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Lawmakers Oppose Funding Into Edible Insect Research

It is probably fair to say that most of the American public is disgusted by edible insect meals. Now, lawmakers in the United States are disgusted by the government funds going into edible insect research. Most Americans want nothing to do with edible insects, so it is likely that they do not want to see their tax dollars being spent on research into eating bugs. This is why lawmakers from multiple states have gone on the record in their opposition to edible insect research being funded with taxpayer money. In fact, some politicians are attempting to pass a bill that would prohibit the use of taxpayer dollars in edible insect research projects.About Pest Control in Phoenix, Gilbert, Mesa, Queen Creek

Senator Jeff Flake from Arizona is leading the charge against federally funded edible insect research. Flake is not opposed to edible insects, but he does not want taxpayer dollars going to startup businesses that specialize in edible insect production. According to Flake, this type of spending is just another example of careless government spending. Flake is not alone, as he and many other senators and congressman are looking to make amendments to a particular House spending package that allows government entities to spend as much as 100,000 dollars on edible insect projects. Flake’s amendment would block taxpayer dollars from going into the hands of edible insect companies.

One business owner who specializes in cricket feed says he has not yet felt the heat from Senator Flake. The California-based business is called Tiny Farms Inc., and it is run by Andrew Brentano, who is currently serving as the company’s CEO. According to Brentano, his business, as well as many others he knows of, has received funding from the USDA with no problems. Brentano firmly believes that federal funding into edible insects is not a waste of money, as edible insects could end up saving billions if it were to displace livestock meat as the primary source of protein for Americans.

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The Most Destructive Termite Species In The Western US May Be Displaced By A New Invasive Species Of Termite

There exists several termite species in the United States that are categorized as “pests to structures.” The most destructive and economically costly termite species in the United States is the eastern subterranean termite. Given the common name of this species, it should not be surprising to learn that eastern subterranean termite colonies become less prevalent in the west. As you may be able to guess, the most destructive termite species within the western coastal states is the western subterranean termite, at least this is what researchers believed until a new termite species was identified as inhabiting the western coast of North America several years ago. This new species is known as Reticulitermes okanaganensis, and while this species has been known as a pest to structures in British Columbia, researchers have only recently learned that this species infests structures ranging across the entirety of the western U.S. coast.

The Reticulitermes okanaganensis termite species is now known to exist within the states of California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Nevada. This species has been causing extensive damage to structures in British Columbia for years, but the species was not identified as Reticulitermes okanaganensis until the early 2000s. The damage these termites have been inflicting upon structures in British Columbia is unprecedented in the relatively cold region where most termite species would not be able to survive. When these attacks were at their height in Canada, pest control professionals reported difficulties in eradicating Reticulitermes species from structures in northern California. Now it is believed that Reticulitermes okanaganensis was responsible for many of these infestations, but they could not be easily eradicated as insecticides are not designed to address the unique physiology of this new termite species. Also, much of the structural damage in California that has long been attributed to western subterranean termites may have also been caused by Reticulitermes okanaganensis pest activity. Studies that aim to map this species’ distribution within the US are ongoing.

Do you believe that there exists more termite pest species in the US than researchers are currently aware?

 

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Black Widow Spiders Are Acclimating To The Growing Urban Environments In The Southwest US

Black Widow Spiders Are Acclimating To The Growing Urban Environments In The Southwest US

The southwest United States is home to a variety of venomous animals, such as rattlesnakes, scorpions and on some occasions, Africanized honey bees, or killer bees, as they are more commonly known. Considering that urban and suburban developments are expanding more rapidly in the southwest than in any other US region, animals are being displaced by urbanization at a particularly fast rate in the southwest. Although urbanization leads to environmental degradation and the disruption of native animal habitats, one particularly venomous animal group does not seem to be negatively affected by encroaching urban developments. Unfortunately for city-dwellers in the southwest, this animal happens to be the black widow spider.

Phoenix, Arizona is the country’s second fastest growing city, and as a consequence of this city’s rapid expansion into the natural environment, many desert-dwelling animals are being robbed of the resources they need to survive. However, black widow spiders are having no problem adjusting to big city life. As it happens, black widows are making the best of their new urban landscape. For example, researchers with Arizona State University have found that black widow populations in the city are denser than they are in the natural environment. Not only that, but urban black widows have larger body sizes than their rural counterparts. Black widow populations in the city are 10 to 15 times denser than rural populations, and it has been found that urban black widows are genetically dissimilar to rural black widows. This fact has led researchers to believe that urban black widows in Phoenix did not originate from the rural dessert; instead, it is now believed that they may have originated from another region located outside of the southwest.

