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Where Did Termites Come From?

Filed under: Uncategorized — New Jersey Pest Control @ 3:03 am June 21, 2017

Where Did Termites Come From?Termite

Termites have caused a lot of misery to a lot of people, and it is fair to say that termites are among the most hated of all insects. It is not surprising then that termites are related to another insect that is universally despised–the cockroach. Termites evolved from cockroaches one hundred and forty million years ago. Termites evolved from a particular type of cockroach that burrowed deep into wood. Today, there is no living cockroach that is directly related to modern termites. The cockroach genus known as Cryptocercus is the oldest living relative to modern termites. The Cryptocercus can be found China, Korea and North America.

The Cryptocercus behaves in a manner that is quite similar to termites. Male and female roaches of this genus will pair up before finding a home in a large piece of wood. One single piece of wood serves as the Cryptocercus’s home, and source of food, for the duration of their life spans. After the Cryptocercus female lays around ten eggs, the male and female spend the next three years raising their offspring, which is about half of a Cryptocercus’s life span. It turns out that early termites behaved in a manner similar to that of the Cryptocercus.

Early termite parents did not bear many offspring, but as generations progressed, termite offspring began to care for other younger members of the termite colony. This relieved early termite parents from the time consuming burden of raising offspring, and therefore, termite mothers could start producing more offspring. This is how termites became capable of creating colonies with millions of members. Eventually, the younger termites began to divide labor among other termite members of a colony. Today, each termite in a termite colony has a precise duty and title. As damaging as many types of termites can be, there is no doubt that termites demonstrate a tremendous degree of evolutionary success.

Have you ever realized that you had brought termites into your home by accident? If so, was their devastating consequences?

 

 

 

 

Termites Release A Startling Amount Of Greenhouse Gases

Filed under: Uncategorized — New Jersey Pest Control @ 5:52 am June 19, 2017

Termites Release A Startling Amount Of Greenhouse GasesTermite Control

As time goes on, more and more people are becoming concerned about the health of our natural environment. Environmentalists often point to gas emissions from the vehicles that we drive as being one of the main culprits behind the ever-increasing amount of greenhouse gases polluting the air. Even some animals are not immune to the blame, as cattle can significantly increase greenhouse gas emissions in the air. However, many people are not aware that termites also contribute to high levels of greenhouse gas emissions; not that you needed another reason to hate termites.

One individual termite can produce a half of a microgram of methane per day. This may not seem like a large amount, but when you multiply that number by the amount of termites in the world, you get a whole lot of methane. To be precise, termites produce twenty million tons of methane per year. Then again, there are two thousand different termite species in the world today, and each species produces differing amounts of methane. In fact, some termites don’t produce any methane at all. This makes it hard to estimate how much termite-methane is emitted into the air each year.

Sometimes the methane that termites emit does not always make it up into the atmosphere right away. Since subterranean termites live within soil, the methane that they produce is often used by methanotrophs, before eventually being released into the atmosphere.

Some researchers believe that termites pose a serious problem for the state of the air that we breathe. At the moment, researchers are using methane inhibitors on cattle. These methane inhibitors could also be used for termites, but there are a few logistical problems. The biggest problem is figuring out how to get enough termites to consume the methane-inhibitor. Scientists are considering dropping these inhibitors into termite colonies so that termites can spread the methane-inhibitors to other termites located in different colonies.

Do you believe that termites cause a significant amount of air pollution? Should we cut down on oil use, or termites, or both?

 

 

Have Opossums Evolved Much Since Their Early Years On This Planet?

Filed under: Uncategorized — New Jersey Pest Control @ 3:00 am June 6, 2017

Have Opossums Evolved Much Since Their Early Years On This Planet?

This planet was full of different organisms, large and small, before mammals ever walked this earth. However, mammals are reminders of how the world changed to suit human development millions of years ago. Many people are curious as to which mammals have undergone the least amount of evolutionary change since they first appeared on earth. However, this can be tricky to answer because the word “change” can mean so much when referring to the process of evolution.

Of course there exists fossil evidence of early mammals that we can compare to their ancestors living today. In some cases, fossils that are millions of years old still show animals that appear to still exist today, and largely unchanged. But just because the physical anatomy and features of ancient mammals may be similar to their modern descendants, minor genetic changes still could have taken place. When only taking into account physical and anatomical features, experts believe that opossums and platypuses demonstrate the smallest degree of evolutionary change for mammals.

