Venom

The biggest worry people have about having creepy crawlers in their house is getting bitten. while sometimes people just fear their presence, the way they look, or the damage to their food or home. the main concern is getting bitten by these pests. that is why the least popular creatures that invade a home are spiders and (depending on the area) scorpions. Some people don’t like cockroaches because of how gross they look, others dislike ants because of how they scourge food. Spiders and scorpions easily top both of those and it’s for one reason, they can bite and sting. Ants can bite too, but the difference between those little guys versus spiders and scorpions are the affects of the bite. Scorpions and spiders have a bit of a unique quality that differs from other pests, venom.

To be fair, ants, bees and a few other insects do have venom, however that venom does not have the same impact on our body that scorpion and spider venom do. We have an inherent fear of spiders because of the horror stores we have heard about the notorious Black Widow and Brown Recluse. These two spiders carry a venom that can potentially be deadly, so we tend to put that venomous umbrella over all types of spiders.  Scorpions carry a similar amount of clout compared to spiders, and this is often attributed to movies in which we see the effects of the Emperor Scorpion and other dangerous scorpions, we have a fear of what could happen.

 

 

 

 

Black Widow

 

A surprising aspect of venom, is the effect that it has on our bodies when we are bitten or stung. When you are bitten by a black widow the effects usually happen after about 20-60 minutes. After being bitten the venom will travel throughout your body and you will begin to feel pain at the location of the bite, and you may also experience nausea, abdominal pain and muscle cramps. If you have those symptoms, please call 911 or visit your local E.R. or urgent care. Though the affects often wear off within 24 hours, and it isn’t likely that you will die, it is better to be safe than sorry.

Brown Recluse spider bites only differ slightly from that of the Black Widow; after being bitten you won’t notice any effects until about 2-6 hours. Symptoms include pain and itching in the bite area as well slight skin color change in that area due to skin cell damage. It is best to treat these bites by applying ice to the bite and contacting emergency help. As with black widow bites, most of the time the effects will go away without medical treatment as time goes by. Unfortunately, for both of these spiders’ bites, children and the elderly are most susceptible to them and could be fatal danger if the bites go untreated.

Even though there are thousands of species of spiders within the United States, the only two that are “dangerous” are those mentioned above. Among the thousands of spiders that could potentially be in your home (not all at once), most of their bites’ could not even penetrate your skin. We have this inherent fear of spiders in our home because we are terrified of being bitten, but the chances of a bite are minimal, and if you do get bit, it will probably go unnoticed.

AZ Bark Scorpion

Regarding venom, the same holds true with both spiders and scorpions. When a scorpion stings you, the venom will travel throughout your whole body and you will feel quite a bit of pain at the location of the sting. A large difference within this sting versus that of a spider bite, is that there will be quite a bit more pain where the sting occurred, and there will be a bit more swelling. As with spiders, if a child is stung, call 911, poison control, or go to your nearest urgent care of ER because the effects can be detrimental. This same thing is true with scorpions regarding venom. Most of the time the affects of the sting will soon wear off and you will be fine, but again, it is better to be safe than sorry.

Although spiders and scorpions may seem scary and dangerous, they have been over dramatized for years in movies and television shows and therefore seem absolutely terrifying. It is still a good idea to avoid spiders and scorpions when possible, the real pests that can hurt your home are insects like termites that can “erode” your home away. Whether you have termites, spiders, scorpions, ants or another pest, Bulwark Pest Control is the best option to rid of any pests you may have! Call us today at, 1-800-610-7576.

What is a spider’s web made out of?