Urban black widows are better off than rural black widows for many reasons. Urban landscapes offer black widows superior forms of shelter, a greater abundance of food and prey, and most importantly, typical predators of black widows, most notably parasitic wasps, have a difficult time surviving urban habitats, making the most significant predators a non-issue for urban black widow populations. Naturally, these highly venomous spiders are being spotted regularly within homes and buildings in Phoenix. So if you live in Phoenix or another city in the southwest, check your shoes before putting them on in the morning.

Do you think that urban black widows in Phoenix are mostly represented by a non-native variety of black widows?

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Parasitic Wasp Larvae Discovered That Turns Social Spiders Into Hermits

You may know of the number of parasitic wasp species that are able to dump their larvae on different insect species, which then take control of their brain while also eating them as they carry on in a zombie-like state until they eventually die. As if there weren’t enough of these parasitic wasps hanging around and messing up insect’s live already, another one has been discovered that is able to take over the brains of a certain species of social spider. What’s worse is that they always latch onto the adolescent spiders, ruining their lives before they’ve even started. Now that’s a raw deal.

A rather remarkable species of social spider, Anelosimus eximius, inhabits parts of Latin America. These guys aren’t just a little social, though. They live in colonies made up of thousands of these spiders. These spiders live near the forest floor in basket-shaped webs that can be up to 25 feet wide. These webs are attached to the vegetation near the forest floor, and this is where colony of spider work cooperatively to protect their eggs and raise their spiderlings. The entire colony also works together to attain larger prey such as grasshoppers when they happen to accidentally blunder into the silk lines that stick out all over their webs and fall in. This species is a pretty amazing example of social spiders.

Unfortunately, they have one major predator out there that is targeting their young adolescents and turning them into zombie hermits. Philippe Fernandez-Fournier, a doctoral student at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, discovered this species of wasp that has never been named or described in any scientific literature discovered these parasitic wasps while he was in Latin America studying the spiders just mentioned. He was amazed and horrified at the way these parasitic wasps are able to bend these spiders to their will.

The wasp basically camps outside one of the spiders’ webs waiting for one of the younger spiders to stray from the safety of the colony. Fernandez-Fournier suggests that they may prefer the adolescent spiders because they have softer shells and are “less feisty,” making them easier to abduct and control. While scientists still aren’t sure exactly how the wasp larvae actually ends up on the spider, they do know that once there, they start feeding on the abdomen. The larvae is able to begin controlling the spider’s brain as it grows, and force it to leave the safety of the colony to live more like a hermit, alone and at the complete mercy of the wasp larvae. The young spider then weaves silk cocoon around itself to seal it off from the outside world. The larvae then eats the rest of the spider and builds its own cocoon inside of the convenient silk ball it is already inside, and pupates into an adult wasp.

What other parasitic wasps or insects do you know of? Which sounds the worst?

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A Woman Is Found With A Maggot Living Inside Of Her Forehead

A Woman Is Found With A Maggot Living Inside Of Her Forehead

Visiting exotic locations overseas can be a lot of fun, but danger lurks around every corner. While vacationing, several things can go wrong, such as lost luggage, lost passports, muggings, pickpocketing, illness and, of course, falling victim to parasitic and insect-borne diseases. Tropical regions around the world see the greatest rate of insect-borne disease cases and parasitic infections. It goes without saying that researching the potentially dangerous insects that dwell in a region where a person plans to vacation is a smart course of action. It is not uncommon for Americans and Europeans to fall victim to insect-borne diseases and parasitic infections while visiting a tropical paradise. For example, several days after returning home from a trip to Uganda, a British woman learned that she had a maggot infesting her forehead.

