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Millipedes Were The First Organisms To Move From The Sea Onto Land

Filed under: Horizon Pest Control,Pest Control — Tags: — New Jersey Pest Control @ 2:43 pm October 31, 2017

Millipedes Were The First Organisms To Move From The Sea Onto Land

31732267 - group of giant millipedes on wet ground

Even if you are not a science nerd you should remember from your grade school days that all life began in the sea. As time went on, some sea animals moved onto land. We humans, for example, descend from animals that dwelled within the sea hundreds of millions of years ago. Some very old fossils have been found from the time when animals were transitioning to the land from the sea. One of the oldest fossils is of an ancient daddy long legs spider-like creature. This fossil was determined by experts to be four hundred million years old. However, researchers from America and the United Kingdom have found a fossil that is even older than the daddy long leg. In fact, the recently discovered fossil showed an ancient millipede, which was the very first animal to move to the land from the sea.

The fossilized millipede was found by an amatueur fossil collector named Mike Newman. The fossil was discovered at Cowie Harbour, south of Aberdeen in Scotland. Newman was honored to learn that the fossilized species was named after him. The earliest millipede species has been named Pneumodesmus newmani. The fossilized millipede is four hundred and twenty million years old. The researchers who analyzed the fossil discovered spiracles located on its body. Modern millipedes also possess spiracles, and they are used for breathing in oxygen from the environment. Oxygen enters small openings (spiracles) on the millipede’s body in order to reach cells within its body. These spiracles are the oldest ever found, which indicates that this organism was the very first to have been capable of breathing on land. Millipedes are interesting creatures in that even modern millipedes have a similar appearance to the oldest millipedes in natural history. This is why millipedes are often referred to as “living fossils”.

Do you believe that the researchers have enough information to determine with certainty that the millipede species found is the oldest land dwelling life form?

 

 

Termites Can Help Dispose Of Environmentally Unfriendly Plastics

Filed under: Pest Control,Termites — Tags: , — New Jersey Pest Control @ 5:28 am October 30, 2017

Termites Can Help Dispose Of Environmentally Unfriendly PlasticsTermite

Modern humans have produced a whole lot of trash, and not all of this trash will wind up in landfills. Much of our trash will wind up the in the sea. Our oceans currently contain trash piles that are as large as small islands. Some people may think that this overabundance of trash is not a big deal. After all, everything decomposes at some point.

Of course nothing lasts forever, and this includes our trash. But the problem is that some of the things we throw out everyday will take a very long time to degrade. For example, many plastic objects that do not degrade quickly will wind up in our trash, mainly plastic shopping bags. However, researchers may have found a solution to this problem, and it involves termites.

A Ugandan researcher from Makerere University in Kampala, Chris Kasamba, stumbled upon soldier termites eating away at plastic bags that he was using to hold seedlings during a camping trip. The plastic bags are technically polythene bags, and Kasamba’s observation made him curious. Kasamba set up an experiment to determine whether or not termites could benefit the environment by consuming polythene bags. Kasamba learned that Macrotermes herus termites were responsible for consuming the bags that he used during his trip. Kasamba soon demonstrated that the herus termites could indeed consume polythene material.

Despite Kasamba’s findings, more research is needed before termites are used as an environmentally friendly way of reducing the amount of polythene waste in the world. Kasamba was not able to determine whether the herus termites digested the polythene or simply brought the material back to nesting areas to be used for nest building.

Many termites, the herus included, appear to consume wood, but they actually bring wood back to their nests for fungi to digest. The fungi then break the wood down into simpler carbohydrates that can be consumed. The termites observed in the study may be doing the same thing with polythene plastic. Many researchers are nevertheless excited about the potential environmental benefits that these termites may bring to humanity.

Do you believe that termites could offer humanity more environmental benefits than are currently understood?

