• 03Oct

    Robber Fly On LeavesRobber flies are one of nature’s predators. This diverse family of flies, also known as Asiladae, is scattered throughout the world, which could explain some of their diversity. Robber flies have insatiable appetites, and glut themselves on a vast number of insects, including wasps, bees, dragonflies, grasshoppers, and some spiders.

    What Are Robber Flies?

    Robber flies, or Asiladae, are a subfamily of “true flies.” They belong to the superfamily Asiloidea, which belongs to the suborder Brachycera. There are currently 7,0003 known species of robber flies spread out around the world, with nearly 1,000 species living in North America alone – and more than 100 of those species reside in Florida.

    What Do Robber Flies Look Like?

    All robber flies share one characteristic: a divot on the top of their head. This divot is located between their prominent, compound eyes. Most robber flies have elongated bodies with tapered abdomens, although some species are long and skinny, much like a damselfly, while others are stout and hairy, mimicking a bumblebee. Adults can vary between 3 mm and 50 mm in size, although most average between 9 – 15 mm in length. Their legs are long and strong in order to aid with capturing prey. Females usually have a slightly broader abdomen than the males of the species. Most robber flies are either brown, gray, or black, although some subspecies are striped like a bumblebee.

    What Do Robber Flies Do?

    Robber flies are what is known as “opportunistic predators,” meaning they prey on other insects that are available within their environment. Robber flies establish a perching zone, which they use to locate potential prey. Perching zones vary depending on the species, but are usually in an open, sunny area. Robber flies swoop in on their prey mid-flight and inject the victim with their saliva, which contains neurotoxic and proteolytic enzymes and immediately immobilizes their victim as it digests bodily contents. The robber fly then returns to its perch spot, where it enjoys its liquid meal.

    Robber Fly Car DoorWhere Do Robber Flies Live?

    Robber flies are distributed all over the world, although some groups are unique to certain regions. Most robber flies live in warm, sandy areas, with a large population (consisting of all four subfamilies) residing in Florida. Some species have adapted to desert climate, and very few have adapted to woodland areas, although those that have tend to stay on the outskirts, near grasslands.

    What’s The Robber Fly Life Cycle Like?

    Female robber flies lay white colored eggs on low-lying plants, in grasses, or in crevices within soil, bark, or wood. Egg laying habits vary from species to species, although most lay a bunch of eggs at once. Robber fly larvae live in the soil or decaying organisms found within the environment. Larvae are just as predatory as their adult counterparts, feeding on other eggs, larvae, or other soft-bodied insects. They overwinter as larvae, pupating in the soil, then migrating to the surface as adults. It can take between 1-3 years for complete development, depending on the species and environmental factors.

    Robber flies are rather intimidating insects to contend with, and if you notice an outbreak of them around your home, you’ll probably want to call a pest control professional.

    About the author: Chris is a professional for a baltimore pest control company. He enjoys writing about the quirkier side of the pest control business with fun and interesting things about insects.

     

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  • 05Aug

    German Roach On Leaf

    We all know that the most sly and sneaky creepy crawler out there is the cockroach. This bug will eat our pizza or snickers bar if open and left out; it will even raid our pantries and refrigerators. Over a span of many years this bug has put up quite a resistance in the war against mankind. The roach is one of the most exterminated bugs by pest control professionals, but in the 1990’s in Florida, some of the exterminator’s tricks stop working. This was because the roaches developed a trick of their own; ditching their sweet tooth.

    One of the professional tactics used against cockroaches is baiting them with a sweet, sugary poison. In the 90’s when this bait stopped working, researchers started speculating about this seemingly invincible pest. How had the bug avoided the sweet scent and taste of the concoction? Researchers from Raleigh’s North Carolina State University, Ayako Wada-Katsumata, Jules Silverman, and Coby Schal looked into that very question.

    The Findings

     

    Using the common German cockroach, researchers studied the reason for this change in roach behavior. Roaches use taste hairs all over their bodies instead of taste buds to taste their food. Researchers focused on the taste hairs around their mouths and two types of nerve cells that transmit signals to the brain. One of these transmits the taste of bitterness, while the other transmits the taste of sweetness. When the brain received the sweet signal, the roaches were, of course, inclined to eat the substance, and when it received a signal of bitterness, the roaches laid off. The three researchers from North Carolina determined that glucose, which is the main ingredient used in most sugary products, stimulates the bitter receptor in the roach’s brain.