Opossums are not quite as old as platypuses, but opossums appear to look the same way today as they did tens of millions of years ago.

Today there are over sixty different species of opossum, and they are distributed throughout the world. For example, you can find possums in Australia, New Guinea, New Zealand, Tasmania, and, of course, the Americas. The evolutionary split between opossums and other marsupials occurred around sixty five million years ago. The details concerning the opossums virtually unchanged physical features over a period of tens of millions of years is still a mystery to many scientists, but some experts think that a stable environment with a relatively low amount of natural predators play a big part in the opossums apparent lack of evolutionary adaptations.

Which other animals are well known for maintaining their same physical features since their first appearance of this planet?

Will Zika Be A Big Problem Around The World This Summer?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — New Jersey Pest Control @ 9:32 am June 5, 2017

ZikaAfter the numerous tragedies caused by Zika last year, it is fair to say that no person wants to see the situation get any worse this year. There has been much money allocated to Zika research and control during the past couple of years, however, that money is running out. The American Congress remains indecisive when it comes to how much money should be spent on Zika research in 2017. There has also been some controversy regarding the accuracy of Zika infection-reports from the territory of Puerto Rico, as well as the country of India. Unfortunately, this means that the potential impact of the Zika virus during the summer of 2017 is largely unknown at this point, even by the experts.

So far this year the United States has not reported any locally transmitted cases of the Zika virus within its borders. However, public health experts, as well as renowned entomologists, worry that the US is not doing enough to prepare for another summer with Zika. The recent decrease in Zika research, as well as the lack of resources that public health officials have at their disposal to contain Zika, may spell disaster this year. The experts charged with research, prevention and containment are simply not prepared to tackle the problem of Zika.

According to Lyle Petersen, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Vector-Borne Diseases, there is still much that researchers do not know about the Zika virus, and there is much research that remains to be done if the global population is to be spared a Zika epidemic. Surveillance reports are tremendously important for knowing which region will be struck by Zika in the near future, and without these up to date reports, entire populations could be vulnerable to the spread of Zika. Currently several, scientists and researchers are lobbying the US government for more Zika funding.

Do you think that the Zika virus will be as devastating this year as it was last year? Why or why not?

This Spider Makes Insects A Part Of Their Webs | Spider Control

Filed under: Uncategorized — New Jersey Pest Control @ 3:48 am June 1, 2017

This Spider Makes Insects A Part Of Their Webs | Spider Control

Have you ever wondered why insects adhere so well to spider webs? It turns out that the reason is due to a sticky substance that many spiders leave in their tracks during web building. This ensures that no insects will escape the webs while the spiders building it can make a clean getaway. However, not all spiders leave behind this super-sticky glue. For example, the cribellate spiders are some of the oldest spiders living today, and their method of catching insects in silk is far more violent and frightening. This spider will build a noticeable web, but then it will fill the surrounding area with super-fine strands of silk that are invisible to other spiders. As you can guess, this system works pretty well, and many insects crawl or fly directly into the path of invisible silk.

This invisible silk is also not sticky since the cribellate does not produce the glue-like substance. But once an insect makes contact with this silk, they never make it out. According to a recent study led by researchers from Germany, when insects make contact with the invisible silken strands, these strands suck the fluids out of the insect. The waxy insect-substance that the silk strands absorb helps to reinforce the strands, making them stronger. So essentially, the insect victim becomes a part of the cribellate’s web.

There are many different types of cribellate spiders that exist today, and most seem to use their silk in interesting ways. For example, ogre-faced or net-casting spiders will fish for insects by holding a line of silk and dropping it below in order to catch passing insects. The uloborid spider lost its ability to produce venom, so now they just wrap their enemies in silk and beat them to death. The cribellate spider is one of the oldest spiders around, but you have to give it points for being inventive with their hunting methods.

Have you ever walked into a spider web? If you have, then did the spider that built the web pay you a visit?