New Book Explores the Misunderstood Lives of Common Spiders

Filed under: New Jersey Spider Control,NJ Spider Control,Spider Control — Tags: — New Jersey Pest Control @ 4:07 pm October 27, 2017

New Book Explores the Misunderstood Lives of Common Spiders

24183849 - zebra jumping spider - salticus scenicus

It’s that time of year when spiders are out and about inside your home trying to find a mate, and one entomologist decided to write a book about our common house spiders to try and help us understand these misunderstood houseguests or ours. Dr. Eleanor Spicer Rice co-authored Dr. Eleanor’s Book of Common Spiders with biologist Chris Buddle, and it is set to be released in January 2018 by University of Chicago Press. Her journey of writing this book started with her being terrified at the sight of these creepy crawly arachnids while she was doing her research, but through the process her initial fear ended up turning into fascination once she began to understand the lives of these common spiders that live amongst us. “After I learned more about them and what they did in the world, I started to like them. And then I started to love them.”

One of her favorite common house spiders is the cellar spider (Pholcus phalangioides). The cellar spider is one of the many spiders feared across the country that lives in our homes and scares the crap out of us when we happen upon one. Dr. Spicer Rice, however, learned to love these creatures, respecting how they live and the actual good they do for us humans. Cellar spiders actually go around eating other spiders that live in our homes. In the dark cracks of your house these spiders will search for another spider’s web, placing its lanky legs on the threads once it finds one and make them tremble slightly to mimic the same kind of vibrations a trapped insect would make. Scientists call this act “aggressive mimicry” or their “death dance.” When the hungry owner of the web creeps out to eat what they think is a captured meal they quickly discover they are the actual prey. The cellar spider then tosses its own silk web over it, wrapping it up tightly and then eating it. But, they don’t stop there. After eating the web’s owner, to add insult to injury, they then eat all of the bugs that were already caught by the web of the eaten spider.

Spiders like the cellar spider have a bad reputation, but they have many traits that actually benefit humans. They act as a kind of natural pest control in many areas of our homes, with cellar spiders eating mosquitos and woodlice in addition to their spider brothers and sisters. Lynx spiders are a godsend to farms, where they roam around eating agricultural pests. They are also not quite the danger to us that we think. Most spiders have no interest in biting people, as opposed to other insects like mosquitos and ticks that feed on human blood. You might want to check out Dr. Spicer Rice’s book in the new year, and see how it changes your opinion of the spiders living with you.

What kind of spider do you see most often around your house? Are you afraid of the spiders in your house and why?

 

 

Property Management Company Fails To Eradicate Termites From An Apartment Unit

Filed under: Pest Control,Termites — Tags: — New Jersey Pest Control @ 3:29 pm October 26, 2017

Property Management Company Fails To Eradicate Termites From An Apartment Unit

Difficult and/or apathetic apartment managers are common enough. Many of us have likely had experiences with irresponsible property managers that did not seem to care about honoring particular agreements outlined within a lease. In Slidell, Louisiana, Michelle Landry and her family have been plagued with a termite infestation within their apartment unit for weeks. The apartment is named Audubon Gates.

Landry noticed signs of a termite infestation some time ago. In response to what she found, Landry promptly reported the termite problem to employees working at the apartment’s front desk. However, some time has passed since Landry complained to her property managers, and since then, no effort has been made by the property managers to eradicate the termites. Since the initial complaint, the termite presence has exploded into a full blown infestation. Today, Landry and her family are forced to live around the termites on a daily basis. When local news reached out to the apartment building’s property managers, which is named 1st Lake Properties, they responded by saying that they are “working to resolve the problem.” Landry does not find this comment reassuring as the termites are being found in every nook of her apartment unit. For example, Landry has reported finding termites in her sinks, her shower, behind her toilet, her entire bathroom, behind her doors and termites are even entering her home everyday through tiny cracks in her walls. The termites can be seen everywhere you look. The termites are simply inescapable.

Landry noticed that an upstairs window in her apartment had been covered in duct tape. Once she removed the tape she found numerous termites. According to Landry, the property management company placed this duct tape over the opening as a solution to the infestation. The placement of the duct tape was a clear sign that her property management company was, and still is avoiding the hiring of a pest control professional.

Eventually, the property manager agreed to credit Landry a half month worth of rent and a new apartment unit. However, the company soon backtracked on this offer and instead prepared to remove sheetrock from the unit’s walls in an effort to rid the unit of termites. According to the property manager, it turned out that there were no new apartment units available. But the company is willing to pay for all expenses related to the termite infestation.

