The Surprising Geographical Origin Of Honeybees

It has long been believed by scientists that honeybees originated in Africa, much like humans did well over one hundred thousand years ago. However, recent research is showing that this is likely not the case at all. Instead there exists an abundance of evidence that suggests Asia as the more likely birthplace of modern honeybees.

Researchers from Uppsala University conducted a global analysis of honeybees, which indicated that they are far more genetically diverse than previously supposed. The genetic researchers created a reliable tree that showed Asia and not Africa as the origin of the modern honeybee. This extensive genetic map is telling researchers a great deal about the migration history of honeybees and how they became adapted to different climates around the world.

Perhaps the most interesting finding involved a close relative of the modern honeybee that originated in Asia. This Asian honeybee was described as a cavity-nesting bee that began migrating across Europe from Asia around 300,000 years ago.

Today honeybee populations are decreasing rapidly. Could a better understanding of the genetic diversity of honeybees help scientists preserve the population size of honeybees

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The Beautiful Variety Of Bed Bug Bites

It seems the whole world is talking about bed bugs this summer. Everyone seems to have bed bug fever. A day cannot go by without reading a headline telling about a bed bug infestation in a famous tourist attraction, or an entire hotel, you name it. The summer of 2016 is the summer of bed bugs. And even though you yourself may not wake up in the morning with any bug bites, that may not be sufficient reason to believe that your dwelling is bedbug free. In fact you could be just as infested with bed bugs as that poor sap who wakes up with quarter sized red bumps all over his face and body, and this is because bed bug bites are not all uniform in appearance.

Although it is hard to believe the most common bedbug bite of all is the one that you don’t see. Or if you have really good eyesight you may notice a tiny puncture. Experts believe that between thirty and sixty percent of bedbug victims do not show any noticeable bites.

Other bedbug victims may show wheel-shaped red bumps that resemble hives only to transform into rashes with blisters later in the day after they have been bitten multiple times. These types of marks on the skin are referred to complex skin reactions.

Then there is the more rare and certainly more serious types of bed bug reactions referred to as systemic allergic reactions. These reactions can cause asthma attacks, hives and anaphylaxis. In these more serious cases constant itching is the norm and steroidal medication is normally required.

Would you consider a systemic reaction to a bed bug bite a sufficient reason to visit the emergency room?

 

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If You Have Garden Slugs And Snails Then Share Your Coffee With Them

If You Have Garden Slugs And Snails Then Share Your Coffee With Them

Snails and especially slugs are unlikeable creatures not only because they are unforgivably ugly, but also because they don’t seem to mind invading and causing all sorts of trouble in your garden. Typically gardeners would quickly deal with these creatures by picking them up and torching them, but what if you are understandably afraid of picking up either one of these slimy creatures? Well according to experts, you can just pour coffee on them, or at least around the border of your garden.

Hawaii’s US Dept. of Agriculture research was tasked with killing frogs that infest potted plants in Hawaii. What they used was a “caffeine spray” that they used to douse all those unwelcome frogs. Unfortunately, the frogs did not die, and probably got really jittery, but what the researchers did note was that all of the snails and slugs died rather quickly, and no other plants were harmed. Nobody likes wasting coffee, but if you hate the sight of slugs and snails in your garden more than you like a single cup of coffee, you may want to give this method a shot.

Would it be a smart idea to create an anti-slug/snail product that is made with caffeine?

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How Long Could We Live Without Bees?

 

There is a famous quote that says, “if the bee disappears from the surface of the earth man would have no longer than four years to live.” This quote is famously misattributed to Albert Einstein, which did not surprise me because I did not think Einstein was a bee expert. Whoever the quote does belong to was not correct in their statement. Actually humans could likely sustain themselves without any bees on the planet at all.

Bees and humans have a long history together. For example, humans have been using bees since 20,000 BC, which was before humans discovered agriculture. Once agriculture was discovered it was likely beekeeping that made it possible. But do all crops require pollination?

A recent study revealed that eighty seven percent of crops today use bees as pollinators, but not all of those crops require bee pollination as twenty eight percent of crops could grow without the assistance of pollination. Actually sixty percent of food consumed today does not require bee pollination. However, our most nutritious foods do need bees to exist, such as apples, avocados, and onions. Therefore, without bees food would become more scarce, and our diets would suffer. So, the answer is “yes” we would survive, but our dinner plates would not be as appetizing.

Is it possible that we could one day live in a world in which all bees have gone extinct?

