Mosquitos always seem to get all the attention during the summer, but there are other pests out there that can make life hell during the hot, humid months as well. Flying ants thrive in warm, humid weather and have been coming out in droves this year. Here are some tips for getting rid of these unwanted critters.

You can spray them with dish washing soap. This works surprisingly well, as the liquid will attach to their bodies and dehydrate them. Just mix to big squirts of soap with some water, fill up a spray bottle with the mixture, and you’re good to go. You can also place some food next to sticky tape to lure them to their doom. Just make sure you’ve placed the sticky side up. Certain artificial sweeteners are poisonous to ants. Mix some with a bit of apple juice, and it will form a paste that the ants will carry back to their colony. This works well to kill off a good portion of the pests.

What do you do to rid yourself of these flying pests during the summer?

You’ve probably heard by now that the insect food movement is spreading far and wide. It’s taken over Europe and is now growing in popularity in the U.S. one curious foodie at a time. One major advantage of eating these crunchy critters is that they take up very little space and require much less food and water. They are apparently so easy to farm and take up so little space that a new company in Brooklyn has just started their own cricket farm, a concept that would be impossible in the “concrete jungle” if we were talking about a farm with cows instead of crickets. Imagine that…a farm in the middle of Brooklyn…it’s mind-boggling!

They plan on making the crickets into tasty snack bites for people to munch on. Since crickets are described as having a nutty, earthy flavor and pair well with spices like cinnamon and ginger, the company grinds the crickets into a fine powder, which they then use to mix with and coat nuts and dried fruit, along with a few spices. These snack bites are like an exotic form of trail mix…you might even say their the true trail mix, as they also incorporate the insects you often come upon out on said trails. And as an added bonus you can get what equals the same amount of protein you would get in a steak in just a little bit of insect powder. These critters are also high in calcium, iron, and omega 3. That’s like getting your vitamins for the day in a bag of snack mix.

Would you consider taking a bite of cricket snacks? What could companies do to these insect ingredients that would convince you to eat them?

Researchers have discovered that bed bugs shed their foul smelling skins. This is the reason many victims of bed bug infestations have reported unpleasant odors just as they started to realize that they are sharing their beds with mass amounts of tiny bugs. Finally researchers have found a good use for the former skins of bed bugs.

Researchers at the University of California at Riverside have discovered that bed bug skins that have been shed continue to emit pheromones that attract bed bugs. Once the researchers took note of bed bugs habitating in close proximity to their own shed skins, they realized that the shed skins could be used to aid in their destruction.

Evidently, the bed bugs are attracted to the pheromones that are still present in the bed bug skin that has been shed. As a result of this attraction, the bed bugs like to set up camp near their old skin. Since researchers can now predict where bed bugs will go as a result of this finding, perhaps it is possible to use their own skins against them as a method of setting bed bug traps. The researchers feel that this finding could lead to an effective way of managing bed bug infestations.

If getting rid of a bed bug infestation meant planting their old shed skins around your house and bed would you allow it?

It turns out that vacuums aren’t simply for cleaning your floor anymore. You can also use them to suck up unwanted insect pests. Do you want a way to get rid of creepy crawlies that doesn’t force you to get up close and personal with their dead bodies when you have to dispose of them with a tissue? The Rechargeable Insect Vacuum is the answer to all of your problems.

This nifty gadget works just the way it sounds. You point the vacuum at your intended insect victim, and it sucks the little guy up, killing it once it enters the main chamber. You never have to worry about cleaning up gross squished insect body parts again, with this clean and sanitary alternative to the squashing it with a shoe. The vacuum is also fitted with a one-way trap door on the nozzle so there’s no chance of escape. It’s also pretty humane. Once the insect is trapped inside the chamber, a quick jolt of electricity shoots through the bug, killing it painlessly and instantly. The vacuum also has a special rubber nozzle that can suck up bugs from even the hardest to reach places. There’s no escaping this time.

Do you know of any other cool bug killing gadgets out on the market?

As technology becomes more sophisticated it becomes less necessary to rely solely on humans for intelligence gathering. The government is now, and has been, spending a lot of money and human resources on equipping bugs with cameras for the purpose of spying on enemies of the state.

A flying insect is, in many ways, superior to a human when it comes to intelligence gathering. For example, a bug cannot defect to the enemies side. However, it is not the bugs that will be doing the reporting, rather the technology that is mounted onto their minute bodies will do the reporting.

The researchers heading such experiments are focused on the fact that not all of an insect’s energy is expended on movement, but much of the energy that insects gather from food is wasted. This wasted energy could be put to good use by letting it power tiny cameras or sound recording equipment attached to their bodies.

