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Bizarre Insect Defense Mechanisms

Your average Joe assumes that insects defend themselves by biting with their mouth parts or by stinging with their stingers. It does not occur to most non-experts that insects vary just as much in their defensive features as they do in their physical features. Some insects have adapted to surviving on this planet by evolving excessively strange and complicated physical defense mechanisms that seem to defy logic. A particular group of sap-sucking insects provide an apt example of this sort of strangeness. A type of sap-sucking insect known as a “sharpshooter” uses a truly unique catapult-like physical feature to fling its urine for reasons that are still unknown. These insects are capable of flinging their urine at incredibly high speeds, and after years of research, scientists are finally able to understand how this insect achieves such an outlandish feat.

It is not unheard of for people to become doused with the urine of sap-sucking insects after walking near a tree infested with the seemingly mischievous insects. According to the engineer who led the recent study on how sharpshooter insects propel their urine, it is not known why these insects developed this odd ability, but it could be to avoid being exposed to their own urine, as the scent of urine can attract predators. The engineer who led the study, Saad Bhamla, of the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, recorded the urine-propelling behaviors of two sap-sucking species with high speed video footage in order to determine how these insects achieve such remarkable urine-speeds. The two species are commonly known as the glassy-winged sharpshooter and the blue-green sharpshooter. Video footage revealed that tiny barb called a stylus, which is located at the insects’ rear, works like spring to propel urine into the air. As soon as a drop of urine falls onto the stylus, the mechanism springs forth, launching the urine droplet into the air at an acceleration of 20 times that of earth’s gravity. The stylus is outfitted with tiny hairs that also work to launch the urine droplets into the air.Sharpshooting sap-suckers do a lot of damage to the natural environment, as they transmit bacteria that causes disease in plants. Unfortunately, sharpshooters have recently expanded beyond their native southeastern US habitat to infect vineyards in Northern California.

Have you ever found a sap-sucking insect in the wild?

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Do Insects Expel Liquid Waste?

Do Insects Expel Liquid Waste Like Humans And Other Animals Do?

For those of you who have ever wondered if insects urinate in the same manner as humans and other mammals, you are in luck, as numerous studies exist that have explored this very topic. Of course insects expel waste, but not many insects expel waste in liquid form. However, some insects do, and a few expel massive amounts of liquid waste. In order to address this particular topic accurately, it may be necessary to define urination. If urination is taken to mean the expulsion of liquid waste from the genitals, then it can be said with certainty that this is not the typical manner in which insects expel waste. Most insects expel only one form of waste despite consuming both liquids as well as solid food items.

Insect waste is usually expelled in the form of mucky droppings. The excretory system of insects can be found in their gut, as they do not possess true kidneys as mammals do. However, many insects possess what are called Malpighian tubules. These are tubes that protrude from their guts in order to filter nitrogenous excreta from the blood. Although the collected nitrogenous excreta is a fluid, it is not expelled as a fluid because it winds up in the hindgut where it is reabsorbed for hydration purposes. Nitrogenous excreta is the closest thing to urine that insects possess, but since it is redirected to the hindgut where solid waste exists before ultimately being reabsorbed, insect waste is expelled through one single orifice. Considering this excretory process, it could be said that most insects do not urinate at all; instead, insects only defecate. For example, caterpillars do not urinate, but they do often defecate. Caterpillar feces is commonly spotted by gardeners in the form of tiny black bags around plant stems. Of course, numerous insects do expel liquid waste, but they are in the minority. Aphids expel a droplet of liquid waste called honeydew which provides other insects with a tasty snack. Cicadas are notorious for expelling voluminous amounts of liquid waste, as some unlucky outdoorsmen have been inadvertently showered with the fluid while standing beneath a tree canopy inhabited by the insects.

Have you ever witnessed an insect expelling waste of any form?

