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A Newly Developed Light-Trap Could Help Monitor And Eradicate Malaria-Spreading Mosquitoes

Filed under: Horizon Pest Control,Pest Control — Tags: , — New Jersey Pest Control @ 3:46 pm August 17, 2017

A Newly Developed Light-Trap Could Help Monitor And Eradicate Malaria-Spreading Mosquitoes  Mosquitos

Have you ever wondered how experts are able to assess how different regions will be affected by different insect-borne illnesses? Entomologists certainly don’t hand count the number of disease carrying mosquitoes that are flying through the air; instead entomologists and public health officials rely on incandescent light bulbs in order to attract mosquitoes to netted traps. Once these netted traps are sufficiently full of mosquitoes, and other flying insects, entomologists then count the number of disease carrying mosquitoes found within a particular trap. These incandescent light bulb-traps are located in various regions around the world in order to estimate the number of disease carrying mosquitoes within particular regions. However, research is suggesting that these incandescent bulbs are less effective than more modern light bulbs when it comes to attracting mosquitoes. For example, light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are more effective than incandescents at attracting mosquitoes.

LEDs, unlike incandescents, only emit certain wavelengths. Researchers believe that this has something to do with its effectiveness at attracting mosquitoes. Incandescent bulbs, on the other hand, cover the entire visual spectrum. As a result of the greater efficacy of LEDs, public health officials have been able to more accurately determine the size of certain insect pest populations. Also, LEDs will likely lead to more accurate predictions concerning the spread of insect-borne diseases. Despite the clear superiority of LED lights for trapping purposes, researchers are still very much in the dark as to why malaria-carrying anopheline mosquitoes are more attracted to LED lights.

According to insect biologist, Francinaldo Silva, LED lights emit two completely distinct wavelengths. After comparing the efficacy of traps that emit incandescent light versus traps that emit LED light, it was clear that LEDs attracted a greater number of malaria-carrying anopheline mosquitoes. More research is needed on this topic, but it is beginning to look like predicting which regions of the world are at the most risk of being populated with disease-carrying mosquitoes is going to become easier and more accurate for public health officials.

Do you believe that incandescent light bulbs should be immediately replaced with LEDs based on just a few small-scale studies?

Citronella Ants Tend Aphids For Honeydew

Filed under: Pest Control — Tags: — New Jersey Pest Control @ 3:52 pm August 16, 2017

Citronella Ants Tend Aphids For Honeydew

Strange smelling ants have been written about before. For instance, some ants are reported to smell like coconuts when smashed. However, there also exists ants that release a lemon, or citronella-like smell when threatened, and of course, when they are smashed. These ants are also referred to as larger yellow ants and smaller yellow ants, Lasius interjectus, and Lasius claviger, respectively. Humans would likely never notice this citronella smell unless they were to crush one, or several, of these ants in between their fingers, and that also does not happen too often.

Citronella ants are subterranean ants that feed on the honeydew excreted from mealybugs and aphids. These ants come into contact with honeydew when they encounter aphids and mealybugs feeding on the roots of certain shrubs. Yellow ants, both large and small, are found in most areas within the United States. They are sometimes confused with termites when they are found swarming inside of people’s homes. Luckily, citronellas ants do not cause the damage that termites cause, so finding swarms is of little concern to homeowners. The swarming variety of citronella ants are often colored light brown, while the workers are typically yellow in color. The swarmers show more color variety than workers. Citronella ants have been known to swarm at multiple times of year. Most often swarms are seen during spring and summer, but even late fall and early spring can show citronella ant swarms.

Entomologists know little about how citronella ants operate within their underground colonies, as these ants have not been extensively studied. Researchers do know that citronella ants tend aphids for honeydew, similar to how farmers milk cows. These ant colonies can be found within many different ecosystems. They have been known to nest within pastures, gardens, lawns, prairie lands, and even open wounds. Some colonies are located beneath slabs of concrete and underneath rotting logs. Citronella ants cannot damage your home and are only considered a mild nuisance.

