A Genetically Odd Snail Manages To Mate Despite Unfavorable Odds

December 5th, 2016

A snail that has been named Jeremy has been known to the public for a while due to its strange appearance. Unlike other snails, Jeremy is considered a “lefty,” which means that Jeremy’s shell swirls counterclockwise and his sexual organs are located on the left side of his head. Jeremy could be considered a mirror image of snails born without genetic anomalies. Since Jeremy’s sexual organs are located opposite the sexual organs of its potential mates, Jeremy cannot find another snail to successfully mate with, that is, until recently.

According to evolutionary geneticist, Angus Davison, Jeremy’s genetic mishap could occur in only one out of every million snails. However, most scientists agree that one out of every one hundred thousand snails carry Jeremy’s odd genetic trait.

Thanks to a global search, Jeremy eventually became united with another snail that shares Jeremy’s genetic trait. The other snail is named “lefty,” and it is reportedly developing a sexual relationship with Jeremy. The scientists are eager to see what sort of genetic anomalies will result in the offspring that these two snails will soon produce.

Do you think that it is obvious that these two snails would produce offspring that would have the same genetic anomaly as the parents? Or do the researchers need to be familiar with Jeremy’s family history before the genetic makeup of its offspring can be narrowed down to only a few possibilities?

 

 

 

Zika Babies At Risk of Developing Glaucoma

December 2nd, 2016

Well the news for infants born from mothers infected with the Zika virus just keeps getting worse. Doctors recently came across an infant that showed no signs of glaucoma at birth, but at three months old began to show signs of swelling, pain, and tearing in his right eye, which ended up being diagnosed as glaucoma. Glaucoma is now yet another serious symptom of the Zika virus infection that doctors need to watch out for as infected infants develop. That isn’t the only bad news, however.

Doctors also recently found that infants of infected mothers may actually be born with no apparent defects, but develop signs of defects such as microcephaly and other brain abnormalities later on as they grow. Scientists monitored 13 Zika infected infants in a recent study that showed no signs of brain abnormalities and had normal head sizes at birth. However, all 13 babies experienced slower head growth as they matured, and 11 of the babies ended up being diagnosed with microcephaly as well as other neurological abnormalities. This just goes to show that we still have a lot to learn about the Zika virus, which will likely continue to reveal new health problems associate with it. It seemed pretty benign at first, but this virus is sneaky, slowly revealing just how devastating it can be months after someone is infected.

What other health problems do you think doctors will discover the Zika virus causes as we continue to study it?

Insects Need Their Sleep Just As Much As Humans

December 1st, 2016

We know how important it is to get an adequate night’s sleep, but how often do insects sleep? Researchers have noticed that many insects sleep in a manner similar to humans. If an insect is sleep deprived, then its performance will suffer, similar to humans.

Fruit flies count as one example of an insect that is similar to humans in how they sleep. For example, fruit flies respond to the same sleep inducing chemicals that are present in the human body. Also, fruit flies respond to caffeine in a way that is similar to how humans respond to caffeine.

Sometimes it can be difficult to determine when a bug is truly sleeping. It can be hard to differentiate between a sleeping bug, and a resting bug. If a bug is sleeping its body will droop in the direction of gravity, with relaxed muscles and zero movement. When a bug is sleep deprived it may lay its eggs in the wrong places, or fail to properly feed their young and a host of other performance issues. If an insect is sleep deprived it will most likely need even more sleep to compensate for all the hours of sleep lost, just like humans. Of course all bugs are different, but it can be assumed that all living creatures need some form of rest.

Are there any insects that do not sleep at all or very little?

Embrace Your Barn Spider Ally

November 30th, 2016

If you have a barn, shed, or any other kind of sheltered space on your property then you have most likely seen a barn spider at least once in your life. So are these arachnids your friend or foe? You may be familiar with the barn spider Charlotte from the beloved children’s book Charlotte’s Web. Yes, she was a barn spider, and you can pretty much equate her helpful nature to all barn spiders. Barn spiders are a very helpful species to have around.

