Do Beetles Bite? Facts About The Blister Beetle
Among our common garden insects, we find the blister-beetle family. They are remarkable because of the greater number of changes that they go through during their life compared to the usual metamorphosis of most beetles. Do beetles bite?
Blister beetles are known to have narrow thoraxes, broad heads, slender-legged insects and soft-bodied, usually medium to large in size. They rarely bite humans, but a sure pest to gardens and fields.
They vary in colors from gray, black or brown to bright metallic shades of red, blue, green or yellow. All of them are vegetable feeders in the adult stage, their food consisting of the leaves, flower petals, or pollen of various species of plants.
Our most common and destructive species in the East, belonging to the genus Epicauta, does considerable damage in our gardens.
A yellow and black-striped form is known as the “old-fashioned potato beetle.” The “margined blister beetle,” is also known to attack potatoes, and completely defoliates the plants in certain areas.
They also feed on the foliage of beets, tomatoes, and especially clematis. This species is grayish-black in color, always with the margins of the wing covers gray, measuring about ⅝ of an inch in length. One of our most common species is the black blister beetle that occurs very commonly on goldenrod.
But, all this has nothing to do with the name “blister beetle,” which was given to it on account of its peculiar physiological properties. A substance called “cantharidin” is found to a greater or less extent in the bodies of nearly all members of the family.
This substance, when applied to the skin, causes an inflammatory, or blistering effect. To utilize this property the beetles are dried and pulverized, and the powder thus obtained is made use of in medicine.
The beetles in general use for this purpose come from Spain and other European countries, and are known under the name of “Spanish fly.” Returning to the remarkable life history, we find that the adult females deposit large numbers of eggs on the ground or on plants, depending on the species of blister beetles concerned.
These eggs hatch into very long-legged larvae that run about in search of food. Some of these active youngsters find the eggs of grasshoppers upon which they feed.
According to statistics, however, even this habit is of questionable value, as they also destroy other more valuable parasites of the grasshopper eggs.
Other species of these slender-legged blister beetle larva find an occasion where they seek out bees.
When the right one comes along, they attach themselves to the hairy body and are carried home by the unsuspecting bee to her nest. Here the young blister beetle after stealing the ride makes itself at home in the bee’s nest and proceeds to devour the bee eggs and larvae.
Finally, the accumulated stores that were provided for the young bees. During this time the blister beetle has completed its own complicated life cycle, has transformed completely, and instead of the bee, an adult beetle will emerge.
Bugs That Bite At Night And Other Tales Of Nuisance Insects
Termites and bugs that bite at night are indeed small creatures, but they are of great nuisance value to many homeowners.
Cockroaches and rodents can make kitchen activity a nightmarish experience, and biting insects like fleas, bedbugs, spiders, mosquitoes and some tiny flies can even constitute a health hazard.
Somewhere outside your home, stagnant water may appear seemingly harmless, but it is here most insects and pests and particularly mosquitoes breed.
After every rainfall, you must take extra care to see there are no pools of stagnant water anywhere near or around your house which, if unattended, can become a mosquito paradise.
Make sure you create a proper rainwater drainage system to permanently prevent water collection.
There are insecticide products available in the market that you can apply particularly in the vulnerable parts of your garden as well as inside the house to prevent insects from breeding. Checking these areas periodically to ensure there are no termites or biting insects is essential.
Make it a point to regularly check the inner as well as exterior walls of your house for cracks and crevices as these openings are an open invitation for all types of termites and biting insects. These cracks and crevices must be sealed as soon as you notice them.
It will be a wise move to spray the perimeter of your house, floor skirts, windows, doors and the base of the foundation, with a chemical barrier to prevent crawling insects from wandering at your threshold and subsequently invading the inside of your house.
Spraying a bit of boric acid or boric powder all over your bathroom and toilet floors, particularly during nights, will prevent biting insects, mice, rodents and cockroaches, and other pests from visiting the area.
However, be careful with the boric acid if you have children and pets inside the house.
