Posts

You Won’t Believe Why Women Are Gluing A Well Known Killer Scorpion Species To Their Fingernails

During the early summer of 2016, a dangerous fashion trend swept the country of Mexico, and this trend has yet to die-off. This fashion trend entails gluing baby scorpions to fingernails, and these baby scorpions are not just any scorpions, they are actually one of the most deadly scorpion species in the world.

There currently exists around 2,000 scorpion species that have been documented, and 221 of these species can be found in Mexico. Of these 221 species in Mexico, only 8 are known to possess venom that is strong enough to kill an adult human. Although it may be hard to believe, but the Durango scorpion is one of these deadly species, and this is the same species being used by women as a decorative fingernail ornament. This means that there exists 213 non-deadly scorpion species native to Mexico that could have been chosen as a fingernail decoration, but for some reason, the deadly Durango scorpion is the species that Mexican women prefer to have glued to their nails as a mark of beauty.

While a mere 8 deadly scorpions may not seem like a high number, it should be known that the rate of deadly scorpion stings is particularly high in Mexico. In 2008, the number of documented scorpion stings reached 53,840 in Mexico, which far outnumbers the rate of scorpion stings that occur in just about every other country on earth. The Durango scorpion is not only one of the most deadly scorpion species in the world, but its venom kills sting victims within a period of 15 short minutes. This is astounding considering that other deadly scorpion stings often take hours to kill an adult human. Given the short amount of time in which this species kills a human, antivenom is often not administered to victims in enough time to save their lives, making the Durango scorpion responsible for a particularly high proportion of scorpion related deaths. Mexican women would really be better off sticking to simple nail polish.

Do you known of any other arachnid species that can kill its bite or sting victims within a matter of minutes?

Can Scorpions Be Found Dwelling In The Midwest United States?

Scorpions are one of earth’s oldest living animals, as fossil evidence suggests that they have existed on earth for nearly half of one billion years. Not only does this make scorpions the oldest living arachnids, but it also makes them the oldest living terrestrial predators, as they are believed to be among the first animals to emerge from their former ocean habitat. Considering the advanced age of scorpions on the evolutionary tree of life, it is no wonder as to why they have become one of the most diverse and widespread of all arachnid groups. Although scorpions are typically associated with the arid desert landscape that makes up much of Arizona, New Mexico and southern California, there a numerous scorpion species that exist elsewhere in the United States. Luckily, non-desert dwelling scorpion species are mostly harmless and prefer to hide beneath rocks before emerging at night to hunt prey. Many people may be aware of the fact that scorpions exist within states like Mississippi, Florida, South Carolina and even North Carolina, but it is not commonly known that wild scorpions can also be found within the states of Virginia, central Kentucky and even Illinois. This makes scorpions native to the heartland states, where residents would never expect to spot a wild scorpion.

The scorpion species officially known as Vaejovis carolinianus, and more commonly known as either the “southern unstriped scorpion” or “southern devil scorpion,” can be found in the western portion of North Carolina. Two other scorpion species,  Centruroides vittatus and Centruroides hentzi, were introduced to North Carolina accidentally some years ago, and they still maintain a presence in the state to this day. However, what is most surprising is the fact that one scorpion species can be found within the state of Illinois, which is located in the center of the United States. This species is known as the the striped bark scorpion (Centruoides vittatus), which is a different species than the Arizona bark scorpion, which is the most venomous scorpion species in the US. Luckily for midwesterners who fear scorpions, it is highly unlikely for anyone to encounter this species considering its small size and reclusive habitat.

Have you ever stumbled upon a scorpion species in the midwest or eastern region of the US?

 

American Troops In Afghanistan Are Forced To Contend With Dangerous Scorpions

The dry desert landscapes located in the middle east are well known for containing numerous scorpion species. While native middle easterners may be familiar with many of the most venomous scorpions that exist within the region, non-natives in the region usually are not. Unfortunately, antivenoms that treat stings inflicted by middle eastern scorpion species are relatively lacking. Therefore, it is important for foreigners to be on the lookout for scorpions in the middle east, as the health consequences of a native scorpion sting can be serious, and in some cases, life threatening. Not surprisingly, many American troops in Afghanistan and Iraq have fallen victim to dangerous scorpion stings, as most American troops were not aware of the scorpion threat before deployment.

