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Captain Stan’s ‘Creature Features’ – Volume 2 – Scorpions May 2022

By | blog, Creature Feature, scorpions | No Comments

Welcome to the second edition of ‘Captain Stan’s Creature Features,’ where we are looking at some of the more interesting animals in the pest management universe.  This month, the star of the show is the scorpion, an arthropod that strikes fear into many who encounter one of them.  Some interesting facts follow:

  • Scorpions are arachnids, not insects, so they are close cousins to spiders, ticks, daddy longlegs, and others.
  • Scorpions have a very impressive method for hunting their food. They will quickly grab their potential meal with their pincers, and then whip their telson (the poisonous tip of their tale) forward, sting their prey, and well, soon begin snacking!
  • There are about 2,000 species worldwide, and they are found on six of the 7 continents.
  • Some species give birth to over 100 live offspring, which then quickly climb on mommy’s back where they hitch a ride and are fed for several weeks.
  • A scorpion’s venom takes lots of energy to produce. It is used for subduing prey, self-defense, and, in some species, mating. Even newborn scorpions have potent venom so don’t underestimate them!
  • Under a UV or ‘black light’, scorpions will noticeably glow They are active primarily at night.
  • The scorpion is one of the twelve signs of the Zodiac, appearing as Scorpio The Scorpion. Under the right conditions and time of year, the constellation is easily seen.  It is very impressive.

Do Mosquitoes See Colors and Does It Matter If They Do?

By | blog, Mosquitoes | No Comments

By: Captain Stan The Mosquito Man | May 2022

Scientists have long tried to figure out if mosquitoes actually see (and react) to colors and if so, what does it really mean?  Does it influence their behavior?  Results of many studies have been mixed.  We know that the #1 attractant to a hungry, blood-seeking female mosquito is carbon dioxide.  It is also believed that warmth and colors may be influential in host selection.

A recent study again took a look at the impact of colors.  Briefly, the behavior of three different species were studied, using a small wind tunnel, multiple cameras, and other equipment.  Two colored spots, one being a white control, were placed on the floor of the wind tunnel.  Different colors were tested.  Then, 50 mated, unfed females of each species (the species were tested separately) were released in the tunnel.  What happened?  The mosquitoes ignored the colored spots. After one hour, however, carbon dioxide was introduced into the tunnel and the mosquitoes then started exploring the spots!  The colors found to be most attractive were red and black; those least attractive were blue, green. and violet.

A second set of experiments, similar to the first were then done.  This time, instead of colored spots, spots of different human skin tones were used.  Results showed that mosquitoes were somewhat attracted to the different skin tones but showed no preference.  The authors concluded, among other things, that contrast (light vs. dark) was more important for mosquito attraction than actual colors.  Interpretation of results such as these, acquired in a laboratory setting with controlled conditions, are difficult to extrapolate to what is actually happening in nature.  The general consensus, at least for now, is that mosquitoes SEE colors, at least some, but how this impacts their behaviors is still to be determined.

Captain Stan’s ‘Creature Features’ – Volume 1

By | Honeybees, Insects, Tips & Inspirations | No Comments

Welcome to the inaugural edition of ‘Captain Stan’s Creature Features,’ where we will take a look at some of the more interesting animals in the pest management universe.  This month, the star of the show is one of our important non-target organisms, the honeybee (Apis mellifera)  and here are interesting facts about this highly beneficial insect:

 

  • The honeybee is the only insect that produces a food eaten by humans (and lots of other animals!)
  • Bees have 5 eyes; two large compound eyes on either side of the head and 3 smaller eyes, called ocelli, in the center of the head.
  • Honeybees fly about 15 miles per hour, and their wings stroke 11,400 times per minute, resulting in their distinctive buzz.
  • A queen bee can lay up to 2,000 eggs per day.
  • About 62 people die in the US each year from bee, wasp, and hornet stings.
  • Losing its stinger results in the death of a honeybee but not wasps and hornets.
  • Honeybees pollinate about 130 agricultural crops in the US, and through pollination, they are responsible for about 1/3 of everything we eat.
  • In the hive, honeybees communicate both direction and distance of a food source to other bees. This is done by something called the ‘waggle dance.’
  • A honeybee visits 50-100 flowers on one trip, and one forager must collect nectar from about 2 million flowers to make 1 pound of honey.
  • An average beehive can contain about 50,000 honeybees.
  • And CAPT Stan’s favorite – Fermented honey, known as ‘mead,’ is the most ancient fermented beverage! Legend has it that the term ‘honeymoon’ originated with the Norse practice of consuming large quantities of mead during the first month of marriage!

Honeybees are obviously important to our ecosystems, agricultural practices, and our economy.  Pest professionals should always make every effort to protect them.  I recommend you check to see if your area of service has a ‘beekeeper hotline’ or other source.  You can use that to find out who keeps beehives and where they are located.  Bee kind to the honeybee!