Have you ever spotted any type of an ant that had wings? If so, do you know which type of winged-ant you located?

 

The Large Cecropia Caterpillar Can Eat A Whole Lot Of Foliage, But They Are Not Pests

Filed under: Pest Control — Tags: — New Jersey Pest Control @ 2:06 pm August 15, 2017

The Large Cecropia Caterpillar Can Eat A Whole Lot Of Foliage, But They Are Not Pests

Moths are not the most interesting of creatures. They can be annoying, and their ugliness is often in stark contrast to the beauty of butterflies. Moth larvae, on the other hand, or caterpillars, can be some of the most interesting looking insects in the world. The cecropia moth caterpillar is one of these caterpillars. Its colors are strange, and if you have ever seen one, then you would likely remember. These caterpillars are the largest caterpillars found in the midwestern United States. They can measure around four inches in length and three fourths of an inch in width. They eat a lot of foliage despite not being considered pests.

Cecropia caterpillars are typically spotted during the late summer. These caterpillars are often spotted while feeding on trees or shrubs, and sometimes they are even spotted crossing sidewalks, and other concrete surfaces. These caterpillars are mostly hiding during the summer while feeding, as they are hard to notice while in trees and shrubs. However, cecropia caterpillars do not exactly blend in with the greenery. Although their bodies are shaded green, they are also covered with a blue tinge. Just behind their heads they possess large tubercles that are shaded yellow, red or orange. Their tubercles are also covered with black spikes. The rest of their body is covered lengthwise with yellow spikes, and another adjacent set of spikes are colored blue. These are strange looking creatures to say the least.

Despite the cecropia caterpillar’s ravenous ways, they are not considered plant pests, so no control or eradication efforts are needed upon finding these creatures in your yard. These caterpillars cause very little damage to ornamental plants, and unlike most moths, the cecropia caterpillar becomes a rather majestic looking flying insect once the springtime rolls around.

Have you ever trapped a caterpillar and kept it as a pet? If you have, then what type of caterpillar did you catch?

 

 

Cockroaches Are Benefiting The Environment In An Unlikely Way

Filed under: Pest Control — Tags: , , — New Jersey Pest Control @ 5:40 am August 10, 2017

Cockroaches Are Benefiting The Environment In An Unlikely Way

Whatever any insect-lover may claim, nobody likes cockroaches. Even if they do aerate soil by consuming dead plant matter that suffocates landscapes. Even termites do this very same thing, and we all hate termites just as we do cockroaches. However, roaches may benefit the ecosystem in another way that is hard to believe. A recent study has demonstrated that roaches can help plant fruits by dispersing seeds throughout some forest floors.

So how does this particular cockroach manage to plant fruit seeds you may ask. Well by dropping its feces in various forest locations. The forest fruit bearing herb is known as Monotropastrum humile. These herbs grow to some length and produces fruits that are not preferred sources of food for humans. The herbs, sometime after reaching maturity, will fall to the forest floor where their seeds become available for forest dwelling animals. The problem is that no animals seem to be interested in consuming the seeds, except for roaches.

Seeds are typically dispersed by birds and mammals that feed on nectar rich fruits. These animals eventually cover land-masses with their seed-rich droppings, allowing for further fruit growth. However, only the Blattella nipponica type of roach is willing to consume the fruits that contain these seeds. The adults belonging to this species of cockroach usually consume the fruits during the night. Three to ten hours later, these roaches will cover the ground with their droppings. Each roach pellet contains an average of 3.1 seeds, and that amounts to a lot of seeds planted within a day.

Studies show that the seeds found within roach feces were still capable of eventually bearing fruit. In fact, some of the seeds collected from the roach feces were found to be just as viable as the seeds found in the fruits themselves. This makes the Blattella nipponica roach a legitimate gardener.