If you were experiencing a situation similar to Landry’s would you file a lawsuit over the termite infestation?

Some Bugs Will Stop Mating When Weather Conditions Change

Filed under: Bugs — Tags: — New Jersey Pest Control @ 3:57 pm October 25, 2017

Some Bugs Will Stop Mating When Weather Conditions Change

We have all heard that some animals behave strangely before storms. Dogs and cats are the animals most often cited for their abilities to foretell weather changes, but there is not much scientific evidence to back up this claim. However, a recent study has shown that some insects will change their behavior in response to oncoming storms. More specifically, insects will cease to mate once they detect changes in atmospheric pressure.

Researchers working at the University of Western Ontario along with researchers from the University of São Paulo have been working with lab insects in order to determine the insect’s ability to detect changes in the weather. The researchers discovered that male beetles avoided mating with females once atmospheric pressure began to rapidly drop. The male beetles typically mate when they sense the female’s pheromones. But female sex pheromones failed to prompt male lab beetles into mating during times when levels of atmospheric pressure changed. Eventually, researchers placed a male beetle next to a female in order to observe the male’s sexual behavior as atmospheric pressure in their environment dropped. In these cases the males quickly mated with the females. However, the males would bypass all the usual courting and pre-mating rituals in order to speed the mating along as quickly as possible. Researchers believe that the beetles rushed into copulation in order to resume taking cover from an oncoming storm.

It turns out that beetles are not the only types of insects that can sense oncoming storms. Researchers found similar behavior among moths and aphids. The females belonging to these two insects ceased their usual “calling” behavior, which signifies to males that females are ready to mate. It was clear that the males were also less interested in mating. Researchers believe that this insect behavior has developed in order to increase the chances of survival during violent storms, and therefore, to allow insects to carry on their genes.

Do you think that this pre-storm self-protective behavior has developed among most, or all, insect species?

Humans Are Born With an Innate Fear of Spiders

Filed under: Horizon Pest Control,Pest Control — Tags: , — New Jersey Pest Control @ 3:21 pm October 24, 2017

Humans Are Born With an Innate Fear of Spiders

This may seem obvious, but I had always assumed, and you probably did too, that we learn to fear spiders as we grow up. I’m not terribly afraid of spiders mind you, but I had it in my brain that even my mild fear of them must have come from being taught by my parents that spiders can be dangerous. Well, apparently you can chuck out those beliefs because according to a recent study, humans are actually born with an innate fear of spiders. We don’t learn it; it’s always been there. We are literally hardwired to fear them, and have been for millions of years.

A recent study conducted by scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Germany and Uppsala University, Sweden came to the rather eerie conclusion that we are born with this fear after doing extensive testing on 32 six-month old babies. The researchers presented them with photos of things like flowers and fish versus spiders to gauge their reaction. They showed the babies images of multi-colored tarantulas back to back with flowers of a similar color. The researchers then measured the level of anxiety each photo caused the babies by analyzing their pupils to see if they dilated in response to the image, a physical sign that they felt stress at the sight of the images. The babies reacted to the images of the spiders versus the flowers of the exact same size and color with significantly larger pupils.

However, babies do not show fear at the sight of just any animal that poses a danger to humans such as bears or rhinos. Previous studies had already concluded that babies don’t automatically link these images of dangerous animals with fear. This means that those fears are learned as we age. This makes this discovery of our innate fear of spiders that much more incredible. Scientists believe that the reason for our specific innate fear of spiders stems from spiders having existed and posed a threat to humans for more than 40 to 60 million years, as opposed to the dangerous animals that exist today. We’ve been coexisting with spiders for a good bit longer. This innate response of fear to spiders would have given our ancestors an evolutionary advantage. It would provide the advantage of being able to recognize and react to their presence faster than humans that did not have this innate fear of spiders. Considering this discovery, the presence of arachnophobia in our society isn’t all that surprising.

Do you remember always having a fear of spiders? What did you attribute that fear to?

