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A Beetle That Produces A Toxin Strong Enough To Kill A Horse Attacked An Arizona Woman, Landing Her In The ER

A Beetle That Produces A Toxin Strong Enough To Kill A Horse Attacked An Arizona Woman, Landing Her In The ER

Arizona is home to numerous menacing arthropod species, such as bark scorpions, harvester ants, and on occasion, Africanized honey bees, or killer bees, as they are commonly known. Blister beetles are yet another group of insects in Arizona that you want to avoid. Although blister beetles don’t bite, like kissing bugs, or sting, like scorpions, these insects do emit a toxic compound that, when exposed to skin, causes an intense burning sensation that, like their name suggests, causes painful blisters. According to one Arizona doctor, the blisters that form on human skin as a result of coming into contact with blister beetle toxins, resemble a typical chemical burn. Blister beetle toxins are particularly harmful to horses, as blister beetle toxins are sometimes contained within the hay that horses consume. It is not uncommon for horses to become extremely ill, or even die as a result of eating hay containing  blister beetle toxins. There also exists plenty of incidents involving medically significant cases of humans falling victim to blister beetle toxins. For example, during the early summer of 2018, a Phoenix woman developed a nasty burn after being exposed to blister beetle toxins.

Dr. Joanna Woods was watching a movie at a theater in the Valley when she made contact with a blister beetle. The pain Dr. Woods experienced as a result of this exposure was described as feeling like her arm could not be removed from a hot skillet. Initially, Dr. Woods thought that she had sustained bed bug bites, as her wound consisted of red welts, but later on, the pain set in, and the welts began to look more like one big chemical burn that had developed blisters. At first, medical professionals were not sure what sort of injury Dr. Woods had sustained, but it eventually became clear that she had come into contact with a blister beetle. Due to her injury, Dr. Woods developed an infection and had to be hospitalized for two nights.

Do you know of any other insects that emit a corrosive substance that can be harmful to humans and animals?



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Are There Any Tarantula Species That Attack Humans Without Provocation?

It is often claimed by experts that spiders, even the largest and most frightening looking, are largely harmless to humans. While it is true that most spider bites are not medically significant and only hurt as much as a bee sting, some spiders are downright deadly, and will not hesitate to attack a human. Most experts would disagree strongly with this claim, as it is common knowledge that spiders will not bite a human unless the spider feels threatened, is provoked or is mishandled. This may be the case when it comes to the vast majority of spiders, but the Australian funnel-web spider is certainly an exception.

One American study claims that the Australian funnel-web spider is the most dangerous spider on earth, and plenty of other researchers do not dispute this claim. It is not just its highly venomous bite that makes this particular spider species dangerous to humans, it is also their habit of attacking humans without provocation of any kind that makes them uniquely hazardous. Funnel-web spider bites are deadly to humans, but luckily, the introduction of an antivenom in the early 1980s drastically reduced the death rate from funnel-web spider bites. In severe cases of funnel-web envenomation, four vials of antivenom is necessary to save a human’s life. However, not long ago, a ten year old Australian boy required a massive dose of antivenom consisting of 12 vials after sustaining a bite from a funnel-web spider. Luckily, after being administered the antidote repeatedly, the boy survived.

In addition to being a serious health threat, funnel-web spider bites are also extremely painful on account of their large fangs and acidic venom. This exceptionally aggressive spider species will bite repeatedly and use its fangs to attach itself to skin, making it hard to brush these spiders away following a bite. Respiratory problems, spasms, seizures, vomiting and circulatory problems are just a few of the symptoms that a funnel-web bite victim can expect within 15 to 30 minutes following a bite. One case saw the death of a young boy within 15 minutes following a funnel-web bite. So no, spiders are not harmless!

Have you ever experienced secondary symptoms (other than pain at the site of the bite wound) following a bite from a spider?

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Tarantula Rights On Hollywood Movie Sets

There was a time when a film about an enormous 50 foot tall mutant tarantula would have been a guaranteed hit. But B movies such as these are not too popular in our contemporary post-atomic age. And this may be a good thing, as it is apparently difficult to make a horror movie about swarms of killer tarantulas without killing a whole lot of the spiders in real life too. This is what occurred during the 1977 filming of the low budget B horror movie called Kingdom of the Spiders. Amazingly, much of the footage showing unlawful arachnid killings and abuse incidents were included within the movie itself. Due to the frequent incidents of indiscriminate mass tarantula killings and other inhumane acts toward spiders during the film’s production, movie productions today are required to conform to numerous regulations concerning humane spider treatment and spider safety.

