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!

 

5 Strange Parenting Habits From The Original Modern Family

Think your parents did weird? Well they are nothing compared to these guys! These creepy crawlies have some really strange ideas of how to take care of their babies. Here are five shocking habits insects perform on a regular basis to keep their kids safe and healthy:

1. Setting up the nursery

Dung Beetles

The dung beetle starts off our list with their strange habit: setting up the baby’s room. Dung beetles will roll up balls of dung and use them for nursery. Talk about one smelly room!

These insects get all of their nutrients from dung. When two beetles are ready to mate they will create a ball of dung, bury the ball underground, mate and then lay the eggs into the ball. The eggs will then hatch the larva safe inside the middle, providing nutrients until the larva mature and are ready to leave.

2. Lift with your legs not with your back

Wolf Spider Babies

The Wolf Spider takes the next spot on the list. This doting mother is very protective of her young. After mating, the spider will carry around her egg sac attached to their abdomen until the eggs are ready to hatch. The especially unusual thing about this is that the mother is still able to hunt her prey while toting around her unborn children.

After the eggs hatch, the baby spiders will crawl up onto their mother’s back and stay there until they mature enough to live on their own.

3. Dads who help out

Giant Water Bug With Eggs

Belostomatidae, or The Giant Water Bug, is, in itself, a very strange creature. Also known as Indian Toe Biters or Alligator Ticks these huge guys are famous for having the most painful bite and for attacking and eating things much bigger than themselves, like baby turtles and water snakes.

Why they are listed on this article, however, is not for their ferocious hunting skills, but for their caring parenting abilities, particularly with the males. Water bugs are extremely cautious and caring throughout the entire reproduction process and invest unusual amounts of time into making sure that the eggs hatch safely. Male Water Bugs will actually carry around eggs on the wings until they hatch, continually exposing the eggs to air and biting anything that comes too close.

4. Dangerous Nannies

treehopper

Treehoppers are another insect to exhibit some strange parenting behaviors. These guys will aggressively protect their eyes. As soon as the eggs hatch, the female will secret a sweet tasting substance called honeydew, which will attract ants. When a colony discovers the secretion, the mother will then completely abandon her young, who also feed on the secretion, into the care of the ants. The ants then serve as the babies’ protectors until they mature and can fend for themselves.

5. Farting Moms

stink bug

Harlequin Bugs are fierce protectors of their eggs. They will lay clusters of eggs, protected by twigs and leaves and stand guard until they hatch. As part of their defense, unusual bugs have glands that will release a smelly substance warding off potential attackers. When one bug releases their scent it will trigger other scent glands to release the smelly substance from other bugs nearby, making their area extremely unpleasant to be around. These bugs are so famous for their ‘farts’ they are also known as Stink Bugs.

Yup! These bugs are definitely weirdoes! Next time your parents do something unusual, just think of these strange parenting habits, and you’ll feel better in no time!

Bug Christmas Gift Ideas

Christmas will soon be here, and if you have a bug lover in your life, it can be a little challenging to be creative with gift ideas. However, you can rest assured that there are plenty of bug gifts to choose from that will keep your little bug-lover satisfied. Below is a list of five bug ideas you can give to your own little bug this holiday season.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

 

Front cover

This children’s classic by Eric Carle has been a staple in children’s book collections for decades. Your little one will love the adorable illustrations, as well as the timeless story about the caterpillar that was so hungry he ate everything he came across. This is a great story to add to your child’s book shelf, and books always make a great Christmas present. This book would be an appropriate gift for younger children who are still reading picture books.

Charlotte’s Web

 

Charlotte's Web

For your child who has moved on to chapter books, E.B. White’s classic tale “Charlotte’s Web” is sure to become a favorite. This story tells the tale of the spider who saved her pig friend’s life by writing messages in her web. You could even buy a copy of the old cartoon or the more modern live-action movie starring Dakota Fanning on DVD to accompany the book, making it two gifts in one.

A Bug’s Life

 

Cover of "A Bug's Life [Blu-ray]"

Disney and Pixar’s animated film “A Bug’s Life” is a great choice if your little one enjoys movies. This cute computer animated movie tells the story of an ant leading his colony against a gang of wicked grasshoppers; he hires a troupe of bugs to help him in his colony’s fight against the grasshoppers, only to discover that he hired circus performers. Your little bug-lover is sure to love this exciting cartoon.

