— BugsInTheNews is a VIEWER-PARTICIPANT WEBSITE. Click on the link for information on what that means. This article by Jerry Cates and Katie Baker, first published on 1 December 2012, was last revised on 19 December 2012. © Bugsinthenews Vol. 13:12(01).
001. Frontodorsal habitus
Katie wrote me on 26 November 2012:
One of my clients in the city of Victoria, Texas, reported seeing tiny black “sugar ants” in certain locations several months in a row, yet not a single ant was present whenever I was at the site. That, of course, is the way Murphy’s Law works. So, by way of contravening the nefarious effects of said Law, I provided the client’s maintenance director, Ramon Alaniz, with a set of alcohol-filled specimen collection vials, a swab, and a set of labels, so he could snatch up a few of these critters next time they reappeared. I knew Ramon would come through on this, and my faith was rewarded. On my next visit he handed over several vials of ants, which he’d managed to collect from different locations at the site. [...]
On 12 October 2012 the maintenance director of a medical facility located near the southern tip of Austin, Texas, called to say that a moderately sized ant, with a red head and midsection, and a black abdomen, had invaded one of their facility bedrooms. Since the invasion appeared to involve the much-feared red imported fire ant (RIFA), I immediately rearranged my schedule and drove to the site. By the time I arrived, the ants were no longer present, but specimens had been collected and were on hand for me to examine. One look with the unaided eye determined — to my relief — that they were harmless acrobat ants. Glancing out the bedroom’s window, it was easy to see where they had come from. Some 20 feet from the window stood a good sized island of lush, thick, well-tended botanicals, as high as it was wide. My mind’s eye immediately envisioned extensive colonies of aphids, mealybugs and scale, hidden from view within the island’s leafy boughs. [...]
As mentioned in an earlier article (published on 27 June 2011) on little black ants, there once was a time when, in Texas, the pharaoh ant (Monomorium pharaonis Linn. 1758) was one of the most significant pests of human dwellings. Leland Howard, in his 1914 monograph on the insects, stated plainly that what he called the “little red ant” was “a pest of households.” [...]
On 17 September 2012, upon arriving at a commercial building in downtown Dripping Springs, Texas to conduct a scheduled periodic inspection and treatment program at that site, I was told that flying insects had lately been bothering the building’s employees while they were outside after sundown. The insects were present in large numbers, swarming around the outside lights and making pests of themselves. They didn’t bite or sting, but they were fairly large and quite annoying. “Let’s go take a look,” I said. [...]
In late August 2012 I was called to a medical facility in the western portion of the city of Houston, Texas, to deal with an invasion of ants that were gaining access to the interior of the facility. The ants involved at that time were… [...]
Over the past thirteen years or so, always amidst the busiest time of the summer season of the year, I’ve received a smattering of photos from BugsInTheNews viewers depicting a black spider, usually with a bright red stripe down the middle of its dorsal abdomen, but sometimes with a small number of red dots at the abdomen’s dorsal posterior, aligned longitudinally. In each case the general morphology of the spider was such that it clearly was not a black widow (which has a shiny, bulbous, almost spherical abdomen), and thus was unlikely to be dangerous. I suspected, however, that — owing to the black widow’s bad reputation and these spiders’ superficial resemblance to it — most people might be moved to quickly destroy them, without so much as a second thought, and thus would be unable to provide me with a specimen to work with. [...]
— BugsInTheNews is a VIEWER-PARTICIPANT WEBSITE. This article by Jerry Cates, first published on 30 July 2012, was last revised on 9 August 2012. © Bugsinthenews Vol. 13:07(01).
On 18 July Gills Onions LLC, a multi-generational family-run onion processing firm founded in 1983 in Oxnard, California, issued a voluntary recall of the onions shipped between [...]
Beneficial nematodes are commonly used, today, as biological agents to exterminate pest insects and their larvae. Such nematodes are referred to as “entomopathogenic parasitoids” because the nematodes kill rather than parasitize the insect’s body (the host). On entering the host, the nematodes expel a pathological bacteria into its circulatory system; the bacteria multiplies, simultaneously infusing the host’s body with (1) a poison that kills it, and (2) a complex of antibiotics that… [...]
Details on the behavior of entomopathogenic nematodes, and their bacterial symbionts, as agents of subterranean termite control, are discussed. Experiments with this nematode, and its bacterial symbiont, have been carried out using specialized, nematode-optimized termite interceptors, with excellent results. [...]