The Most Loved Bugs

For many of us, the term “most loved bugs” seems like an oxymoron. While many bugs do have some redeeming qualities; most of us wouldn’t say we love bugs like blood sucking bedbugs, stinging wasps, biting ants, destructive termites, or disease carrying cockroaches.

Still, despite the bad reputations of some bugs, there are actually several out there that many of us do love!

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, and romance in the air, I’m curious… which bug is the fairest of them all? “WHAT IS THE MOST LOVED BUG?”

I turned to Pinterest to evaluate, and based on number of pins, here are the 2015 rankings of the most loved bugs:

Most Loved Bug

Why Are Butterflies Disappearing?

English: Français : Accouplement de monarques ...

When was the last time you saw a monarch butterfly?

Think about it…

You may be thinking for awhile.

Growing up I used to watch in awe as these beautiful black and orange Monarch butterflies fluttered around my dad’s garden; and watched in amazement as they fed on my mom’s hummingbird feeder. I also remember growing them in elementary school, enjoying them develop from caterpillar to butterfly. I miss those days. Now that I’m grown I can’t remember the last time I saw one of these elegant creatures.

The truth is, butterflies like the Monarch butterfly have seemingly become more and more rare across North America. Monarch butterfly numbers are down almost 60 percent this year, marking the third straight year of a decline in numbers. Why are these beautiful butterflies disappearing?

The Decline In Monarch Butterfly Populations

Every winter, Monarch butterflies migrate from the United States and Canada, down to the fir tree forest mountains of Central Mexico. It’s during this migration when scientists perform an annual census to get an accurate count of the butterfly’s numbers.

This last winter, the Monarch butterfly populations were down almost 60 percent by most accounts. Shockingly, the butterflies covered just 2.93 acres of forest; down from 7.14 acres last year.

Since the inception of the butterfly census some 20 years ago, this is the lowest number of Monarch butterflies ever accounted for. This last migration also marked the third straight year of a decline in the number of butterflies; and a decline in six of the last seven years.

Scientists estimate that there are now only 1/15 the amount of butterflies in North America, and this has them worried. Some cities in Mexico that where used to seeing hundreds-of-thousands of Monarch butterflies each winter, are now seeing zero. This is alarming! The decline in Monarch butterflies is now a statistical long term trend.

Monarch Butterfly, El Rosario Sanctuary, Micho...

Theories Behind The Monarch’s Decline

The World Wildlife Fund, who sponsors the annual butterfly census in Mexico, has offered a few theories behind this 15 percent decline in butterfly populations.

Decline of Milkweed. Experts agree that the decline of milkweed, in which the Monarch feeds, is one of the biggest contributing factors to the decline of Monarch butterflies. The loss of milkweed in the Monarchs’ summering areas in the United States and Canada also make it difficult for the butterflies to lay eggs. The few offspring that do hatch do not have enough food to grow to maturity.

Illegal Logging. The Monarch butterfly has a private reserve established for their wintering grounds in Mexico, but that hasn’t stopped some companies from illegally taking the Monarch’s much need fir trees. Illegal logging has devastated as many as 1,140 acres a year in the reserve.

Herbicides. Herbiciding of corn and soybean fields kills the butterflies’ much needed milkweed, in which they feed.

Unusual Hot & Dry Weather. Unusual hot or dry weather can kill the Monarch’s eggs, which in turn, means fewer adult butterflies.

Drought In Mexico. Monarchs don’t drink any water throughout their long migration until the reach Mexico, and the mountain streams in the area have been affected by drought and human use.

Agricultural Practices. The diversion of water and the use of pesticides to control milkweed have had negative effects on the Monarch’s survival. Without abundant water and milkweed, the butterflies die off because of hunger and dehydration.

Saving The Monarch Butterfly

Monarch Butterfly

The United States, Canada, and Mexico need to face the fact that it is their collective behavior that is killing the migratory phenomenon of the Monarch butterfly. No one country is to blame. These three countries need to work together to solve this problem.

Agricultural practices may need to be changed to give the Monarch’s a better supply of food and water. Herbicide usage needs to be addressed. Illegal logging activities need to be cracked down upon; with a more sever penalty for breaking the law.

Contact the World Wildlife Fund to see what they are doing to help save this beautiful butterfly, and to get more information on what you can do to help.

http://worldwildlife.org/species/monarch-butterfly

A Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus) on a Pu...

The Monarch Butterfly

The Monarch butterfly is possibly the most recognizable butterfly in the United States, so much so, that it’s the state insect of Alabama, Texas, West Virginia, Vermont, Idaho, Minnesota, and Illinois. They are also one of the most beloved insects in the entire world. Monarch butterfly enthusiasts often times plant gardens of milkweed to attract feeding butterflies.

Adult monarchs have been seen on a large variety of different nectar plants, but prefer that of the milkweed. They are often seen in meadows, fields, parks, gardens, trees, and roadsides.

The Monarch butterfly might be best known for its migration, which is an inherited trait. Every winter, Monarch butterflies migrate from the United States and Canada, down to the fir tree forest mountains of Central Mexico. No butterfly lives to make the round-trip. The millions of Monarchs cluster so densely on tree boughs in the reserves of Mexico; researchers don’t count their individual numbers, but rather measure the amount of forest they cover. It’s quite an impressive site.

