While dengue fever or virus is not often fatal, its symptoms include fever, severe muscle and joint pain, and a skin rash similar to measles. This mosquito-borne disease not common in the continental U.S., but, according to a study published in July, ‘Brazil has reported 7 million cases of dengue fever between 2000 and 2013.’
As response to the growing concerns in South America, scientists released tens of thousands of infected supermosquitoes into neighborhoods. The supermosquitoes carry the wolbachia bacteria, a new, natural weapon in the battle with dengue fever. Wolbachia bacteria is found in 60 percent of all insects, but it cannot be transmitted to humans. Australian researchers discovered that the bacteria can serve as a dengue vaccine in mosquitoes so they cannot pass it on to humans.
Hopefully, the bacteria will be passed through generations of mosquitoes and eventually halt the spread dengue fever by mosquitoes.
According to the CDC, ‘more than one-third of the world’s population living in areas at risk for infection, dengue virus is a leading cause of illness and death in the tropics and subtropics. As many as 400 million people are infected yearly. Dengue is caused by any one of four related viruses transmitted by mosquitoes.’
CDC also reports that, ‘dengue has emerged as a worldwide problem only since the 1950s. Although dengue rarely occurs in the continental United States, it is endemic in Puerto Rico and in many popular tourist destinations in Latin America, Southeast Asia and the Pacific islands.
Ren Kimura and Susumu Hotta isolated the dengue virus for the first time in 1943. The scientists were analyzing blood samples of patients taken during the 1943 dengue epidemic in Nagasaki, Japan. A year later, Albert B. Sabin and Walter Schlesinger independently isolated the dengue virus. Both pairs of scientists had isolated the virus now referred to as dengue virus 1 (DEN-1). Is DEN-1 the only type of dengue virus?
CTA to put Rats on Birth Control
Chicago Transit Authority, also known as CTA, is resorting to different methods to stop the reproduction of rats, which are quickly overtaking the city. However, what they have in mind isn’t a simple trap such as using cheese as bait. What they have in mind is a way to stop the problem at its roots, using a new type of technology – birth control.
Chicago was named the “Rattiest City” in America by Pest Control company Orkin based on the number of rodent treatments that CTA has performed in the last year. CTA alone has spent over $500,000 on pest control annually. Even though CTA insists that pest control is not an issue, they have still been trying to combat it. Brown Norway Rats, the most common species of rodent in Chicago, are the ones causing most problems. They can carry infected fleas or ticks on their bodies which can harm pets, and sometimes they may even bite humans.
This new technology, named ContraPest, is a semi-liquid type of bait manufactured by the Arizona company SenesTech, and will sterilize the rats after they have eaten it. Female rats lose their eggs, and male rats develop problems with their testicles. While ContraPest will not actually kill or harm the rats, it does cause full sterility after roughly eight to twelve weeks. After a three-month study was done on the product, it showed a 43% decline in population, which shows the treatment to be effective.
Termite Blues~ This commercial is part of the Hulett 2013 T.V advertisement campaign starring Greg Rice. Please be sure to tell us what you think in the comments box below!
Hulett’s trained inspectors evaluate each structure’s layout, then locate all potential sources of termite nesting, and identify penetration points in and around your home. Once your Free Termite Inspection is completed, an appropriate treatment will be recommended from any of the following:
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• Termite Baiting System (Subterranean Termites)
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Most humans have a ‘favorite’ hand that they use in their daily lives. They may use their hand for something like holding an object, writing, or even interacting with different things. But new evidence suggests that even small insects like ants have a favorable side that they prefer to use.
Researchers tested an ant’s preference of direction by putting them in a small maze, and seeing which direction they went. Surprisingly, many more ants decided to begin with left, rather than right. It’s assumed that this behavior comes from the fact that many ant colonies are small labyrinths to begin with, so ants may try to solve the network of tunnels by going left until they find an exit.
Edmund Hunt, a biologist from the University of Bristol study, still isn’t sure why exactly ants prefer left over right. He says, “The ants may be using their left eye to detect predators and their right to navigate. Also, their world is maze-like and consistently turning one way is a very good strategy to search and exit mazes.” Research has already found that animals such as lizards, fish, and other vertebrates use their right eye for identifying prey, and their left eye to detect predators or escape. Crows are known to use sticks in their mouths as a tool, and even they have a preference of holding them on a certain side of their beak.
