Archives for category: Facts about insects

spiders

If you’re afraid of spiders, you’re in good company–at least according to the Wikipedia page on arachnophobia, which states Justin Timberlake, Kim Kardashian and Jessica Simpson as sharing the affliction.

Brown-recluse-coin-edit

For example, one of the most infamous spiders, the brown recluse, has earned a terrible and outsized reputation for its supposedly deadly bite. Doctors often blame the species for spider bites, even in states where the brown recluse isn’t present.

Even where the species is present, says Dan Babbit, insect keeper at the Natural History Museum Dan Babbitt, “They don’t often bite people–they’re recluses, they tend to hide.”

How do you like this bad boy?

Pink-Toe

This is the pinktoed Tarantula.  Wonder who does it’s pedicures.  Because the pinktoe spider comes from the rainforest, it’s one of the few tarantulas that can climb trees, survive falls and even swim. Where other tarantulas would be killed by a drop of just a few feet, these spiders “can essentially parachute down” from the treetops.

Aside from their hidden talents, spiders also offer humans benefits in some surprising ways. Their venom has been used in scientific research for new medicines, their super strong webs  are helping designers dream up new industry technology and they’ve even inspired artworks and clothing products.

There are even new spiders still being discovered, like when spelunkers found a previously unknown family since dubbed Trogloraptor, or cave robbers, in southern Oregon.

We’re still a long way from ridding ourselves of arachnophobia.

Just how close are you to a spider right now?

ticksTicks – tiny little nasty b@st@rds.  Look how tiny they are, yet if we magnify them they are ugly enough to be in a Hollywood Sci-Fi movie.

ticks 2Really creepy right?  What should concern you is Lyme Disease which can be transmitted to both pets and humans by the bite of infected deer ticks.  16,000 people are affected here in the US annually.

This is where it really gets creepy – ticks have harpoon-like barbs (YIKES) on their mouths to attach to the host for feeding and they emit a sticky secretion to help them hold on.

Ticks can carry Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever which strikes 300-400 people here in this country per year.

Creepier yet is that some species of ticks can lay about 100 eggs at a time, others can lay 3000 to 6000 per batch.  Now you are itching right?

Some species can go years without feeding off a host.

If this concerns or if you are petting your dog or cat and finding that hard bump and on further inspection you know you just touched a tick, wash your hands immediately and call our office at 879-0904 – we can help stick it to the ticks!

10

We thought you might find this article interesting!  Could be a good report for a kid in school too.

(ISNS) — When ants are confronted with information overload and face too many decisions — about where to live, for instance — they revert to the wisdom of the crowd.

Despite having a brain smaller than the point of a pin, one ant species uses an elaborate system of sending out scouts to look for new homes. The scouts report back, and then the whole colony votes, according to researchers at Arizona State University.

The ants use chemistry and crowdsourcing, wrote associate professor of biology Stephen C. Pratt and graduate student Takao Sasaki at Arizona State University, in the current issue of Current Biology.

“They have tiny brains, but nonetheless, they are able to do quite a bit with them,” Pratt said. Honey bees also have small brains but each brain has about a million neurons, which collectively have “quite a lot of processing power.” Bees use a tail-wagging dance to communicate.

The ants involved in the ASU study, Temnothorax rugatulus are red, about one-tenth of an inch long, and live in crevices between rocks in forests in the western U.S. and parts of Europe.

The colonies themselves are not very big, usually a few hundred workers, Pratt said, and if an animal knocks a colony over, the roof falls in, or if they need more space,  the ants have to move.

But the ants live in areas in which the potential number of possible nest sites is overwhelming. One ant can’t cope with making the decision. No one is in charge in an ant nest.

“They distribute the task among colony members,” said Sasaki.

That’s where the crowdsourcing comes in.

According to Pratt and Sasaki, the ants send scouts to check out some potential home sites. The scouts look at such things as the size of the entrance and how big the cavity is. If the ant likes what she sees, she returns to the colony.

She sends out a pheromone message, “Follow me,” and another ant will join her in what is called tandem running. She takes her colleague out to view the potential site.

If the second ant likes what she sees, she goes back and repeats the process, bringing back another ant. If she doesn’t like it, she merely returns to the colony. If enough ants like a site, the colony reaches a quorum, essentially choosing the new home.

The scouts pick up their nest mates and carry them to their new homes, usually taking the nest queen along with them.

Sasaki built an experiment in which one ant had to make the decision from two potential sites and then from eight. Half the potential sites were unsuitable in both experiments. He was forcing the ants in the laboratory to do what ants in the wild would not, send one ant to make the decision for the colony, Pratt said.

Individual ants, confronted with two choices, had no problems picking the most suitable site. When faced with choosing among eight, however, an ant often selected the wrong place.

The two researchers tested a whole colony with the same choices, letting them send out more than one scout. The colonies, acting as a crowd, did equally well in both experiments, picking suitable sites 90 percent of the time.

“It’s a shared decision,” Pratt said.

Part of the advantage of the colony system, Sasaki and Pratt hypothesized, is that each scout visited only a few potential sites, minimizing the information it must process, while an individual ant, assigned to do it alone, had to visit them all and was the victim of cognitive overload.

Evolution has produced the system that best increases the possibility of colony survival.

Honey bees have a similar system, said computer scientist James Marshall, from Sheffield University in the U.K. He models social insect behavior.

What we are seeing, he said, is something like how the human body functions: millions of cells organized into one super-organism. In the case of the bees and ants, all the insects in the hive or nest form one individual organism.

