The Oldest Scorpion In The World

The old rocks of the Prehistoric Trackways National Monument in southern New Mexico hid a secret for some 280 million years.

The secret?

The World’s oldest known scorpion!

scorpion fossil
Photo Courtesy Of The New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science

Fossil Discovery: The Oldest Scorpion In The World Found In New Mexico

Scientists recently found the World’s oldest scorpion in the Prehistoric Trackways National Monument in New Mexico. This newly discovered evidence proves once again that scorpions have been on this planet for millions and million of years.

The 280 million year old scorpion fossil doesn’t look like much, but this vague rock impression has been identified as the ONLY fossil impression of an entire scorpion body ever found. The scientists believe that the scorpion rested on the rock for a short time, and then eventually scurried off. The result was an imprint of its body which eventually turned to hardened fossilized stone.

Scientists named the 280 million year old scorpion that they found Alacranichnus; which is a combination of Spanish and Greek meaning scorpion trace.

Scorpion fossils are extremely uncommon worldwide, especially in this extraordinary condition. Most of the time, these fossils are only found in small bits and pieces. In fact, there is actually a huge gap in scorpion fossil records. Currently there are no records for North American scorpions between the newly discovered Permian era scorpion (approximately 280 million years old) to scorpion fossils in the Middle Eocene era (about 45 million years ago).

The amazing new scorpion fossil will be displayed in the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science (NMMNHS) museum’s upcoming Paleozoic Hall.

It has not been determined exactly what species of scorpion is represented in the newly discovered fossil.

scorpionHistory Of Scorpions & Fossils

Scorpions are the oldest known arachnids in the world. Scientists have discovered a few scorpion fossils, dating back to the Silurian Periods about 430 million years ago. These scorpions have been determined to be aquatic scorpions.

Million of years later (359 million to 299 million years ago) in the Carboniferous era, scorpions made their way out of the water, and eventually took to land.

Until this recent discovery in New Mexico, there were no other fossils of land scorpions, with fossils petering out.

Fossil Proves Just How Hardy Scorpions Are

The newly discovered scorpion fossil dates scorpions way back to the beginning of the Permian era.

This fossil confirms that scorpions have survived a lot of huge mass extinction events between then and now, proving what we already know… Scorpions are hardy creatures.

What’s more, seeing how the carbon dioxide levels in the Permian atmosphere were probably three times what they are today on Earth, it’s not likely climate change will stop these hardy arachnids either.

scorpion stingerScorpions

Today, scorpions are considered to be one of the most significant pests that afflict millions of residents throughout much of the Southwest United States.

Scorpions prefer the outdoors but will wander inside through cracks in our homes. In fact, these malevolent stingers can squeeze through cracks as small as a credit card’s width. Once inside, they often make their way into shoes, piles of clothing and beds which, increases the chance of a human being stung.

Seeing a couple scorpions a week in your home would likely qualify as a significant scorpion infestation. In cases such as this, professional scorpion control measures should be taken.

 

Friday Links To Pest Control Information

Pest Control Links Round-UpFriday Links To Pest Control Information

Bless The Bats Of Agriculture

Bat appetites for insect destruction translate to about $3.7 billion worth of pest control in North America each year, but the bat has been dying off because of a deadly disease called White-Nose Syndrome. More…

Top 10 Most Bizarre Pest Control Remedies

These pest control remedies are just plain crazy. Wouldn’t it be easier to just hire a reliable and effective pest control company? You have to see these remedies. More…

Problems Caused by Bird Nests and Preventive Measures for Commercial Buildings

Birds can become pests when they create noise, damage property, cause fires, block ventilation systems, and spread disease. Here are a few tips as to how you can prevent bird nests at commercial buildings. More…

Spider Eyes

Here is an awesome article over at Thrasher Pest Control that explores the question, “why do spiders have so many eyes?” Very cool pictures as well. More…

Red Ant vs. Black Ants- What’s The Difference?

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between a black ant and a red ant? Is there even a difference other than the color? Read more and you’ll find out the differences between red ants and black ants and where you can find each type. More…

Western Desert TarantulaPest Of The Week: The Western Desert Tarantula

If you live in the states of New Mexico or Arizona, or in Northern Mexico, you may have seen a Western Desert tarantula roaming around your property during the rainy summer months. This tarantula is often times referred to as a Mexican Blonde tarantula or an Arizona Blonde tarantula because of their tannish-blonde color. The male spiders may appear more reddish in color, particularly around their abdomens. They may also have black legs. These tarantulas can be huge, by spider standards, reaching body lengths of almost 10 inches.