There are already academic institutions working on this technology, but the military has also taken an interest. So far the technology is being used as a method of detecting victims of earthquakes or other disasters in which a person or persons are trapped under a pile of otherwise inaccessible rubble. But it may not be too long before enemies of the USA find themselves with a robot-pest problem.

Is it possible that this technology is already in use?

Nowadays with all the different diseases mosquitos and ticks can transmit, you really don’t have any other choice than to wear bug spray. However, simply absentmindedly spraying yourself apparently doesn’t quite cut it. There is in fact a right and wrong way to use this stuff..I know, as if we really needed more to deal with. Here are some tips on how to correctly apply your insect repellent.

Always put on sunscreen first. Experts recommend that you don’t use a product that combines these two. You must first apply the sunscreen. Wait for it to absorb, and then you can spray yourself silly.

Don’t spray under your clothes. According to officials, this is not only pointless, but actually makes you more likely to get bitten. It’s a good idea to wear long sleeves and pants, and you can actually spray insect repellent on top of your clothing, but beware spraying it underneath!

The ankles and knees are apparently hot spots for mosquitos. These areas tend to be neglected, so don’t forget them! I think you can handle the rest.

Do you know how to put on your insect repellent? What is your favorite insect repellent?

 

We all know that the world in which insects inhabit is a brutal. But even many entomologists are not aware of just how far the sadistic tendencies of some species of insect can really go. Take the Dhorniphora genus for example.

Very little is know about these tropical flies, which are from central america, but one thing that entomologists have recently discovered about these flies is that they take an enjoyment in decapitating injured ants. The females of the decapitating species possess a bladed appendage that insures quick and gruesome death to any ants that may be around.

However, these severed head-loving flies don’t just decapitate any old ant indiscriminately. Instead these sadistic flies will look on as groups of ants go to war. Once the widespread violence subsides the flies will then move in and find an ant, or many ants, that are injured, and therefore incapable of self defense. It is necessary for the murderous flies to find ants that are injured because normally ants are the ones that kill the flies. I guess even insects have the capacity for vengeance.

Could there be a practical reason as to why these flies decapitate ants rather than mer

When it comes to building robots you can imagine that there are a few parts that are difficult even for scientists to create to perfection. Of course constructing a robots eyes to accurately depict the outside world, and to create a sense of human-like visual perception in robots, has proven to be a bit of a mind bender for even the most clever of engineers. However, thanks to praying mantises, it looks like making useful robot eyes is now possible.

Researchers at Newcastle University are using beeswax to attach blue and green lenses to the eyes of a mantis with the purpose of observing how they behave in computer simulations. What they learned is that bugs do in fact hunt by using three dimensional vision, and this method of experimentation can be applied to the construction of sophisticated and humanesque robot eyes.

Is it possible to create a type of visual perception in robots that is identical to the way in which humans visually perceive their surroundings?

 

When it comes to using insects as models for scientific experiments fruit flies are the first choice. Sometimes experiments are so rough on fruit flies that it cannot be denied that ethical standards are not always the first concern for scientists. Even a simple animal like a fly can suffer. One such experiment involved shining a light on the fruit flies inside of a box, and then shaking it. Two consecutive shines meant a shake, but one shine meant no shaking would occur.

The scientists were not doing this for sick kicks. They were trying to figure out whether or not the fruit flies could brace themselves for the vigorous shaking. It turned out that the flies were incapable of learning to expect the shaking, and so were the next generation of offspring. However, by the time the fourth generation rolled around it seemed that the fruit flies had been conditioned to expect the shaking. This suggests that the experience of being shaken had been bred into the fly offspring despite not experiencing the shaking for themselves. This interesting find has led scientists to rethink whether or not flies are capable of counting, as well as rethinking the way the human brain processes mathematical information.

How else might fruit flies help scientists understand humans?

At some point during the evolution of the Black Widow it developed a venom that contains a chemical that is meant only to kill vertebrates. This is odd since most of the animals that black widows hunt are not vertebrates. At the same time most of the chemicals in their venom kill only other insects. So why did black widows develop a venom that could harm animals with a spine, which of course, includes us humans? Scientists do not know.

The brown recluse is another example of a spider with an even more terrifying venom. A chemical in the brown recluse’s venom specifically eats away at flesh, and so do its ancestors. The assassin spider of africa shares a common ancestor with the brown recluse but neither of these spiders hunt anything with flesh. Brown recluse spiders and assassin spiders avoid humans whenever possible. These spiders opt to run away rather than stick around and attack a human that is clearly at the advantage. Fatal spider bites may be rare, but it would be foolish to not be on the lookout whenever you are outdoors.

What spider terrifies you the most and why?

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