Scientists have started using a new technique to study the insects that end up in a spider’s web. While in the past researchers would simply shake a tree canopy and wait for spiders to fall out so they could study them, among other crude methods, today researchers are able to simply scan the DNA in a spider web, a much less invasive technique. Using this DNA detection method, researchers are able to valuable information about the insects that get trapped in their webs. The DNA from the prey can be detected over 88 days after the insect is no longer trapped in the web. With spiders building webs in so many places, researchers can perform broad environmental monitoring using these DNA scans for research, as well as to be able to estimate which prey species of insects are present in a certain area. This could lead to better insect control overall, as well as help monitoring specific pest insects. The possibilities are endless with this new DNA scanning technology.
Can you see the benefit of being able to monitor the prey insects in an area through studying a spider’s web? What do you think of this new technology?
Hulett Environmental Services offers the following tips to help prevent contact with spiders:
- Avoid keeping clothing and shoes on the floor, especially if in an area known for spiders; consider storing inside plastic containers.
- Seal cracks and crevices around the home.
- Vacuum/sweep away webs in and around the home.
- Shake out all clothing that has been in the laundry basket before wearing/washing.
- Keep garages, attics and basements clean and clutter free.
- If a spider bites you, contact your primary care physician for medical advice.
- If you have an infestation in your home, contact a licensed pest control professional to inspect and treat the pest problem.
New Zika Guidance for Couples Planning Pregnancy
The Zika virus has been linked to a birth defect called microcephaly in babies born to mothers who contracted the virus during pregnancy. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been very clear about their advice to pregnant women: do not travel to areas with active Zika transmission.
But what about couples that are planning to become pregnant? The CDC has issued new guidelines for those trying to conceive: if the male or female partner has been exposed to the Zika virus, wait at least six months before trying for a baby.
“Unfortunately, there is a lot we don’t know,” Dr. Denise J. Jamieson, CDC Zika Virus Response Team. “These recommendations are the best attempt to predict.”
What do you think? Do you think couples planning on becoming parents will heed the advice of the CDC? If you were planning a family and were exposed to the Zika virus would you wait the recommended six months?
If you have any concerns about mosquitoes in your area, we encourage you to check out our mosquito reduction services.
All you can eat crickets and larvae! Sound appealing?
The Science Museum of Western Virginia thinks it does. That is why they plan on hosting a “bug buffet” where guests can sample BBQ crickets, chocolate covered larvae, cricket protein energy bars and more.
Executive Director, Rachel Hopkins says, “People in the United States consume approximately 1 pound of insects in their lifetime, accidentally of course! We are inviting patrons to purposely experience what a majority of the world’s population does daily.”
And not only do people eat bugs unknowingly; there is also a huge trend of restaurant concepts serving insects as protein items (particularly in lieu if meat) because bugs are a much more sustainable food source.
What do you think? Would you be willing to try some items at a “bug buffet”? Do you think insect food items will be coming to a restaurant near you in the future? If so, would you check it out?
If you not only want to keep bugs out of your mouth, but also out of your home, be sure to hire a professional for all of your pest control needs.
Maggots and Modern Medicine
Maggots are amongst some of the most despised critters for many, but they have actually been huge assets to medicinal purposes for centuries.
Most have heard about maggot debridement therapy, or MDT, in which sterile larvae are applied to a wound to essentially “eat away” the infection. Believe it or not, this procedure has saved not only limbs, but also lives!
And according to reports, researchers from North Carolina State University and Massey University in New Zealand have found that genetically engineered maggots can clean non-healing wounds and promote cell growth more than initially thought.
Researchers are exploring a human growth factor, which the maggots secrete while removing dead tissue, enabling cell growth.
Not only is this good news medically, it is also a fairly cost effective procedure compared to alternative treatments.
What do you think? Are you as impressed by these ‘magical’ maggots as we are at Hulett Environmental Services?
