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99 Million Year Old Beetle

99 Million Year Old Beetle

100 million years ago, a tiny beetle flew into a coniferous tree and was overcome in its resin. The resin fossilized into amber and encased the beetle.

Machael Caterino, director of the Clemson University Arthropod Collection, said, “This is an extraordinary 99 million-year-old fossil in Burmese amber. We can see all the details of the external sculpturing of the wing covers and the head. We can see the mouth parts, which enable us to predict that this was a predator much like its modern relatives.”

This ancient insect is art of the Histeridae family of beetles, which still thrive today with more than 4,000 species.

Caterino co-authored a research article with colleges from Germany’s Stuttgart State Museum of Natural History about the discovery and was published in the journal Zootaxa.

Weird Looking Insects

Weird Looking Insects

Check out these top 10 weirdest looking insects below!

Number 10: Tailed Emperor Butterfly Caterpillar

This butterfly can be found in Australia during the springtime. The body of this caterpillar resembles a normal caterpillar, however its head is covered in armor and pointy horns. Truly bizarre in the insect kingdom!

Number 9: Puss Moth Caterpillar

Considered one of the must toxic insects in North America, the puss moth caterpillar resembles a Persian cat, perhaps where the name “puss” came from.

Number 8: Giant Prickly Stick Insect

This giant insect is native to Papua New Guinea. The giant prickly stick insect is not only giant, but it also blends seamlessly in with its surroundings. When threatened, the prickly sick released a chemical that smells like peanut butter.

Number 7: Pipevine Swallowtail Caterpillar

This caterpillar feeds on the plant Aristolochia, which is also known as pipevine. After resembling a red licorice, these caterpillar transform into beautiful black and blue butterflies.

Number 6: Hickory Horned Devil

The hickory horned devil is covered in spikes in order to ward off predators. Eventually this caterpillar transforms into a gorgeous Regal Moth.

Number 5: Spiny Flower Mantis

Bright and happy looking, the spiny flower mantis, like other mantids is a cannibal. Females measure up to just under 2 inches!

Number 4: Scorpionfly

The scorpionfly is not as dangerous as it looks; the scorpion “stinger” is actually a part of the bugs’ genitalia. Some scientists believe that is related to both moths and butterflies.

Number 3: Antlion

This Antlion, also known as a doodlebug, can be found throughout Europe. This insect’s appearance is covered in fur, giving it a “lion” look.

Number 2: Goliath Beetle

The goliath beetle is about the size of an adult human hand, however they are thankfully harmless!

Number 1: Brazilian treehopper

The Brazilian treehopper has several “globes” on top of its head, and scientists are still stumbled as to why. These bugs feed off sap from plant stems, maybe the bulbs have something to do with that?

Check out some pictures HERE!

An Insect that can Feed on Coffee Beans and Survive

An Insect that can Feed on Coffee Beans and Survive

Researchers have recently discovered how the coffee berry borer is able to feed on coffee beans and survive (which can be lethal to some insects). According to Nature Communications, the bacteria in the borer’s gut are what allow the insect to break down the caffeine.

Coffee berry borers were analyzed from seven different coffee producing regions: Guatemala, Hawaii, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico and Puerto Rico. Researchers found that 14 bacterial species degraded caffeine and detoxified caffeine.

In order to confirm that the bacteria degraded the caffeine, they gave the beetles an antibiotic to wipe out the bacteria. They ended up finding that the caffeine passes through the beetles’ digestive tracts without degrading. Unfortunately for the beetles, those who survived were 95% less likely to produce eggs and larvae.

Overall, researchers found that the bacterium is key to the detoxification process of beetles.

Coconut Trees in Jomoro Getting Destroyed from Insects

Coconut Trees in Jomoro Getting Destroyed from Insects

A coconut plantation in Apolonu in the Western Region has been invaded and destroyed by insects identified as Hemophilus Catori.

The damage caused to the affected plantations have been assed by a team of National Disaster Management Organization and Agricultural officials.

Hemophilus Catori cause the fresh coconut to fall prematurely which affects its yields and threatens the local economy. Kenneth Addai Boadu, Jomoro District Director of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) says that unless this situation is brought under control, most farmers will eventually lose their source of livelihood.

Recently, officials from the Regional Coconut Research Institute of the Crop Research Institute of Council for Scientific and Industrial Research Institute in Sekondi visited the scene, however said that the insects are migrating away from the area, which does not seem to be the case.

According to Boadu, the situation requires spraying before the situation gets out of hand. This especially holds true before the staff at the Plant Protection and Regulatory Services Department, headquarters in Accra, go on Christmas holiday.

Aphids Found in Christmas Trees

Aphids Found in Christmas Trees

According to the Home Depot in West Palm Beach, Florida there have been three different reports of aphids being found in Christmas trees.

Toy Whitaker, bought a tree from Home Depot about a week and a half ago and this past Tuesday said his family found countless bugs falling off their tree and onto the living room floor. Toy said they looked like ticks, however David Sprague of Beach Environmental pointed out that they aren’t ticks and instead are aphids.

David says he has been receiving a lot of calls lately regarding aphids being found in Christmas trees. “They are a piercing, sucking insect. So they are drawing the juice out of the tree. It causes the needles to fall off prematurely,” he says.

Aphids are unlike ticks as they do not carry Lyme disease and do not suck blood from humans or animals. Instead these bugs just go after whatever plant is in their area.


Unfortunately, David says that he has received a lot more calls this year than in years prior about aphids being found in Christmas trees. He believes that is likely due to the weather up north where all of the trees are coming from.

Using Insects in the Classroom

Using Insects in the Classroom

The Entomological Foundation hosted a one-day teacher’s workshop where they instructed more than 60 teachers on how they can incorporate insects into the classroom. This event was held at the Minneapolis Convention Center during the annual meeting of the Entomological Society of America.