If the problem is acute and you are not able to get rid of the menace of termites and pests, it is prudent to summon a pest control professional for wholesome pesticide treatment of your house.
Pest control experts work with bug control products as well as some commonly known toxic chemicals.
There are several things you can do to prevent biting insects and other garden pests from laying eggs inside or in the vicinity of your house.
For example, keeping your garden clean and free from stagnant water and accumulation of filth would mean that the pests and insects and other creatures will be devoid of a proper place to lay their eggs.
Long grasses too are areas where insects can lay eggs and hence make sure that the grasses are trimmed at regular intervals and there are no bushes or wild patches inside your garden and surrounding your house.
To sum up, it is not too difficult to prevent termites and biting insects from getting into your house if you are willing to spend a little time every week for maintenance and pest prevention work.
The Most Painful Insect Sting: Performing First Aid
The most painful insect sting and bites and stings can cause allergic reactions and pain. This can also cause swelling, loss of breath, redness and even anxiety.
Insects and bugs play a huge role in the ecosystem. They serve as food for other critters that are higher on the food chain, help decompose plants and dead animals, pollinate plants, and so on.
For this reason, insects and bugs are usually overlooked as a real threat. When we see pesky flies, mosquitoes, ants, or other creepy crawlies, we think that they are simply annoying, but are they?
Bugs and insects carry diseases that can kill anyone every year and sicken millions more. Some of these insects and bugs have sting and venoms that can easily kill humans, but the biggest threat is their ability to transmit diseases.
Although most bugs and insects are harmless, there are a few that are very dangerous. Here are some of the most dangerous critters that you must know of.
Scorpions are arachnids. There are about 2,000 different species of scorpion around the world and at least 40 of them live in North America. This type of arachnid has eight legs but they also have a pair of crab-like pincer in front and a stinger at the tip of their tail.
The claws can be dangerous but its stinger at the tail poses the most danger. It is rare for scorpions to sting humans but when they do, the symptoms can be severe.
Black Widow Spider
There are about 30,000 different types of spiders, but the Black Widow is one of the most feared. This type of spider is dark with light red or orange markings on the female’s abdomen. The females are poisonous and it can be deadly to humans.
Bees and Wasps
Bees have stingers that are venomous. When they sting an individual, it can result in severe symptoms that may even lead to death. Wasps, on the other hand, can deliver multiple attacks which can be very dangerous indeed.
It may come as a surprise to you but, mosquitoes are among the most dangerous insects in the world. They are also found in almost every country. Most people consider them as merely a nuisance and as a pest, but they are among the main agents for some of the world’s deadliest diseases.
Mosquitoes have a needle-like projection known as proboscis which they use to suck the blood from humans and animals.
They are known carriers of various diseases, such as West Nile virus, encephalitis, and yellow fever. There are also some types of mosquitoes that carry malaria.
For those who are hypersensitive to insect bites should carry a kit containing epinephrine and antihistamine. To be safe and sure, carry it with you where ever you go.
If immediately after a bite you feel dizzy or begin to flush, get hives, diarrhea or feel as if you are going to lose consciousness, get to an ER.
House Cricket Profile: Mole Crickets
Mole crickets, a house cricket that is quite common in many outdoor homes, are so-called because they look like moles, live underground and feed on small insects, plant roots, tubers, vegetables, underground stems of grasses and earthworms found in the soil.
They reach a length of nearly 1 1/2 inches and are dull brown. The front legs are shovel-like and modified for digging.
Damage to Lawns Caused By Mole Crickets
Mole crickets can cause lawn damage in two ways. First, direct damage is caused by the mole crickets chewing on grassroots
Secondly, and probably more serious, is the damage caused by the burrows or tunnels. Mole crickets loosen the soil around the root system, causing the roots to dry out. It tears plants from their growing places, destroys roots, and pushes mounds of soil above the turf.
A single mole cricket may claw and tunnel through more than a dozen feet of lawn in a day.
The Mole Cricket Life Cycle
During early Spring, the female hollows out egg cells 3 to 10 inches deep into the soil. During March, they become active and feed.
