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Posts Tagged ‘Good News Pest Solutions’

Pest-O Pizza: The Benefits of Eating Insects

The Benefits of Eating InsectsIn our recent Pest of the Month post, we talked about how some folks in China eat cockroaches as well as using them for medicinal uses. It sounds like a scene from an Indiana Jones movie, but in other parts of the world, insects are often eaten – even considered a delicacy.

We shouldn’t be surprised. Here in the United States, we eat snails (escargot), pig intestines (pork rinds or chitlins), crawfish (gumbo), Rocky Mountain Oysters (Google it), Scrapple, and pickled pigs feet. And that’s not even counting the foods we’re not even sure are foods, like Twinkies.

Believe it or not, Entomophagists (people who regularly eat bugs) say that ants, termites, and wasps have a particularly tasty flavor…who knew?

One of the biggest arguments for coordinating your own bug buffet is that they’re packed with protein, not to mention healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. Sure you have to eat a lot more, but as you can see on the graphic to the left, insects have two to four times as much protein per 100 grams. And there are 1900 varieties of edible insects, so there are plenty of flavors to choose from.

 

They’re also a healthy and eco-friendly option – cultivating and harvesting insects for food requires less land, water and plants for food. They also release less greenhouse gasses, lower levels of ammonia, and are, well, fully biodegradable. And with a worldwide protein shortage looming, the US might soon be forced to join the nearly 2-billion other people in the world eating insects on a regular basis. In fact, there are already restaurants where you can grab literal grub in – you guessed it, New York and LA.

But since you’re on the Gulf Coast of Florida, we thought we’d share some great recipes that utilize insect as ingredients, including our favorite (by name anyway): Pest-O Pizza. Don’t miss out, you could be the first family on your block to start the Entomophagic revolution!

Of course, we wouldn’t blame you if you don’t want to be that family. If you’d rather us just keep the insects, dead and alive, out of your house and you live somewhere between Apollo Beach and Punta Gorda, give us a call!

Pest of the Month: Cockroaches

Pest of the Month CockroachesSeptember is known for a lot of things – the start of the school year, the end of the harvest, even in 1752 for losing 11 days (when England and her colonies joined the rest of the world in switching from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar)!

And September now holds the distinction for having the cockroach as its Pest of the Month!

They’re Ancient

While cockroaches themselves only live about a year, cockroaches as a species are one of the oldest ones on the planet. Whether you believe in the theory of evolution or God’s divine creation, cockroaches have been here since the beginning. There are, depending on who you talk to, between 3500 and 4500 species of these adaptable suckers, although luckily only about 30 of them live near humans.

They’re the Ultimate Survivor

Thanks to some confusion in the wake of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the general public now believes that cockroaches will be the final survivors of a nuclear holocaust.  That’s not entirely true.  The fact is, they would not survive a nuclear explosion, but they can take a LOT more radiation than we can – up to 10x as much.

On top of that, cockroaches have many other remarkable survival skills – they can survive without food for a month, can hold their breath for 40 minutes, and can survive for a week without their heads.

Cockroaches will eat ANYthing. Even their own mates. Cockroaches prefer meats, starches, and sweets, including beer, but they will eat just about anything to survive, including other insects and other cockroaches.  There are even fossil records that appear to prove cockroaches ate dinosaur poop back in the day.

They Come in All Sizes

A day old baby cockroach is about the size of a speck of dust – but can already run almost as fast as their elders. 3 miles an hour may not sound like much, but that’d be the equivalent of a human sprinting 200 miles an hour. Babies grow to adult size in a little over a month, but by then can have spread more than their share of allergens and diseases.

Average adult cockroaches range in size from ½ to 2-inches long. Here in Florida, we’re familiar with some of the larger versions of the classic German cockroach. But the largest cockroach is a species in South America, the Megaloblatta longipennis. It grows to 6 inches – with a wingspan of over a foot! That’s a little bigger than our Palmetto Bugs.

They’re Sometimes Cultivated for Medicine

Yes, believe it or not, in China, they farm and harvest cockroaches. According to university scientists there, American cockroaches can be cooked and consumed or ground into a powder that is utilized in burn creams and cosmetic facial masks.

Robotics scientists are also studying cockroaches’ exoskeletons and wings and their legs for prosthetic advancements. Of course, we’ve told you about several of these advancements and even the Robo-Roach.

We should also clarify at this point that the common names for many cockroach species are the result of nationalism – or rather anti-nationalism. Here in the states we have German cockroaches and in China and Africa they have American cockroaches. The names are sometimes thought to correspond with their point of origin, but more likely are examples of naming a bug they didn’t care for after the society they despised, or even the indigent population they’ve displaced.