For any of you who have seen any Spider Man movie *cough* Spider-Man: Homecoming *cough* which recently came out, you’ll notice that Spider-Man makes his own webbing! Let’s look into what a spider’s web is actually made of, and is it possible to recreate our web slinging friends antics? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When people think about the structure of a web they often think about the rumor that states that they’re stronger than steel… Well, not only is that true, but a spider’s web is actually stronger than steel! This is because of something called tensile strength, which refers to the tension of which the material can withstand, and why a web is more elastic than steel. Without that elasticity, people would be hurting themselves left and right as they try to clear webs.  The spider’s web is made of spider silk, which is an extremely elastic material constructed of lots of protein fibers. That being said, spider silk can bare more weight than steel, however it is much less dense. A spider creates its silk within a very specialized organ, called the spinneret. Another benefit of this silk, is that it contains glue like properties which aid in catching its prey. When an insect comes in contact with the web, they are likely stuck until their demise. Spider silk is also conductive to electricity, and the spider actually uses this to its advantage. They use this conductivity to build up a static charge, and like a sock sticks to a towel if there is too much static in the dryer, an insect with any static charge clinging to it will stick to the web as well, and they are unable to escape. At first glance, a spider web may seem like an intricate design for spiders to lounge on, but the underlying properties are absolutely fascinating. 

 

The Oldest Beehive In the World

Photo Courtesy of BBC

Those of you who are fans of the Da Vinci Code movie and book, know that the medieval Scottish Rosslyn Chapel that was featured in the finale of the film, held secrets that tied the church to ancient Templar and Masonic practices.

But did you know that the Scottish Rosslyn Chapel also held another unknown secret, which dates back almost 560 years?

The Oldest Beehive In the World

Two ancient beehives have been found in the medieval Scottish Rosslyn Chapel, which have been determined to be the oldest beehives in the world. While the famous Scottish castle dates back to the mid 1400’s the beehives that have been carefully hidden in the Chapel’s roof peak for some 560 years.

Photo Courtesy of BBC

The amazing thing is that theses hives were intentionally carved in stone by the original architects of the church. While there was some honeycomb found within the pinnacles, these hives are thought to be the first man-made stone hives ever found. The inside of the hives are covered with some coating to protect the stone and stop the wild bees from eating away at it. Since the hive was so high above the ground, it is clear that no one would be able to reach it to get the honey. The ancient stone masons who built the chapel simply wanted to provide a safe location for a wild honeybee hive.

The amazing discovery was found while some stone conservation work was being done which involved dismantling the peaks of the roof. Apparently the hives were still in use until just recently when the chapel was temporarily covered with a canopy, thus forcing the bees to abandon the hive.

Bees 

bees inside a flower

Playing key roles in pollinating flowering plants, bees are a very beneficial group of insects. They can be found on every continent, except Antarctica, during the warmer months—in backyard clovers, window sill flowers, garden vegetable blooms, and waste receptacle areas.

Bees that live in colonies, like the colony found in the Scottish Rosslyn Chapel, are considered to be social insects; as opposed to solitary insects. These bees live together in a caste system of sorts, which is made up of workers, males or drones, and queens.

Insect With Mechanical Gears

Adult Issus coleoptratus from Königsforst...

For hundreds of years, we believed that it was the Greeks that invented what is known today as the mechanical gear; which has enabled generations of technological advancement throughout all cultures.

In fact, it wasn’t the Greeks who invented functional mechanical gears; nature beat us to the punch once again!

A tiny leaf-hopping insect was recently discovered by scientists, which just happened to have an intricate mechanical gear system in its back legs.

Insect Has Mechanical Gears

Two scientists from the University of Cambridge recently discovered a leafhopper; one Issus coleoptratus. This leaf-hopping bug has interacting gears located at the top of the insect’s hind legs, used for propulsion. Its back legs lock together in an intricate gear system, and when both legs rotate back, they’ll lock. When the insect is ready to jump, these fine-toothed gears fire off, propelling the leafhopper forward at speeds as high as 9 miles per hour.

The reasoning for the insect having these mechanical gears… so each back leg can fire off at the same time.  If one hind leg were extended a fraction of a second earlier than the other one, it’d push the insect off course to the right or left, instead of jumping straight forward. Professor Malcolm Burrows, from Cambridge’s Department of Zoology says:

Unlike man-made gears, each gear tooth is asymmetrical and curved towards the point where the cogs interlock—as man-made gears need a symmetric shape to work in both rotational directions, whereas the Issus gears are only powering one way to launch the animal forward.