Barn spiders come from the family of orb-weaving spiders. These spiders make your typical flat, orb-shaped webs most people are used to equating with spider webs in general. They use these webs to capture prey, which happen to be some of the most annoying insect pests around, such as mosquitos, flies, small moths, and other small flying insects that get stuck in their web. These are spiders you want to thank, not try to control or eliminate.

Barn spiders tend to be grayish colored, with a rounded abdomen that has several small humps towards the front. They have banded legs, with gray and other dark colors interspersed with each other. Their entire body and legs also happens to be hairy. They are very shy and reclusive creatures, not aggressive in their demeanor. The only time they bite is when a human tried to handle them incorrectly or if they are overtly threatened. You have try pretty hard to get these spiders to attack you. Overall they are a great species of beneficial spider to have around.

Do you have barn spiders somewhere around your home? How do you treat them? Do you see them as beneficial to your home or as more of a pest and why?

 

Popular Acrobatic Act Will Focus On Insects

November 29th, 2016

The world-renowned acrobatic act known as Cirque Du Soleil will be staging a new performance that focuses on the movements and the general physical nature of insects and spiders. The performance has been titled “Ovo”, and it will premier during the spring season of 2017.

A press release from the performance group described the upcoming insect-inspired event as showing the lifecycles, work and physical movement of spiders and insects in a manner that is meant to educate. The word “ovo” means “egg” in Portuguese, and this word was chosen as the title because the performance will begin with a single insect egg that hatches into hundreds of tiny and bustling insects.

The highlight of the show will include a high-flying act, in which performers operate together from ropes suspended from the ceiling. This is one example of the spider-like imagery to be expected from the show. Tickets go on sale in December.

Do you think that it is important to educate the public and the young about insects, and the benefits they provide for mother earth?

 

The Carpenter Ant: A Lonely Life | Atlanta Ant Control Experts

November 28th, 2016

The carpenter ant is a unique type of ant for many reasons. One clearly noticeable reason for their uniqueness, which could be picked up by anyone who possesses a set of eyes, is the carpenter ants massive stature. When compared to all other ants in existence, there does not seem to be any species of ant that comes close to matching the size of the carpenter ant.

Within the colony of carpenter ants, the queen is often just as large as her workers, or, rather, she is just as small as her workers. The queen, as well as the worker ants, reaches an average, and equal size of one inch.

Most ants nest into the ground; the carpenter ant, on the other hand, dwells within moist wood that it can tunnel into to make dwelling compartments. This “wood” includes wet wood that may be a part of your home. It is not uncommon to find carpenter ants infesting dead wood that is located on a person’s property.

Once mating time rolls around, the solitary carpenter ants will use their wings to fly around until they couple with willing mates. After mating, the carpenter ants lose their wings and the fun is over for the oddest of all ant species.

Which other ants, if any, are able to fly at least at some point during their lifecycle?

Edible Insect Market Size Is Growing Rapidly

November 25th, 2016

The global edible insect market is predicted to grow to five hundred and twenty two million dollars by 2023. Apparently, more and more people are responding enthusiastically to the new trend of eating insects.

Insects offer humans and animals and alternate source of protein during a time when livestock related environmental damage is becoming more and more apparent and serious. It is for this reason that experts believe that insect protein will one day become more popular than protein from livestock. The international sales spike in insect related foodstuffs will likely only increase since insect based protein is available at cheaper prices, and is more accessible than livestock protein.

Among all edible insects sold globally it was beetles that were most in demand. Beetle sales topped 9.7 million US dollars in 2015 alone. Humans are eating most of these bugs in the form of powder or flour, so the western world may still not be quite ready to drink that Cambodian tarantula beverage.

Do you think that the increase in insect related food sales is mostly due to increased consumption in parts of the world that already consume insects as a cultural norm, or is the rise in market sales a sign that the western world is embracing insect based food?

