Tuesday, March 26, 2013



Photo via Wikipedia

Most children are fascinated with grasshoppers. The grasshopper pictured is the Romalea guttata, or eastern lubber grasshopper (or just "lubber grasshopper"). It is the most distinctive species that thrives in the southeastern and south central portion of the United States. Reaching nearly 3 inches (8 cm), it is well known both for its size and its unique coloration. 

Like all insects, this species of grasshopper will go through several stages. When in the nymph stage (youth), it is much smaller than in the adult stage, wingless and completely black with one or more yellow, orange or red stripes. In the adult stage, they reach 2.5–3 inches (64–76 mm), grow wings half the length of their body and become either a dull yellow often characterized by black spots and markings, a bright orange with black markings, or entirely black (as in the nymph stage) with yellow or red striping. In the black adult color phase, the grasshopper is widely known by the name "diablo" or "black diablo". In Louisiana, they are known as the Devil's Horse or cheval-diable. Some may even call it the "graveyard grasshopper". 
photo via planetneptune.com

Romalea guttata occurs west of North Carolina to Tennessee, in Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas and Texas, and throughout Florida and Arizona. They live in open pinewoods, weedy vegetation and weedy fields. Sometimes these grasshoppers live in sewers, since grass and other food sources accumulate there.

This insect has many ways of defense. The first is its brightly colored warning pattern (aposematism). The insect can emit a foul-smelling and foul-tasting foamy secretion from the thorax when it is disturbed which is dark colored and opaque. It also lets off a loud hissing sound that can scare animals. (Wikipedia)
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Blog by: Scott Glaze
President of Arab Termite & Pest Control of Kokomo, Inc.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Lighting Bugs- Fireflies

Lightning Bugs
Photo courtesy of Kevin Adams

As a child, I'm sure most of us have collected a few fireflies and put them in a jar. Their magical light captivated us (at least for a few precious years) in our youth. Fireflies are a familiar insect of warm summer nights. Did you know that these insects are actually nocturnal (meaning they come out at night) beetles? They are members of the family Lampyridae. Most fireflies have wings, which distinguishes them from other luminescent insects of the same family, commonly known as glowworms.
There are about 2,000 different species of fireflies. These insects live in a variety of warm environments, as well as other temperate regions. Fireflies love moisture and often live in humid regions of Asia and the Americas. In drier areas, they are found around wet or damp areas that retain moisture.
Most everyone can see how fireflies got their name, but many people might not know how these insects produce their signature glow. Fireflies have dedicated light organs that are located under their abdomens. The insects take in oxygen and, inside special cells, combine it with a substance called luciferin to produce light with almost no heat.
from Time Lists
Firefly light is usually intermittent, and flashes in patterns that are unique to each species. Each blinking pattern is an optical signal that helps fireflies find potential mates. Scientists are not sure how the insects regulate this process to turn their lights on and off.
Firefly light may also serve as a defense mechanism that flashes a clear warning to would be predators: Don't eat me - I don't taste good! The fact that even larvae are luminescent lends support to this theory.
Females deposit their eggs in the ground, which is where larvae develop to adulthood. Underground larvae feed on worms and slugs by injecting them with a numbing fluid.
Adults typically feed on nectar or pollen, though some adults do not eat at all.  Sounds amazing, but adults typically don't live any longer than 2 months.  (National Geographic)
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Blog by: Scott Glaze
President of Arab Termite & Pest Control of Kokomo, Inc.

The Praying Mantis

The Praying Mantis

The praying mantis is named for its prominent front legs, which are bent and held together at an angle that suggests the position of prayer. The larger group of these insects is more properly called the praying mantids. Mantis refers to the genus mantis, to which only some praying mantids belong. These insects will live for approximately 1 year.
The closest relatives of mantises are termites and cockroaches. They are sometimes confused with phasmids (stick/leaf insects) and other elongated insects such as grasshoppers and crickets.
By any name, these fascinating insects are formidable predators. They have triangular heads poised on a long "neck," or elongated thorax. Mantids can turn their heads 180 degrees to scan their surroundings with two large compound eyes and three other simple eyes located between them. They are the only insect capable of pivoting their heads!

Typically green or brown and well camouflaged on the plants among which they live, mantises lie in ambush or patiently stalk their quarry. They use their front legs to snare their prey with reflexes so quick that they are difficult to see with the naked eye. Their legs are further equipped with spikes for snaring prey and pinning it in place.
Moths, crickets, grasshoppers, flies, and other insects are usually the unfortunate recipients of unwanted mantid attention. However, the insects will also eat others of their own kind. The most famous example of this is the notorious mating behavior of the adult female, who sometimes eats her mate just after—or even during—mating. Yet this behavior seems not to deter males from reproduction.
Females regularly lay hundreds of eggs in a small case, and nymphs hatch looking much like tiny versions of their parents. (National Geographic)

Edited, Revised and Condensed by:  Scott Glaze   March 21, 2013
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