By May or June, they are mature and large numbers of adults leave the soil to mate. Feeding activity reaches a peak when temperatures are warm and moisture from rains or irrigation is extremely high. In the late fall, they burrow deeper into the soil and form the overwintering cells.
Controlling Mole Crickets
In the old days, insects were normally treated almost exclusively by one form of insecticide or another. Many of these are now known to have been harmful to the wider environment, including humans and choices today are much more restricted.
There is also a huge range of green products that act to turn insects away rather than seeking to kill them. Many of these are entirely natural products and can be very effective, though not everyone will agree with that viewpoint.
One way to control mole crickets is to use chemical treatment. Started early enough, this would also be effective in preventing mole crickets from entering your lawn.
Maxforce Granules is an effective chemical that can be used. These are sprinkled around the yard before a rain.
Mole crickets feeding on these granules die immediately. However, this is effective only if the mole crickets have not yet established themselves in the yard. If there are mole cricket nests already, it would need regular chemical treatment of once a month for at least three months.
Orthene Turf WP and Talstar Granules are other popularly used products for controlling mole crickets. These chemicals are also available in concentrated liquid form, dust, wettable powders, and aerosol forms.
Acephate (Orthene), carbaryl (Sevin), chlorpyrifos (Dursban), diazinon (Diazinon, Spectracide), Malathion, or propoxur (Baygon) are other commonly used insecticides.
Some basic methods to control mole crickets from entering the house are: avoid the use of bright lights outside since crickets get attracted to bright lights; seal any cracks in windows, doors, floors, and walls. Always clean the surface areas and keep the house clean at all times.
The acidic nature of bird droppings was not the only problem homeowners and businesses face. Pigeons, who eat gravel, would defecate on the roof and their fecal matter would clog the drains creating an even bigger problem: germination. And this is where the need for pigeon control begins.
The high nitrogen content of the droppings offered a great environment for seeds to grow at an accelerated rate in the drainage system.
Without sunlight, the plants die and clog the drains. Once droppings dry, it is a race to get them off the surface to avoid degradation of the mostly-organic roofing materials.
Pigeon droppings on asphalt and pressed wood fiber, found in roofing materials, can mildew.
Birds carry over sixty diseases, a few of which can be lethal. Those who spend a lot of time outdoors working in construction zones are at a high risk of contracting one of these diseases since these types of environments are very attractive to birds.
Mix the fecal matter with pools of water and the disease becomes airborne, filtrating through ventilation systems, being breathed in by employees and patrons, and causing quite a mess for a company.
Another big mess? The liability factor. Some species can produce up to 1.5 pounds of fecal matter a day, and slip-and-fall incidents are all too common these days. Unassuming passersby can stir up a stink.
The New York Transit Authority was ordered to pay a man millions after he slipped on pigeon droppings on subway stairs. Can your company afford a $6-million-dollar lawsuit?
Luckily, there are ways to prevent these potential disasters. Many people use methods that are harmful and not all that effective. One resident tried snakes and owls, which only worked when they were moved constantly, and tar, which killed the birds.
For the cost and labor, he said, it was not worth the expense since the birds returned.
Lethal methods may solve the problem in the short-term, but remember that killing the birds only eliminates the ones that are presently roosting. Killing them does not take away from the fact that your property is bird-friendly.
Disrupting The Pattern
A good start is ultrasonic sound devices. They deliver ultra high-frequency sound waves that are beyond the normal human hearing threshold. The sound annoys the birds, discouraging them from inhabiting areas in earshot.
Homeowners described their problem with the pigeons roosting on the steel beams on their site. The odor and mess the pigeons caused were disrupting the progress and bothering the workers.
Some made the mistake of bad bird-control devices and had no luck in getting rid of the birds. After he put up the ultrasonic device, though, the pigeons left almost immediately.
Putting spikes anywhere attractive to the birds, like wires and beams, will prevent them from roosting. The spikes provide an uneven surface, making it inconvenient for birds to set up shop.