 

 

Stinging Pest Information | Pest Control

Filed under: Uncategorized — New Jersey Pest Control @ 3:41 pm May 10, 2017
  1. Bald-Faced Hornets: Bald-faced hornets get their common name because they are largely black in color, with a mostly white face. These social insects live in colonies that can contain between 100 and 400 members at their peak. They build nests that are at least three feet off the ground and in exposed locations such as trees, utility poles, overhangs, houses, sheds or other structures. Unlike many other stinging insects, bald-faced hornets do not reuse their nests season after season.

Prevention: Bald-faced hornets are aggressive and will attack if their space is invaded. During the summer months, walk around the exterior of your home to inspect for nests on a routine basis, paying special attention to overhangs, eaves, the underside of porches and decks.

  1. Yellowjackets: These social insects tend to build nests in trees and buildings, as well as in the ground. They are slow to sting unless their nest is threatened, in which case they will become highly aggressive. Unlike bees, yellowjackets can sting several times and inflict severe pain.

Prevention:  Yellowjackets are especially attracted to sweets and proteins, so it is important to cover food and drinks during outdoor events and promptly clean up and dispose of food and garbage in a sealed trash container.

  1. Paper Wasps: Paper wasps get their common name from the paper-like material they use to build their nests. Their nests are typically made in the shape of an umbrella. These pests build nests on twigs and in tree branches and shrubs, as well as porch ceilings, eaves and similar covered places. Wasps are capable of stinging more than once and may use alarm pheromones to call for back-up in defending their nest.

Prevention: Check for paper wasp nests before performing yard work such as shrub or hedge trimming. Treat wood fences and deck railings with a repellant oil to deter paper wasps from gathering cellulose for nest creation.

Is It True That Spiders Are Only Three Feet Away From Us At All Times? |New Jersey Spider Control

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — New Jersey Pest Control @ 5:23 am May 8, 2017

Is It True That Spiders Are Only Three Feet Away From Us At All Times? | New Jersey Spider Control

I am sure that you have heard before that spiders are always within close proximity to humans. One figure that gets thrown out a lot is “three feet”. So apparently you have a spider within a three foot radius of where you are sitting right now. This happens to be one of those myths that many experts know the origin of, and it came from a renowned arachnologist.

The bug expert, Norman Platnick, claimed in an article that he wrote back in 1995, that at any given moment, a spider is no more than a few yards away from you. After this claim was made, the saying spread like wildfire. Just one year after this supposed factoid, a major newspaper in Hawaii repeated this claim, only this time the “few yards away” became “three feet away”.

The problem is that this is technically true since we have microscopic bugs crawling all over our skin at all times, but that is hardly the same thing as a big spider. Actually, the bugs that we have crawling on us are mostly dust mites, which is a far cry from a spider.

A few years after the newspaper in Hawaii repeated an altered version of the arachnologists statements, nature writers began following suit. One nature writer claimed that spiders are always at least a meter away from us at all times. Eventually, the repeated comments that were originally spoken by Platnick became so outrageous and progressively more false that Platnick himself stepped in to correct the confusion several years after he uttered the quote. This time Platnick clarified his “few yards” statement by saying that spiders are actually around eight feet away from you at all times. However, this claim has yet to be backed with solid evidence.

Do you believe that it is really true that spiders are within eight feet from us at all times?

 

Little Known Facts About Skunks

Filed under: Uncategorized — New Jersey Pest Control @ 5:59 am April 19, 2017

Little Known Facts About Skunks

It is springtime and the skunks are beginning to emerge from their lairs and search for food and mates. Yep, it’s also that time of year. Now, we all know that you shouldn’t mess with skunk unless you want to get sprayed by their butt juice that is basically impossible to get rid of. You and the clothing you were wearing will smell for the rest of your life. So, that’s easy, right? Just don’t bother them. But it’s not just us humans that are curious about these striped critters. Dogs also seem to have a fascination for them. So, let’s take a look at some of the facts about skunks you didn’t know and how you might deal with them this spring.

Just to start off, you should know that it’s not just adult skunks that can spray foul odors onto their predators. Baby skunks can spray even before they can open their eyes to see. I imagine that could lead to all kinds of shenanigans for their mothers with babies accidentally spraying each other because they can’t see and they think their brother or sister is an enemy. One thing you probably don’t know is that skunks don’t usually spray a predator unless they feel threatened. Usually they will just stick up their tail in warning and let out a little sample whiff of what the predator can expect to get if they proceed further.