Pet Scorpion or Tarantula

Pet scorpion

If you’re feeling really daring, you might consider buying your child their own pet scorpion or tarantula. Both make great pets, although you should be sure that your child is old enough and responsible enough to take care of these arachnids. If you’re squeamish and don’t like the thought of live critters living in a tank in your house, then this gift is probably not a good choice for you.

Stuffed Bug

stuffed ladybug

Instead of a stuffed animal, why not give your little one a stuffed bug? A stuffed bug is just as cute as a teddy bear, is soft and comforting, providing your little bug something to cuddle with while she or he falls asleep. A stuffed caterpillar, ladybug, or beetle would make a cute and original Christmas gift idea.

These are just a few gift ideas to get your creative juices flowing. There are a lot of interesting outlets you can invest in to encourage your child’s interest in the bug world around him. Whether you thing books, movies, toys, or actual pet bugs themselves would best suit your child’s interest depends entirely on your child and what you’re comfortable wrapping up and putting under your tree this holiday season.

Chris is a blogger for Fox Pest Control a Connecticut based pest control company.

Published by Thomas Ballantyne

10 Ways To Control Allergen Causing Dust Mites

House Dust MitesYou cough! You sneeze! Your eyes water so much it’s difficult to even see! I’m talking of course about allergies, and one of the leading causes of allergies in the United States happens to be a microscopic bug called a House Dust Mite.

While some people experience seasonal allergies caused by high pollen in the air, many people experience year round allergies that are frequently caused by these dust mites. In fact, some 35 million people suffer from dust mite allergies.

Read More About The Worst Allergy Cities In The Country

What can you do about dust mites? Even the most zealous housekeeper cannot completely eliminate dust mite populations, but there are a few steps you can take to help control these teeny-tiny pests.

Sleeping With The Enemy: Dust Mites In Your Bed

Before you can control dust mites, you have to understand one important characteristic. If you are the least bit squeamish, do not read what I’m about to say next. You’re sleeping with dust mites! Yup, right on top of them in fact. You bed is their favorite hiding spot, and the majority of them are in your mattress. They crawl on you while you sleep… In and out of your nose and ears, feeding on the dead skin and dander that you shed.

It gets worse. After only two short years of owning your mattress, some 10 Million mites can call it home. The longer you own your mattress, the more dust mites it can have. Yuck!

10 Ways To Control Allergen Causing Dust Mites

clean bedding1. Dust mite covers. Look for dust mite covers that are allergen-impermeable at any high end department store. Encase your mattresses, pillows, and box springs with these covers. Replace mattresses every 3-5 years for severe cases.

2. Hypoallergenic pillows. Just like dust mite covers, these pillows can be found at most department stores in, and will help with all types of allergies, including dust mites.

3. Frequently wash bedding. All of your sheets, pillow cases, blankets, mattress pads, and even comforters need to be washed at least every two weeks. Opt for hot water above 120 degrees for best results.

4. Vacuum. Frequently vacuum your home, especially carpeted bedrooms, to remove unwanted dust and mites. I’m talking vacuuming every day if necessary until your symptoms subside. You may look to invest in a vacuum with a HEPA filter attached. Empty your vacuum frequently. If your vacuum requires bags, opt for backs that are double the thickness.

5. Dust. I know, this tip seems obvious, but dust mites live in dust. Just one particle of dust can contain over 42,000 mites. Keep all areas of your home, especially the bedroom, dust free. I recommend wearing a mask while dusting, and leave the room for at least 20 minutes after you finish cleaning.

6. Air purifiers. You’ll be surprised how effective a HEPA air purifier is at removing all types of allergens in your home, including house dust mites.

Allergy Pollen HEPA Air Filter 7. Install allergen filters. Install allergen-trapping filters in air conditioning and heating systems inside your home. If you sleep with a CPAP, make sure it has a filter as well. Regularly change out these filters.

8. Blinds not curtains. If your bedroom has cloth or fiber curtains or draperies, look to replace them with decorative and stylish wood-slated blinds or shades. Also look to remove any fabric-based wall décor inside your home.