 

Researchers Using Robots To Study Insects

November 23rd, 2016

The complex social behavior demonstrated by social insects has long fascinated entomologists. Now, in an effort to gain a deeper understanding of how insects function in a group, researchers are dispatching robots that will observe the social behavior of insects.

Researchers have used robots before when studying insect behavior. For example, in the past, researchers built robotic bees that were able to study the ritualistic dances that bees often demonstrate during pollination. Now researchers are focusing more on how robotic insects can infiltrate insect colonies in order to influence insect behavior on a colony-wide scale.

Currently, engineers believe that it is possible to create robotic bees that could function to protect real bees from mites. Or robotic bees could even be built in order to keep real bees updated on weather forecasts. It seems that the study of robotics and insect behavior will now go hand in hand.

Do you think that it is possible for insects, such as roaches, to perceive the difference between a real and robotic insect?

Keep Pantry Pests Out Of Holiday Cooking

November 21st, 2016

Bug Busters offer tips for pantry pest prevention

28075493 - flour moth, pantry moth (ephestia kuehniella)

ATLANTA – The holiday season is upon us, which means families will be spending a lot of time cooking and baking in the kitchen. When digging through your cabinets and storage for baking necessities, like cookie cutters and containers of flour, make sure you are leaving unwanted “pantry pests” out of the mix. To maintain high holiday spirits, Bug Busters and The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) are sharing a few tips for keeping these pesky pests from spoiling your holiday baking traditions.

Pantry pests are insects that tend to gather around food often stored in pantries and cabinets such as flour, dry cereals, spices, candies and chocolate. Common pantry pests include Indian meal moths and Merchant Grain Beetles. “Preparing food for the holidays should fun, but finding creepy crawlies in your baking ingredients can really dampen your spirit,” says Bug Busters Chief Operating Officer Court Parker. “By following a few simple steps, families can feel secure that their tasty creations are pest free.”

Bug Busters suggests the following tips to avoid pantry pests:

  • Immediately wipe up any crumbs or spills from countertops, tables, floors, shelves and inside cabinets.
  • Store food in airtight containers and dispose of garbage regularly in sealed receptacles.
  • Carefully inspect packages before placing them in the cart at the grocery store. Only purchase food in sealed packages that show no sign of damage.
  • Check expiration dates on baking ingredients before use.
  • Install door sweeps on exterior doors and repair damaged screens.
  • Eliminate all moisture sites, including leaking pipes and clogged drains.

For more information, please visit bugbustersusa.com. For further details on scheduling an interview with a Bug Busters expert who can share ever more creepy crawly facts and pest-prevention ideas, please contact court@bugbustersusa.com or 1-800-210-6262.

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Bug Busters has been family owned and operated since 1984 and is committed to providing top-notch residential and commercial pest control services in the Southeast. While offering the most effective pest control services available, Bug Busters is dedicated to doing so with respect for the environment. The company focuses on the control, removal and monitoring of all types of crawling and flying pests including mosquitoes, rodents, bed bugs, termites, spiders and more. Bug Busters stresses the importance of knowing customers personally and offering thorough and tailored service with a vow to excellence in the products and services that it provides.

Australian’s Deal With Their Spider Problem In Strange Ways

November 21st, 2016

Australia is the perfect environment for extremely large and beastly spiders. The huntsman spider in particular has been known to overpower rodents and drag them to their deaths. Other types of huntsman spiders are as large as king crabs. So what are Australians supposed to do in a country where these wild and often dangerous creatures make it into their homes or their gardens? As you can imagine many different extermination methods are employed by a number of different people.

For example, one Australian man found a family of extremely venomous redback spiders in his garden, so he proceeded to take a blowtorch to them. Before you feel bad for the redback spider just know that these spiders are responsible for the hospitalizations of two thousand people per year in Australia alone.

Would Australia’s dangerous creature problem deter you from visiting the continent?