Although Western Desert tarantulas are considered an eyesore to homeowners throughout the cactus riddled desert areas of the Southwest, they are not considered dangerous. These tarantulas can bite, and these bites can be moderately painful. They are also venomous, but this venom is not very potent. The tiny fibers on the tarantula’s skin can irritate the skin of both humans and predators. Despite these defense mechanisms, many people keep these gentle and docile spiders as pets.

Giant Spider In The Pants

Giant Crab Spider
Giant Arizona Crab Spider

While at work today, I got a frantic phone call from my four year old daughter.

“Daddy,” she cried. “I went to put on my pants and out jumped a big spider!”

“It’s scary Daddy!” “We caught in a jar.”

After a examining the spider, and talking to some spider control professionals, I was able to determine that the spider in question was a Giant Arizona Crab Spider; a common spider in Arizona.

My Daughter Found a Giant Crab Spider In Her Pants

So this is how it all went down. My daughter had been swimming in her inflatable swimming pool the previous day. Caught up in all of the excitement, she jumped into the pool completely dressed, and didn’t bother putting on her swimming suit. Obviously, while doing so her pants got wet. After swimming, she hung them up to dry, inside the house over a chair near our kitchen table. Upon returning to the dry pants the next morning she made a horrific discovery.

As my daughter went to put on her now dry pants, a giant brown spider leaped off of them and ran across the floor and up the wall. She screamed! She called for her mom who captured the spider in a jar so it could be identified.

At first it was believed to be a very poisonous and potentially deadly desert recluse spider. I brought the spider into work, and asked the spider control professionals here at Bulwark Exterminating what kind of spider it was. It was quickly determined that the spider found in my daughter pants was not a deadly desert recluse, but a Giant Arizona Crab Spider.

Giant Crab Spider
Giant Crab Spider

After a few “Oooohs” and “Awes,” “Yikes” and “Wows” from everybody in the office, I set the spider free so it could continue keeping us all free from roaches, crickets, and other annoying pests.

The spider was likely attracted to the moisture in my daughters then wet pants, as spiders need water to survive just like the rest of us.

Giant Crab Spiders

Called Giant Crab Spiders because their legs extend sideways like a crab, these spiders also move side-to-side to catch prey much like a crab would. They can be huge, measuring almost three inches across in diameter.

The huge spider is a tannish brown in color, and appears to be wearing black socks on each of its eight legs. The spider has big black jaws called chelicerae that it uses to crunch crickets and other insects it devours. Because of it’s size and coloring, it’s often times confused for a Wolf spider. Giant Crab spiders are easy to distinguish from Wolf spiders because they are great climbers, while Wolf spiders are not.

Although extremely intimidating in nature, Giant Crab spiders are not dangerous even though they can bite. Reportedly the bite is painful.

Giant Crab spiders are common in Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Texas, and Utah.

Pest Control For Carpenter Ants

Head of a Black Carpenter Ant (Camponotus penn...
Head of a Black Carpenter Ant (Camponotus pennsylvanicus) (Photo credit: Thomas Shahan)

There is much confusion out there when it comes to Carpenter ants. Carpenter ants are frequently confused with termites, because they both nest in wood. The following article is intended for pest control professionals and homeowners alike, who are in need of some answers when it comes to identifying, and treating Carpenter ants. 

Knowing a little more about these Carpenter ants can help homeowners and pest management professionals take some preventative measures to minimize damage to homes. If it’s too late, and you fear that you may have a Carpenter ant infestation, please enlist the help of a licensed ant control professional who can administer the proper insecticides. 

The 3 Most Common Types of Carpenter Ants 

Across the lower 48 states, some 14 different species of Carpenter ant can be found in all their variety. Most share similar characteristics, like nesting in wood, but there are a few slight differences in appearance, geography, and habits. Here are the three most common species that threaten US homes: 

Carpenter Ant

Description: This image shows a Carpenter ant ...

Simply called the Carpenter ant (Camponotus vicinus), it is found primarily in the Pacific Northwest; but is also found in California, Idaho, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Montana, and Oklahoma. These ants have a black head, red thorax, and black abdomen. Like other Carpenter ants, this ant can be a serious structural pest. 