 

Top 10 Bands Named After Pests

I recently had a lot of fun putting together a Spotify playlist of popular bug songs. While putting it together, I found several bands that also shared their names with pests. Here is my top ten bands named after bugs or pests:

10. Katydids

The Katydids reached stardom briefly in the early 90’s before guitarist Adam Seymour left the bad to play with The Pretenders. Before splitting, The Katydids released two moderately successful albums entitled Katydids (1991) and Shangri-la (1991).

Katydids 

Katydids, also known as long-horned grasshoppers, are best known for their appearance that mimics that of a leaf.

9. Adam and the Ants

Adam and the Ants, led by singer Adam Ant, became notable as a British cult band during the late-1970s punk rock era. Adam and the Ants have had a major influence on artists like Nine Inch Nails and Fat Boy Slim during the band’s short career.

The lineup for Adam and the Ants in 1981.
The lineup for Adam and the Ants in 1981. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ants are one of the most successful groups of insects, and a common pest. They are social insects that live in underground colonies, but many enter buildings looking for food.

8. Iron Butterfly

Iron Butterfly
Cover of Iron Butterfly

Iron Butterfly rose to fame in the late 1960’s. They were even booked to play at Woodstock, but were unable to after getting stranded at the airport. Their album, In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida is one of the world’s 40 top-selling albums, selling more than 30 million copies.

While Butterflies are generally not considered pests, some species can damage domestic crops or trees in their larval stages. Traditionally, butterflies are a popular motif in the visual and literary arts across many different cultures.

7. Papa Roach

Papa Roach has sold more than 18 million album copies worldwide, and are best known for their songs “Last Resort”, and “…To Be Loved.” Their music is best described as rap metal. Their first album, Infest, reached triple platinum in 2000.

Time and Time Again
Time and Time Again (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Roaches are one of the most common and hardy household pests in the United States. They invade our homes looking for their favorite foods like sugary sweets, salty snacks, and even hair or fingernails.

6. Alien Ant Farm

Alien Ant Farm got their name from a dream guitarist Terry Corso had about aliens cultivating the human race, like we were all in an ant farm. The band has had four successful albums, and has contributed to several Hollywood movie soundtracks; including 2002’s Spiderman. Their most popular song is “Smooth Criminal.”

Alien Ant Farm
Alien Ant Farm (Photo credit: woohoo_megoo)

The United States hosts almost 1,000 different species of ants. While they are considered one of the most common household pests, only 25 species commonly infest homes.

5. Ratt

One of the biggest bands in the early 80’s glam metal scene was Ratt. Their songs “Round and Round,” “Lay It Down,” and “Wanted Man” helped to launch the band into superstardom.

Lay It Down (Ratt song)
Lay It Down (Ratt song) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rats are very common household pests during the colder winter months. If you are seeing droppings, fresh gnawing, or tracks near your property; chances are you might have a serious rat infestation.

4. Buddy Holly and The Crickets

Even though Buddy Holly and The Crickets’ success was short lived because of an unfortunate plane crash, they may be one of the single most influential creative forces in early rock and roll. “That’ll be the Day” is the group’s most popular recording; and in 2011 Buddy Holly was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

01 - Buddy Holly & The Crickets
01 – Buddy Holly & The Crickets (Photo credit: Bradford Timeline)

Crickets are best known for their characteristic chirping noise, used by males to attract female crickets. As the temperatures rises, their songs become louder and faster.

3. Scorpions

Just by listening to “Rock You Like a Hurricane” before any football game, one comes to the realization that Scorpions are one of the greatest hard rock bands of all time. In case you need any more proof, the band has sold over 150 million records, released 23 albums over the last 40 years, and played around 5,000 concerts in over 80 countries.

Ralph Rieckermann of Scorpions.
Ralph Rieckermann of Scorpions. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Much like the band, scorpions have been around a long time and are incredibly resilient. They require a focused pest control strategy. A testament to their durability was proven when lab experiments froze scorpions for weeks, leaving them unharmed when they were thawed. On top of that, after U.S. nuclear testing scorpions were discovered near ground zero with no adverse side effects.

2. Bee Gees

The Bee Gees, made up of brothers Robin, Maurice, and Barry Gibb were one of the biggest recording artists during the late 60’s to early 70’s. During the group’s 45 years of stardom, only Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Michael Jackson, Garth Brooks and Paul McCartney have outsold them.

Publicity photo of the Bee Gees.
Publicity photo of the Bee Gees. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While bees are considered beneficial insects by pollinating plants, they earn the title of pest by stinging and contributing to several deaths a year; common when a sting victim has a severe allergic reaction.

1. The Beatles

The Beatles are the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed act in the history of popular music. John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr have sold 177 million albums in the US, more than any other artist.

I'm Happy Just to Dance with You
I’m Happy Just to Dance with You (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Beetles constitute almost 25 percent of all known life-forms; more than any other order in the animal kingdom. There are some species of Beetle that have been awarded the distinction of pest. A few include: the Colorado potato beetle, the boll weevil and the Carpet beetle. They repeatedly create insect control problems when they invade and destroy household items and agricultural crops.

I hope you enjoyed my list. Did I miss any?