9. Wood or tile flooring. Dust mites love your fibrous carpets. Give these pests one less place to hide by switching out carpet for wood or tile flooring.

10. Wood, leather, or vinyl furniture. For extreme cases of dust mite allergens, get rid of all upholstered furniture. Like your carpet, dust mites love these areas. Opt for wood, leather, or vinyl furniture instead. Think about using dust mite covers on your furniture as well as your bedding.

House Dust MiteHouse Dust Mites

In the United States, the House Dust Mite is one of the leading causes of asthma, eczema, and allergic symptoms. Their effect on human health is significant. The gross thing is that it’s not the actual dust mite that causes asthma and allergic symptoms… It’s their feces!

House Dust Mites are actually related to spiders; in the class Arachnida. These adult mites are pale in color, have eight legs, no antenna or wings, and only have one body segment. Dust mites feed on the dander shed by both humans and pets. They also will eat feathers, mold, and fungus.

Another problem with these pests is that they are nearly invisible to the naked eye, measuring a mere 1/100th of an inch. They can be almost anywhere. However, these tiny pests do need high humidity, above 60%, to survive. Avoid using humidifiers in your home if you are allergic to dust mites.

Are you living with a dust mite allergy? We’d love to hear your story!

Pest Control: Your Friday Links Round-Up

Black House SpiderPest Control: Your Friday Links Round-Up

Fall Wasp Wars

Every autumn, homeowners wage war against wasps and hornets. These flying pests grow excessively aggressive as their preferences move from proteins to sweets. Learn more about these wasp wars.

How to Get Rid of Bugs in Acorns and Pine Cones

Many of us use pine cones for holiday decorations every year, but unknowingly bring pests into our homes by doing so. Here’s a step by step guide to getting rid of these unwanted bugs so you may continue using acorns and pine cones for decor. More…

Plants Enlist Aid From Birds For Pest Control

When trees or plants are under attack from insects, they can emit certain scents that attract birds. The birds in turn then gobble up many of the plants-munching bugs. More…

Tips to Pest Proofing Your Home This Fall

With the change of season comes a different challenge for homeowners because it is also a peak time for pests to make their way indoors. Learn to protect yourself, here.

When Are Carpenter Ants Active?

Click here, to learn more about the most active times of year for carpenter ants.

Carpenter BeePest Of The Week: Carpenter Bees

Measuring almost an inch in length, Carpenter bees get their name for their love of all things wood. They will build their nests in building frames, dried wood, tree stumps, and bamboo by chewing through it. They can be destructive pests, despite their ability to beneficially pollinate.

These bees look almost like bumble bees, but are a little bit smaller and have a glossy, hairless, black abdomen. Throughout the spring and summer months, female Carpenter bees gather nectar to transform into their “bee bread” which they feed to the rest of the colony.

There’s more good news (other than beneficial pollination) about Carpenter bees… The males that one usually sees buzzing around the hive cannot sting.

Pest Control Links Round Up: Halloween Edition

Jack_o_LanternPest Control Links Round Up: Halloween Edition

Scary Pest Facts – Happy Halloween!

In honor of Halloween, we wanted to share a few creepy facts about pests that can be pretty scary! More…

Creepy Halloween Movies – Tarantula

Clark Pest Control gives a few insights on the 1955 classic movie, Tarantula! More…

Have A Safe, Happy & Pest Free Halloween

Take a minute and enjoy a Halloween roach video. More…

The Scariest Spiders in the World

Nothing gets people on-edge quite like spiders. A popular rumor states that no matter where you are you are usually about eight feet from a spider. More…

Vampires In Your Bed

Bedbugs are like vampires but you can’t use garlic to defeat these bloodsuckers. Here are some tips:

Little Brown BatPest Of The Week: The Little Brown Bat

What better pest of the week for the week of Halloween, than the Little Brown Bat. While these bats are pest control agents of their own, eating millions of pounds of insects every year, they can also be pests of their own; nesting in attics, voids, and chimneys of homeowners.

The Little Brown Bat, with dark brown fur as its name suggests, is one of the most common bats in the United States. This bat’s fur glossy brown on the back; with an upper body that is slightly paler; with a grayish fur underbelly. Compared to other species of bats, the Little Brown bat is smaller in stature.

