While many people think of bugs as creepy or scary, they’re actually very complex, fascinating creatures. More than one million species of insects have been discovered, but it’s estimated that there may be as many as 10 million species on earth – and there is plenty we don’t know about them.
Recently, a few different pest species have made headlines for their curious behavior that was previously undiscovered.
Azteca alfari ants, native to the tropics of South America, are notorious for having a mutually beneficial relationship with Cecropia trees, or “ant-plant” trees. The trees offer Azteca ants shelter and food, and in return the ants defend the trees’ leaves against munching herbivores. But their partnership doesn’t stop there.
Five high school students in Panama conducted an experiment on the Cecropia trees after accidentally damaging one and realizing that the Azteca ants had responded to the tree’s damage. With the help of a Smithsonian Research Institute scientist, they drilled small holes in multiple trees around their neighborhood to see what the ants would do.
To their surprise, as soon as the holes were drilled, the ants rushed to the damaged area and began patching it up. Within 24 hours, the holes were often completely repaired. Although the experiment left a lot more questions to be answered, it’s another step in understanding ants and their complexities.
Not So Solitary Spiders
While most spiders are solitary, the species Anelosimus eximius is notably not. Native to Central and South America, these social spiders work together to hunt their prey. Scientists from the University of Toulouse recently discovered that these spiders determine whether or not to attack prey based on vibrations on their web from both the prey itself and their fellow pack members.
There is reportedly no alpha or leader amongst the spiders. Instead, they work together and cooperate to take down unsuspecting victims. Even crazier? The prey they catch can be up to 15 times bigger than the spiders themselves! This makes sense, because their webs are famous for being huge (even reaching the size of a small house). Fingers crossed they don’t make their way to the U.S. anytime soon!
Color Magnetizes Mosquitoes
Everyone knows that mosquitoes are attracted to humans (and their blood), but did you know mosquitoes are attracted to certain colors? New research from the University of Washington has led scientists to believe that Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, one of the most common, fly toward specific colors. These mosquitoes seem to ignore colors like green, blue, purple, and white, but purposely fly toward red, orange, black, and cyan.
This research also suggests how mosquitoes pinpoint humans, as our skin emits a red-orange “signal” to them. The knowledge of what colors repel and attract mosquitoes can help in mosquito pest control, especially with personal protection. For example, avoid wearing mosquito-attracting colors when outside for longer periods of time, and especially during dusk and dawn.
Remember, if you have an insect problem and need a trustworthy pest control company, we can help. Request a quote or call 855-855-4873 and one of our pest control professionals will work with you to address your needs.