American troops that were stationed in Saudi Arabia during the Gulf War in the early 90s quickly learned that scorpions were an ever present threat in the region. In one year 2,400 American troops out of 100,000 suffered scorpion stings while on base in Saudi Arabia. This is a whopping amount considering that only 16 out of 100,000 people in the nearby country of Oman suffer scorpion stings every year. The highest recorded rate of scorpion stings in the middle east is 1,000 out of 100,000. Considering these numbers, it is easy to conclude that American troops may not have been made aware of the scorpion threat prior to deployment.

During the more recent war in Afghanistan and Iraq, scorpion sting rates among American troops likely remained high. Although no official statistics have been produced, soldiers returning to the US from the middle east self-reported spider and scorpion stings equaling 46.1 out of only 10,000. The probability of an American soldier sustaining a scorpion sting varies depending on location, season and rank.

One of the most venomous scorpions native to the middle east is the fat-tailed scorpion. The Buthidae scorpion family includes the fat-tailed scorpion as well as many other highly venomous species. A sting from one of these species can result in shock, respiratory failure, pulmonary edema, coma and/or death.

Do you known someone who sustained a scorpion sting while deployed overseas?

Waco Rat Control

Keep Pests Outdoors Where They Belong This Winter

As temperatures across the country drop and the holiday season approaches, iPest Solutions reminds homeowners to take steps to prevent pests from dropping by uninvited. Rodents and cockroaches, the most common winter pests, love nothing more than to spend the chilly winter inside a cozy home, bringing with them health and property threats.

Most people associate cooler weather with relief from flying pests such as mosquitoes and wasps, but the winter brings on a different set of pest problems that are just as serious, rats are most likely to cause problems in Waco this time of year, so it’s important for homeowners to prevent these pests from entering their homes.

Aside from being nuisances, rodents and cockroaches are vectors of a wide array of diseases and can exacerbate asthma and allergy symptoms – effects only worsened by the increased time spent indoors during the winter. Rodents can also chew through drywall, insulation, wood and electrical wiring, increasing the potential risk for fires.

iPest Solutions offers the following tips for keeping homes pest-free this winter:

  • Seal cracks and holes on the outside of your home to help prevent pests from getting inside. Be sure to check the areas where utilities and pipes enter the home. A mouse can fit through a hole the size of a dime.
  • Replace loose mortar and weather stripping around the basement foundation and windows.
  • Store firewood at least 20 feet from the home. Pests often take up residence in wood piles and can easily gain access to your home if the pile is nearby.
  • Rodents can hide in clutter, so keep storage areas well organized, and store boxes off of the floor.
  • Eliminate all moisture sites, including leaking pipes and clogged drains. Extra attention should be paid to kitchens and bathrooms as these areas are particularly vulnerable to cockroach infestations.
  • Install door sweeps and repair damaged screens in windows.
  • Screen vents to chimneys. Keep attics, basements and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry.

We encourage homeowners to remain vigilant throughout the winter for any signs of pest infestations and to regularly inspect for any possible points of entry throughout the home.

Big City Spiders Are Less Afraid of Light Than Their Country Cousins

Spiders in general aren’t known for running around in the daylight. They tend to stick to dark corners, as this helps them better hunt unsuspecting prey and it helps them hide from other possible predators. However, there is one situation in which a spider has a bigger advantage working with light; if the spider in question is a web-weaving spider. Prey such as moths are attracted to sources of light such as street lamps. However, these kinds of light-emitting objects also tend to be located in more urban and suburban areas. Tomer Czaczkes of the University of Regensburg, in Germany, believes that because of this, at least one species of urban web-spinning spider has lost its fear of light, or photophobia, in order to set up their web near such lights and take advantage of the better access to prey attracted to light.Waco Spider Control

It was after seeing many well-fed and happy spiders building their webs near streetlamps in Regensburg that Dr. Czaczkes began to wonder if city life has changed spiders’ behavior. When he found out that urban moth populations are less attracted to light than their rural cousins, he thought that the reverse might be true for urban spiders. Urban spiders should be more attracted to, or less afraid of, lights than rural spiders. To see if his theory was true Dr. Czaczkes and his colleagues took 783 spiderlings from both rural and urban areas, as well as a number of different countries, and placed them in boxes individually that had a board dividing the space in half. He lit one side of each box with a lamp that produced no heat, and left the other side dark, with two tiny gaps allowing the spiderlings to cross between the two sides. After randomly placing each spiderling in either the dark or light side of the box, the researching then watched to see in which side they built their web.

