, are aware of orbweaver spiders. These spiders are efficient killers of insect pests. There are many different types of orbweaver spiders around the world, and gardeners should love all of them for their habit of eating insect pests. One type of orbweaver is referred to as the Golden silk orbweaver (Nephila clavipes).

The Golden silk orbweaver is the largest type of orbweaver in North America. These spiders spin enormous webs, some of which reach six feet across. The webs show a yellow hue, which is where these spiders get their name. The males are only one tenth the size of females. Since the size disparity between the sexes is so great, cannibalism is frequent. However, the male golden silk orbweavers know how to protect themselves against the female’s appetite. For example, males will wait until females are already eating before courting. Males will also wait until a female’s final moult before attempting to mate.

Although these golden orbweavers may appear fierce, they are actually quite shy. This shyness is not just limited to contact with humans. In fact, these spiders rarely approach large insects, even after these insects become stuck in the golden orbweaver’s web. The golden orbweavers could become injured upon approaching large prey, even if the prey happens to be incapacitated. Stink bugs are often avoided due to the foul odors they emit. Luckily, golden orbweavers still remove many insect pests from gardens. Once a large insect pest is trapped within a golden orbweaver’s web, they rarely escape. Most of the time, these insects die in the web, even if they are not consumed by the golden orbweavers.

Have you ever spotted a large spider web that showed hints of yellow coloring? If you have, where were you located geographically at the time?

Pomace Flies Are Going To Be A Problem Again This Year

Filed under: Pest Control — Tags: — New Jersey Pest Control @ 3:54 pm September 18, 2017

Pomace Flies Are Going To Be A Problem Again This Year

Lately the United States has been under attack from many different types of insects. For example, the dreaded emerald-ash borer was recently spotted causing more tree damage in upstate New York. Unfortunately, this is the time of year when pomace flies descend upon fruit crops in order to destroy as many tasty apples, cherries, blueberries and wine grapes as they can. These pomace flies are very similar to fruit flies. However, the most damaging of all these flies is known as the Drosophila suzukii. These flies are invasive and cause serious problems for just about anybody cultivating fruit in the Unites States. However, these flies did not come from the US, as they are native to somewhere across the world.

The suzukii is native to China, Myanmar, Russia, Thailand, Korea, India and Europe. In Europe, this troublesome fly sticks to the Mediterranean region around France, Spain and Italy. Back in 1980 this fly pest was discovered on Hawaii, but it was not until thirty years later in 2010 that the suzukii was discovered feeding on strawberry and cranberry plants in Santa Cruz County, California. These flies have caused significant damage to fruit crops of all sorts in California, but they have also moved rapidly into other states, including Florida, Louisiana, Michigan, North Carolina, Utah, Washington, South Carolina, Canada, Wisconsin, and many more states as well as territories. Since 2010, entomologists have been studying the suzukii closely, hoping to learn more about possible control or monitoring methods, but these flies are quite evasive. The suzukii also does not seem to be hindered by many natural predators here in the United States, which could explain their rapid migration.

The suzukii flies plant their eggs within fruit. The eggs will eventually hatch within the fruit and the larvae will grow to about six millimeters while inside. The fruit becomes noticeably damaged as a result of this larval activity. The fruit will become soft and turn brown. The larvae usually pokes breathing holes into the surface of the fruits as well. America has only had to live with the suzukii for seven seasons now, but so far, there does not exist any easy way of eradicating their presence from fruit crops.

Have you ever bought an apple or another piece of fruit from the grocery store only to find that larvae had likely lived inside of it at one point?


New Peacock Spider Species Discovered in Australia Are as Colorful as Their Namesake

Filed under: Spider Control — Tags: — New Jersey Pest Control @ 5:14 pm September 13, 2017

New Peacock Spider Species Discovered in Australia Are as Colorful as Their Namesake

Scientists have discovered a number of new species and subspecies of peacock spiders in Australia this year. While this species is already known for its colorful formations similar to a peacock’s feathers on its body, these new additions are making headlines with their new striking colors and patterns.

As with real peacocks, the sex of peacock spiders can be easily discovered, as the males are the ones with brightly colored patterns on their bodies, which are designed to attract the less flashy females to mate with them. Each new species has very distinctive coloring and patterns, and so are easy to distinguish from one another.

The Cristatus peacock spider’s back is covered with a pattern resembling the Union Jack, which should make it easy for non-scientists to recognize. This new species also has eight plumes of long white hairs sticking up from the back, somewhat like the plume of feathers that make up a peacock’s tail, which is a characteristic shared with no other peacock spider species.

Another new species discovered has been dubbed the Electricus spider due to the rather arresting pattern made up of parallel red lines on its back, which looks somewhat like a circuit board. The trigonus spider stands out amongst peacock spiders as having a white crown at the tips of its abdomen, a feature not shared by any other species of peacock spider.

The species that has caught the most attention is the Maratus personatus spider, also known as the “blueface” spider. The males of this species sport a distinctive bright blue mask on its back, which it uses court and lure females. Unlike other peacock spiders, which have a fan-like abdomen that they extend when trying to attract females, the blueface spider relies on the eye-catching blue mask with its white-colored banding to draw the ladies’ attention. These peacock spiders actually flap their fans; similar to the way a male peacock spreads his tail, and raise a single leg, which they wave at the females to get their attention. These spiders are quite the bright spectacle when it comes to their mating rituals.

Can you think of any other insects that use their bright colors to attract females? How do the males use these brightly colored appendages to catch the female’s attention?

Golden Silk Made By 1 Million Spiders

Filed under: Spider Control — Tags: , — New Jersey Pest Control @ 4:16 pm September 12, 2017

Golden Silk Made By 1 Million SpidersNew Jersey Spider Control

By now numerous scientists have figured out how to make cloth out of spider silk and it is even being used in clothes marketed to the public now. But did you have any idea that certain spiders could be used to make colored silk, specifically a rare golden silk? A rare eleven by four foot golden cloth made out of the silk from one million golden orb spiders from Madagascar was made Simon Peers and Nicholas Godley, as well as a team of 70 people that were sent out to find all the spiders and another dozen handlers to actually extract the silk from said spiders, and put on display at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.

Simon Peers, a textile expert, actually recreated a small, 24 spider silking machine that was developed at the turn of the century by the French missionary Jacob Paul Camboué, which is capable of extracting silk from around 24 spiders at the same time without harming them. Speers and his partner Godley then sent a group of 70 people to collect golden orb spiders from countless telephone poles around Madagascar; a task that took around four years. The two were amazed when they stuck the spiders in the machine and gold-colored silk started coming out.

They had to find dozens of spider handlers to help them collect and then extract the silk from these spiders to create the beautiful golden cloth. This was not an easy task, as you might be able to imagine, since finding people willing to work with spiders is difficult when said spiders tend to bite them back. Once they extracted all of the golden silk from these spiders, they released them all back into the wild, where they are able to regenerate their spider-silk-milk in a mere week, letting the team actually collect and milk the same spiders over and over again. Godley commented, “We can go back and re-silk the same spiders,” he said. “It’s like the gift that never stops giving.”

This was incredible project, especially when you realize that this was done way back in 2009 and the years leading up to the cloth’s completion. It was the first cloth made entirely out of spider silk. We’ve come quite a long way in the field of creating fabric out of spider silk since then, but certainly couldn’t have if not for these pioneers.

Have you ever seen any silk cloth made from spiders? Do you think spider silk clothing is going to be the preferred fabric of the future?

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