Zombie Ladybugs

Ladybug_Swarm

Zombies are all the rage these days from hit Hollywood movies, to the critically acclaimed The Walking Dead television series; with some cities even sponsoring Zombie runs.

In the bug world, we’ve become acquainted with zombie ants and zombie bees; now we can add zombie ladybugs to the mix.

In news of the completely cool and awesome, one sting from a parasitic wasp can inflict a newly discovered virus into a ladybug; turning the ladybug into the wasp’s zombie slave.

Zombie Ladybugs

Zombie Ladybug Cocoon
Source: sciencemag.org

In the insect world, stings from wasps aren’t always intended to kill or ward off an intruder. In the case of a parasitic wasp, Dinocampus coccinellae, stinging a ladybug will turn the beetle into a zombie babysitter of sorts.

When the parasitic wasp stings the ladybug, it lays its egg inside the hapless creature. The incubating ladybug goes about it’s business for weeks as the parasitic wasp larva grows within it; feasting on its internal organs. Three weeks later a wasp larva bursts from the ladybug’s belly and weaves itself a cocoon; a cocoon that will be attached to the undercarriage of the bug. You’d think the process would kill the ladybug, but no. The bug simply becomes paralyzed. The virus then takes over the ladybug’s brain.

The ladybug starts to involuntarily twitch, and full zombie transformation has occurred (minus the whole eating brains thing). The poor zombie bug essentially becomes a zombie bodyguard, protecting the wasp egg with its life; watching over the young and fighting off predators. An adult wasp will emerge from the cocoon a week later.

Remarkably, about 25 percent of these zombie ladybugs will recover and return to their non-zombified selves; some even get stung and infected again!

Scientists are studying the process, looking at the potential of the virus being used as a neurological weapon… Used to turn people into zombies!

The cool and crazy insect world continues to amaze!

 

Pest Control- Your Links For The Week

Pest Control- Your Links For The Week

 

Pest Control Links Round-Up
Pest Control Links Round-Up

Killer Bees Swarm Killing Texas Farmer

Imagine working on a tractor, when you happen to disturb a nest of bees in an old chicken coup. Before you know it 40,000 of these bees swarm and vigorously sting you too many times to count. More…

Honey Bees – Bumble Bees – Solitary Bees

Here’s a breakdown of several different types of bees and wasps that might make your summer an unpleasant one. More…

Using Wasps For Pest Control

Here is one of the best pest control articles I’ve come across in a while. There are a lot of beneficial insects out there, and parasitic wasps happen to be one of the more intriguing ones. You can even watch a wasp attack a caterpillar. More…

Pest Control: All You Ever Wanted To Know About Slugs & Snails

Although snails and slugs look harmless enough (just kind of gross and slimy, maybe), they are actually quite destructive to domestic and commercial gardens. More…

Top 10 Pre-Summer Tips to Pest Proof Your Home

Here’s a compiled list of the Top 10 pre-summer maintenance tips to pest-proof your home from Clark Pest Control. More…

 

Pest Of The Week: The Pharaoh Ant (Sugar Ant)

 

IMG_5570
IMG_5570 (Photo credit: Kurt Komoda)

Pharaoh ants (sugar ants) are very tiny ants, measuring only 1/16th of an inch. They are a pale yellow in appearance, with red bodies, and darker shading near the rear of the abdomen. They are common in 49 of the 50 states; the exception being Alaska. These ant pests are found almost anywhere; infesting schools, hospitals, stores, restaurants, and of course residential and commercial properties. Pharaoh ants look to build there nest near sources of water and sugary food sources. These nests can consist of just a few ants, or as many as 2,000 members.

Pharaoh ants are notorious for being a significant pest control problem, especially in areas of Las Vegas, NV. One of the reasons they are so problematic, is because they are very challenging to control. Over-the- counter contact pesticide sprays do not work for Pharaoh ants. In fact, these sprays simply make the problem worse. After being sprayed, the ants will divide themselves into smaller colonies and make more nests around your yard. Professional ant control methods are needed to exterminate these ant pests.

 

Dive-Bombing Wasps

Tiny Dive-Bombing Parasitic Wasps

Parasitic_Wasp_FaceHow cool is this?

A teeny, tiny wasp hunts it’s unsuspecting prey by hovering half an inch above the ground; and attacks by diving-bombing into it’s target.

This newly discovered species of parasitic wasp, Kollasmosoma sentum, is a natural born assassin in the insect world. The tiny wasp will cruise along looking for an ant to assault and deposit an egg into.

When a poor unsuspecting ant is located by the miniature wasp, it will quickly dive and inject an egg into the ant. The ant’s only defense when it realizes it’s being attacked, is to roll over and try to fight back with it’s mandibles and legs. The entire egg laying process only takes a mere 0.052 seconds, and is deadly to the ant. Once attacked by the parasitic wasp, an ant will house the wasp’s larvae and provide the unborn with food until they hatch.

The wasp’s impressive attacks have been filmed and can bee seen below.

Watch Them Attack!

Parasitic Wasp Makes The List of Top 10 New Species 2012

Every year, the International Institute for Species Exploration (IISE) puts together a list of the top 10 newly discovered species. This year, the parasitic dive-bombing wasp (Kollasmosoma sentum) makes the top 10 list according to Arizona State University.

The top 10 species are chosen from a committee of experts, entomologists, and scientific journal editors that evaluate hundreds of entries every year.

Oh, and if you are having problems with wasps of any kind, contact Bulwark Exterminating!