The results were exactly as Dr. Czaczkes expected they would be. Two thirds of the spiderlings collected from rural locations built their webs in the dark side of the box. Their urban cousins, however, only built half of their webs in the dark side, suggesting that the urban spiders were indeed less afraid of light. The rural spiders were still very photophobic, but the urban spiders had adapted to the point where they did not exactly like the light, but had at least ceased to fear it.

Have you ever noticed how many spider webs in urban areas are close to light fixtures? Have you noticed less spiders hanging around near lights in rural areas?

PESTS THAT GIVE HOMEOWNERS A SCARE THIS HALLOWEEN

CREEPY CRAWLY PESTS THAT GIVE HOMEOWNERS A SCARE THIS HALLOWEEN

iPest Solutions shares information on common pests that may take up residence during the colder months

While it’s normal to see bats, spiders and other creatures invade your front doorstep on Halloween in the form of trick-or-treaters or spooky décor, IPest Solutions  advises people to be on the lookout for real-life ghoulish pests this fall.

Halloween is a fun celebration of all things creepy and crawly, but it also serves as a reminder that actual pest infestations can cause quite the fright. In the spirit of this spooky holiday, we are reminding homeowners to take preventative measures to keep pests from taking up residence indoors.

Here’s a guide to some common critters that may spook homeowners this fall, along with tips to prevent them from turning the home into a haunted house.

Rats – One of the most reviled pests, rats can contaminate food, spread dangerous diseases and create fire hazards by chewing through electrical wires. Before homeowners bring boxes of pumpkins and faux cobwebs inside to decorate for Halloween, they should inspect them for signs of an infestation such as gnaw marks and rodent droppings.

Bats – Bats are frequent carriers of rabies, which can be fatal if left untreated. They often enter homes through attics, belfries and under fascia boards. Homeowners should screen attic vents and openings to chimneys, and install door sweeps this fall to keep bats out of the home.

Spiders – Some species of spiders, mainly the brown recluse and black widow, can administer a painful bite when disturbed. Homeowners can avoid coming in contact with spiders by wearing heavy gloves when moving items that have been stored for a long period of time and shaking out shoes before wearing them.

Bed bugs – Bed bugs are similar to vampires in that they feed off of human blood, typically at night. These elusive pests do not transmit disease, but they can leave red, itchy welts on the skin. Before dressing up in a costume that came from a rental or second-hand store, make sure to inspect it for bed bugs.

The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) offers some additional tips to prevent a pest infestation this Halloween season:

  • Seal cracks and crevices around the home’s exterior using caulk and steel wool. Pay close attention to where utility pipes enter the structure.
  • Keep basements, attics and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry.
  • Keep kitchen counters clean, store food in airtight containers and dispose of garbage regularly in sealed receptacles.
  • Store fire wood at least 20 feet away from the house and keep shrubbery well trimmed.
  • If you see signs of an infestation in your home, contact a licensed pest professional.

For more information on common household pests and how to protect your home, visit www.wacopest.com

 

The Successful Artist Who Preserves Dead Insects Before Replacing Their Innards With Machinery Parts

It may be hard to believe, but for thousands of years, insects have been a source of inspiration for many artists. One of the earliest cave paintings ever found depicts insects, and Renaissance artists used a type of red paint that was made from ground up cochineal insects. However, one artist from China is using insects in a way that has never been thought of before, and needless to say, his art is quite strange. Zhang Yuebai is an artist and insect enthusiast who creates sculptures made of hollowed out insect corpses.