Another way skunks will try to scare off predators is for a mother skunk to face the danger head on and begin stamping her front paws. They may also hiss and lunge at the predator. If they are being tracked through an area with dense flora, they will also let out a cloud of their special spray to discourage the predator from continuing to stalk them. And when skunks do decide to spray a predator they specifically aim their butt towards the face so they can get them in the eyes, nose, and mouth. Pretty clever for a furry four legged animal.

Finally, what everyone really wants to know is what do you do if your dog comes homes smelling of skunk. Well, experts agree that the best thing to do is mix together four cups of hydrogen peroxide, a teaspoon of dish soap, and a quarter-cup of baking soda and wash them down good. You may have to repeat a few times to totally get rid of the smell.

Has your pet ever come home smelling like its been sprayed by a skunk? What did you do?

Can Bats See Objects With Their Eyes After All?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — New Jersey Pest Control @ 5:08 am March 27, 2017

Can Bats See Objects With Their Eyes After All?

It has long been thought that bats function entirely without the sense of sight. The phrase “blind as a bat” has immortalized bats as animals that are blind, but is this fair? Is it true that bats cannot see any objects at all with their eyes? Why do bats even have eyes?

It is becoming better known among the public that bats navigate the environment by means of an ability that is unique to bats. This ability is known as “echolocation”. The term itself is rather self-explanatory in that bats navigate by taking cues from echoes that bounce of objects. These echoes come from sounds that bats make themselves, so what else would a bat need to get around?

Despite what we have all been told since preschool, bats can indeed see. More than that, bats can also choose when to use sight or when to use sound in order to navigate their environments. For example, one study shows that bats prefer to use sight over sound when hunting prey. Some fruit bats do not use echolocation at all. Those fruit bats that rely solely on sight actually possess eyes that are far superior to the eyes of any human. For example, some fruit bats possess a power of eyesight that is so acute that they can make out ultraviolet rays.

There are over thirteen hundred different species of bat, and some species are markedly different from others. Bats are a remarkably diverse family of animals. Some bats prefer to eat insects, while other bats cannot stand insects and instead choose to feed on flowers. All three of the Latin American species of bat suck blood exclusively for sustenance. So not many bats able to see better than humans, but there also exists a wide array of adaptations among the bat family that most people are completely unaware of except for you.

Were you ever under the impression that some types of bats suck human blood?

 

 

More Raccoons May Mean Less Songbirds

Filed under: Uncategorized — New Jersey Pest Control @ 5:27 am March 21, 2017

More Raccoons May Mean Less Songbirds

Songbird populations that are native to North America are now decreasing dramatically, and it is likely the fault of raccoons. Raccoons love to chow down on eggs. Just about every type of egg you can think of would make a raccoon very happy. However, many citizens are becoming concerned about growing raccoon populations in the US and the negative effect that large raccoon populations have on songbird populations.

Older studies have already demonstrated that high raccoon populations grow in inverse proportion to songbird populations. Ever since the 1980’s, researchers have been keeping a close look on how raccoon populations affect other wildlife populations. For example, Illinois might be losing more songbirds than it produces. So do raccoons hate songbirds or something?

Raccoons do not prey on songbirds in particular, but raccoons do enjoy climbing trees, and this has proven to be a problem for songbirds that are nesting on a tree’s lower points. Raccoons rarely climb high enough to reach birds nests, but songbirds do show a tendency to build their nests where raccoons have access to the parent songbirds, as well as their eggs.

According to a study conducted by Kenneth Schmidt of Texas Tech University, raccoons began proliferating in astronomical numbers during the 80s. Since then over seventy percent of low nesting songbirds have died out. Contrast that with the fifty percent decline in high nesting songbirds. The stats are pretty close, but a twenty percent difference is significant.

Naturally, as the raccoon population increases, the diversity of lower nesting songbirds decreases, while the diversity of higher nesting songbirds increases. Researchers are only now beginning to shed some light on raccoon behavior by means of retrospective studies. Researchers believe that the sudden and dramatic increase in raccoon populations during the 80s and after was driven by the eradication of more successful carnivorous mammals.

Could raccoons cause any serious problems for humans that would result in the indirect death of humans? If yes, what sort of disasters could raccoons cause, besides outbreaks of rabies?

 

 

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