Sting-O-Meter!

posted by Prof. McFly on August 7, 2013

Have you been stung by just about every insect on the planet? Well the ‘sting-o-meter’ tells you which insects will cause you the most pain. A man named Justin Schmidt has been stung so many different times that he decided to create a pain scale from zero to four to rank insect stings. * Stings that have a rate of zero have a minor reaction and those that rate four are the worst pain you can imagine. So check out his list below:

  • Fire Ant: One, the pain will usually last two to four minutes
  • Honeybee: Two, the pain lasts up to ten minutes
  • Bumblebee: Two, the pain lasts up to five minutes
  • German Yellowjacket: Two, the pain lasts four to ten minutes
  • Velvet Ant: Three, pain will usually last up to 30 minutes
  • Harvester Ant: Three, pain will last for one to eight hours
  • Paper Wasp: Three, pain will last for five to fifteen minutes
  • Warrior Wasp: Four, pain will last for up to four hours
  • Tarantula Hawk: Four, pain will last for three minutes
  • Bullet Ant: Four, pain for twelve to twenty four hours

He describes being stung by a tarantula wasp as being hit by 20,000 volts. A beesting ranks at a level two on his scale. While a fire ant lasts in pain for about two to four minutes. Out of all though, that he has been stung by, the bullet ant is the worst sting that he has even encountered. According to Justin, these insects just want to make you lay down and die, just screaming in pain and agony.

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Summer Heat is Approaching Driving Insects Inside

posted by Prof. McFly on May 22, 2013

Q: How many critters and insects will be out this summer for residents in Arizona?

Well the amount of insects and critters might be a little heavier than most for the nation. Hot summer temperatures may drive insects indoors, to seek food and shelter from the heat. For Arizona residents it might not impact them as much as it is believed too. The state that is getting the most buzz is Florida.

The Florida carpenter ant is the insect to look out for in the summer. Ants, especially are one of the most difficult pests to control, both indoors and out. Although they are merely a nuisance, there are some than can deliver a painful sting or damage to the structure of a home. Some places they may be found nesting could be underneath attic insulation, beneath dishwashers and behind wood paneling.

It is important wherever your location that you prevent ant infestations to avoid damage to your home, as well as eliminate potential health risks. Take the time to look around the interior and exterior of your home. Inspect around window sills, door jambs and faucets. Be extra careful in caulking seals and cracks and crevices to keep them out and away.

 

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Record ant colony

posted by Prof. McFly on February 26, 2013

ants stretching from italy to spain
Q: I looked on guinness book of world records and wanted to know more about the largest recorded colony of ants. Can you tell me?

The largest recorded colony of ants in the world stretches 6,000 km (3,700 miles) from northern Italy, through the south of France to the Atlantic coast of Spain, and is made up of a species of Argentine ant (Linepithema humile) introduced into Europe approximately 80 years ago. The workers are 2–3 mm in length.

The ants have shown the ability to recognise each other even though they may come from opposite ends of the colony. The discovery of the ‘supercolony’ is the result of research carried out by Swiss, French and Danish scientists.


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What is the Asian Needle Ant?

posted by Prof. McFly on February 20, 2013

The asian needle ant is pushing argentine ants out of their urban environment and making a home for themselves. The argentine ant known as one of the most aggressive invasive ant species in the United States appears to have met its match in the Asian needle ant. According to researchers, the asian needle ant may be the next invasive species to see a popular boom.

It was in the year 2008, when scientists first discovered how this asian species were able to live and work in the same area. Now this came as a great surprise because argentine ants normally do not tolerate any other ant species in their territory. It was found that argentine ants appeared to ignore asian needle antsOver the next four years, Spicer Rice found that Argentine ants appeared to ignore Asian needle ants, and the Asian needle ants took advantage of the situation to displace a significant portion of the Argentine ant population. In 2008, Argentine ants had populations in 99 percent of the sites within the study area, while only 9 percent of the sites were home to Asian needle ant populations. By 2011, Argentine ants were found in only 67 percent of the sites – while the Asian needle ants had expanded to occupy 32 percent of the sites. The two ant species shared 15 percent of the sites in common.

“This is the first time we’ve seen another ant species take territory from Argentine ants,” says Spicer Rice, lead author of a paper on the research.

The researchers think that the Asian needle ant’s ability to tolerate cooler temperatures may play a significant role in its ability to push out Argentine ants. During cold weather, both ant species become fairly dormant and cease reproducing, limiting their activity and driving their populations down. However, the Asian needle ants become active again much earlier – beginning to reproduce and build new nests in Argentine ant territory as early as March, while the Argentine ants remain inactive until late April or early May. “The Asian needle ants essentially get a head start,” Spicer Rice says.

“If the Asian needle ant is effective at displacing a dominant species – and it is – then it could be the next major invasive ant species,” says Dr. Jules Silverman, a professor of entomology at NC State and co-author of the paper.

“The Asian needle ant is moving into forests and urban environments at the same time,” Spicer Rice says. “And because it is active at cooler temperatures, it could move into a very broad range of territory.” The Asian needle ant has already been found in areas ranging from Alabama to New York City to Oregon.

The rise of the Asian needle ant is bad news. Asian needle ants have venomous stings, which can cause allergic reactions in some humans. Asian needle ants also appear to be driving out native ant populations in forests – including native species that play important roles in ecosystem processes, such as dispersing seeds.

The paper, “Propagule pressure and climate contribute to the displacement of Linepithema humile by Pachycondyla chinensis,” was published online Feb. 8 in PLOS ONE. The research was supported by the Blanton J. Whitmire Endowment at NC State. Spicer Rice and Silverman are currently working on a paper that addresses why the Argentine ants are not attacking the Asian needle ants.

Spicer Rice and Silverman were also co-authors, along with Jonathan Shik, of a 2012 paper on how to get rid of Asian needle ant populations using toxic baits. That paper, “Effect of Scattered and Discrete Hydramethylnon Bait Placement on the Asian Needle Ant,” was published in the October issue of the Journal of Economic Entomology.

-Northwest Nate

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5 times its body weight

posted by Prof. McFly on December 30, 2012

Q: What is the largest and heaviest object that a colony of ants could carry if they all worked together?

Ants can usually lift more than five times their body weight so assuming this and ignoring the laws of gravity and physical practicality, an ant colony of nearly 300,000,000 ( which is about 2645 lbs) could probably lift a medium to large size car.

Ant strength is really do to their small size. Their small size gives them an advantage on how much muscle force they can produce. As the size of an organism increases, its body mass increases at a much greater rate than the cross-sectional area of muscles, so that the muscles of larger organisms have proportionately more mass to lift. A small size means ants have proportionately more muscle ( in terms of cross-sectional area) that they can use to lift heavy objects.

-Northwest Nate

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