Crickets are delicious?!

According to David George Gordon, the author of Eat-a-Bug cookbook, insects are a high source of protein, low in fat, and are extremely rich in a number of vitamins and minerals. They also contain omega-3 fatty acids. A high iron source comes from the termite.  In recent years a movement towards accepting bugs as food has become more favorable. Many new companies are roasting crickets to turn into a protein powder for smoothies. While this is a good start, more information needs to get out there.

Statistics show that 80% of the world’s populations eat insects and their kin. Mr. Gordon believes that Americans need to change their attitudes and be educated about environmental impacts. Raising cattle vs mealworms, grasshopper or crickets for instance. He believes with the growing human population it only makes sense to raise insects instead of cattle. This would reduce the greenhouse gas emission greatly. Mealworms don’t even need water. We can produce 1 pound of meat by feeding crickets 2 pounds of food vs the approximate 16 pounds of grain and 1000’s of gallons of water it takes to one cow to produce 1 pound of meat. Those numbers alone should tell us things need to change. For more information on ingesting mealworms, crickets and grasshoppers click here

Bed bugs – they’re not just for the bed

Bed bugs are gross, and are awful to try to get rid of once an infestation has occurred. Here are some helpful tips for trying to avoid the sting of the bed bugs bite.

Start by avoiding unsanitary areas. Subways for instance are a breeding ground for bedbugs. The poles and the seats specifically are places that your body could come in contact with the pests. Hotel rooms are also a suspect place for infestation of bed bugs.

There are many places that will sell you plastic covers for your mattresses to try and prevent bed bugs, however once you have bed bugs the plastic cover isn’t going to help. Bed bugs will invade sheets, pillows, blankets and of course the mattress and floor as well.

In an article titled “67 tips for avoiding bedbugs in New York City” written by Maxwell Strachan the author goes through a very real yet satirical comedic list of how to purposely avoid the bed bug epidemic. The last few tips of course being acceptance and how to move forward have you have been invaded.

Most new rental properties are adding in the bed bug clause that states if you bring a mattress into their property or bring the bugs into their property, and they spread to other apartments, you will be held liable for the cleanup of all the units affected.

The biggest tip is keeping your eyes open. Especially when traveling. No one likes a bed bug.

Butterflies in the garden

It’s a site every garner loves; butterflies and moths fluttering around an array of plants. The summer and fall months are best for attracting these beauties. Most garners will even plant flowers and natural food sources near patios and widows so they can spot these flying wonders from inside their homes as well.

Many native perennials will work as a magnet to attract butterflies to your garden. From milkweed to zinnia to dill, all will serve as a stimulant for butterflies. However, when butterflies are ready to lay eggs, they can be pretty specific about finding a plant for their larvae to eat. The Swallowtail butterfly will dot the leaves with eggs and from summer to fall, you will then see those dots turn into black caterpillars.

When the black caterpillars eat, like any animal they begin to grow and change. They turn green and striped, and even shed their skin several times before they eventually become a pupa. A cocoon forms while the process of turning from the larvae caterpillar into a butterfly occurs.

Shortly after the butterfly or moth emerges, it will find a nectar plant to feed on. Later of course, it will start the cycle over again creating eggs and larvae of its own.

Be careful when spraying for insects around your garden. That pesky caterpillar you just sprayed might be a beautiful butterfly in hiding. With careful planning and planting, shrubs, bushes, and perennials can be the happy heaven to attract an array of butterflies.

 

For more information on caterpillars and butterflies please click here.

Arizona Pest Control has received reports that termites are swarming heavily in Tucson, Arizona. According to Arizona Pest Control Operations Manager Josh Tennenbaum, “Termites are swarming like crazy with all the recent rainfall we have received.”

Arizona Pest Control proposes several tips to avoid termite infestations:

  • As most termites are attracted to moisture, avoid water accumulation near your home’s foundation.  Divert water away with properly functioning downspouts, gutters and splash blocks.
  • Quickly repair house damage from a leaky roof or window as termites can thrive in this moisture.
  • Never bury wood scraps or waste lumber in the yard, especially near the building.  Remove old tree stumps and roots around and beneath the building.
  • Most importantly, eliminate any wood contact with the soil.  Maintaining a 1-inch gap between the soil and wood portions of the building is ideal.