It is accurately believed that a film like Kingdom of the Spiders could not be made today due to the emergence of an intricate legal framework concerning spider rights in Hollywood. In fact, it was this 1977 film that prompted the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) to push for regulations concerning humane spider treatment on film sets. This institutional response is understandable considering the many inhumane actions committed against spiders by actors and crew members while on set. For example, during one scene in the film, two characters are being surrounded by hundreds of living tarantulas within a lodge. During the scene, the actors could clearly be seen stomping on large groups of clustered tarantulas while fulfilling their roles as frightened tourists. During a scene where the tarantulas are attacking a town, hundreds of tarantulas were carelessly stomped on by crowds of extras. In one unforgivable scene of tarantula cruelty, a police cruiser drives on a street covered in real-life tarantulas, resulting in their real-life deaths. The appalled reaction that animal rights activists had toward the film prompted the enactment of spider safety regulations on Hollywood sets. For example,13 years after Kingdom was released, another horror film about killer spiders, Arachnophobia, was released. During the filming of this movie, killing spiders was prohibited, so the crew used the corpses of spiders that died of natural causes to fill in as freshly squashed spider victims. When a spider was killed on screen, a rubber model was used in place of actual spider-murder.

Have you ever witnessed arthropod mistreatment in a movie?


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Why Are Termite Infestations A Major Issue In America’s Fire Stations?

For some reason or another, the rate of termite infestations within fire stations is unusually high. Some experts believe that the disproportionate amount of termite damage inflicted to fire stations may result from firefighters inadvertently transporting termites back to the station after returning from termite infested homes where fires were reported. However, this explanation has a few problems. While termites, especially drywood termites, can spread from location to location by means of infested furniture transport, termites are not known for nesting within clothing where they can be unknowingly transported from place to place. Of course, this is how bed bugs are spread, and this explains why bed bugs are an issue within fire stations, ambulances and hospitals. But this does not explain why termites are a problem within fire stations.

Nearly four years ago, the Delray Beach Fire Station in Florida had to close for fumigations after inspectors discovered an extensive drywood termite infestation within the building. The decision was made to fumigate the whole building after the termites were discovered infesting government offices located on the second story of the building. Almost three years ago, firefighters in Hermosa Beach, Florida were forced to relocate to temporary trailers after inspectors found that a long-running termite infestation within the fire station and the neighboring civic center had weakened the structures to the point of near collapse. In this particular case, fumigations were not sufficient, as a 100 million dollar renovation was required to build a new station as well as a civic center and government offices. Back in 2010, a long-running termite infestation nearly destroyed a fire station in None, Georgia. The cost of building a new station cost taxpayers between 2 and 4 million dollars. A 2006 termite infestation in a Lompoc, California fire station required a fumigation and voters in Halfmoon and Waterford, New York recently rejected a plan to build a new fire station for 13 million dollars, as the existing fire station is no longer safe to occupy due to an extensive termite infestation. Termite infestations in fire stations are also problematic within the country of India, as a recent termite attack on a fire station in Danapith resulted in several important government documents being destroyed by termites as well as the structure itself.

Do you believe that a particular factor makes fire stations particularly vulnerable to termite attacks?

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A Massive Swarm Of Angry Bees Descended Upon A Group Of More Than 200 School Children, And This Is A Frequent Occurrence

A Massive Swarm Of Angry Bees Descended Upon A Group Of More Than 200 School Children, And This Is A Frequent Occurrence

Insect life in Africa can be dangerous to humans, and this is especially true of the continent’s native bee species. The Africanized honey bee, for example, is commonly referred to as the “killer bee” and they are responsible for numerous attacks on individuals and crowds of people in Africa, South America, and North America, including the southwest US. There are numerous other airborne venomous insects in Africa that pose a threat to outdoor crowds, and it is for this reason that parents and teachers in the African country of Ghana are concerned about the lack of indoor school facilities. Believe it or not, but government officials in Ghana claim to not have enough money to fund the building of schools, so many children are forced to take instruction entirely outdoors. Due to the proliferation of these “outdoor schools,” a rash of dangerous bee swarms have repeatedly descended upon large groups of students and teachers within the country.

Over 200 students at one particular outdoor school in Ghana are completely at the mercy of venomous insect swarms. Bee swarms have descended upon the students numerous times. The 200 students that attend this outdoor school live in the Bongo district of northern Ghana. This district contains a village that the natives refer to as “goo,” and the government has been accused of neglecting the safety of these villagers by refusing to have adequate school buildings constructed in the village. Running for the nearest form of shelter upon spotting a bee swarm has become a regular habit among the 200 students. Most of the time, these forms of shelter are nothing more than large rocks and other inadequate forms of shelter. One particular bee swarm had students running into nearby homes and brave teachers hovering over students to prevent them from being attacked by the bees. The government has acknowledged the existence of the bee threat, but are doing nothing about it for the time being. Needless to say, student performance at the school is suffering as a result.

Do you think that future bee swarms could take the lives of children and/or teachers within the Bongo district?



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How The External Climate Influences Nest-Building Behavior In Termites

How The External Climate Influences Nest-Building Behavior In Termites

In regions of Africa, Australia, Asia and South America, termite mounds can be seen for miles across various types of landscapes. Since termite mounds are created by different termite species that are adapted to particular environments, there exists an array of different mound architectural styles. However, upon researching different types of mounds, researchers discovered that the interaction between external and internal mound climates directly affects mound building behavior in termite workers. Therefore, climate serves as a primary factor in determining a mound’s architectural style.