How do I Get Rid of Them?

Although cockroaches, like all God’s creatures, do serve some purpose – they help cultivate the soil and do assist with certain aspects of natural recycling – none of us want them in our homes or businesses.  So, since September is the beginning of the last third of the year, this is the perfect time to start our Go Green Plus 3 treatment. We’re known from Bradenton to Punta Gorda for our all-natural, safe, 100% organic pest control methods that keep the crawling bugs out of your house. Call us and one of our highly trained staff can get you started. You might also want to ask about Term Assure 365, which adds our exclusive termite prevention, for just a little more.

And if you want to buy a Robo-Roach, well, just google it.

Extreme Bugs: American Carrion Beetle

Extreme Bugs - Corpse Eating BeetleWe’ve highlighted quite a few interesting extreme bugs over the years. It’s really incredible all the variety that God created in our world, and there are few scientific classes with more diversity than the insect world.

We think this month’s extreme bug is one of the most interesting. The American Carrion Beetle may seem like just a slightly larger than normal beetle, flying and crawling around, but these beetles actually help solve crimes!

What do they look like?

The Necrophila Americana are mostly found in the Eastern half of the United States (although there are other species in Asia). As we mentioned, they’re larger than most beetles – a half an inch long or bigger, and they have distinctive markings: a prominent yellow pronotum (kind of a cape that falls over their ‘shoulders’) with a black jagged spot in the center.

Sometimes they’re even mistaken for bumble bees when they’re flying around.

Carrion Beetles? That sounds a little disgusting.

It’s true, American Carrion Beetles get their name from their diet, from their earliest days as larvae through the end of their life, they devour decaying flesh. They will occasionally dine on rotting fruit, fungi and vegetation, but they much prefer the taste of carrion – human and other mammals.

After they feed, they leave some leftovers for the eggs that they lay on or near the decaying flesh. The eggs hatch larvae within a few days right next to their food supply.

It might be easier to think of them as the ultimate recyclers – repurposing nasty rotting meat to preserve life. Then there’s their crime fighting abilities.

Solve Crimes?

If you’ve watched any of those police shows on TV, whether its CSI, Bones or Law & Order, you’ve most likely seen at least one episode where they use entomology – the study of insects – to identify how long a body’s been dead.

Usually the first insects to show up on a dead body of any sort are flies – blowflies. But carrion beetles, once they find a food source, can be very aggressive about keeping other potential buffet sharers away.

The beetles will dig under their lunch, eventually covering it up with loose dirt, or working together to carry the corpse away. And because they’ve laid their eggs on the rotten flesh, they’ll often devour the fly larvae as they hatch to protect their young.

Because their life cycle is so distinct and specific, the guys and gals in the lab can analyze the age or generation of beetles they find on a dead body to accurately calculate the time of death – or at least dumping.

We should point out though, that these guys aren’t fun at parties, as the definitive example of the old adage, you are what you eat. To scare away predators, carrion beetles smell… just like their favorite meal.

We hope you don’t ever have a use for the American carrion beetle, but rest assured, if you run across some, you can make us your second call (after 911 or Animal Control). Our field agents are highly trained and know just how to handle just about any insect-related matter you’ll find. And we do it all naturally, with no harsh chemicals like a lot of other guys. And we cover a large range – from North Port to Sarasota and everywhere on the Gulf Coast of Florida.

Building a Better Bond with Bees

Understanding Bees BetterWe’ve posted several times about the dwindling bee population. In fact, for the past 11 years, the bee population has decreased by approximately 40% per year, resulting in a focused campaign on many fronts to not only try and deal with the problem, but to raise the public’s awareness of it as well.

That included a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture of 4-million dollars to help improve the health and reproductive cycles of bees in the Midwest. The US Postal Service recently launched “Protect Pollinators” – a Forever stamp campaign, highlighting the bee as well as the butterfly.

And all the attention spurred many others to start studying the Apis mellifera more closely, including several universities in the United States and Canada, and National Geographic.

Why Are Bees So Important?

You may remember that insects pollinate by transferring the male germ cells of a plant to the female stigma. Sometimes that’s the same plant – more often it’s a different plant, due to a difference in maturity and seeding times. There is some wind-borne pollination, but the majority of plants that we use for food can only be pollinated by insects.

Bees are the number one pollinators – handling 80% of insect-oriented pollination, accounting for some $15-BILLION per year in agricultural production. Not only can the large perennial colonies move to wherever they are needed, but they can communicate direction and distance from the hive to nectar sources – an attribute humans have taken advantage of as we work to help the bees help us.