Can you think of any other roaches that offer humans any service that could be considered beneficial? If so, what type of roach?

History Shows That Forensic Entomology Is Not As Accurate As You May Think

Filed under: Horizon Pest Control,Pest Control — Tags: , — New Jersey Pest Control @ 10:44 am August 7, 2017

History Shows That Forensic Entomology Is Not As Accurate As You May Think 

Forensic Entomology

Television shows, movies, and even some documentaries may convince you that forensic entomology is a complicated, yet accurate science that leads to numerous convictions. In reality, forensic entomology is far from being a precise science, and very few murderers have been sent to jail based on evidence collected by forensic entomologists. That is not to say that forensic entomology is worthless as an investigative tool. However, in cases where insects do unveil the perpetrators of particular crimes, the science of forensic entomology is applied in a straightforward manner that is not terribly complicated.

One of the first legal cases that resulted in the conviction of a criminal based on insect activity occurred in China way back in 1235 A.D. The case involved a villager that had been found brutally murdered with a sharp weapon. The judge presiding over the case had all the local farmers gather in one place along with their razor sharp sickles. Almost immediately a swarm of flies gathered around one farmer’s sickle, indicating that he was the murderer. The logic was that since flies were known to gather around the blood from decomposing bodies, then the murder weapon would also be tainted with the dead victims blood, also attracting flies.

These days forensic entomology is practiced in a similarly simple manner. According to Damien Charabidze, a forensic entomologist at the University of Lille in France, very few murder cases are solved with forensic entomology alone. Forensic entomology is more useful as a method of learning more about the initial location of a victim’s body following a murder. For example, in 1991, a body was found in the country, but certain insects that are only found in urban areas had been present on the body of the murder victim. Therefore, investigators realized that the body had been moved, which eventually helped lead to a conviction. Insects are great indicators of where a corpse has been located, but beyond that, forensic entomology is rarely, if ever, applicable to a crime scene investigation.

 

Have you ever become aware of a murder that had been solved with the assistance of forensic entomology? If you have, what types of insects were involved?

 

 

The Birds That Surprisingly Eat Termites

Filed under: Pest Control — Tags: — New Jersey Pest Control @ 1:13 am August 2, 2017

The Birds That Surprisingly Eat Termites

Termites are rarely considered to be the targets of animal predators. However, many animals consume termites. Birds are among the most common of termite predators, but some birds consume termites far more often than others. The woodpecker is one type of bird that eats termites regularly. This is easy to understand since woodpeckers must make contact with wood-eating termites often. But there are a few other types of birds that you would never guess enjoy feasting on termites. These birds include toucans, waterbirds, geese, storks and even chickens.

You may not see chickens roaming around often, but if you did, then you would find them picking at the soil in order to consume various types of insects. Chickens would seem to be particularly attracted to termite meals since they have often been observed gobbling down large numbers of termites in ravenous frenzies. If you were to place a termite infested log in front of a chicken, it would only be a matter of seconds before every visible termite wound up in the chicken’s guts.

Although termites cause problems for people in the United States, they are even more abundant in tropical regions of the world. This is why the well known tropical bird referred to as the toucan has developed a taste for termites. The toco toucan of South America feasts on termites regularly, and is the only type of toucan known for doing so. In addition to the toco toucan, the yellow-rumped cacique feeds on winged termites while they are swarming. In North America, a type of waterbird known as the black phoebe also feeds on swarming termites. Waterbirds are well known for their termite-eating habits. For example, the marabou stork, will scavenge for termites and carrion. Egyptian geese are known for consuming a variety of different types of termites. Basically, any type of bird that feeds on insects will also consume termites whenever the opportunity arises.

Have you ever witnessed a bird, or several birds, eating an insect of any type? Do all birds eat insects?