Over the last decade, it has been reported that Little Brown bat numbers have significantly declined due to White Nose Syndrome. This disease, which affects cave-dwelling bats, causes a white fungus to grow on the bat’s wings and nose. This fungus disrupts the bats hibernation pattern, causing them to wake up too early and eventually die of starvation.

Read more about Little Brown bats being in danger of extinction.

 

Halloween Roach Bits: Tricky Roaches Are No Treat

Trick or Treat kids in costumesThis Halloween, as you’re carving your jack-o-lanterns, watching your scary movies and handing out bowls of trick-or-treat candy to all of those superheroes, princesses, ghosts and goblins that come ringing your doorbell; be on the look-out for Halloween intruders!

Watch the horror unfold as one of these Halloween intruders is caught red handed:

Halloween Roach Bits: Tricky Roaches Are No Treat

 

 

Cockroaches are notorious consumers of anything sweet or starchy; and all of your Halloween favorites fall into this category. Your Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, your fun size Snickers bars, and your miniature Hershey’s bars are all vulnerable.

This Halloween, don’t share your trick-or-treat candy with cockroaches! Get professional roach control!

Happy Halloween

 

Jack_o_Lantern

All of us here at Blog Pest Control and Bulwark Exterminating wish you all a very safe and Happy Halloween! May your Halloween be cockroach free!

Halloween Ants: 3 Ants Inspired By The Things Of Our Nightmares

What do Halloween spooks like vampires, ghosts, and zombies have to do with the picnic ruining, biting, stinging, and all around pesky ant? More than you might think!

Here are three different species of ant that are inspired by the things of our nightmares:

Dracula AntDracula Ants

Horrifying ants that suck blood… Say it isn’t so! Dracula ants (Adetomyrma venatrix) are named after the very famous fictitious vampire count Dracula; because of the grisly way in which these ants feast on the blood of their young. Well, technically it’s not the blood of their young that Dracula ants are drinking, but rather the hemolymph or ant blood equivalent. This practice is actually a form of non-destructive cannibalism, as it doesn’t kill the ant larvae.

If you think the ant larvae are simply providing a public service to the rest of the colony, letting hungry worker ants scratch and chew holes through their bodies as they feast on their blood; than think again. Scientists have witnessed the young Dracula ant larvae try to flee in fear, whenever a hungry work ant enters their chamber.

Dracula ants are primarily found in Madagascar, and are actually an engendered species. A typical colony will have about 10,000 ants, and have been found making nests in things like rotting logs and tree stumps. They are orange in color, and have abdomens that resemble wasps more than they do ants.

Ghost AntsGhost Ants

That tiny translucent creature crawling across your kitchen this Halloween is not a pint-size apparition with legs. It’s not the visible manifestation of that bug you squashed with your shoe last week either. Rather, it’s the pesky Ghost Ant (Tapinoma melanocephalum).

Found in Florida, Texas, Iowa, and Hawaii, these ants can be rather spooky for homeowners; as they intrude looking for food. Ghost ants get their name from their distinctive ghost-like appearance; translucent colored abdomen and legs. Unlike the Dracula ant, which feeds on the blood of their young, Ghost ants primarily feed on the honeydew they collect from plant-feeding insects like aphids.

Zombie Ants

You wake in a puddle of some unknown and impious fluid. You disjointedly crawl to your feet, but have no control over your body. You are no longer the living organism you thought you once were, but are some sort of rotting corpse; a hollow vessel harboring something disturbing inside. You’re confused, disorientated, and no longer seem to have any self-control. Most believe you’re dead, but fortunately your loved one’s think you are still alive – your soul still somewhere deep inside this now walking monster of a creature. Whatever sinister it may be, one thing is certain, you only want to satisfy your desire to eat others of your kind and spread the virus within.

No I’m not talking about the pilot to AMC’s The Walking Dead. I’m talking about ZOMBIE ANTS!