Researchers from Harvard’s engineering and evolutionary biology departments put their heads together in order to unravel some of the mysteries concerning mound building behavior in termites. The researchers discovered that the climatic conditions existing outside of a mound, such as wind speeds and daytime temperature fluctuations, alter the climatic conditions inside of a mound by changing the flow of pheromone odor signals. These pheromone signals are transmitted from a queen termite to workers in order to facilitate the mound building process. Since these pheromone odor cues are blown around by internal air currents, a mound’s internal climate could be an essential component to the ultimate mound-building behaviors exhibited by termite workers. The climate within a mound can be altered into many different forms, resulting in new building behaviors, and ultimately, different architectural mound styles. The study was ultimately showing how external mound climate can explain different mound structural styles.

This research study was exciting for researchers, as it marked one of the few times when researchers were able to demonstrate how environmental physics and animal behavior work together to produce complex structures that can be found everywhere in nature. This study also sheds more light on the topic of swarm intelligence in insects and it may even serve to inspire architects into designing more environmentally friendly buildings in the future.

Do you believe that nesting and shelter structures created by insects offer insights in the field of green architecture?









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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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Authorities Closed a Busy Street In An Effort To Protect Frightened Residents From A Scorpion That Turned Out To Be A Rubber Toy

Scorpions are the most venomous group of arachnids, but luckily, they are rarely spotted in urban areas. In the United States, the most well known scorpion species, the Arizona bark scorpion, is widespread all across the southwest. This species is well known for its highly toxic venom, which is potentially deadly to humans. The numerous other scorpion species in the US can be found within the southern half of the country.

Since scorpions avoid the daylight by hiding under rocks during the day and hunting at night, people rarely come into contact with them. It is unusual to find scorpion infestations within structures located in urban areas, but this happens on occasion during the summer months in southwestern cities. Considering the potential danger that scorpions pose to humans, scorpion sightings in urban areas are taken seriously by public health officials. For example, not long ago, residents of Lincolnshire in the United Kingdom became alarmed after learning that a scorpion had been spotted in the city’s downtown area. Several pedestrians kept their distance from the scorpion specimen as it remained motionless on sidewalk pavement. After several calls to animal control authorities by concerned and frightened residents, officials cordoned the street where the scorpion had been found. As it turned out, the panic was all for nothing, as the frightening scorpion turned out to be a rubber toy.

Animal control professional, Paula Jones, with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, received a call from a concerned resident who claimed to have seen a red scorpion on a sidewalk in the downtown area. After receiving several other similar calls from residents who had been concerned with the danger that the scorpion posed to the public, Jones had the entire busy street where the specimen was found closed-off to traffic and pedestrians. When Jones approached the alleged scorpion, she found that it was only a rubber toy, which explained why it had remained motionless during the whole ordeal. Considering that scorpions dwell in regions located far away from the United Kingdom, and that no scorpion species’ body is completely covered in a red hue, perhaps experts should have had their suspicions about this alleged scorpion sighting from the start.

Do realistic-looking toy arachnids or insects creep you out?


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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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Which Scorpion Species Are The Most Deadly?

If you have ever lived, or have gone camping in dry and arid regions, then you were likely made aware of the threat of scorpions. Although there exists a multitude of scorpion species, most of them are not life-threatening to humans. In most cases, a brutally painful sting is the worst that would happen if you were to, say, put on a shoe containing a scorpion. Many people wrongly assume that a scorpion’s body size is indicative of their venomous potential. Apparently, the bigger the scorpion, the more venomous people assume it to be. Although large-bodied scorpions may be the scariest scorpions to look at, body size is not, in any way, indicative of a scorpion’s venom-toxicity. For example, the emperor scorpion can grow to be a whopping eight inches in length, but they are relatively safe. In fact, many people keep emperor scorpions as pets. However, there are a few scorpion species that can, indeed, cause human fatalities.

The most venomous scorpion species in the world may be the Indian red scorpion. This species is typically cited by experts as being the most dangerous scorpion to humans. Victims of Indian red scorpion stings will likely experience nausea, heart problems, discoloration of the skin, and, in more severe cases, pulmonary edema, which is an accumulation of fluid in the lungs. Pulmonary edema causes shortness of breath and it can lead to death. Luckily, a drug known as prazosin can decrease mortality rates from these stings.

If you want to know which scorpion sting is among the most painful, look no further than the aptly named “deathstalker scorpion.” This scorpion species is considered one of the most dangerous in the world. Sting victims will experience increased heartbeat, high blood pressure, and even convulsions and coma. Children, the elderly and immunocompromised individuals can die as a result of this scorpion’s sting. Finally, there is the Arabian fat-tailed scorpion. This scorpion species has been known for killing children and people with heart conditions. For those not afflicted with a heart condition, the worst that will happen upon receiving a sting from a fat-tailed scorpion include unconsciousness, hypertension and seizures. If medical treatments are not sought out within a seven hour timeframe, death is likely to result from this scorpion’s sting.

Have you ever sustained a sting from a scorpion?