Perhaps we aren’t that different from most animals after all.
Treehoppers. We don’t even know how to begin explaining them, so instead, take a look at the following picture. Yes, that is an actual insect. And no, we don’t know why it looks like that.
Source: Patrick Landmann / Science Source
Treehoppers are some of the strangest looking insects that have ever been found, and scientists still don’t know their exact purpose. The big segment you see in the above picture is called a pronotum, which is the section behind the insect’s head.
Some scientists think that treehoppers model themselves after the Ophiocordyceps fungus, a type of fungus which takes control of its host, kills it, and then sprouts a flower through their head. The flower then erupts and spreads more fungal seeds all over the ground onto more bugs. Scientists believe that if some insects which know what the disease is may avoid attempting to prey on the treehopper because it doesn’t want to receive the disease. Other treehoppers may camouflage themselves as having poisonous colors in order to appear distasteful, which may save themselves from being eaten. Some species of treehoppers even mimic ants which have mandibles or stingers, so if a predator sees them it may get scared. But it’s all a joke – treehoppers don’t actually have any mandibles of stingers, and are actually pretty defenseless.
It gets weirder though. Treehoppers actually have a pretty nice relationship with ants, because they produce a sugary excrement called honeydew that ants and some other bugs absolutely love. This literally means that ants drink out of a treehopper’s rear end. Normally though, it won’t care too much. The treehopper feeds on the sap inside trees using a piercing spike which can suck the sap into their bodies.
The treehopper is definitely a strange insect. However, with our knowledge increasing rapidly, hopefully we’ll come to understand these weird bugs someday.
Recent studies are testing different variations of rodent sexual preferences, and one method might be a bit surprising. Scientists are beginning to start putting rats in lingerie.
Although it sounds weird, scientists at Concordia University in Montreal have been testing to see how wearing lingerie affects a rat’s sexual preferences. The way it is tested is by giving a female test subject a small ‘jacket’, and allowing males to mate with her. Afterwards, the males were given a choice of mating with a female who has a jacket on, or one wearing nothing at all. Astonishingly, the male rats preferred to have sex with the jacketed rats, and actually made more mounting attempts and even ejaculated quicker. According to the researchers, most of it depends on a rat’s early sexual preference. When the females were clothed, the male rats associated the jackets with the action of having sex, meaning that every time a male saw a jacketed female they immediately began having high amounts of arousal. This led to the jacketed females being chosen more often.
In another study, male rats were given jackets, and were allowed to mate with unclothed females. After the jackets were taken off, however, they had “severe disruptions in their sexual abilities (arousal, desire, and performance).” It’s known that we aren’t that much different from rats when it comes to our brains, and this is simply another example that shows how much we’re alike – even if we don’t look it.
Imagine marrying a woman and taking her to be your wife. As she grows old, she has another child, who looks exactly like her. Now imagine marrying that new child, and throwing away your old wife due to old age. Although it sounds a bit weird, this is exactly what Reticulitermes speratus, a special species of termites, do for their entire lives.
The termite King spends his life mating with the same female, over and over. This continues until another Queen is hatched in order to take her mother’s place. Queen termites use something called parthenogenesis, or asexual reproduction, in order to create a literal clone of herself. The special thing about this clone is that this newborn queen is immune to the King’s sperm, because the little ‘hatches’ that are normally used by the King to inject his sperm, are sealed closed. Normally, if an egg is fertilized it will simply become a normal worker. However, in this case, due to the blocked off hatch, the egg produced by the Queen will have a 100% chance of turning into the next colony Queen as she grows up, because she shares the same genes as her mother. An entire colony cannot be asexually reproduced however, or else complications would arise. This is why the Queen still lays normal eggs for the King to fertilize, in order to keep producing regular workers. Queen termites can live for decades, and only begin to asexually reproduce as they age.
If left alone, these termite colonies could practically live forever, which would cause quite a lot of damage to our ecosystem. Termites are known to be extremely ravenous, and cause quite a lot of damage very fast. Leaving them alone, or allowing a colony to prosper could be very harmful. In other words, as cool or fascinating as their mating system is, termites are still a problem we’ll have to deal with. That’s why annual Termite Inspections are a must! Read more @ http://www.geek.com/science/screw-succession-termite-queen-found-to-be-genetically-immortal-1610165/
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