The Aftermath of NBA Star’s Bed Bug Encounter
It made headline news when NBA star Kyle Irving had to leave a February 21st game against the Oklahoma City Thunder because he was physically exhausted after a night of battling bed bugs in his hotel room.
Just as it’s not easy to get rid of bed bugs, it’s also not easy for hotels to get rid of the stigma once it’s been reported there have been bed bugs at their property.
This is certainly the case for the Skirvin Hilton, which is where Irving and his teammates were staying when he noticed bed bugs on his pillow. In the month since the incident, NBA teams gave elected to stay elsewhere.
All 225 rooms of the hotel were inspected and treated after Irving’s sighting, but only one of the Thunder’s opponents (Portland) have stayed at the property since then.
It seems that even if the bed bugs are gone, the fear remains!
What do you think? Would knowing a hotel had a recent bed bug incident prevent you from staying there?
One thing is for sure: when it comes to bed bugs, it’s key to hire a professional pest management company that specializes in bed bug control!
The Zika virus shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, it seems that with each passing day we hear of more and more cases sprouting up across the globe.
This includes the United States where as of now there have been no locally acquired cases, but the number of cases of Americans who have contracted the Zika virus abroad is growing.
The Zika Virus has been reported in 34 states with the highest reported cases in the following states:
- Florida: 59 cases
- New York: 42 cases
- Texas: 34 cases
- California: 13 cases
This is of concern, particularly because some of these cases involve pregnant women who are high-risk when it comes to the Zika virus because of its link to serious birth defects in babies.
Are you alarmed that Florida has the most cases of any U.S. state? Why do you think this is and do you feel the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is doing enough to try to stop Zika in its tracks?
If you have any concerns about mosquitoes near your home, we encourage you to check out our mosquito reduction services.
Scientists at Oregon State University wanted to find out exactly how spiders sense the vibration in the webs when insects land on them and how they detect where that insect has landed. To do this they built a web out of two different kinds of rope, just as spiders use two different kinds of silk, and placed on in an octagonal frame, to which a speaker was strapped to deliver different vibrations. They then placed an artificial spider in the center that has flexible legs to show how a real spider would detect the vibrations. They thought that they would find that by shaking one of the radial lines the spider would feel that lines more than the others and thus attack in that direction. However, they discovered that it is much more complex than that.
They found that different frequencies caused complex vibration patterns affecting many strands of the web. Different frequencies also caused certain strands to stay completely still. The researchers hypothesized that these different frequencies might reflect different insects landing on the web. This means that spiders can’t simply rely on one strand vibrating to lead them to their prey. They must understand how different frequencies affect the web structure in order to know which direction to attack. It turns out that spiders might just be a bit more sophisticated in their hunting techniques than we previously thought.
How do you think spiders learn to understand the different frequencies made by their webs? Is it a case of trial and error or are they taught this?
The Zika virus is causing quite a stir, especially with the 2016 Summer Olympics taking place in Brazil. So, in case you don’t know all the details, here are the most important ones to remember.
The Zika virus is a mosquito-borne illness, meaning is it transmitted through the bite of the female Aedes Aegyoti mosquito. However, there have also been a growing number of sexually transmitted cases. There is currently no treatment for the virus, and scientists report that a vaccine won’t be available to the public for a few years.
The Zika virus does not cause death in those infected, but it has been linked to people developing the neurological disorder Guillain-Barre Syndrome and an increased chance of babies of infected mothers developing microcephaly, a condition that causes them to be born with underdeveloped heads and brains.
While as many as 80 percent of the people infected with the Zika virus show no symptoms, those that do experience mild fever, skin rash, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain and fatigue that can last for two to seven days. Officials are urging people to avoid traveling to Zika infected areas, and be vigilant about wearing insect repellent.
The Zika virus is now actively spreading in at least 38 countries or territories, with the majority of them being in the Americas. Currently, officials are working on developing a way to control and decrease the mosquito population that is spreading the disease.
Have you taken precautions against the Zika virus? Are you worried about it spreading to the U.S.?