A New Magical Caterpillar Cocoon

A New Magical Caterpillar Cocoon

Scientists have recently discovered a caterpillar cocoon that has seemingly magical

properties. Professor William Symondson and his team of researchers from Cardiff

University in Wales, UK recently found a unique cocoon in the forests in Borneo that

is made from resin, a sticky substance that can be collected from trees that hardens

over time. Most caterpillars build their cocoon out of silk, sometimes adding in a bit

of plant or fecal matter in order to disguise it. Within these cocoons the caterpillar is

safe from predators as it pupates and changes into its adult winged form.

The resin cocoon has some protective properties never seen before in caterpillar

cocoons. The walls of the glittering white cocoon are covered in a series of sharp

spikes made with the edges of resin flakes. They help to protect the caterpillar

within by adding a physical barrier between the predator and the outside of the

cocoon. But that’s not all this baby does. The resin also contains deadly substances

that can poison predators trying to get at the caterpillar inside. The identity of the

creator of the cocoon is as yet unknown, but the search is in progress.

Have you ever really looked at a caterpillar cocoon? What do you think about these

amazing structures?

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Bugs On the Brink

Bugs On the Brink

Education Officer Lisa Fowler and a team of researchers recently traveled to the tiny territory of St. Helena to take a survey of the insects still inhabiting the area. What they found shocked scientists everywhere. The cranefly was previously believed to be extinct, but was discovered alive when one flew in the car window of Ms. Fowler’s car and landed on her hand as she was driving to the High Peaks. The Basilewsky’s cranefly, which looks like a smaller version of a daddy long legs, was thought to be extinct, as one hasn’t been seen in 45 years. That’s not all they found, though. The team also spotted three other insect species that hadn’t been seen since the 1960s: Lelup’s centipede, the Jackal fly, and the Metalmark moth. Two new insect families were also discovered: the scaly bark-flies and the scentless plant bug. What began as a routine expedition to catalogue and study invertebrates on St. Helena turned into a profound discovery of lost insect life.

Do you think there are other insects alive in this world that we may think are extinct?

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Vulnerable Beetle Infestation in Forests

Vulnerable Beetle Infestation in Forests

Landowners are being warned in Idaho about recent windstorms that have damaged trees and are now more susceptible to infestation of bark beetles next spring.

Once the weather begins to warm up again, uprooted or broken trees are vulnerable to bark beetle infestation and then there is a likelihood that they will spread to healthier trees.

Forest health officials at the Idaho Department of Lands recommend to people that they remove any damaged trees by bringing, chipping or removing branches from their property. Officials also recommend that people not stack their green firewood next to live standing trees. This way the beetles are not spreading to your firewood and beyond.

Have you ever dealt with bark beetles?

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Top 10 Need To Know Zika Virus Facts

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Bushman to Be the Official Insect Repellent of Australian Olympians

Bushman to Be the Official Insect Repellent of Australian Olympians

With the recent explosion of the Zika virus in Brazil, many are worried about whether the upcoming Summer Olympics should still be held there. People are questioning the safety of having hundreds of thousands of foreigners traveling to a country currently ravaged by this new virus. As of yet, however, the games are still on, so the smartest move to make right now is to make sure you are prepared for the mosquito-heavy atmosphere.

The Australian Olympic Committee has recently named Bushman as its official insect repellent supplier for the 2016 Rio Summer Olympic Games. I thought this was important to bring up because, hell, if an Olympic team is using this company’s products, maybe the rest of us should take a look at them as well. Well, I looked at the Bushman website, and boy do they have some heavy-duty insect repellents. I must admit, I’m tempted to buy from them myself. One of their most popular products is a seriously heavy-duty insect repellent. It contains 80 percent DEET, and is supposed to last for up to 15 hours. I don’t know about you, but I haven’t found anything that hard core in the U.S.

Do you think the Olympics should still be held in Rio in light of the current Zika virus situation? Would you consider using this Aussie-made insect repellent?

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Zika Virus Madness

The spread of the Zika virus across Central and South America has put many American citizens in a panic over the possibility that the virus could spread across the border and into our own country. However, officials say the danger to U.S. citizens isn’t anything to get too worried about just yet. Officials at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention expect the outbreak in the U.S. to be mild.

One reason we don’t need to worry overmuch is that the U.S. already has a wealth of experience dealing with the outbreak of imported pathogens. We’ve already had to fight against SARS, H1N1, MERS, and Ebola among others. With all this previous experience the U.S. has become pretty adept at thwarting these kinds of illnesses. Another reason is that, unlike the countries in which the Zika virus has already spread, the use of air conditioning and screens on our windows is common in the U.S., which greatly reduces the danger of being bitten while inside your own home.

Officials in the U.S. have already responded very quickly to the threat of the Zika virus, meaning our country is pretty prepared for the spread of the virus, unlike the countries that have already been effected. All in all, the U.S. is on top of things, and there’s no need to panic just yet.

Have you been worrying about the possible spread of the Zika virus to the U.S.? Do you think our officials are doing a good job of preparing citizens for the possibility?

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The Mosquitos Behind the Zika Virus

The Mosquitos Behind the Zika Virus

The blood-sucking mosquito Aedes aegypti is the villain spreading the new Zika virus. One way to protect ourselves from catching this virus is to get to know this menacing pest. Like cockroaches and pigeons the Aedes mosquito loves populated areas. Because it can lay eggs in as little as an ounce of water this mosquito isn’t hindered by the need to find natural water sources to breed in. We provide plenty of them all over our cities, from the bit of water left in an outside pot after a rain to the gutters in our streets. These guys can breed just about anywhere, meaning they can live right near their source of food…us. The Aedes mosquito is perfectly adapted for crowded urban areas full of people to bite and infect. While the Zika virus is getting all of the attention for now, this mosquito is also well known for spreading yellow fever and dengue.

The female mosquito is the main villain in this scenario, as she is the one that needs to feed on blood in order to lay eggs. And guess who their main source of food is. Yep, it’s us. Since they feed almost exclusively on humans, it is simple for them to pick up a disease from one human and then pass it on to another. Unlike most species of mosquito, the Aedes mosquito feeds during the day rather than at dawn and dusk, so they are active during the same time their food, us, is. This means that you need to be vigilant at all times of being bitten. Wear bug repellent even when you’re inside and the day feels cool.

Did you know the Aedes mosquito was such a big threat or that they’ve evolved to basically be the biggest pain to humans?

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