Initially, the British woman did not experience any symptoms that would have indicated that a fly larva had been developing within her forehead, but nine days after returning home, the woman noticed a swollen lump on her forehead. Naturally concerned, the woman did not waste any time reporting to the doctor where she was told that she had sustained an insect bite. The woman was then given a prescription for antibiotics before leaving the hospital. However, only three days later, the woman returned to the hospital with worsened symptoms, as the swelling on her forehead grew significantly and extended to her eyelids. The woman also complained of shooting pains in her face. Upon closer examination, doctors discovered that a tiny pin prick-like hole existed at the center of the swelling. A fluid discharge was noted as oozing out of this opening. In response to this finding, doctors decided to run more tests, as they were concerned that she had contracted a serious disease while traveling in Uganda. As it turns out, the opening had been a small breathing hole for the maggot that had infested her forehead. In order to coax the maggot toward the opening so that it could be removed, doctors plugged the opening, resulting in the maggot’s air supply being cut off. The maggot intruder was removed and identified as Lund’s fly larva, which is a fly species native to African rainforests. Not only is the Lund’s fly not associated with infections of this sort, but the forehead is not typically selected as a nesting spot for developing insect offspring.

Have you ever heard of a maggot being discovered nesting within a person’s body?

 

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A Look Inside the Tarantula Black Market

A Look Inside the Tarantula Black Market

You wouldn’t think that tarantulas are a particularly valuable commodity, considering the fear they induce in most people due to their frightening appearance.  Why would anyone pay much money for an ugly, hairy spider? Who would want to actually keep one for fun as a pet? Well, you are in for a surprise because the illegal market for tarantulas is booming, and illegal activity involving tarantulas is only increasing over time. There are many people that are fascinated by these creatures and can’t get enough of them; and they are willing to pay insane amounts of money to add more to their collection.

The illegal tarantula trade may be a little known section of the black market, but it is rampant, and with people becoming more and more interested in exotic animals, it is steadily increasing. The expanding number of people traveling to places that have exotic tarantulas, the rising awareness of these creatures people have gained through social media, as well as the growing commercial interest in these and other exotic animals are fueling the illegal trade of tarantulas. Many scientists have reported a great deal of illegal activity in relation to tarantulas, and most believe it is fueled mostly by people that make a hobby out of collecting these exotic pets and are willing to pay hundreds of dollars for just one of these spiders.

The demand for tarantulas is growing rapidly, and traders are having to find ways to meet that growing demand. Traders are now having to hire locals to hunt down tarantulas in the wild. The captured spiders are then smuggled out and sold to collectors and breeders searching for the newest, most distinctive and exotic tarantulas on the black market. While some become pets, others are killed and mounted on display in a box or enveloped in resin. What makes tarantula poaching especially cruel is that these spiders are long-lived, with some reaching 30 years old, and the females procreate late in their life and infrequently. Poaching takes a serious toll on the tarantula population, and they take a long time to recover from these harvests. Scientists are afraid that this could have a much wider negative effect on our ecosystem in general, and other problems such as climate change and the destruction of their habitats are threatening their different species even more. Many of the most exotic and interesting tarantulas that people collect through the black market could end up being wiped out completely. The collectors buying the tarantulas may not have bad intentions, and actually have a love and appreciation for these exotic creatures. Unfortunately, that love could spell the end of their pets existence.

Do you know anyone that owns exotic tarantulas? How do they find ones to purchase, and do they know whether the seller obtained them legally?

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Every Fall Some Residential Regions In The Southwest Are Overrun With Massive Herds Of Migrating Tarantulas

Every Fall Some Residential Regions In The Southwest Are Overrun With Massive Herds Of Migrating Tarantulas

It is well understood by most people that birds and flying insects, like butterflies, migrate south during the fall season in order to avoid the cold of the coming winter in the north. However, airborne animals are not the only organisms that migrate south for the winter, as tarantulas emerge from their burrows during the fall before migrating en masse southward through several towns and neighborhoods in the southwest. As you can imagine, these mass migrations are known for surprising and terrifying sensitive individuals living within the path of the migrating arachnids. In fact, many new homeowners in the southwest who have not spent much, or any time within the region have been known to panic upon witnessing the sudden appearance of thousands of tarantulas stampeding through their property. Pest control professionals, animal control officials and University pest extension experts all expect a plethora of panicked calls every fall from newcomers in the southwest who did not expect to see an enormous mass of furry tarantulas traversing through their neighborhood.