There are also gels that are safe to apply to all surfaces. The gel makes the surface sticky, forcing the birds elsewhere.
If all else fails, call your local birds nest removal company for effective services.
Bird Control: What To Do With Pigeons?
Pigeons are commonly found in all parts of the world. They are adorable creatures as long as they are out of the house and bird control is required for everyone’s health safety.
In reality, birds perching in the balcony or windowpanes can be dangerous since they carry bacteria and viruses that spread diseases.
To understand how pigeons or birds for that matter can become a health hazard to humans, we need to understand these two points: Birds can have diseases that they can transmit and they can also host parasites that have the diseases.
In either case, it’s really easy to spread the diseases because birds can move around in a wide area during their life.
Another way they can transmit these diseases is, for example, this possibility: when pigeon’s feces contaminate soil that eventually dries, this leads to the microscopic pieces becoming airborne.
Contaminated air can cause respiratory infection. With many birds around, this happens quite a lot of apartment buildings.
Infections can also occur when people (whether in the residential or commercial property) have direct contact with bird droppings on a wound or a cut.
How To Handle Pigeon Problems
Knowing how pigeons transmit diseases is the first step. Now we can work on a few guidelines that can help in case of a pigeon infestation.
It’s important that you pay close attention and seek out birds nests and droppings nests in closed areas such as apartment buildings, garage, or other establishments close to your residence.
If you find a high amount of dropping you may have an issue, by the way, pigeons outside in your park don’t mean that you have an issue. Now, if you own a restaurant and you notice the problem on your rooftop, that’s a real matter for concern.
While working on the issue, whether you have the help of a professional bird removal company or you are handling the problem yourself, it is highly recommended that you use a mask, goggles and protective clothing for safety measures.
You also need to disinfect the whole affected area. It’s not enough that you get rid of the birds and wash the area only with water. You need to do a deep cleaning with antibacterial detergents and other cleaning solutions.
Some homeowners can keep the pigeons at bay by making the house look dull and avoiding the birds to enter the house. They can fend off pigeons by making sure that, vulnerable spots like window roofs are dry and there is no puddle.
Another very effective measure for pigeon control is to avoid feeding them and other birds.
Attics and rooftops are generally the most common places where pigeons find it very easy to nest. Steps must be taken to secure these places to discourage pigeons from returning to the spot.
If no home remedies work, then it would be advisable to seek the help of a pest control specialist, who would make sure that the pigeons are removed from the house.
Hobo Spider, Brown Recluse: Which One Is The True Hobo?
The hobo spider is one of the many arachnid species that has found its home in the Pacific Northwest. The hobo, Tegenaria agrestis, is a European immigrant species that has earned a bad reputation for being a potentially poisonous spider in the United States since the 1980s. These spiders are often misidentified, and many people as “is hobo spider brown recluse the same?”
The name “hobo” is linked to the spiders presumed to spread to distant cities by way of the railroads..
While generally fearful of humans, the hobo (like most spiders) will defend itself if threatened.
It’s feared that the venom can be strong enough to cause necrosis – killing flesh and causing infections around the bite. However, don’t fear or kill every spider you see. The giant house spider is a competitor of the hobo spider and actually keeps it out of our homes.
The house spider does not cause harm to humans or animals and it is a great natural pest control agent. That said, it is nearly impossible to determine the difference between a hobo spider and the giant house spider with the naked eye.
The two spiders are related; both are indigenous to North Western Europe and were introduced to our area in the early 1900s. Hobos build funnel-shaped webs to capture insects. The webs are not sticky and they are usually low to the ground.
Woodpiles, yard waste, and home foundations are very appealing places for hobo spiders to build webs.
However, there are many closely related species of spiders that make similar webs in similar places, so if you see funnel webs on your property that does not necessarily mean there are hobo spiders in them.