ArizonaTermiteControl

Recognizing the destruction termites can cause, it is important to be aware of infestation warning signs:

  • Swarming of winged forms in the fall and spring – termites can easily be confused with flying ants.
  • Evidence of mud tunneling in, over and under wood structures
  • Wooden structures exhibit darkening or blistering
  • Damaged wood becomes extremely thin and can be easily punctured by a knife or a screwdriver

As termites are known to cause over $5 billion dollars in damage each year, virtually all experts recommend calling a pest professional to protect one of your most important investments, your home, from termite infestation.

Professionals offer the specialized skills necessary to rid a home of termite infestation: knowledge of building construction, an ability to identify termite species and the knowledge of applicable methods of termite control. Contact us today at 520-886-PEST and schedule a free termite inspection. Arizona Pest Control recommends annual termite inspections to protect your property from damage.

Tucson Termite Control

 

Tucson Termite Inspection

It’s the bug apocalypse! Or is it….

They’re everywhere! So many of them they are showing up on radars misleading scientists into believing there is a rainstorm! Or… maybe not. They are just flying insects all over Texas. We’ve all heard that Texas has mosquitos the size of a home, but what about flying grasshoppers?

In this event, described as a “biological return”, weather radars in Texas actually picked up the appearance of an incoming storm in when in reality it was just a large amount of flying insects. Apparently to the naked eye, when in the area, you would not be able to see an actual swarm of these insects, rather just some flying around.

The local news stations all over reported the headlines allowing them to be so pumped up and out of proportion that a local forecaster had to take to twitter to call them out.  Jonathan Kurtz tried to down play the outrageous media attention by announcing it’s not a swarm! Just some grasshoppers; and goes on to describe the incident to look more like just an overly sensitive day for the radar.

Either way, I’d have to wonder if when the scientists studying the radar realized it was what appeared to be a giant amount of flying bugs and not an active storm headed to town, did they take cover? I surely would!

For more on the flying insect debacle in Texas, click here

Helpful Bugs: How The Bacteria In Our Gut Keeps Us Healthy

It might sound like a surprising and ironic tidbit of information, but not all bugs are bad for your health. Issues of hygiene and sanitation aside, some bugs actually keep you healthy — specifically the ones inside your gut.

Inside what, you say? As it turns out, two Stanford researchers present a case for the microbiota, or the microscopic creatures that reside in the human body, mostly in their favorite hangout, the large intestine. The average American adult gut is discovered to contain approximately 100 trillion of these bacteria in 1,200 different species. Sounds pretty swell, right? After all the care you took to avoid those germs from the outside world, it seems pretty ironic to find out you actually have more of those things living from deep inside of you.

But not to worry, as these “good” bacteria actually help you to process indigestible plant material, otherwise known as dietary fiber. Microbiota help your digestive system transform this fiber into more usable molecules that can help keep gut inflammation at bay, and also help to protect it from pathogens such as salmonella.

So the next time you complain about bacteria, remember that not all of them are bad for you. Grab a glass of fermented food like yogurt or pickles so you can intentionally ingest some of these good bacteria for yourself. Instead of hating bacteria with all your guts, increase the amount of that body-friendly, good bacteria in your system to safeguard your gut instead.

The Strength of Ants

It isn’t common to be able to see the power and strength of ants in play, but a recent set of photographs have revealed the kind of teamwork and power that the average ant in the wild can pull off.

These Indonesian ants carry off seeds that are three to four times their size, and far heavier, and they even do it in tiers of passing off the seeds to each other and all while dangling from a single branch. This kind of feat of strength isn’t all that unusual for ants though. The average ant is capable of lifting and carrying around 10 to 20 times its own body weight, which makes ants one of the strongest creatures in the world.

What is unusual is being able to see that strength in action, and so close up. We also get to see the kind of teamwork that these ants utilize by reaching lower down on the branch with stacking on top of each other, and even where they fend off a white spider as a group.

The pictures show just how capable ants are, and the teamwork they can achieve. When some of the ants finished their job of carrying one seed, they went back to help the others still bringing seeds in which made it go faster for all of them. Truly this is one of those remarkable things that you likely won’t get to see close up without the camera technique that was utilized to capture these photos.

