Scientists Create A New Type Of Ant

April 21st, 2017

Science can do a lot these days, but it is hard to believe that entirely new “mutant” organisms are created everyday. In order to prove that gene splicing can create new organisms, a team of researchers from Oregon set out to do just that. Wasps have an unusual biology, and gene-splicing technology will make studying wasp biology much simpler.

For example, gene splicing can allow researchers to better understand how male wasps convert their progeny into males. So far it is unknown to science how a selfish genetic element can change the sex of wasp offspring. Apparently, male wasps are somehow able to kill female embryos, therefore ensuring a progeny of males.

According to the researcher heading up the study, Dr Akbari, the point of all of this genetic tinkering is to develop a better understanding of wasp and all insect biology. Perhaps in the future science can use this technology to control populations of invasive insect-pests. Accomplishing this degree of genetic manipulation on an entire population of insects can help to better protect our farmland from insect-pests, and protect against insect-borne disease, like malaria.

This genetic manipulation process involves carefully peeling back an egg membrane in order to inject DNA into the embryo. After the egg has been altered, it is then put back together and allowed to grow into an entirely new organism with a never-before seen genetic makeup. In order to properly test the efficacy of this gene splicing technology, Dr. Akbar and his associates chose to alter a feature on an insect that would be noticeable, such as the eyes. The researchers already knew that if one gene for pigmentation were knocked out, then the eyes would turn out red. Sure enough, the experiment worked, which means we are now living in an age when bringing dinosaurs back to life seems possible.

Do you think that this technology will be used in the farming industry in order to keep pests away?

 

 

19th Ranked Pest Control Blog in The World!

April 20th, 2017

We have won the honor of being the 19th ranked best pest control blog in the world!

First Mother In Nebraska With The Zika Virus

April 19th, 2017

Zika is still around, and it is making its way into states that are located farther north. The first pregnant woman from the state of Nebraska has contracted the Zika virus. Luckily, the woman did not contract the virus while in Nebraska, nor any region of the United States. The woman had contracted the virus while vacationing in Mexico.

The woman is from Omaha, and while she was in Mexico she started feeling ill. The woman was experiencing all of the symptoms that are associated with the Zika virus. These symptoms include fever, joint pain and rash. To top it all off, at some point during the woman’s vacation she had learned that she was pregnant.

The woman’s regular obstetrician conducted her first screening for the virus, which had confirmed that she did indeed have the Zika virus. Her regular doctor then followed protocol by letting authorities with the CDC know about the woman’s case of Zika.

So far, doctors don’t believe that there is good reason to become alarmed over the state of her unborn child. According to data collected from the mother’s most recent ultrasound, her results gave the indication that her baby was fine, and free of malformations. The CDC is also forcing the woman to have her baby submitted for testing once she gives birth.

In the aftermath of Zika’s initial jolt, in America, ten percent of women delivered babies that had birth defects. Of course, babies may wind up having birth defects despite the defects not being visible on the ultrasound monitor. At the moment, health officials and lawmakers are focusing on education as the primary tool to prevent the spread of Zika. Whatever you do, don’t travel to Mexico or farther south this winter.

Have you traveled to Mexico or farther south since Zika became an issue?

 

 

 

 

The Interesting Insects That Thrive On Trees

April 18th, 2017

There exist a variety of different insects that choose to call trees their home. Some of these bugs are sap-sucking or bark-devouring insect pests that you don’t want to have anything to do with. Then there are others that are just too interesting to ignore. One such tree-dwelling bug that has been of interest to scientists for many years is the Charophytes vicina, or the “CV” for short.

The CV is just one of the ten species that comprises the group of insects known as spittlebugs. This insect used to be considered a part of the Machaerotidae family. Now the strange insect is considered to be a part of the Clastopteridae family, which is a notable group to be a part of.

The species in this group are only a centimeter in length, and they are good jumpers, which is probably so that they can jump from tree limb to tree limb. These little bugs feed by piercing the stems of plants in order to access the plant’s nectar. Other than these basic facts, scientists still don’t know much about these sap-eating bugs. Except for that the nymphs live in cone-like structures located on the plants. These cone-like shelters are apparently made with the nectar, but mostly insect secretions, which often contain nectar of course. Eventually the nymphs little cone-shelter will become too big as a result of an uninterrupted period of time when the nymphs packed on secretions it its new cone-home.

The Museum Art Gallery holds ten specimens that belong to the same family at the above-described insect. Many of the museums specimens include several from the Northwest territories, as well as one potentially undescribed species. So now you can see the unique insects for yourself.

Have you ever heard of the types of insects mentioned above?

Some Ants Can Risk Their Lives In Order To Save Others From The Same Group

April 17th, 2017

Let’s say that you are an ant, and you are out and about picking berries with your best friends, as I am sure you often do, and you notice a dangerous presence looming. Before you realize what is going on you take a look around and you can see that your ant-friends are either dead or injured. What do you do? Do you go running as fast as you can in the safest direction? Do you attempt to carry back your wounded? Or would you gather up the remaining members of your team so that the remaining members can communicate a plan that will save everyone’s life?

The last option, which involved quick communication and planning, is probably not an option available to ants, because many mammals are not even smart enough to work effectively and efficiently in groups. So, if you answered with a “plan”, that was not the best option, and you were definitely wrong. However, I bet you also thought that ants do not have the intelligence or social skills necessary in order to save the lives of their brothers and sisters. If this is what you thought, then it is difficult to fault you; after all, what is the most complicated procedure that you have ever seen an ant perform. It goes without saying that ants are not the smartest animals in the world, but researchers have, in fact, noticed ants staying behind in battle in order to bring their wounded to safe areas in order to prevent any further damage.