Honey bees excel at finding the most abundant and sweetest source of nectar near the colony. Scouts communicate information about the source to their brood with what is called “dance language.”

It’s Science, Not Fiction

While the precipitous drop in bee population since 2006 looks to be slowing somewhat, scientists say that the size of the honeybee population has been cut almost in half since the 1970’s. And post-apocalyptic fears aside, they say that the one thing that could almost certainly mark the end of life on earth as we know it is the decimation of bees.

Where Are the Bees Going?

Several theories have been brought up over the years to explain the loss of bees. Habitat loss, fungal disease and pesticide use have all been considered. Colony Collapse Disorder has, until recently, been the most accepted explanation for dwindling numbers.

But a recent discovery looks to blame a more specific source – Varroa destructor, a parasitic mite from Asia. The pinhead-sized mite crawls onto young bees and sucks their blood. This eventually destroys a hive because it weakens the immune system of the bees, and it makes them more vulnerable to stress and disease.

See it to Believe it

National Geographic commissioned Anand Varma to take detailed photographs of developing honeybees. As you can see in the short video below, he took a long look at the first 21 days of a bee’s life, with the mites clearly visible in this macro-view of a bee colony.

Varma also explains how an experimental breeding program at the USDA Bee Lab in Louisiana is finding ways to exploit some bees’ natural resistance to the mites, while avoiding some known side effects. By delving deeper into what makes bees function and thrive, we can further assist them, possibly even reversing the disappearance of the bees and redeeming our past interactions with our favorite pollinator.

One way you can help the bees today and protect Florida’s status as the number 3 producer of natural honey is by choosing to utilize the 100% natural, integrated green pest control that Good News Pest Solutions provides. We’re committed to keeping your family, pets and the environment safe from harmful chemicals, whether you live in Apollo Beach or Port Charlotte. For more information, give us a call!

A Good Pollinator Can’t Be Licked

A Good Pollinator Can't Be LickedThey’ve borne classic cars, cartoons, movie stars and super heroes. And now, the US Postal Service has announced they’re honoring a very special group of insects – bees and butterflies – some of our favorite pollinators!

On August 3rd, the United States Post Office unveiled their latest addition to their line of limited edition Forever Stamps, at the American Philatelic Society National Summer Convention StampShow in Richmond, Va.

There are five very colorful stamps in the series, highlighting Monarch butterflies and western (or European) honeybees perched on flowers, getting their taste of nectar. This is the second time in 10 years the post office honored nature’s pollinators. In the 2007 series, the stamps honored the bumblebee, hummingbird, a bat, and the Southern dogface butterfly.

Strangely, the USPS didn’t choose to highlight another one of the leading pollinators – our favorite, the second most active pollinator – the mosquito. I guess they didn’t think those stamps would sell very well.😉

How Do Butterflies Pollinate?

Regardless, the Monarch butterfly is a more beautiful alternative, and a major player in widespread pollination. Because the butterflies migrate over thousands of miles every year, their multigenerational journey ranges from southern Canada, the entire length of the contiguous United States, even deep into Mexico, where they spend the winter months resting before returning north!

While honeybees do not naturally migrate anywhere close to those distances, one of the side effects of the dwindling numbers of honeybees is that these days, we often intervene to help them do their jobs.

Humans & Bees Working Together?

Beekeepers often load their hives into trucks, driving all across the country to assist farmers and accommodate various growing seasons. And that’s actually one of the reasons the US Postal Service decided to highlight these helpful insects.

The new stamp series is titled “Protect Pollinators,” and while no money from the sale of the stamps goes to the cause, USPS hopes that the stamp series will draw attention and more resources to the valuable pollinators and keeping them alive. You can pick yours up at your local post office or online here.

So, What Else Can I Do?

The Postal Service is also reaching out and encouraging everyone to plant locally appropriate, native plants. It’s a win-win – there’s one more flower to be pollinated, and you can enjoy the glorious colors.

There’s one more way you can protect a pollinator – the one that didn’t get his – or rather – her just desserts from the Post Office. By getting our exclusive No Bite Zones technology, whether you’re in Port Charlotte or Lakewood Ranch, you can take momma mosquitoes and turn them and their babies into vegan mosquitoes that will pollinate as God intended, without biting your family or pets. Another win-win situation. Give us a call to find out more!

And pick up some of the Protect Pollinators Forever stamps. You can’t lick them. (Cause they’re self-stick. Get it?)

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