Spiders Craving Human Blood

 

It may sound like the plot for a bad horror movie, but there are spiders out there that crave human blood. Luckily, they don’t have the capability to bite humans, which leaves them with a different source of food: mosquitoes.

The jumping spider, Evarcha Culicivora, actually seeks out mosquitoes that have just filled their bellies with blood from humans so it can devour them. Even more interesting, and why scientists think they might be able to use these spiders. They specifically like mosquitoes that have the malaria parasite. This means we have a natural defense to Malaria in the way of a spider.

Of course, nothing is perfect, as these spiders only like the mosquitos after they have blood in their stomach, which means someone has already been bitten by them before these spiders snatch them up. But it does make one less malaria-infecting mosquito to spread the disease around.

For years, scientists have been trying to press that many spiders in the world are actually good for us to have and this spider just proves that. The Evarcha is drawn to human odor, especially dirty socks, but they can’t bite humans and they seek out a blood-sucking pest that causes thousands of deaths every year.

So it may sound strange, but we need to be letting these spiders into our homes and leaving them alone while they hang out. Even if it means giving them a little dirty sock home so they stay out of our laundry.

One of the more common things states and countries have resorted to when trying to remove something like a weed or pest in a non-pesticide way, is through the use of using a natural predator. This was the case for Portland, who have been using Galerucella Leaf Beetles for a few years now to cull a weed that causes trouble for other things to grow within their natural refuge.

Normally the beetles do their own thing and stay within the refuge, but this year the beetles decided to entirely migrate without even touching any of the weeds they normally eat. Instead they migrated into Portland neighborhoods and started eating up all of the rose bushes they could find. Not only was this behavior unheard of before, but it was surprising that these beetles would change their diet completely and actually seem to really like rose bushes.

The worst part isn’t even the beetles chewing up rose beds near homes, it’s actually that they are swarming in such large numbers that they are everywhere in the neighborhood. The moment you walk outside you will find them crawling all over you, and even bikers have run into an issue of them getting into your ears and nose.

It was discovered this was happening because of the changes in weather and water patterns, which resulted in the beetles liking a different area of the city entirely. Luckily these insects die off within a few days and aren’t expected to breed which will cull the problem without having to introduce yet another vermin or to remove them through pest control means.

Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Fireflies

            It’s that time of the year again. The days are filled with summer delight and the night is lit up by fireworks. But nothing beats the romance when nature’s own living fireworks are blinking on display. Yes, fireflies are back; and if you can let go of the city lights for a few days and relax somewhere less inundated with artificial lights (Waterville Valley and Franconia Notch are good bets), you may just get to bask under their flickering beauty.

And while you’re admiring them, it may pay to know some facts about fireflies gathered from the National Geographic and  Smithsonian:

  1. Fireflies are neither flies nor bugs. They’re actually a type of beetle. They’re also known as lightning bugs, because of their glowing abdomen.
  2. The light that fireflies produce are called “cold fire”, and considered by scientists to be the most efficient lights in the world. Why are they the most efficient? Because compared to, say, an incandescent light bulb, which produces 90% heat and only 10% light, or a fluorescent light bulb, which produces 10% heat and 90% light, fireflies emit 100% of their energy as light. Also, since 100% of the energy is produced as light, there is no heat emitted; hence, the term “cold fire”.
  3. Fireflies actually use their light as a form of signal messaging. Males are sending out light signs to cruise for and attract a potential mate. If a female is interested, she replies, sending signals for the male to find her.
  4. Fireflies do not bite, sting, or scratch, but they can actually be poisonous. When threatened, they secrete chemicals that can be poisonous to vertebrates.
  5. Some species of fireflies don’t have lights, and some species are bioluminescent in all stages of their lives, from egg to adulthood.
  6. Firefly larvae are carnivorous, and eat snails. Some species of adult fireflies feed on other fireflies. Most other species of adult fireflies feed on nectar or pollen, while some species do not feed at all.

So you see, not all fireflies are alike. Some glow, some do not. They’re relatively safe to touch, but just don’t ingest any of the liquids they squirt. Also, their population is declining, which is largely blamed on too much tourism, as well as destruction of their natural habitat. If you still want you and following generations to be exposed to this natural firework display wonder in the future, join ongoing campaigns and help spread the awareness to keep them safe.

 

 

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