One fact that scientists found interesting, is that only the young leafhoppers had these mechanical gears on their legs. As they mature into adulthood, the young leafhoppers will shed their exoskeletons and fail to re-grow these gear teeth.

These mechanical gears found on the leafhoppers appear to be the only functioning gears found on any living organism. When these gears have been found on other living species, they have been only ornamental.

Cool huh!

Beatles Tree Killed By Actual Beetles

George Harrison Tree
Image Credit To Carlos: www.flickr.com/armadillo444

In news of the ironic; a Los Angeles memorial tree planted on behalf of the Beatle’s lead guitarist George Harrison was killed by… BEETLES!!

Yup, you heard me right… The Beatle’s tree was killed by actual beetles.

Because he was a passionate gardener and spent his last days in Los Angeles, a George Harrison memorial pine tree was planted at the Griffith Observatory in 2001; at the time of Harrison’s death.

The memorial pine tree grew to reach over ten feet tall before a serious bark beetle infestation plagued Griffith Park last year; and wiped out Harrison’s tree.

A new young sapling has been planted in place of the memorial tree to memorialize the late Beatles star, and is marked with a small plaque at the bottom.

Bark Beetles

Bark beetles consist of some 6,000 different species of beetle that are characterized by their tendency to live, eat, and reproduce in both the living and dead tissue of trees. While some species attack and kill off living trees, the majority of bark beetle species tend to live and breed in dead, dying, or otherwise compromised trees.

While bark beetles play a role in our ecosystem, assisting in the clearing out of dead wood, most are considered notorious pests that can wipe out entire parks or even forests. They can infest in large numbers, overwhelming a tree’s defenses and kill it.

George Harrison

George Harrison (February 25, 1943 – November 29, 2001) was a world famous musician who was best known as one of the four members of the Beatles. In the group he was the lead guitarist, and contributed in writing famous songs like “Something,” and “Here Comes The Sun.”

Harrison eventually left the Beatles to pursue a solo career, and in 1988 he founded the successful group the Traveling Wilburys. At age 58 he passed away from lung cancer at the young age of 58.

Rolling Stone magazine ranks George Harrison number 11 in their list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.”

The 4 Scariest Insects in the World

There are hundreds of thousands of insects in the world. Generally, these creatures are pretty small, so you may wonder why anyone would ever be scared of them. Believe it or not, some bugs can really hurt humans, and there are a number of them that can even kill you. The following four insects are some of the scariest in the world.

Japanese Giant Hornets

Japanese giant hornet

The Japanese Giant Hornet is quite small, only about the size of your thumb. However, you don’t want to underestimate this little creature, because it releases extremely potent venom into its unfortunate victims. Not only that, but the poison attracts other hornets from the hive and encourages them to come over and join in the “party.” Just under fifty people a year die from this hornet’s poison, although the insect is not particularly aggressive unless it feels threatened.

Puss Caterpillars

puss caterpillar

The Puss Caterpillar is found in North America, and while it is not really “deadly,” it can wreak a lot of havoc on its victims. The Puss Caterpillar looks fairly sweet and unassuming, with soft hair covering its exterior. However, on the bottom of the insect are venomous spines that unleash a painful sting. If the pain persists and moves throughout the body, it is important to see a doctor. However, because some medical professionals do not know how to identify the bite, patients can go for a while without a diagnosis. Some have come close to death as a result.

Kissing Bugs

kissing bug

Kissing Bugs were so named because they tend to bite their sleeping victims on the face, particularly around the nose and the mouth. Also known as an Assassin Bug, there are some species that have a very painful bite. In addition, Kissing Bugs can also spread Chagas’ disease. Symptoms include vomiting, fevers and rashes. However, some people don’t have symptoms for ten or twenty years. By the time they do, it is hard for medical professionals to figure out what is going on and effectively treat the problem.

African Ants

African ants

One colony of African Ants consists of about twenty million bugs. When hungry, the entire group sticks together, traveling to find food and getting rid of anything that stands in their way. They are both a scary and impressive sight, all at once. The good news is that it is fairly easy for humans to see these ants coming and get out of the way. However, both elderly adults and young children are particularly vulnerable to the bugs, which can swarm inside their lungs and suffocate them.