Zombie Ant

When I say zombie ants, I’m not referring to a specific species of ant named a “Zombie ant,” but rather a condition affecting tropical Carpenter ants that happen to come into contact with a certain type of fungus (Ophiocordyceps unilateralis). This fungus is a mind-leeching parasite responsible for creating extensive hoards of the zombie ants. Once the fungus has infiltrated the ant’s brain, it will become powerless to resist the calculated directives of its subversive ruler. After spending some time in this zombie-like state, the infected ant will die at a spot that has optimal reproduction conditions for the fungus. The fungus will sprout from the zombie ant’s head, almost like a tombstone, and release more parasitic spores that will infect other ants.

You can watch the whole process here:

 

What’s the scariest ant you’ve ever encountered? 

Friday Links Round-Up: Weekly Pest Control Links

Fall pumpkins

Halloween Party Food: Edible Insects

Edible insects make great and creepy Halloween party food. Here are a few that might wet your appetite. More…

Mole Crickets in Trinity, FL

Mole crickets are becoming an increasing problem in some states; damaging lawns. They tunnel through the surface layer of the soil which damages the grass roots. Eventually the grass is uprooted and dries out. There are solutions to dealing with Mole crickets.

Don’t Forget About Fall Termite Treatments

Many homeowners don’t realize that October can actually be one of the worst months for termites. Wondering why? The simple truth is that termites are attracted to moisture, and that’s typically plentiful during October. More…

Why Do Rodents Keep Getting Into My House?

Learn more about the most common places that rodents get in through, here.

How To Reduce The Risk Of Pests In Your Home

There are a few steps you can take this fall that will help protect your home from intruders like mice and rats when the cold weather sets in. Learn more here…

Pest Of The Week: The Australian Cockroach

Periplaneta australasiae (Australian Cockroach)
Periplaneta australasiae (Australian Cockroach) (Photo credit: Arthur Chapman)

While common in Australia (hence the name Australian cockroach) the Australian Cockroach is also very prevalent in the southern United States. Because of their large size and similar coloring, the Australian cockroach is often times confused for the American cockroach. Both are a reddish brown in color, but the Australian roach has a yellow stripe that runs near the side of its wings. The Australian is also a little bit smaller, compared to the American roach, with average lengths of 1.2 to 1.5 inches; which is still rather big for a roach species.

Unlike a lot of species of roach, the Australian cockroach prefers the outdoors. Since they cannot tolerate colder weather, they will usually only enter homes when it suddenly gets cooler. Another unique characteristic of this roach is that is quite vegetarian; feasting mainly on organic materials like plants and veggies. Although this is their preferred diet, they also seem fond of starchy substances like the glue of book bindings. Like any other species of roach, professional roach control techniques can manage the Australian cockroach populations near a home or property.

PestWorld 2013 Day 3

PestWorld  2013 Awards

 It’s Day three (October 24, 2013) here at PestWorld in Phoenix, AZ, and what an event filled day it has been. The day kicked off with the pest control industry rewards, followed immediately by the general session. The general session featured Freakonomics author Stephen Dubner addressing the 3,300 pest management professionals in attendance. After the general session, we all headed over to the exhibit hall to gander at all of the latest and greatest products and services for our industry. Our afternoons were spent in education sessions, in which I was able to attend three.

Here are a few of the highlights from day three of Pest World 2013:

General Session With Freakonomics Author Stephen Dubner

 

Stephen Dubner

Back in 2005, Stephen Dubner changed the way much of the world thinks about incentives when he released his book entitled Freakonomics. Since then, the book has remained on the New York Times best sellers list for over seven years. Attendees at PestWorld had the privilege to listen to a few of his real word examples of how incentives fail; and how we can get them to be successful.

Freakonomics

Example of Incentives Failing

Several years ago, Alexandra, South Africa was plagued with rats. The government had come to their wits end, trying to come up with solutions to combat the disease carrying pests. The government offered free trash cants with tight fitting lids to it’s citizens, and even offered free pest control, but people viewed these efforts as a hassle. The Alexandra city government then offered a bounty for rat carcasses. They were literally paying the equivalent of $4 U.S. for each dead rat brought to their doorstep. Like many incentive programs, it failed miserably. This actually lead to a bigger rat problem, as the city’s citizens actually started farming rats just to slaughter and turn in for cash.

Point being that financial incentives may work initially, but rarely work long term. They may even backfire. Keep that in mind the next time you decide to start paying your kids for good grades.