A Firefighter Is Now Hospitalized As A Result Of Contracting The West Nile Virus

Filed under: Horizon Pest Control,Pest Control — Tags: — New Jersey Pest Control @ 2:13 pm October 23, 2017

A Firefighter Is Now Hospitalized As A Result Of Contracting The West Nile VirusZika Vaccine

In the town of Bennington, Nebraska, A father and volunteer firefighter recently became deathly ill after contracting the West Nile virus. Most of you reading this were all probably under the impression that the West Nile virus only threatens the lives of senior citizens. It is true that the West Nile virus causes more threatening symptoms among the elderly population. However, the middle-aged population is certainly not immune to the virus. The Nebraska man who contracted the West Nile virus, Bob Byman, has spent thirty years serving his community by volunteering as a firefighter. But Byman does not appear to be advanced in his years. Sadly, Byman is now being cared for at the ICU in a hospital in Nebraska called Nebraska Medicine. Byman is being treated for an advanced case of the West Nile virus.

According to the doctors who are treating Byman, Byman likely contracted the virus several weeks ago. According to Byman’s daughter, Danielle Landholm, Byman always put the well being of others before himself. Byman’s advanced state of infection could be due to Byman toughing out the initial symptoms associated with the early stages of the West Nile virus. According to Landholm, Byman has completely lost most of his basic motor abilities. For example, Byman cannot communicate, swallow, sit, stand, eat, or walk. Landholm works as a first responder much like her father. Specifically, Byman works as a paramedic for the local fire department. Landholm insists that her father is a hero, and has led many successful attempts to quell dangerous fires.

Doctors are not sure how Byman will turn out. Hopefully he recovers, but the doctors cannot even speculate. However, Landholm claims that Byman will certainly make a full recover, but he will have to relearn how to operate in daily life. Byman’s family and friends have donated enough money to cover Byman’s medical bills.

Does hearing about the devastating effects of the Zika virus make you want to stay indoors?

Do Termites Enjoy Greater Evolutionary Success Than Ants?

Filed under: Pest Control,Termite Control — Tags: — New Jersey Pest Control @ 2:32 pm October 19, 2017

Do Termites Enjoy Greater Evolutionary Success Than Ants?Carpenter Ant

Ants may have existed on this planet for a very long time, but the evolutionary history of termites goes farther back than most insects, including ants. Both ants and termites are eusocial insects, meaning they live within colonies, and adapt to the environment collectively. Some scientists theorize that ants may have developed into eusocial insects by mimicking the social behaviors of termites millions of years ago. Unlike ants, however, the general physical appearance of termites has not changed much since they first appeared on earth during the triassic period. Ants first appeared on earth millions of years later during the cretaceous period. Despite the fact that termites are millions of years older than ants, ants have managed to diversify into well over twelve thousand different species. Whereas there are only between twenty six hundred to three thousand different termite species in existence today. For some reason, termites have not evolved as rapidly as ants.

Are ants a more successful type of insect than termites since the number of termite species in existence is far fewer than the number of ant species? Probably not, as the number of species belonging to one type of insect does not necessarily indicate superior adaptive abilities. One reason why termites have not evolved as much as ants and other insects is largely a result of the adaptive success that termites have enjoyed since day one. Early termites were blessed with adaptive features that made them uniquely successful creatures. As a result of this success, termites have not needed to adapt to new environments as much as other insects have. For example, since many termites hide beneath the soil and feed on the cellulose in plant matter, large predators were not able to easily access termites. A termite’s living conditions have always provided shelter from enemies as well as sustenance in the form of plant routes in order to survive. Therefore, termites can access everything that they need to survive while rarely risking their lives out in the open wilderness. When compared to termites, ants are quite vulnerable to predators, therefore ants have adapted many different physical features that have allowed them to thrive within different environments.

Do you think that there exists any other types of modern insects that are better suited for survival than termites?

The Beewolf Is One Of The Fiercest Of All Flying Insects

Filed under: Horizon Pest Control,Pest Control — Tags: — New Jersey Pest Control @ 2:42 pm October 18, 2017

The Beewolf Is One Of The Fiercest Of All Flying Insects

Bees can be frightening insects when they happen to be buzzing in your direction. Even if you are not allergic to bee stings you probably still move away quickly when one is nearby. After all, why risk the possibility of a painful sting. However, even bees themselves are afraid of certain insects, such as the beewolf. The beewolf is a perfect example of an insect that strikes fear into the hearts of bees, as well as other stinging insects. Beewolves, despite their name, are not actually bees; instead beewolves are wasps. Beewolves hunt bees, specifically honey bees. The manner in which beewolves dispatch their bee prey is particularly brutal.