“Here, it is very much of a group benefit,” Marshall said. “Like super organisms, the interests of individuals are the same as the interests of the group.”

“Cognitive overload is a growing issue for human decision making, as unprecedented access to data poses new challenges to individual processing abilities,” Pratt and Sasaki wrote in their journal article. “Human groups also solve difficult problems better when each group member has only limited access to information.”

Brought to you by:  Coastal Pest Control call us for your bug and lawn problems at 879-0904


Joel Shurkin is a freelance writer based in Baltimore. He is the author of nine books on science and the history of science, and has taught science journalism at Stanford University, UC Santa Cruz and the University of Alaska Fairbanks

We bet you are after all nothing says trivia like bug facts.

  • Houseflies find sugar with their feet, which are 10 million times more sensitive than human tongues. (Don’t go there!)
  • Ticks can grow from the size of a grain of rice to the size of a marble. (Makes you really comfortable doesn’t it?)
  • Approximately 2,000 silkworm cocoons are needed to produce one pound of silk. (A lot more for silk sheets.)
  • While gathering food, a bee may fly up to 60 miles in one day. (You would think they would be too tired to sting!)
  • Ants can lift and carry more than fifty times their own weight. (Double dog dare you to try!)
  • Mexican Jumping Beans, sometimes sold commercially, actually have a caterpillar of a bean moth inside. (You knew this!)
  • It takes about one hundred Monarch Butterflies to weigh an ounce. (Try catching that many.)
  • When the droppings of millions of cattle started ruining the land in Australia, dung beetles were imported to reduce the problem.
  • Wasps feeding on fermenting juice have been known to get “drunk’ and pass out. (So have humans!)
  • The queen of a certain termite species can lay 40,000 eggs per day. (Keeps us in business!)
  • Honeybees have to make about ten million trips to collect enough nectar for production of one pound of honey. (WOW!)
  • Insects have been present for about 350 million years, and humans for only 130,000 years. (They rule & keep us in business.)

Have fun sharing!

Recently someone shared a science site that had all kinds of articles about new discoveries in the insect world.  While Coastal PC is a company based on getting rid of pests, there are still some very interesting facts published within this site about bugs, insects, animals and more.

When we see a “pest” we want it gone……but in the reality of the world of science there are reasons some “pests” exist and this story just heightened interest by the headline alone. “Assassin Bug………”

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2010/10/assassin-bug-spider-prey/?utm_source=Contextly&utm_medium=RelatedLinks&utm_campaign=Previous

Nature holds so many surprises – imagine being the spider.

 

This Is For All You Trivia Players

The next time you want to wow your friends, make someone leave the room, or drive others buggy throw some of these facts at them about insects.  Watch them start to scratch their skin, make strange faces or possibly some strange noises of disgust. WARNING you could lose some of friends.

There are more insects in one square mile of rural land than there are human beings on the entire earth.

The tsetse fly is found only in Africa although there are twenty-two different specie of the tsetse fly.

In the U.S. wasps kill more people than snakes, spiders and scorpions combined.

The South American mydas fly is thought to be the largest fly in the world at 1 1/2 inches long, picture that on your next picnic.

There are more than 900,000 known species of insects in the world.

Some butterflies use their front legs to clean their eyes instead of for walking.

More people are killed each year from bees than from snakes.

Beetles taste like apples, wasps like pine nuts, and worms like fried bacon, tell this to your girlfriend over dinner.

A dragonfly has a lifespan of 24 hours.

Each year, insects eat 1/3 of the Earth’s food crop.

Dragonflies have as many as 30,000 lenses in each eye.

A baby cockroach can run side by side with its parents.

A tabanid fly, related to horse flies, has been clocked at 90 miles per hour.

A cockroach can survive for a month without eating anything but will die within 9 days approximately without water.

The fastest runners are cockroaches, which can move almost a foot per second. However this only translates to a little over 1 mph.

Mosquitoes dislike citronella because it irritates their feet so stop using the candles they are not going to land in them!

The queen of a termite colony may lay 6,000 to 7,000 eggs per day, and may live 15 to 50 years.

There are grasshoppers that can draw blood with a kick.

The total distance of the many trips honey bees travel to produce a pound of honey is about equal to twice the distance around the world.

There are more than 200 million insects for each human on the planet.

Beetles are the largest members of the insect family with more than 350,000 species known.

Not all insects are bugs; a true “bug” has a sharp jointed feeding tube much like a syringe.

The largest ants in the world can be found in Brazil; though, they only measure about 1 1/4 inches long.

Crickets are good temperature reader as its chirps differ according to the weather. People know whether its hot or cold depending on the chirps crickets make.

The Queen bee is the only bee that can lay eggs; there is only one bee in each hive.

The average mosquito has 47 teeth – but it’s the mosquito’s sharp proboscis that’ll make you itch, 47 teeth-got that?

A drone is a male bee or ant. His only job in life is to mate with the queen.

Chewing insects have mandibles, powerful jaws, that allow them to crush, cut and grind their food.

In Africa, army ants can cause the evacuation of an entire village.

Tapeworms range in size from about 0.04 inch to more than 50 feet in length, another great fact to tell at dinner.

Blister beetles, sometimes call Spanish flies, are said to smell like mice, and we all know what mice smell like right?

Fleas that can leap eight hundred times farther than their body length.

Killer bees live in colonies with as many as 80,000 other bees; they are quick to get excited and attack in great swarms.

Cockroaches are known to carry such diseases as polio, typhoid, gastroenteritis and hepatitis which is why you call CoastalPC!