    Roach_BreadReactions

     

    Entomologist at Purdue University, Grzegorz Buczkowski, and Walter S. Leal, the head of the entomology department in the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at the University of California, Davis who were not involved in the research, made some remarks on the findings.

    Buczkowski said, “We lose baits all the time.” He expanded by saying that the bug industry has to keep up with the evolution of these bugs in order to maintain the effectiveness of their products. New poisons are constantly developed, because cockroaches and other pests become resistant to the poison, just as bacteria become resistant to antibiotics.

    The findings now explain that it wasn’t an ineffective poison, or that the roaches developed immunity to it. The cockroaches simply changed their genetic make-up and lost the attraction to glucose. Now some roaches are passing off this gene and evolving into some sort of super roach.

    Walter S. Leal says, “Sometimes the science is beautiful but you don’t know whether there is going to be an application five years from now, 10 years from now or 100 years.”

    These results seem to be well on their way to helping the pest control industry and mankind in general to keep a leg up on the evolving cockroach.

    Author Bio:  is a journalism student and blogger for Bulwark Exterminating, an industry leader in providing high quality Raleigh Roach Control services. When I’m not playing with my two adorable nieces, I’m on the tennis court chasing that little green ball around.

     

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  • 17Oct

     

    Tragedy During a Roach Eating Contest

     

    Edward “Eddie” Archbold is seen in the above video grabbing handfuls of roaches, and tossing them in his mouth like peanuts. The 32 year old resident of South Florida passed away earlier this month after eating several dozen of those roaches. The man was competing in a roach-eating contest with the hopes of winning an ivory ball python from a local reptile store.

    After almost inhaling a bucket of 2-3 inch long roaches, Eddie threw his hands up in the air and was declared the winner. Shortly after winning the contest, Eddie started to feel sick and began vomiting. He eventually passed out and was rushed to an area hospital where he was declared dead. The medical examiner’s office is carrying out some tests to figure out the exact cause of Eddie’s death. Many are speculating his death was due to an allergic reaction caused by eating the roaches.

    A fellow roach eating contestant of Eddies, Mathew Karwacki, made a Facebook comment about the roaches they were eating:

    “Yes the contest was crazy, but all the bugs were captive bred and raised on a commercial diet and veggies. These insects are raised for the pet industry as fodder. So there was nothing that those bugs contained that would hurt a human (unless yes there was some sort of allergic reaction, but that is usually instant…he died awhile AFTER the contest)”

    Eating Insects

    Many of us North Carolina residents, along with most of the Western world, find eating roaches revolting. The truth is Entomophagy, or the act of eating insects, is a way of life for millions of people worldwide who rely on insects for protein and other nutrients needed to live. Eating insects is ingrained in many different cultures.

    Thailand just might be the insect eating capital of the world. Vendors will sell crispy insects from carts at outdoor markets, and fried crickets are served liked peanuts in bars.

    In Latin America ants, fire-roasted tarantulas, and cicadas are common customary dishes. One of the most famous culinary insects in Mexico, the agave worm, is eaten on tortillas and placed in bottles of tequila. Chocolate-covered locusts and candy-covered worms make getting your daily dose of protein oh-so sweet.

    In Ghana during the spring rains, winged termites are collected and fried, roasted, or even made into bread. The termites are high in proteins, fats and oils, all of which are needed for a healthy, well-balanced diet.

    And in Florida, contestants eat roaches in the hopes of winning a pet snake.

    Roach Control

    Residents in the Raleigh, North Carolina area find cockroaches to be disgusting pests, not intended for eating… With good reason. They carry over 40 different types of bacteria, and cause numerous diseases. Other unpleasant side effects roaches can cause are food poisoning, dysentery, diarrhea, parasitic worms, and urinary track infections. In addition, they have also been shown to cause allergic reactions in humans, which was likely the cause of Eddie’s death.

    If you are a Raleigh resident, you do not want these disease carrying pests anywhere near your property, let alone in your home. If you are having a cockroach problem, contact a local exterminator immediately, and let’s leave the roach eating to the competitive eaters.

    Bulwark Pest Control
    19 West Hargett Street
    Raleigh, NC 27601
    (919) 828-8825
    bulwarkpestcontrol.com

    Carolina Wildlife Removal
    2316 Sapphire Valley Drive
    Raleigh, NC 27604
    (919) 896-4278
    carolinawildliferemoval.com

    Terminix
    6020 Oak Forest Drive
    Raleigh, NC 27616
    (919) 790-0995
    terminix.com

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