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How The Irish Potato Famine Led To A Deadly Outbreak Of Diseased Lice In The United States

Typhus fever is an infectious disease that was considered a significant public health threat in most populated regions of the world prior to the 20th century. According to the World Health Organization, the disease is relatively rare these days, as only 1 in 5 million people fall ill from typhus fever worldwide each year. To be precise, typhus fever comprises three distinct infectious diseases, each of which is normally associated with a particular arthropod. These diseases are known as epidemic typhus, scrub typhus and murine typhus. Scrub typhus is spread by chiggers and murine typhus is spread by fleas. Epidemic typhus spreads rapidly within dense populations by means of body lice, making this form of typhus the deadliest, most widespread and most historically significant of the three types.

The most notable outbreak of epidemic typhus in the United States occurred in 1846, which is the same year that the Irish potato famine occured. These two events share a causal relationship, as the disease was transported to the US by starving Irish immigrants who were escaping their impoverished conditions back home. Prior to this American epidemic in 1846, a smaller-scale typhus outbreak occurred a decade prior in Philadelphia. This outbreak was found to have originated within an impoverished Irish community. Since many longtime American citizens felt threatened by the rapid spread of the disease via body lice, anti-Irish sentiment became common in the northeast US. By the time the massive waves of Irish immigrants brought the diseased lice with them to the US, citizens of the US had already started to associate the disease with Irish populations.

Despite Americans’ fear of contracting diseased lice from nearby populations of Irish immigrants, typhus fever remained almost exclusively limited to the Irish immigrant population. For example, in just one New York hospital, 138 patients with typhus fever were admitted in just a one month period in 1847, but only five of these patients were regular American citizens. The same year, a New Orleans hospital accepted 1,045 typhus patients, only 9 percent of which were non-Irish immigrants. Unfortunately, New Orleans suffered epidemics of typhus after charitably treating Irish typhus victims in the city’s hospitals. A vaccine for typhus prevention does not exist, but antibiotic treatment is often sufficient to eradicate the disease in the rare cases when it occurs.

Do you fear that the United States could once again fall victim to disease-carrying insects transported into the country by immigrants?

 

 

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A 130 Million Year Old Fossil Contains Insects

Discovering ancient insects that are well preserved within amber is always exciting for entomologists, but a recent fossil discovery is unlike anything ever discovered before. A recent study describes a fossil that contains insects that are emerging from their eggs. This is an extraordinarily unique find and researchers are not exactly sure how such a fossil could come to exist. Also, the insects contained within the amber possess a strange anatomical feature that allows them to break free from their hard egg shells. These fossilized insects are now extinct, but they are closely related to modern green lacewings.

The tool that these extinct insects used to break free from their shells is aptly referred to as an “egg buster.” According the study’s author, Dr. Michael Engel, egg bursting anatomical features detach from the bodies of newborn insects very quickly, but this recent fossil is the only one in existence that shows this feature on extinct insects. The fossil was determined to be 130 million years old, which means that this egg bursting bodily feature existed on insects as far back as the cretaceous period, a fact that was previously unknown to experts. The fossil also demonstrates that egg bursting physical features have not changed much over the past 130 million years of insect evolution. However, researchers are not in precise agreement concerning the circumstances that allowed these newborn insects to become fossilized within amber right as they were hatching. The most likely scenario is that the eggs had been placed on a tree trunk before sap bled from the trees, effectively covering the insects right as they were hatching. Egg bursting features are diverse in shape and location, but the fossilized insects possess an egg bursting appendage that resembles the ones possessed by their modern relatives living in the same location. This feature resembles a jagged blade and it is quickly discarded upon hatching.

Have you ever witnessed an insect hatching from its egg?

 

 

 

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 Tips For Pest Prevention | Phoenix Pest Control Experts

 Tips For Pest Prevention | Phoenix Pest Control ExpertsAbout Pest Control in Phoenix, Gilbert, Mesa, Queen Creek

What makes homes attractive to pests?