These massive migratory herds of tarantulas typically emerge during the month of September and October. Once November rolls around, residents of the southwest can expect more of these migratory herds to come through their area, only this time the herds are comprised entirely of male tarantulas that are traveling in search of mates, as November is the start of tarantula mating season in the southwest. While the males are traveling far and wide to find their soul mates, female tarantulas, which are much larger and more aggressive than males, sit waiting for their knights within the comfort of their burrows.

The largest amount of tarantulas, and therefore, the largest herds, can be seen in the dessert landscape of Nevada. However, spider herds can be seen traversing through the grassland and canyon landscapes of Colorado before moving on to more arid desert landscapes in states like Arizona, New Mexico and southern California. A recent study has found that these tarantula herds are first emerging at more northern longitudes with each passing year. Experts believe that global warming may be making more northern environments hospitable to tarantulas. So who knows? Maybe in fifty years migratory tarantula herds can be witnessed stampeding through Omaha.

Have you ever witnessed a migratory herd of tarantulas?

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When Are Individuals Attacked By Bee Swarms? How Many Different Ways Can A Person Die From Bee Stings?

When Are Individuals Attacked By Bee Swarms? How Many Different Ways Can A Person Die From Bee Stings?

Most people who are attacked and stung by bees did not anticipate having a bee encounter before falling victim to an attack. It is not uncommon to read news stories during the summer about people being attacked and stung repeatedly by swarming bees. When it comes to attacks by stinging insects, bees, yellowjackets and hornets are the most common culprits. Although yellowjackets and hornets are more aggressive than honey bees, the Africanized honey bee, or the killer bee as it is more commonly known, causes numerous deaths in America each year.

Every year in the United States, more than 220,000 visits to the emergency room occur in response to attacks from bees and wasps, as hornets and yellowjackets are technically wasp species. Of these 220,000 annual attack victims, 60 die as a result of the venomous stings they sustained. Obviously, the vast majority of bee attacks on humans occur outdoors, and people with outdoor occupations are the most common victims of bee attacks. Also, people who indulge in regular outdoor hobbies, such as gardening, amatuer beekeeping, and farming are at a high risk of falling victim to bee attacks as well. Of course, people with bee allergies are at a high risk of dying from bee attacks, even if they have an Epipen on them at the time of an attack.

There are two ways a person can die from bee stings. The more common cause of death from bee stings is anaphylactic shock induced by an intense allergic reaction. The other cause of death from bee stings is referred to as “massive envenomanation”. Non-allergic people who die from bee stings always die as a result of massive envenomanation. This form of death occurs when victims sustain so many bee stings that their organs fail in response to the massive dose of toxic venom in their bloodstream.

Do you have an allergy to any insect stings or bites? If so, do you carry an Epipen? Do you know someone who does? Do they carry an Epipen?

 

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A University Student Is Not Tolerating Her Insect And Spider Infested Dorm

A University Student Is Not Tolerating Her Insect And Spider Infested Dorm And One Company Is Forcing Employees To Eat Cockroaches

Many people who are currently attending college can tell you that dorm rooms leave much to be desired. There are not many 18 year old college freshman who expected their dorm room to resemble a hotel suite, but certainly no dorm resident should have to tolerate cockroach and spider infestations. While finding a cockroach or two within one’s dorm room may not be uncommon for many college students, one student at the University of Louisville in Kentucky is making the whole world know that officials are doing nothing to clear the cockroach infestation from her dorm room.

The student recently posted pictures of the cockroaches and spiders in her dorm room to social media sites in an effort to motivate university officials into hiring a pest control professional to address the infestation. The pictures were posted with an accompanying description of her situation. The student’s plan worked, as her situation was reported by a local news station, which prompted the university’s housing authorities into responding to her complaints. A spokesperson for the university even went as far as to send a letter to the news station explaining how seriously the university is taking the student’s complaints. The letter claimed that other past complaints from students concerning insect infestations in their dorm rooms were promptly addressed by university officials, and the university is working closely with the current student in order to resolve the problem. Meanwhile, on the other side of the globe in China, employees are being forced to eat cockroaches by their managers.

Three managers that worked at a home improvement store in southern China have been jailed for making employees consume cockroaches and other disgusting items. The managers reportedly made only those employees who failed to make sales targets consume cockroaches. The managers were arrested after a former employee posted pictures and a description of the humiliating punishments to a social media site. Hopefully the victims of this cruel form of abuse can find satisfaction in the perpetrator’s incarceration, but at least the managers were dedicated to maximizing company profits.