Many people get nervous at the first sight of a bug in their home or yard, and they immediately contact a pest control technician to help them. While some may feel their reaction is extreme, there are insects that can harm your property or your person. Therefore, it is always a good idea to be wary of a bug that you are not familiar with. And, if they make you uncomfortable, don’t be afraid to reach out for help.

The Extraordinary World of Insects: 5 of the Strangest Organisms Inhabiting the Earth

Nature is truly amazing. While extolling its virtues, many often neglect to focus on insects, the small living organisms that share our world. There are more than a million species of these creatures, and while some are fairly ordinary, others are nothing less than extraordinary. The following insects are all remarkable in their own way, whether it be for their looks, their mannerisms or their general oddities.

Pipevine Swallowtail 

Pipevine Swallowtail

How can something so beautiful start out as something so ugly? Found in both North and Central America, the Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly is known for its incredible shade of blue. However, all butterflies first start as caterpillars, and in this case, the larvae is most certainly not beautiful. Some might even say it’s scary. Rather than the attractive hue of blue sported in its butterfly form, the Pipevine Swallowtail larvae is blood red, with rows of horns traveling down the length of its body.

Battus philenor Pipevine Swallowtail

As the caterpillars get older, their color darkens and their horns become more prominent, transforming to a bright shade of orange. Because they feed on poisonous plants, the caterpillars also become poisonous themselves as they retain the toxins over time.

Giant Shield Bugs 

Giant Shield Bug Elvis
Photo Courtesy http://metro.co.uk/

The stink bug invasion is taking place in many areas around the world, and most homeowners are not happy when the smelly little creatures decide to take up residence in their homes. How would you feel, though, if you spotted an image of Elvis on the back of one of these little bugs?

The giant shield bug, also known as the Pentatomoidea bug, is in the stink bug family. The markings on its back look remarkably like eyes, a nose and a mouth. Even more incredible is the fact that the dark patch near the end of the bug looks quite a bit like Elvis’s signature hairstyle. Giant shield bugs have been found in both Singapore and Thailand, so chances are you won’t get lucky enough to see one in person. However, if you did, calling an exterminator might not be the first thing on your mind!

Scorpionfly 

Scorpion Fly Face

Scorpionflies are truly unique. They look like a cross between a scorpion and a wasp; the body resembles the winged insect, while the “tail” looks very much like a scorpion stinger. However, unlike the arachnid, the scorpionfly’s stinger is not used for harm. It is actually the organism’s reproductive organ, so while it looks quite fierce, there is nothing to be concerned about.

Elephant Hawk Moth 

Elephant Hawk Moth Larvae

Located in Ireland and Britain, the Elephant Hawk Moth seems fairly unassuming. However, in its caterpillar form, the little creature actually looks and acts like a snake. When it goes into defensive mode, it brings its trunk in towards its body. The exposed area of the caterpillar has markings that mimic a snake’s eyes and head. Most birds avoid the caterpillar as a result.

The Elephant Hawk-moth

Goliath Beetles 

Goliath

Rounding out the list of the strangest insects on Earth is the Goliath beetle. Found in Africa, these beetles are the biggest of all the insects, growing as long as four inches. Some people have even been known to keep the Goliath beetle as a pet! While the bug may look intimidating, it is actually quite gentle.

You never know what you will find in nature. When it comes to the insect world, there are some truly strange and unusual creatures out there, just waiting to be discovered.

 

The Buzz about Bees: 5 Incredible Facts About Nature’s Little Wonders

Bee on blossomMost people don’t give bees a second thought. These little winged insects, however, are actually very important to the economy and the environment. Bees pollinate our fruits and vegetables (for free!), a job that would be nearly impossible for farmers to do on their own. In addition, these helpful, amazing little creatures are actually much more complex than they appear. The following five facts will change the way you look at bees forever.

1. Bees recognize faces.

Have you ever been outside, enjoying the fresh air, when a bee suddenly starts circling you? You move, only to find that the bee continues to move with you. It’s not a coincidence; bees actually recognize human faces, and they do it in much the same way that we do. The technique is called configural processing, and it involves recognizing that shapes and lines make up a pattern. Studies indicate that bees remember these “patterns” for some time after identifying them.

