Wasps Pest Control
Like all social insects, wasps communicate using chemicals released from glands in their bodies, known as pheromones. These pheromones are airborne signals that convey information to other wasps in the area. If you kill one wasp, several more will often appear in an aggressive mood shortly thereafter – this is because of the warning pheromones released by the first wasp. The queen wasp is long-lived but the sterile workers may live only a few weeks, requiring a large output of eggs and raising of new wasps. Early workers are often small because the queen must feed them, but later broods become larger because more food is being brought into the nest by an increased workforce.
Bees Pest Control
Bees are extremely important pollinators and most of the beautiful flowers found in gardens evolved specifically to attract these busy insects. Honey bees are the only insects in the world that regularly supply humans with a type of food. Bees are much less aggressive than hornets or wasps both because they are not insectivores and because they are killed by the act of stinging, unlike the wasps, who boast smooth stings. The dances which bees conduct to communicate that they have found a source of nectar and pollen has fascinated mankind for decades and has allowed these insects to inform other bees of the distance to suitable flowers for millennia.
Cockroaches Pest Control
Cockroaches are an ancient variety of insect, with examples being older than the dinosaurs and, in the early days of the Earth, reaching sizes of up to 15 centimetres, perhaps suggesting an environment richer in oxygen than the planet’s atmosphere today. The cockroach is a highly adaptable insect, living in many environments throughout the world, and often found in close proximity to man. Cockroaches are notoriously tough, with the ability to live for several weeks without food and nearly as long without water. They are sociable but not social – there is no cockroach pecking order or division of labour, although roaches enjoy the company of their own kind and will consume each other’s faeces.
Spiders Pest Control
Although they are physically unappealing, spiders are fascinating creatures in their own way and have many unique adaptations that set them apart from nearly all other animals on Earth. Their silk webbing, formed from a liquid exuded from glands on the abdomen which hardens into strands on contact with the air, is stronger than steel of the same thickness would be, as well as being many times more elastic. Female spiders often devour the male after mating – or before – which explains why male spiders have elaborate rituals to appease the female when approaching her, and often do so with evident trepidation. Certain species of spiders feed on other spiders, plucking at their webs to make them think that a juicy insect has been caught, when in fact it is an invader intent on devouring them. Few spiders present a bite poisonous enough to endanger a human, but a few, such as the Sydney funnel web spider, can occasionally give a fatal bite.
Butterflies Pest Control
Well known as the light-hearted, brightly coloured visitors whom we see fluttering around spring and summer flowers, butterflies drink nectar and lay their eggs on a wide range of different plants, many of which are wild and some of which are of economic importance to man. The juvenile butterfly, or caterpillar, is completely flightless and feeds for a time on the host plant, before building a papery chrysalis inside which it metamorphoses into the completely different adult. The bizarre process involved in this transformation includes secretion of digestive acids which melt most of the caterpillar’s tissues – the adult butterfly grows out of a few cells left from this drastic reorganisation. Even more strangely, some butterflies and moths may be able to remember things they learned as caterpillars even though their bodies are almost completely broken down and regrown during metamorphosis.
Beetles Pest Control
Beetles, with their armoured wing covers or “elytra”, are one of the most successful types of insects and occupy nearly every ecological niche – scavengers, herbivores, insectivores, and so on. Some of the predatory types can run at close to 9 kilometres per hour, which is an incredible speed for a creature so small. A quarter of all living creatures on Earth are beetles, and this type of insect has been around for at least 300 million years. Quite a few beetles are adapted to resemble ants and live in their nests, preying on the ants or their young while remaining undetected amid their near-sighted hosts.
Flies and Mosquitoes Pest Control
Flies and mosquitoes are a numerous group of flying insects which are very successful, but plague humanity in many different ways. Mosquitoes are bloodsuckers which transmit disease, and are probably responsible for more human deaths than any other species of insect except for the rat flea. Flies, such as house flies, live on organic debris and may land on people in search of the salt in their sweat, although some are bloodsuckers as well. Robber flies and similar species are insectivores, feeding on other bugs and intruding on human affairs very little. Some of the writers of antiquity wrote mock-heroic poems in praise of flies because of their “valour” in returning again and again despite attempts to swat or drive them away. The hairs on flies’ bodies can detect slight movements of air, which is why it is so difficult to swat them with many objects that push an “air cushion” in front of them.
Ants Pest Control
Ants are one of the most ubiquitous insects, and a South American legend relates that the whole Earth was formed out of them, because wherever you dig, you are sure to find red ants. Although this is not quite true, these wingless wasps are highly effective at colonising and surviving in every kind of habitat. They are often highly aggressive creatures, with specialised soldier castes for fighting, attacking, and defending. Some species raid other ant nests for larvae and pupae, with the stolen ants then serving as slaves in the victors’ nest. The queen is the centre of any ant nest, laying thousands of eggs and keeping the numbers of the ants renewed.