Example of Incentives Failing, & Eventually Working

A New York hospital asked it’s doctors to self report the rates of personal hand washing behavior. Some 73% of doctors reported washing their hands when they were supposed to. What they didn’t know is that the nurses where actually asked to spy on the doctors and record their real data. The truth was only 9% of doctors actually washed when they were required. An incentive of a $10 Starbucks gift card was added when the docs washed. The number immediately rose to nearly 100%. Funny how none of us can turn down free stuff. What eventually occurred was that the incentive didn’t change long term behavior. In a last ditch effort, the hospital administration took petri dish samples of the bacteria on the Dr.’s hands, looked at them under a microscope, and converted the results to images. The results were pretty disturbing, and the images where used as screen savers on every computer in the hospital. Being constantly reminded by these images, changed the behavior at the hospital.

A Few Points Made By Stephen Dubner

  • Find the data that represents the real world, and really challenge the data to best reflect real world application.
  • We all have declared preferences, and real preferences for everything, especially with our business goals. There is typically a huge difference between the two.
  • Collect data before making real decisions; know what is really happening (real preferences, not declared).
  • Success is a proxy for honesty.
  • It’s hard to get people to do the right thing, even with incentives.
  • Compensation doesn’t change long term behavior, but incentives do matter. Find the right incentives.
  • 10-20 smaller ideas that you experiment with are better than one big idea (Ahem politicians).
  • Don’t accept artificial barriers. Mental barriers have huge impacts.
  • Look at problems differently than other people are looking at them (Stephen shared the story of Takeru Kobayashi’s success at the hotdog eating contest).

PestWorld Educational Sessions

 

There were another 24 breakout educational sessions today, educating us on everything from PMP marketing strategy, to control of squirrels and opossums, to hiring sales superstars. I had the opportunity to sit in on these three educational sessions:

Cockroaches, Crickets, Earwigs & Pillbugs: How Understanding the Biology of Occasional Invaders Can Increase Management Success

I had the great pleasure to listen to Dr. Roger Gold of Texas A&M today; one of the most brilliant minds on all things Arthropoda.  The main point I took away was that understanding the biology of a pest is key to professional pest management (life cycle, nutritional requirements, and environmental selection). GO FOR THE WEAK LINK!  To best control a population you need to eliminate or contaminate at least one resource for life (environment, water, food, etc.).

A few other interesting points: (1) Some customer accounts you can afford to lose, especially if sanitation, harborage, etc. is bad.  (2) He hears about far more cases of cockroaches entering people’s ears than earwigs.

Scorpion 8 eyes

Scorpion Biology, ID and Management

  • Dr. Bob Davis of BASF Pest Control Services spoke on all things scorpions.
  • There are 90 different species found in U.S.; 42 in Arizona. Some live in trees, some on ground. Some in sand, some on rocks.
  • Have long slender bodies, divided into two segments. Head and thorax fused together, abdomen, tail, two pedipalps, and four pair of legs.
  • Have comb-like sensory organs (pectines) on last pair of legs to detect environment, wavelengths, chemical queues and vibrations. Males have larger pectines.
  • Scorpions cannot see very well.
  • Adult scorpions perform elaborate courtship, and then grasp each other. Mating looks like intense fighting. I got to see an amazing video of this I will try to link to later.
  • Females give birth to live young, with average litter size of 26. She will care for them for two weeks on her back.
  • Some scorpions live 20+ years. Leads to heavy populations.
  • Scorpions are not disease vectors.
  • Got to learn to distinguish among Stripe-tailed scorpions (devil scorpions), Striped Bark scorpions,  Arizona Bark scorpions, Whipscorpions, Windscorpions, and Pseudoscorpions.
  • Inspection, identification, assessment, remedial tactics and evaluation are all necessary for scorpion control.  Habitat modification is critical!

Recent Arizona Regulatory Changes & Their Impact On PMP’s

Since I work out of Arizona, for Bulwark Exterminating, I thought it best to sit in on this topic. Vince Craig from the Arizona Department of Agriculture presented on the historic revisions and additions to the Office of Pest Management Laws.

Instead of writing these new laws here, I found it easier to just link to them. The new laws are effective September 13, 2013.

New Arizona Office of Pest Management Laws: http://www.sb.state.az.us/