2. Bees can help with arthritis and MS.

Apitherapy, developed by Dr. Charles Mraz, is an alternative treatment for patients suffering from arthritis and multiple sclerosis. These individuals are stung several times per week in a specific area of the body. The intent is to help with pain and stimulate nerves, and the results are very promising in certain cases.

3. Bees (literally) work themselves to death.

honeybee pollinateWorker bees can live for around nine months. However, when the weather is warm and the flowers are in full bloom, their time on earth is much shorter. Worker bees are like the energizer bunny; they just keep going and going, and eventually, all that effort takes its toll. Their average life span in the summer is less than six weeks.

4. Bees can protect us.

Believe it or not, it is possible to train bees to detect bombs. At Los Alamos National Laboratory, scientists determined that bees are able to recognize certain odors, including explosive compounds like TATP. Scientists trained the bees to associate these smells with a food reward. When the bees recognized the odor in question, their proboscis was extended, signaling a positive identification to observers.

5. Bees make food for humans.

Honeybee HoneycombWhile you probably realize that bees make honey, what you might not know is that they are the only insect that makes food humans can eat. Not only that, but honey is incredibly good for you; it has vitamins, minerals and enzymes in it. Plus, eating honey is also good for your brain. It has something called “pinocembrin” in it, which is an antioxidant that improves the way your brain functions. A little bit of honey in your diet can go a long way toward improving your overall health!

Bees are actually quite cool. Unfortunately, these insects are dying off for reasons that we don’t fully understand. It is important to do everything we can to protect these amazingly intelligent little creatures. If you have a problem with them at your home or place of business, speak to a knowledgeable pest control company about what can be done to safely handle the problem.

 

Become Your Own Insect Farmer

If you are growing and raising your own insects for personal consumption, does that make you a farmer or rancher?

Regardless, that’s exactly what designer Katharina Unger at Farm 432 has envisioned with a counter-top insect breeding system for your kitchen.

Counter-Top Insect Breeding System- Become Your Own Insect Farmer

 Insect Breeding System
Photo courtesy www.kunger.at

Are you the adventurous type who is looking for a higher quality protein; a protein that has fewer calories, and less fat than other “more traditional” proteins? With the recent Paleo diet, and thousands of people becoming more and more obsessed with returning to the roots of food, some are turning to eating insects.

While the thought of popping a cockroach or mealworm into your mouth may make you gag, the practice is growing throughout the world and is already well established in many parts of Asia.

As the practice of eating insects grows, Farm 432 has created a sustainable future of food production that can be done in your very own kitchen.

I’m talking about a prototype that allows us to farm or ranch insects for consumption.

How The Insect Breeding System Works

Become Your Own Insect Farmer

Insect Breeding System Food
Photo courtesy www.kunger.at

With this new counter-top insect breeding system, those hungry to crunch down on fly larvae can now harvest about 500g a week; which is enough for two meals.

Put one gram of black soldier fly eggs into the metamorphosis box at the top of the apparatus. Give the eggs about 432 hours, and larvae that self-harvest will fall clean and ready to eat into a harvest bucket.

The product is still a prototype, and is currently not available for purchase.

Insects As A Food Option

eating insectsWhile it seem unappetizing to many of us Americans, some 2 billion people in the world rely heavily on insects as a much needed source of nutrition. Insects are a very high quality protein, and are great food alternatives for those living in areas that have little food; in which many of the people are malnourished.

As the World’s population grows, our need for meat will grow. It’s estimated that by year 2050, meat production will need to expand by 50% to meet demand. Insects may become more and more mainstream is this is the case.

While many people are required to eat bugs for survival purposes, just how close are the rest of us to making insects a part of our regular diet? Will we be able to go into Trader Joes or Whole Foods and buy dried crickets in bulk, right next to the oats and crunchy granola? Heck, maybe someday we’ll be able to buy chocolate covered grasshoppers next to the Snickers bars at Walmart.

It’s safe to say that Farm 432 is working to bridge the gap.

