Man may have created the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Great Wall of China, the Empire State building but termites are capable of building mounds so resilient that one is over 2,000 years old!
The termite mound was discovered in the Miombo woodland area of central Africa and measured in at 33 feet tall, complete with termite 'air conditioning'. Experts estimate that the mound is about 2,200 years old and was in use for hundreds if not thousands of years.
The only other ancient termite mound that comes close in age is one that has been dated 750 years old. Both ancient termite mounds were built by Macrotermes falciger, a native termite to the Miombo Woods in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The mounds were analyzed using carbon 14 dating, which is also a technique used to date bones and other natural artifacts. Moreover, researchers from the Ghent University in Belgium and the University of Lubumbashi gathered in the Democratic Republic of Congo to conduct the analysis.
Quite interesting, I just hope my regular Cincinnati pest control doesn't include carbon dating any termite mounds!
Spiders Among Us
All homes have cracks and crevices, dark places, and crumbs lying about – even the cleanest ones. And these are the features that real-estate searching arachnids crave. So if you want to reduce the presence of spiders in your space, take note of a few hints from the experts.
Only three types of spiders bite with venom that can injure humans, and they are the infamous black widow, the shy brown recluse and the hobo spider. Any of these lurking around your home should be disposed of, including destroying the eggs so they won’t reappear. A good method for this is to vacuum them up and then make sure all contents with the vacuum bag are killed.
The brown recluse is a small, spindly spider that lives in dark corners and is particularly fond of sheds and garages. Their bite is painful and will produce a significant lesion with skin necrosis. It can be treated with antibiotics, but even with treatment often takes a long time to heal. To reduce encounters with this venomous creature, remove old boxes from your shed and use sealed plastic containers instead. Be aware of providing a dark, lonely habitat and they will be less likely to move in.
The last of the three is the lesser known hobo spider. Similar to the brown recluse in appearance, habits, and bite, it can be handled in the same way: minimize dark corners and shady places in your home and garage.
University Professor Schools Kids on Bugs
Instructor Michael Eskelson hosted an entomology session Wednesday at the University of Nebraska West Central Research and Extension Center to teach students about insects in the area.
The professor from the University of Nebraska Extension Center wants kids to understand the insect world, and gave a talk at the Center last week, inviting only a young audience.
Kids from the surrounding areas lined up to learn bug facts and took a trip to the fields to start their own collection.
The lecture began with an overview of the world of insects, the most diverse set of creatures on our plant.
Eskelson started with the facts. “There are almost 1 million species of known insects on the Earth, about 80 percent of all living creatures,” Eskelson said. “Some of them are harmful — about 5 percent — but most of them help us and are needed.”
He lectured his audience about the definition of an insect, how to identify the different types, and what the most helpful ones are for farmers. Ladybugs and pollinators are two of the most common beneficial bugs, and Eskelson explained that ladybugs eat aphids that are destructive to crops, while pollinators stimulate food production.
Students collected insects with a net in an adjacent field and placed them in plastic bags. A cotton ball laced with acetone in the bags killed the bugs, which were then pinned for a collection.
“I learned that bugs have their skeletons on the outside of their bodies,” said student Kason Bruns. “That is the reason they make a crunchy sound when people step on them.”
Perfection Pest ( Kentucky Pest Control Eperts) celebrates the important role of pest professionals
This April, Perfection Pest is proud to celebrate National Pest Management Month, a public observance formally recognized each year by the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) to acknowledge the pest management industry’s commitment to the protection of public health and property from household pest threats. Additionally, as spring is an especially busy time for pest-related activity, Perfection Pest encourages homeowners to take proactive pest proofing steps in the coming weeks.
“We are proud to be members of an industry which plays an important role in people’s everyday lives and are committed to helping homeowners protect their homes and ensuring public places and residences are free of disease-carrying pests,” said Tim Leatherman, Owner at Perfection Pest.
“As pests emerge from their overwintering spots, we encourage the public to tackle simple home improvement and landscaping projects that will make a big difference in staving off infestations during the warmer months,” added Leatherman.
Perfection Pest Experts recommend the following tips to pest-proof the home this spring:
- Seal any cracks on the outside of the home with a silicone-based caulk, including entry points for utilities and pipes.
- Replace weather-stripping and repair loose mortar around the foundation and windows.
- Keep tree branches and shrubbery well trimmed and away from the house.
- Repair fascia and rotted roof shingles.
- Keep mulch at least 15 inches from the foundation.
- Eliminate sources of standing water around the house, including birdbaths and in clogged gutters.
- Keep basements, attics, and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry.
- Store garbage in sealed containers and dispose of it regularly.
- Avoid leaving pet’s food dishes out for long periods of time.
- Contact a licensed pest professional if an infestation is suspected.
For more information on common household pests or more pest-proofing tips, please visit www.perfectionpest.com
Argentine Ants: Colonies of Argentine ants are found throughout the southeastern parts of the U.S. and California usually in wet environments near a food source. Argentine ants do not pose a health threat, but they can contaminate food and give off a musty odor when crushed.
Carpenter Ants: This aggressive species of ant is found nationwide, especially in the northern region. Carpenter ants attack wood and can cause severe property damage, which is usually not covered by homeowners' insurance.
Crazy Ants: First found in Texas in 2002, crazy ants have spread to other southern states, nesting in both dry and moist habitats. This species does not pose a health threat, but they can become a nuisance.
Odorous House Ants: This species is found in every region of the U.S. and commonly nests in basements, crawl spaces and adjacent structures. Odorous house ants do not pose a health risk, but they give off a strong, rotten coconut-like smell when crushed.
Pavement Ants: These black ants are found throughout the eastern portion of the U.S., and in California and Washington. They get their name from making nests in or under cracks in pavement. Pavement ants can contaminate food and should be avoided.
Red Imported Fire Ants: These red ants are found in the southeastern U.S., from Virginia to Texas, as well as California and New Mexico. They are commonly introduced to new areas through potted plants, shrubbery and trees. Fire ants will sting humans who disturb a nest, often causing painful welts.