Western Carpenter Ant 

Western Carpenter Ant, Camponotus modoc

 

The Western Carpenter ant (Camponotus modoc) is a foraging ant that is commonly found in the states west of the Mississippi River. They have a dull black body with reddish legs. One easy way to distinguish the Western Carpenter ant from other ant pests is that this ant has a circular ring of gold colored hairs on its abdomen. 

Black Carpenter Ant 

Black Carpenter Ant: Camponotus pennsylvanicus...

The Black Carpenter ant (Camponotus pennsylvanicus), is the most common Carpenter ant pest in the United States. Found primarily in the Eastern United States, the ant is sometimes referred to as the Pennsylvania Carpenter ant. The Black Carpenter ant is distinguishable from other Carpenter ant species by the dull black color of the head and body; as well as white-yellow hairs on the abdomen. 

 

Pest Control For Carpenter Ants: 5 Steps 

When it comes to eliminating Carpenter ants, it’s not as easy as spraying them with a can of over-the-counter insecticide. These ants are tremendously resilient. While you may kill a few of the surface ants, a hundred thousand more may be hiding deep inside the nest. There are five basic steps that need to be taken to successfully eliminate Carpenter ants. 

carpenter ant damage under the front window sill
Carpenter ant damage under the front window sill (Photo credit: 123yvo)

Step 1: Inspection. The first step in controlling a Carpenter ant infestation is to thoroughly inspect the suspect property. It is best to determine the nest’s location as specifically as possible. Look for the signs of Carpenter ants, including sawdust piles around dead or rotting wood. The nest may be located by careful and patient observations of worker ants, especially between sunset and midnight during spring and summer months when carpenter ants are most active. You can increase your chances of following workers to their nest by setting out cat food that is attractive to carpenter ants. Place the food in areas where you find workers. Sometimes sound detection methods are equally as effective. Listen for the chewing of wood. Carpenter ants tend to be noisy within their nest, so listening devices may be needed to help pinpoint the exact location of the colony. 

Step 2: Identification. Once you have discovered the ants, and/or the nest, you can now determine what type of ant is infesting your property. Different species of ant may require different treatment techniques. Specimens may need to be taken for positive identification. If the ants are found nesting in wood, you almost certainly have a Carpenter ant problem. 

Step 3: Recommendation. After inspecting your property, and identifying the type of ant pest, you will need a plan of action. Multiple treatments may be necessary to completely control or eliminate a Carpenter ant colony. Sometimes, Carpenter ant nests are hidden in wall voids, ceilings, attics, or hollow doors. It is usually necessary for an ant control professional to drill small holes inside your home to apply insecticide into the nest area. Occasionally, the answer may be as simple as removing a nest that is found in some decaying wood around the property. Another common recommendation is to remove conditions that are supporting the Carpenter ants (i.e. unused wood, tree stumps, etc.) 

carpenter ant damage
Carpenter ant damage (Photo credit: Dave Bonta)

Step 4: Treatment. Treat Carpenter ant nests with a residual insecticide applied either as a dust or spray. You may need to drill small holes into wall voids, window and door sills, baseboards and other areas to reach the nest or major part of the colony. Pesticide dusts are particularly effective, as ant activity tends to spread the dust throughout the colony. For colonies in wall voids, inject an insecticide dust, such as Drione or Tempo, or inject voids with Premise Foam. 

When choosing an insecticide, opt for those containing active ingredients like chlorfenapyr, fipronil, or any of the pyrethroids (permethrin, cypermethrin, cyfluthrin, deltamethrin). For effective perimeter treatments, apply Temprid SC, Tempo, Suspend or DeltaGard G. 

Baits with active ingredients such as hydramethylnon, fipronil, and abamectin, are labeled for Carpenter ants. The colony can be controlled successfully if foraging ants take the bait to the queen. Place Maxforce Carpenter Ant Bait Gel on foraging trails, near suspected nest locations. 

Step 5: Evaluation. The key to long-term success in controlling and eliminating Carpenter ants is to follow up and assess the effectiveness of the measures taken. Additional treatments may be necessary to ensure the ants never come back. 

Ant Control 

As previously mentioned; if you are a property owner who is battling Carpenter ants, please seek the assistance of an ant control professional before attempting to exterminate these dangerous ants.