During the workshop, attendees experienced interactive presentations and hands-on activities where they learned how to create homes for bees, how to make flies defecate the rainbow and where to find the best lesson plans.

Experts in entomology from around the country flew in to teach these sessions, all of which believed that insects can be used to teach valuable lessons on biology, conservation of the environment, climate change and even engineering.

Dr. Karen Oberhauser of the University of Minnesota passed around chocolate chip cookies while she gave a presentation on the evolving monarch migration patters in North America. After everyone had eaten and enjoyed their cookies, Dr. Oberhauser announced that they were made using ground crickets. Ahh, how would you feel? Dr. Tom Turpin of Purdue University said that “the best education is when the student doesn’t know its happening.”

The Entomological Foundation is a not-for-profit whose mission is to build a future for entomology by educating young people about science through insects. The not-for-profit has partnered with the Entomological Society of America in order to better reach this mission.

Cricket Chirps Potentially Have ‘Predatory Roots”

Cricket Chirps Potentially Have ‘Predatory Roots”


Scientists have discovered that some cricket’s chirps could be a technique to reveal their location to potential mates.

Researchers say that the mating call has likely evolved from the males impersonating hunting bats. The call triggers the female cricket to shudder and in turn allowing the male to locate the female. Learn more about the findings here.

“It struck me as very strange that these crickets would use such high frequencies for mating purposes,” the scientists at Dartmouth College said, especially considering that other cricket species avoid sounds at these frequencies.

Lead researcher Professor Hannah ter Hofstede said, “I expected the females to walk to the speaker, because this is the usual behavior for female crickets, but they did not do this – [they instead] made a small jerking motion after each male call.”

Further study revealed that this way of communication has changed over evolutionary time to be where it is at today.

Getting Rid of Mice for Good

Getting Rid of Mice for Good

Unfortunately, as the weather drops, mice are finding their way into warm, cozy homes. Luckily there are some things you can do in order to get rid of these mice and keep them away for good.

Here are a few facts about finding a mouse in your house:

  1. There is never just one mouse.
  2. Droppings are a major telltale sign
  3. Mice can cause more damage then what the eye can see

So what steps should you take in order to rid these unwanted creatures?

  • Don’t waste your time with home remedies. There is no science behind home remedies. Mice are used to living with humans so the smells associated with us are not a good repellant to them.
  • Try out the store-bought traps. Mousetraps are still very effective!
  • Find their entry point. It’s important that you figure out where the mice are coming in so you can help determine where they are living and building nests. These places are also the best areas to set your traps.
  • Make sure you stock up on caulk and steel wool. Once you handle the infestation, make sure no additional mice find heir way in. Block off any opening with caulking and steel wool and be sure to replace weather stripping.
  • Check your garage! Mice like to live under car hoods, where the engine is nice and warm. Be sure to keep them out of the garage so they don’t start eating your car wars and do some serious damage to your car.
  • Cut your shrubbery and branches away from your house. Unfortunately although they may look nice they are the perfect highway fro a mice and insect to get into your home.
  • Airtight food canisters are a great investment. You are less likely to attract mice if your food is more off limits.

Everyone has a different threshold for what they are willing to deal with so if necessary call your local professional to fix the problem! If they are licensed by the state they will take their time and get the job done properly with the latest techniques for treatment.

Entomology Professor Instilling a Passion For Insects In Her Students

Entomology Professor Instilling a Passion For Insects In Her Students

Within the first week of “Introduction to Entomology,” professor Tiffany Heng-Moss gives all of her students a live cockroach. Each student is not only responsible for keeping the cockroach but researching on it as well.

When Heng-Moss discovers the cockroaches they are given to students in Ziploc bags. Generally the cockroaches will eat through the bag within 48 hours so it is the

students’ responsibility to create a home for the roach similar to its native habitat. The students host the roaches for about 3 weeks during which time they test a series of hypotheses on what the cockroaches like to eat and then explain a unique behavior the cockroach has.

Throughout the semester, students learn about varies types of insects. “At the start of the semester, the insects would rotate around very quickly, but as we moved through the semester, all of a sudden the students start to kind of get used to this and they start to actually look at the insects and make observations; they became the scientists,” Heng-Moss said.

Heng-Moss wants to help students discover that science is not just an array of facts, it is an ongoing process of discovering through experiments.

Artist Decorates an Art Installation With 5,000 Insects

Artist Decorates an Art Installation With 5,000 Insects

Jennifer Angus, the artist, believes that all insets are beautiful and admires their diversity, which is why she created an art installation featuring 5,000 of them! The insects, which cover the walls, are arranged in eye-catching patterns. The installation is in Washington, D.C’s Renwick Gallery.

Angus hopes that through this installation she is able to raise awareness about insect conservation and biodiversity. Most of the insects (not endangered) used come from a specimen dealer in Southeast Asia. The insects are all apart of Angus’ personal collection of which she has collected for the last two decades.

All the insects have not been altered or re-colored in any way. Her goal is to motivate and remind people that will habitats around the world are under attack. She says that is important to note that even though insects are small there importance should not be forgotten.

“I hope that my exhibition will get them excited and perhaps they will be motivated to get involved with one of the many of the rainforest preservation projects out there. I would also like people to think about their own environment and behavior. How is urban and suburban encroachment affecting wildlife big and small in your neighborhood?”

Overall its important to note that insects are an essential part of our ecosystems. And if Angus’ installation allows some to look at bugs in a different way and consider the bigger picture then it will have been a worthwhile endeavor.

Of you are ever in the area, you can visit Angus’ “In The Midnight Garden” room, part of the “Wonder” exhibition, which runs until July 10, 2016.

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