Beewolves can be found in the United States, Europe and northern Africa. Beewolves are predators to numerous flying insects, including other wasp species. Beewolves get their name from their predatory behavior. The term “wolf” in the name “beewolf” indicates their preference for hunting like a wolf. Unlike many species of wasps, beewolves do not live within colonies or amongst other beewolves, except for females and their offspring. Beewolves live alone, and hunt alone, making them highly capable and versatile insects. During the late spring and early summer months female beewolves will dig tunnels into the ground. At the end of these tunnels the females will construct compartments that act as nurseries for the female’s offspring. The female’s habit of digging shelter within soil has earned them the alternate nickname of “digger-wasps”. Once the female has completed its underground compartments it will begin to hunt.

The female beewolf will visit flowers in order to locate pollinating honeybees. The beewolf will also feed on plant nectar before capturing a honey bee. Sometimes the female will squeeze nectar from the body of an individual honey bee, but it won’t kill the honey bee. The female beewolf will sting the bee between its legs in order to paralyze the bee. The female then deposits the paralyzed be in its nursery in order to feed the hungry larvae offspring. Each beewolf larvae requires several bee carcasses each day for sustenance. Female beewolves have been observed capturing five bees for each one of their larvae during single hunting sessions. Once the fall season rolls around,  beewolf larvae will spend the winter developing into adults while safely tucked away below the ground.

Have you ever seen a beewolf before? Have you ever seen a flying insect carrying another insect in its mouth while flying?

 

 

 

Individual Ants Are Dumb, Ant Colonies Are Ingenious | Ant Control

Filed under: Ant Control,New Jersey Ant Control — Tags: , — New Jersey Pest Control @ 2:30 pm October 17, 2017

As far as insects are concerned ants are clearly intelligent. Ants are capable of building complicated nests, and they can navigate their way through long stretches of terrain while still being able to find the quickest route back to their nests. Ants are known for being some of the most clever architects, engineers and warriors of all insect species. So there is no doubting that ants are intelligent, right? Well, actually no, ants are complete idiots, but only as individuals. Ant colonies can be considered as one single thinking mind, but an individual ant does not possess much intelligence at all. According to Deborah M. Gordon, a biologist at Stanford University, ants cannot accomplish many tasks as individuals because they are too inept. Without the colony, an individual ant has no idea what to do with itself. But if that is true, then how is it that over twelve thousand species of ants have thrived on earth for one hundred and forty million years? There is no doubt about the fact that ants have enjoyed success on earth for a long while, and they have learned to collectively form strict caste systems. Researchers refer to this sort of collective intelligence as “swarm intelligence”.Ants Don’t Waste Any Time | New Jersey Ant Exterminator

Researchers are not exactly sure how swarm intelligence came into existence. After all, sometimes individual ants must disagree on what should be done. However, ants all make split second decisions that are critical to a colonies survival all of the time. In the ant world, there is no need for arguments or politics. Ants are self organizing insects, as they do not have a boss or a general of any kind. Of course all ant colonies have a queen, but the queen is only tasked with laying eggs, the queen does not take time to issue orders to the entire colony. Some researchers have theories concerning how ants communicate important information.

One theory is that ants communicate by sniffing out information from other ants within their colony. All ants can use touch and smell in order to sense which other ants are fellow colony members and which are strangers. For example, when ants forage for food, they will wait until ant patrollers arrive at the nest early in the morning. Once the patrollers arrive, they will rub their antennas against the antennas of the foragers. This antenna contact transmits smells that alert the foragers to leave in order to locate food. However, the foragers must make contact several times with separate patrol ants, and within a particular amount of time before the foragers leave. As you can tell, ant communication is complicated, but the evolutionary success of ants is certainly due to their ability to communicate by sensing the information conveyed in each others odors.

Do you believe that ants could use any other forms of sensory information in order to communicate?

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