Pests are attracted to food, water and shelter. Exclusion techniques and removing food and water sources will help deter pests. Simple measures such as keeping food in sealed containers and cleaning up after each meal to avoid leaving crumbs can help. Fix leaky pipes and drains to ensure that if pests do get in, they won’t have ideal conditions in which they can thrive.

How do pests get into homes?

Pests enter structures through cracks and crevices around windows, doors, along foundations, ripped screens, uncapped chimneys, and also through holes where utilities enter a structure. Firewood, groceries, and other deliveries can carry pests in, too. Seal any openings with silicone caulk or steel wool, and to avoid hitchhiking pests, examine packages thoroughly before bringing them inside.

Where are pests most likely to settle in?

Pests have direct access to basements and attics through roofs and foundations, so they should be kept well ventilated, dry, and clutter-free. Also, because of the concentration of food and water, kitchens and bathrooms are other common areas.

What should I do if I have an infestation?

Despite even the best efforts, pests can still find their way inside. If you have a pest problem or need advice on how to better pest-proof your home, contact a qualified and licensed pest control professional.

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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.

 

Spooky Pests Can be a Nightmare for Homeowners

Spooky Pests Can be a Nightmare for Homeowners

Magic Pest Control warns homeowners to be on the lookout for common creepy critters this fall

With Halloween right around the corner, sightings of classic creepy bugs and creatures will surely be on the rise as homeowners decorate for the spookiest day of the year. However, Magic Pest Control reminds homeowners that real pests pose threats to both health and property and an infestation can be a real nightmare.

Pests such spiders, bats, rats and mice are frequently associated with Halloween fun and campy horror movies, but if found inside the home, they are cause for concern. These pests are more likely to invade houses as the weather cools down, so it’s important for homeowners to be on the lookout for any signs of pest problems.

According to the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), the following pests could threaten the health and safety of your home this fall:

Spiders

For many people, spiders of any size and shape are cause for great alarm when found in the home, and their webs can be a serious nuisance. However, there are only two species of spiders in the U.S. that pose significant threats to human health: the brown recluse and black widow. Both species will bite when threatened and can cause painful, and possibly fatal, reactions. Anyone who suspects they’ve been bitten by either of these should promptly seeking medical attention.

Bats

Bats prefer to settle in dark, secluded and protected areas, including the attics of homes. They are known carriers of rabies in the U.S. and capable of infecting humans and other animals. Their droppings can also cause certain lung diseases. Bats are protected mammals in many states, so it is necessary to contact a pest control professional or the local wildlife service before taking any action to remove bats from the home.

Rats

Rats can inflict property damage and threaten human health. Their strong teeth allow them to chew through glass, cinderblock, aluminum and wire, increasing the potential risk for fires. They are also vectors of diseases including plague, jaundice, rat-bite fever, cowpox virus, trichinosis and salmonellosis. Additionally, rats can introduce fleas in to a home. These pests can fit through holes the size of a quarter, so closely inspect both the inside and outside of the home for any gaps that could allow them easy entry.

For more information on these pests and how to prevent them, please visit www.magicpest.com

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Pest Control Q & A

Phoenix Pest Control Q & A

What makes homes attractive to pests?

Pests are attracted to food, water and shelter. Exclusion techniques and removing food and water sources will help deter pests. Simple measures such as keeping food in sealed containers and cleaning up after each meal to avoid leaving crumbs can help. Fix leaky pipes and drains to ensure that if pests do get in, they won’t have ideal conditions in which they can thrive.

How do pests get into homes?

Pests enter structures through cracks and crevices around windows, doors, along foundations, ripped screens, uncapped chimneys, and also through holes where utilities enter a structure. Firewood, groceries, and other deliveries can carry pests in, too. Seal any openings with silicone caulk or steel wool, and to avoid hitchhiking pests, examine packages thoroughly before bringing them inside.

Where are pests most likely to settle in?

Pests have direct access to basements and attics through roofs and foundations, so they should be kept well ventilated, dry, and clutter-free. Also, because of the concentration of food and water, kitchens and bathrooms are other common areas.