There is a famous quote that says, “if the bee disappears from the surface of the earth man would have no longer than four years to live.” This quote is famously misattributed to Albert Einstein, which did not surprise me because I did not think Einstein was a bee expert. Whoever the quote does belong to was not correct in their statement. Actually humans could likely sustain themselves without any bees on the planet at all.

Bees and humans have a long history together. For example, humans have been using bees since 20,000 BC, which was before humans discovered agriculture. Once agriculture was discovered it was likely beekeeping that made it possible. But do all crops require pollination?

A recent study revealed that eighty seven percent of crops today use bees as pollinators, but not all of those crops require bee pollination as twenty eight percent of crops could grow without the assistance of pollination. Actually sixty percent of food consumed today does not require bee pollination. However, our most nutritious foods do need bees to exist, such as apples, avocados, and onions. Therefore, without bees food would become more scarce, and our diets would suffer. So, the answer is “yes” we would survive, but our dinner plates would not be as appetizing.

Is it possible that we could one day live in a world in which all bees have gone extinct?

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Bursting the Bad Rap Bubble of Flies

Flies are probably one of the most hated insects in the world. We poison them, swat them, and screen them out of our homes, designating them as enemy number one of the human race. However, one entomologist, Dr. Bryan Lessard, is on a mission to change people’s perception of this insect. He even called a horsefly sexy, comparing the golden hairs on its stomach to Beyonce’s famous booty. He stated that the horsefly is the “bootylicious ambassador” for flies everywhere. And with that one statement he launched a worldwide conversation about the importance of flies.

He makes some really good points. Flies are central to decomposition, helping to accelerate the process, which would otherwise take much longer. Without flies we would see many more dead animals and plants just hanging around waiting for some help to decompose. Imagine walking around the park only to regularly stumble over all sorts of dead animals…and I don’t want to even think about how much more road kill we’d be seeing on a daily basis.

Believe it or not flies are also pollinators, the gum tree being just one of the plants they help out. Flies also help us fight disease. Have you ever heard of maggot therapy? Well, by placing sterile blow fly larvae in rotting wounds, the maggots will actually clean the rotting flesh and help the wound heal. Maybe we need to give these guys another chance?

What are some other ways flies are beneficial to the world?

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An Artist’s Love Of Bugs Inspires Arguably Unpleasant Wallpaper

An Artist’s Love Of Bugs Inspires Arguably Unpleasant Wallpaper

Not so long ago a noteworthy artist by the name of Jennifer Angus had taken it upon herself to glue dead bugs onto her wall because…you know…art….get it?! Maybe Miss Angus was experiencing an uneventful day when she decided to glue grasshoppers onto her wall for kicks, and maybe it was then that she realized she was staring at the next popular, yet  humdrum abomination of modern art. Despite being an offense to the eyes, Miss Angus did manage to take something valuable away from her disagreeable artistic work–an appreciation for bugs.

Years ago Miss Angus was contacted by a friend who had encouraged her to order dead bugs through the mail in order to use them in her art. Miss Angus’ first bug was a eupholus weevil, which turned her on to bugs for the long haul. Her enthusiasm for all bugs and everything bug related instilled in her a newfound appreciation for the environment as well as for the general welfare of all insects, big and small. Today Miss Angus works to promote insect welfare by frantically dodging every bug she encounters on the street. Well, Miss Angus’ efforts as an advocate for environmental safety and all the creatures that share in this environment may not be up to Al Gore standards, but she is trying.

How do bugs inspire you?

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Popular Bed Bug Myths Busted

Bed bugs can be a scary thing. They are a nightmare to get rid of and can make you feel like your world is crawling with bugs during an infestation. However, the fear people have of bed bugs has also led to some crazy myths being circulated that turn these annoying insect pests into giant, invincible monsters with super human powers. Here are a few myths about bed bugs that you probably thought were true.

Bed bugs cannot fly or jump. Bed bugs can only crawl. However, sometimes this crawling can lead to them venturing up your walls and then falling onto places that appear to be accessible only through flight.

One myth that might make you feel as if there is no escape from these pests is that they can travel to other apartments by crawling through bath tub drain pipes. This is totally false. Bed bugs actually can’t crawl around on slippery surfaces such as glass, porcelain, or smooth plastics. Unfortunately, bed bugs can crawl under doors and walls to travel to other apartments.

Just because you have bug bites, this doesn’t automatically mean you have bed bugs. Many people immediately think they have bed bugs when they find insect bites on them that they can’t remember getting. However, many other insect bites will cause the same reaction as that of a bed bug. They only way to know for sure that your home is infested is to find the actual bug or its eggs. You also might find blood spotting on bed linens or fecal staining on your walls and furniture.

What myths have you heard about bed bugs that you know are actually false?

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