 

 

 

Insect Symbolism Around the World

Filed under: Horizon Pest Control,Pest Control — Tags: — New Jersey Pest Control @ 4:36 am August 1, 2017

Insect Symbolism Around the World

While most people now look at insects as gross critters that invade our gardens and homes in order to mess with us and our plants, for centuries insects have symbolized many other positive as well as negative aspects for different cultures. Some of this symbolism even bleeds into today’s culture and color how we look at certain insects. What do you think of when you see a ladybug or a caterpillar? Do you think of the hookah-smoking caterpillar in Alice in Wonderland or perhaps the lovely ladybug in James and the Giant Peach? Different bugs can mean different things to different cultures and people, and those meanings don’t always coincide with the actual facts about these insects.

In a number of different cultures ladybugs have served as a symbol of luck and love. We can see this even in today’s modern culture. Ladybugs often bring to mind luck if you spot one. Spotting a ladybug can be thought to bring you good luck for a day or even a year. Ladybugs are also considered to represent true love. In certain folklore, seeing a ladybug on your windowsill could mean that your love is dreaming of you, and that they are hoping you are also dreaming of them. Finding a ladybug on your doorstep can mean that love will come knocking soon. Ladybugs are generally symbols of good luck, love, and positivity in general.

Many cultures considered dragonflies as evil. In some legends they are said to be the minions of the devil, and they will poke out your eyes if you see them, and even go as far as to sew your lips shut. On the other hand, other cultures such as the Chinese, Japanese, and Norse see dragonflies as sacred creatures and sometimes even spirit guides. The Norse goddess Freya was depicted as using dragonflies as spirit guides. Dragonflies can also represent air, and are a sign of the “winds of change,” meaning you are meant to move on to a new path if you cross one.

Butterflies are generally seen as good creatures by most cultures. Many cultures associate butterflies with transformation, transmutation, and they can represent travels to come. A butterfly fluttering past you could mean you are meant to soar to new heights, while they could also be a symbol of you emerging from your spiritual cocoon, ready to leave your old skin behind and burst forth into your new life.

What other insects can you think of that symbolize specific aspects of life or parts of life in certain cultures? What do bees symbolize?

A Woman Dies From An Extremely Rare Tick-Borne Virus

Filed under: Pest Control — Tags: — New Jersey Pest Control @ 1:33 am July 27, 2017

A Woman Dies From An Extremely Rare Tick-Borne VirusTick-Borne Virus

Lyme disease is among the most well known of all insect-borne diseases. This disease is, as you all likely know, carried by ticks that originate from the midwest as well as the northeastern regions of the United States. Lyme disease is not the only tick-borne disease that can devastate lives. Some of you are likely aware that the Powassan disease is also spread by ticks, and the rate of Powassan has been expected to increase during the 2017 year. However, one woman, who was an assistant superintendent at Meramec State Park, recently died as a result of contracting a tick borne illness that is exceptionally rare.

Tamela Wilson returned home one day to find ticks covering her body. However, Wilson brushed the ticks away as though they were nothing, as finding ticks on her body after work was a normal occurance to her. After visiting her primary care doctor, she was diagnosed with a urinary tract infection and given antibiotics. However, days went by, and Wilson’s condition became much worse. Apparently, her skin rash had spread to other areas of her body. Wilson was then sent to a larger hospital where some of her skin biopsies could be immediately analyzed. After the biopsies were returned, the doctors in charge of her health still had no ideas about Wilson’s worsening condition.

Eventually, a blood sample from Wilson was sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A highly trained specialist confirmed that Wilson had contracted Bourbon virus, which is an extremely rare tick borne-illness. According to CDC professionals, Wilson had contracted a virus, so there was nothing that could be done to have save her life. Sadly, Wilson died fifteen days after being admitted to the hospital where she underwent extensive treatments. Amazingly, Wilson is only the fifth confirmed victim of the Bourbon virus on record.

Have you ever heard of the Bourbon virus? Do you think that there is scientific value in researching the Bourbon virus, despite its exceptional rarity?

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?

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