Zhang orders a variety of different insect species from online vendors. Once the insect-filled packages arrive to his home, Zhan removes every bit of each insect’s innards. Although this may sound like a macabre act, Zhan feels as though his artwork is ultimately a celebration of insects. Once an insect’s guts are removed, Zhand dips the insect’s body into preservative chemicals. Once this is complete, holes are drilled into the hardened insect corpse so that he can place several mechanical parts inside of the hollowed out body. These mechanical parts include gears from watches and sometimes even valuable gemstones. Zhan also builds armor for his insects using the same types of materials. The final products looks like a sort of robo-insect.Waco Spider Control

According to Zhang, who is only 23, his insect sculptures can take a long time to complete, as the process requires patience and precision. Zhang does not just work with insects, but enjoys working with the occasional arachnid as well.  He once accidentally broke the legs of a preserved spider that he was making into one of his sculptures. The insect sculptures created by Zhang retain their natural colors, and he moves each sculpture into positions that are fitting for a particular species. For example, Zhang admires the mantis shrimp for its powerful claws, so he made a sculpture with one that featured a mechanical spring mechanism on its claws, which, according to Zhang, represents the force behind each slash of a mantis shrimp’s claw. Zhang takes pride in knowing that he is the only artist of his kind in all of China. However, he is probably the only artist of his kind in the world. Many of Zhang’s sculptures are sold for prices of around two to three thousand dollars.

Do you believe that Zhang’s artwork is inhumane toward insects?

World’s Biggest Insect and Arachnid Fossil Beds Right Here in the United States

When I think of fossils, the creatures that tend to come to mind first are dinosaurs, and I always imagine that they are found in far off, isolated locations in the desert, similar to the one portrayed at the beginning of Jurassic Park. But fossils come in all shapes and sizes, and one of the most important fossil sites for insect and arachnids in the world is actually located right in the good old USA. The large site is also not in the desert, but rather a forest in Colorado. To top things off, you don’t even have to be an archeologist or scientist to visit this famous site. The Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument welcomes all visitors to view this incredible site and even walk through the forest and get up close and personal with some of their oldest fossils in their natural habitat.Waco Spider Control

Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument is one of the world’s most diverse and richest fossil sites. You won’t see any giant bones jutting up from the ground. These fossil beds, which were discovered in 1873, contain a whopping 50,000 specimens, including 1,700 animal and plant species. 1,500 of those species are comprised of insects and arachnids, with insects such as spiders, beetles, flies, wasps, cockroaches, aphids, ants, as well as almost all of the species of butterflies in the country. The most popular part of the fossil site is the Ponderosa Loop, and half-mile-long and wheelchair-accessible hike that brings you right to some of their most famous fossils, including the “Big Stump”, the largest petrified redwood in the entire monument, originally reaching over 230 feet in height. That is one giant tree, fossilized or not. It’s like stepping back in time to when dinosaurs and giant insects roamed the Earth, long before we came along.

Have you ever visited a fossil site? What did you see there and what was your experience like?

How Do Tarantulas Support Their Body Weight And Dead Prey While Crawling Up Vertical Surfaces?

You don’t have to spend much time browsing social media sites before finding a proud pet owner’s picture of their four-legged companion. Nobody has a problem with this because dogs and cats are cute animals that do adorable things. However, some pet owners post pictures of their beloved tarantulas to social media sites as well. Unlike pictures of dogs and cats, many people respond to pictures of tarantulas with horror. It is becoming more and more common for tarantula enthusiasts to post pictures of their pet arachnid’s supposedly cute “paws.” Little do many know, but the tip of a tarantula’s leg resembles a paw of sorts. For example, the “paws” belonging to the pinktoe tarantula are often found pictured and posted on social media sites, as this species of tarantula must have the most picture-worthy feet of any tarantula species, just as their common name would suggest. Of course, tarantulas do not have paws; instead, tarantulas have dense patches of hair called “claw tufts.” Claw tufts are an important feature as they allow bulky tarantulas to climb vertically along a variety of different surfaces.

When compared to other arachnids, tarantulas are relatively heavy. In order to support their weight and the weight of their prey while climbing vertical surfaces, a tarantula’s hairy feet adhere to many surfaces. These hairs are visible to the human eye, but each visible hair is covered with hundreds of thousands of smaller hairs called “setules.” Setules are so small that an electron microscope is required to see them. The heavier the tarantula species, the more setules it has. For example, researchers found that a species of jumping spider known as Evarcha arcuata has a total of 600,000 setules, which is necessary for this species as it hunts and carries prey regularly up vertical surfaces. Smaller arachnids do not possess the hairy claw tufts that tarantulas possess because their low body weight does not require dense patches of setules. However, the relatively small huntsman and jumping spiders possess setules, as they are the only spider groups that are capable of crawling upside down along a ceiling while carrying prey as large as a toad in their fangs.

Have you ever found a spider crawling along your ceiling?