What should I do if I have an infestation?

Despite even the best efforts, pests can still find their way inside. If you have a pest problem or need advice on how to better pest-proof your home, contact a qualified and licensed pest control professional, like Magic Pest Control.

For more information on common household pests, please visit www.magicpest.com

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INTERACTIVE PEST & INSECT GAMES FOR KIDS

INTERACTIVE PEST & INSECT GAMES FOR KIDS

LOVE GAMES? PLAY THE INTERACTIVE INSECT AND PEST GAMES, OR TRY TO ACE OUR QUIZZES ON BUG TRIVIA.

Mysterious and exciting, the world of pests challenges us to understand what attracts them to our homes and yards. Test your pest knowledge and skills with these insect and bug games for kids of all ages!

BUG BUILDER

Just like humans, all insects have unique characteristics that set them apart from one another. Now you can build your own bug species by combining different body parts and adding fun items, like sunglasses and hats, to your masterpiece!

PLAY

SORT THE BUGS

Think you know how to handle a pest problem? Test your ultimate pest control skills using different household items, including a vacuum cleaner and tweezers, in this four-in-one game!

PLAY

CRUSH THAT BUG

Don’t let pests take over your home! Match three or more bugs in any direction to prevent them from becoming uninvited houseguests! If you’re a fan of popular games like Candy Crush, you won’t want to miss this.

PLAY

ARCHIBALD’S ADVENTURE

Archibald is a very fussy odorous house ant who must find food for his colony while staying out of harms way and avoiding unknown dangers inside the home. He needs your help to complete his mission by locating and plundering the legendary sugar bowl on the far-off kitchen counter.

PLAY

PEST RANGERS

Pest Commander Pete needs your help! Join the elite Pest Rangers and search out pest problems in a typical home. Using special super hero gear to see through solid walls and spot the invisible, can you outwit the insects and rodents who have made your house into their home?

PLAY

PEST DETECTIVE

Pests are just insects or animals looking for a meal and a place to live. But, when they take a wrong turn into your house, it’s not pretty. Many types of pests can spread diseases and destroy property. That’s where you come in. You are a Pest Detective and it is your job to find out what happened and which pest did it.

PLAY

BUG BIOLOGY QUIZ

If you’re a bug beginner, this quiz is for you! Test your knowledge of bug biology and fun facts.

TAKE THE QUIZ

INSECT TRIVIA QUIZ

Think you’re a pest expert? Take this quiz to see how much you really know about the wonderful world of insects.

TAKE THE QUIZ

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Fall Pest Proofing Tips!

As the days get shorter and falling temperatures force people to become homebodies, many pests will have the same idea.  Magic pest Control reminds homeowners that rodents, squirrels, cockroaches and spiders may try to find their way inside to escape the coming chill, bringing with them a number of health risks.Exterminators Mesa AZ

One of the best ways to get homes ready for the fall and winter months is to conduct a simple check of the home and perform any necessary maintenance.  Proactive and vigilant fall pest-proofing is crucial in preventing pests from coming indoors

Besides being a nuisance and irksome, these pests can also pose serious risks — rodents spread diseases such as Salmonella, contaminate food and can damage drywall and electrical wires throughout a home. Cockroaches trigger allergies and asthma, especially in children, and some species of spiders may bite if their hiding spot is discovered.

Magic Pest Control recommends these pest-proofing tips for the fall season:

  • Screen attic vents and openings to chimneys.
  • Eliminate moisture sites, including leaking pipes and clogged drains.
  • Seal cracks and crevices on the outside of the home using caulk and steel wool. Pay close attention where utility pipes enter the structure.
  • Store food in airtight containers and dispose of garbage regularly in sealed receptacles.
  • Replace loose mortar and weather stripping around the basement foundation and windows.
  • Store firewood at least 20 feet away from the house; keep shrubbery well-trimmed.
  • Install door sweeps and repair damaged screens.
  • Inspect items such as boxes of decorations and grocery bags before bringing them indoors.