The hobo spider, also known as Tegenaria agrestis, has 2 other close kin spiders which are:
- The domestic house spider or barn funnel weaving spider (Tegenaria domestica), and
- the giant house spider, Tegenaria duellica (or Tegenaria gigantea)
All three of these spiders originally came from in Europe. Other related spiders (Agelenopsis potteri, Agelenopsis pennsylvanica, and Hololena nedra ) are often mistaken as hobo spiders.
All of these are usually common and are found in Washington that belong to the Agelinidae family.
If you think you have hobo spiders, use caution like you should around all spiders. It is not necessary to panic; they are not interested in biting you. Wear gloves when you work in the garden or move wood.
By utilizing a monthly maintenance pest program you will keep the food source of the spiders to a minimum. With no source of sustenance, t many spiders will leave in search of food.
This tactic will not completely eliminate your problem because spiders aren’t the smartest creatures in the world. They will follow instincts and build a web where they see a good place.
If you notice many funnel-shaped webs in your residence, treat them with care. Standard pest control techniques may not affect arachnids, but there are methods that can help.
The easiest treatments are removing the web and food supply (insects), but excessive populations require more advanced treatment plans.
Horse Fly Facts
This fly species earned such a name because they are often seen near and around horses. They are not, however, merely harmless insects. Below are some important horse fly facts.
About The Horse Fly Species
Horseflies are larger than common house flies. Their sizes normally differ about a bit under or over an inch. They often have black bodies and clear wings.
Female horse flies are really the ones to worry about because they feed on blood. They do this by using their sharp mandibles to wound horses and then lap up the blood from the wound.
Despite their name, they do not just feed on the blood of horses. They can feed on the blood of any mammal, including cattle and humans.
Horse flies are said to live and thrive where there are forests or wooded areas nearby. They may lay their eggs in water, both stagnant and running, or on moist ground and plants. There seem to be more horse flies when the temperature is warm. This means horses and humans are more prone to horse bites in the summer.
There would have been no problem if horse fly bites were as harmless as a regular mosquito bite. For horses, however, a horse fly bite can be a major source of discomfort.
Flies that gather over horses can result in numerous bites. Horses that get repeatedly bitten may lose their appetite for food and activity.
In some cases, horse flies can also transmit Equine Infectious Anemia. Aside from the obvious depletion of blood in the system, this disease can also cause general weakness, heartbeat irregularities and swelling of the chest, stomach, and legs.
In its severe form, the disease can kill the infected horse. If infected horses are not isolated and treated, other horses could get infected.
Fillies can pass the disease to their young foals through milk while other horses may get infected from sharing needles used for maintenance medications or other treatments.
What You Can Do
The problem with horse flies is that they cannot be dealt with decisively. If you decide to wipe out all the flies in sight, you may end up destroying environmental systems or harming other animals.
Spraying pesticide for example over a large area could affect or even kill other animals and plants in the area. It is also physically impossible to remove all wet and moist areas where flies could be breeding.
Even if this were possible for a group of horse owners, small environmental systems would be negatively affected.
Some homeowners resort to a variety of sticky fly traps. Since horse flies love movement, it is often a good idea to use attractive traps that can be moved around a pasture on a van or open cart.
Horse flies normally do not live in stables but it wouldn’t hurt if you made sure that stables are always clean and dry.
Horse flies are indeed a bane to horses. They are, however, even more of an inconvenience to horse owners who have to deal with irritated or sickly horses.
Signs You Have Bed Bugs Infestation In Your Home
Signs you have bed bugs can mean early detection and elimination. These are parasitic types of insects that feed themselves by sucking blood. The effects you can get if you have been bitten include rashes, allergy, and others.
Asking a dermatologist to analyze the welts may be time consuming and inconclusive. Labs typically classify the bites as coming from “mites.”
Clues You Have Bed Bugs:
- What is unique to bed bug bites is that they come in clusters or lines, as opposed to isolated bites in different areas of the body.
- Look for their signs, which should be relatively easy to spot. They shed skins as they grow. These look like the outer skin of an onion. Another telltale sign is small blood smears, which may be caused when the bugs are crushed.