Farm 432 Insect Breeding System

For a complete overview and more information on Katharina Unger and Farm 432 counter-top insect breeding system, visit www.kunger.at

Valentines Day Mating Rituals… Of Bugs

Ladybugs In LoveWith Valentines Day just around the corner, many of us will be buying flowers, chocolates, and romantic cards in hopes of wooing our mates.

Did you know that many of our insect friends also have rituals of their own in hopes of luring in a mate this Valentine’s Day?

In honor of Valentines Day, here are a few unique, bizarre, and downright cool mating rituals of five different bugs or arachnids:

“Peacocking” Peacock Spiders 

_MG_0331 peacock spider Maratus splendens

Okay before you jump all over me, I know spiders aren’t bugs; they’re arachnids. Despite this classification, Peacock Spiders perform one of the most elaborate and downright cool mating rituals I have ever seem in the insect/arachnid world.

When a Peacock Spider is attempting to find a mate, the male spider will jump and dance around to try and impress a female Peacock Spider. He will lift his legs high in the air and bring them down slowly. He will spread himself wide, flatten himself down, and then pop right back up with his back legs raised in the air. This dance, or “peacocking” as it’s sometimes called, is how the Peacock Spider gets its name.

Female Peacock Spiders will watch carefully to see if the dancing spider is a good enough mate. When the male spider is ready to make his move he will approach carefully; quickly waving his back legs back and forth in the air. He then lifts a brightly colored flap up into the air, mimicking a peacock.

See the mating ritual for yourself:

Beheading Praying Mantises 

Praying Mantis Cannibal

This Valentines Day, you’ll likely treat your mate to a romantic dinner. When it comes to praying mantises, a romantic dinner means something completely different.

A female praying mantis will seductively lure in a male praying mantis with her powerful pheromones. As a male praying

Praying Mantis Sexual Cannibalism Female just ...

mantis approaches, he’ll do so as he performs a courtship dance. If the female mantis deems him worthy, she’ll allow him to commence mating. While the act is being performed, it’s pretty common for the female praying mantis to turn around and chew of the head of her mate. She’s a cannibal!

This act of cannibalism is not without purpose. Researchers have found that the male mantis appears to thrust more vigorously without his head attached to his body; which increases the success of copulation.

Dancing Fruit Flies 

Dancing Fruit Flies

This Valentines Day, nothing would make that special someone of yours more happy, than taking him or her out dancing. Several species of fruit fly have also discovered this little secret, as they will dance with their mate before they get busy. With their brightly colored wings and bodies, these species of fruit fly will actually dance mid-air. It’s quite the spectacle! Fruit flies will also dance at any invader; to intimidate and scare away the threat.

Smooching Kissing Bugs

assassin bug

When I refer to a kissing bug, I’m not referring to some “bug” or illness you catch from kissing; so kiss away this Valentines Day! I’m referring to an insect that gives you kisses while you sleep at night… And not the type of kisses you want. Kissing bugs have a tendency to bite the faces and lips of humans while we sleep, which can cause severe allergic reactions.

This blood meal is necessary for male kissing bugs to mate and for the female kissing bug to lay eggs.

Scorpion Fly FaceSpitting Scorpion Flies  

If you play your cards right this Valentines Day, you may be swapping spit with your significant other. Swapping spit is also common among scorpion flies, as male scorpion flies leave soggy presents for female scorpion flies before mating.

Female scorpion flies choose their mates based the saliva-secretion ability of her suitor. Basically, they are wooed by spit! The male scorpion fly will spit up a nutritious gift for his sweetheart. This spit draws in the female scorpion fly, and also keeps her from flying off in a fit of cold feet.

Once the female scorpion fly stops receiving soggy presents, she puts an end to the relations. The male scorpion fly will gather up the leftover spit and, like pawning off a half-eaten box of Valentine chocolates, reuse them to romance a new female.

Happy Valentines Day! 

If you’re finding yourself having trouble finding a mate this Valentines Day, why not pull a page out of the insect’s book… Well, with the exception of the be-headings.

Have a Happy Valentines Day!