So do these ants save the lives of other ants all of the time? The answer is “no”. The ants being described are officially known as Megaponera analis. These ants dwell mostly in Sub-Saharan Africa, and they prefer to eat termites. The only problem with ants hunting termites is that ants are not much stronger than their termite prey, and it is not uncommon to have several ants left injured after a fight with a single termite. Naturally, this particular group of ants had to adapt to their environment before the local termite population destroyed them all. The ants did this by preventing as much loss of life as possible when it collected the wounded despite the dangerous conditions. So when it comes to feasting on termites, ants may be the least selfish of all insects.

Have you ever witnessed a battle between a termite and an ant? If yes, who won?

How to Dispose of a Stink Bug

April 14th, 2017

Deadly Fungus Is Slowly Destroying Some Midwest Bat Populations

April 13th, 2017

You may have heard of a deadly fungus that is attacking bats all across the United States. Now it looks as though the epidemic that is hitting US bats is more serious than initially thought. A recent survey conducted near the caves of Missouri has shed some light on how devastating this disease is to the bat population.

According to Shauna Marquardt, a biologist with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in Columbia, many bats were absent this winter from the various caves found throughout Missouri. This is of course a result of the deadly fungus affecting bats, which is called white nose syndrome. The Northern long eared bat is particularly vulnerable to the fungal illness.

All the caves in Missouri that once housed long eared bats are now free of all such bats. In order to protect the prized rare long eared bats, the United States Wildlife Federation is keeping the know locations of still-living long eared bats a secret.

More important than anything else is the fact that this recent bat epidemic is so serious that it can have negative implications for other forms of wildlife in the future. The loss of bat life is so pronounced that it could cause a domino effect that could disrupt the ecosystem and have potentially deadly results on other forms of life that share an environment with the long eared bats. Also, the disappearance of so many bats could cause nocturnal pests to increase. And not just nocturnal pests, but insect pests like aphids and other insect pests that harm crop production could now be allowed to increase their populations, which could mean disaster for rural farmers.

Have you ever spotted a Northern long eared bat before?

 

 

 

 

The 2017 Spring Bug Barometer

April 12th, 2017

The 2017 Spring Bug Barometer (Click to Enlarge)

bug-barometer-spring-2017-infographic_final (1)

Where Are Different Spider Distributed In The United States?

April 11th, 2017

There are some who wrongly believe that any type of spider can live anywhere in the United States. However, just because someone may have a pet tarantula that does not mean that that tarantula could survive in natural conditions. This seems obvious enough, but believe it or not, many people think that spiders, like the black widow, can live anywhere in the United States. Actually black widows, along with every other spider and arachnid, have set habitats. There may be one exception, and that is the house spider. House spiders are especially adapted to survive within indoor conditions. Think of house spiders like domesticated spiders.

Sometimes a spider may only be found on one continent, but never everywhere on that continent. In reality, each region in the United States has a different ecosystem for spiders to live in. Black widows are, arguably, the most popular spiders to have ever lived. This spider is known for the red hourglass shape that is clearly visible on the female’s abdomens. Most black widows are found in the southern regions of the United States, but there have been some found in the northeast.

The brown recluse spider is often believed to be one of those spiders that is found in all corners of the United States. Of course, that is not true. This rumor probably started because it is true that brown recluse spiders can survive in more varied conditions than any other type of brown spider. But it cannot live anywhere. Actually the recluse is found in the south and the central regions of the US. As far as spiders go, the brown recluse can survive in regions that are normally not troubled by unwanted and poisonous spiders, like the Midwest. So no matter where you are in America don’t think that you are free from spiders.

Have you ever found a brown recluse in temperatures below forty five degrees?

 

 

 

What Is The Difference Between Raccoons And Raccoon Dogs? | Georgia Raccoon Control

April 10th, 2017

What Is The Difference Between Raccoons And Raccoon Dogs? | Georgia Raccoon Control

Many of you have probably never even heard of raccoon dogs before, and if you have seen one once, then you probably did not recognize it. Both raccoons and raccoon dogs both appear quite similar to one another in that they both possess similar colors as well as body shape.

Raccoons originate from North America and they belong to the raccoon family. Whereas the raccoon dog, which is also known as tanuki, originated from East Asia, and they belong to an entirely different family known Canidae. Both wolves as well as foxes belong to the canidae family. Raccoon dogs and raccoons both inhabited similar environments, such as forests, wetlands, and mountainous areas. Both of these animals enjoy climbing trees, swimming and feeding on the same types of plants and animals.

Raccoon dogs and raccoons do have differently shaped bodies, but you may have to be a close observer to notice the differences. For example, raccoons have a compact torso with short legs and a long bushy tail. Raccoons are often between 16 and 28 inches in length. Raccoon dogs on the other hand have an elongated torso and a short tail, but they are of a similar length as raccoon dogs are often measured at 18 to 28 inches.

The way raccoon dogs and raccoons behave is somewhat different as well. Raccoon dogs will live in pairs or small family groups. Raccoon dogs are also known to groom other members of their immediate family. Raccoons may not groom their family members as often as raccoon dogs do, but they are social creatures. Raccoons will often rest with members of their immediate family and they will also feed together. Raccoon dogs live to be only around eleven years old when in captivity, whereas raccoons can live up to twenty years in captivity. However, when these animals are in the wild raccoons will only live for about two or three years, while raccoon dogs can survive for as long as seven years. This may indicate that raccoon dogs are better adapted to their natural environments.

Had you ever seen or even heard of a raccoon dog before?