These bugs are characterized by a reddish or light brown color and an oval shape. Having bed bugs in your home is not safe for you and your family. They can cause some health issues so it is important to learn their signs:
When they bite, you can see a little red spot on your skin. You will not feel that you have been bitten until a few minutes after their feeding is completed. They can continue feeding for ten minutes and usually attack at night when you are asleep. Bites normally appear in rows or clustered together. For a vast majority of people, this is the first sign of bed bugs.
They shed skins as they grow and mature so look for these. Check for blood stains or feces from the insect which can be seen on your mattress. Stains or feces are commonly seen in the inner part of your mattress around the box spring or linen. Eggs are more difficult to spot, as they are light in color and about the size of grains of salt.
- Nymphs or Live Bugs:
You should look in the possible spot where you think they will hide. They look like tiny cockroaches about ¼ inch in size. They love to hide in mattresses, linens, and furniture. Check every possible hiding place so that they can all be exterminated.
To catch them in the act can work as well. Have a flashlight with you in your bed and before dawn, turn it on and try to observe the sheets for certain movements. Bed bugs come out only once a week which makes spotting them much less likely.
The young ones (nymphs) are smaller and lighter in color making them extremely difficult to spot.
If you confirmed that there you really have these bugs, then, the next thing you should do is get rid of them. Using an insect killer or using a vacuum, you can get rid of all the bugs with repeated applications.
However, most people rely on exterminators to do the job right the first time. Knowing the signs of bed bugs can help you in early detection and prevention of a massive infestation.
Most important, you will avoid the unpleasant rashes and itches that they cause.
Household Cockroach: What Can Really Kill Them Fast?
It is rather a mystery how a tiny, little insect such as a household cockroach can possibly affect the lifestyle and well-being of humans in such a significant way.
As cockroaches love to live in communities and are constantly multiplying, it would be safe to say that a roach-infested home could very well be housing thousands, if not tens of thousands of these pesky little creatures.
The quickest and most immediate solution to a cockroach problem is to use pesticides. It is undeniably one of the most effective ways to eradicate a cockroach colony, although it has been known that this method has failed at times due to cockroaches that are pesticide-resistant.
However, the use of chemically-filled pesticides has its downfalls and long-term effects as the chemicals are harmful to the environment and human health. We may be effectively killing off cockroaches with pesticides.
But, in the long run, it also is contributing towards the deterioration in the ecosystem and the health of our loved ones.
Try pronouncing the names of the chemical ingredients found in pesticides such as fipronil, hydramethylnon, indoxacarb or imidacloprid and one would quickly realize that in order to kill off cockroaches, some rather strong chemicals are being used to produce such results.
Pesticides, if not used with caution and handled with care, could bring serious damage to the ecosystem especially if water sources and landscapes are contaminated by the chemicals.
It is important that pesticides are used with caution in places where livestock and plantations are located. Besides that, these poisonous chemicals could have such a damaging impact on aquatic life if contamination occurs in lakes, creeks, drains and other natural waterways.
We have all heard about how toxic chemicals can affect human health and even worse, sometimes even leave a life-threatening impact. Studies have shown that the use of pesticide sprays in public housing areas are directly related to the respiratory illness that residents in those areas suffer from.
According to research is done, pesticides have been found to cause damage to the immune system of millions of Americans – an unbelievably staggering statistic.
To make matters worse, the toxic chemicals that we are exposed to put us at risk of developing life-threatening illnesses such as cancer, leukemia and birth defects, to name a few.
With the growing awareness for protecting our environment and promoting good health, there have been many initiatives in finding natural and healthier alternative methods of implementing pest management.
People are becoming more concerned about repelling pests and maintaining a healthy and sanitized lifestyle, in order to avoid having to resort to pesticides.
There are various methods that have become popular in households such as sanitation procedures, exclusion techniques and physical barriers on furniture.
Pesticides do not merely have health dangers to it. It also adds up monetarily. Dangers from pesticides affect long term health care costs, adding to the already bulging pesticide costs.
Repelling cockroaches safely and effectively significantly lowers the cost to the point of neglect.