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Insects have been making headlines recently. As science and technology advance, we are discovering more about what we can learn from them. Scientists are even discovering thousands of new species each year. Here are a few of the stories that we find fascinating.
Bug’s Eye View
Researchers at Washington University have created a tiny wireless camera that can be strapped to the back of a beetle – like a GoPro for bugs! The camera is maneuvered from a smartphone and weighs just 248 milligrams, less than a dollar bill. This steerable camera transmits video in near real time and mimics the insect’s vision. It rests on a mechanical arm that can pivot to provide a panoramic view. The camera could end up being used for a variety of applications, ranging from biology to exploring new environments. Potential updates include being battery-free, possibly even solar-powered.
Reuters reports that Australian scientists are giving a nod to the superhero universe in the naming of five different new fly species. One fly, named after a famous comic book creator known for cameo appearances in his films, has markings that resemble his sunglasses and mustache. Another fly has red and black markings on its back that look like a superhero’s mask, and the other three flies are named for additional well-known heroes. Each species of new fly is a robber fly, which are known as the “assassins of the insect world”.
Disease-proof Ant Colonies
According to Discover Magazine, ants have been practicing social distancing long before us. Even living with thousands of their closest friends in crowded spaces, epidemics or sick colonies of ants are rarely ever found in the wild. Why is this? For one thing, ants separate groups by roles within their colony, their own version of social distancing, so disease is not really an ant problem. Ants also groom themselves before entering the nest and collect natural remedies, such as tree resin, to help stave off sickness.
In an effort to reduce the number of mosquitoes that carry diseases such as dengue fever and Zika virus, 750 million genetically modified mosquitoes will be released in the Florida Keys, BBC reports. The genetically engineered male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are slated to be released in 2021. Female mosquitoes bite humans to obtain blood for producing eggs, while males only feed on nectar. The genetically modified males will carry a protein that kills female offspring before they become old enough to bite. By releasing the modified males, researchers are hoping they will breed with wild female mosquitoes and reduce the population of Aedes aegypti over time. Eventually, this should offer some widespread mosquito control and reduce the spread of disease to humans and animals.
Insects big and small can make an impact on our daily lives, sometimes damaging our wallets and homes. That’s where HomeTeam can help. If you think you might have a pest problem, call us at 877-461-7378, or visit https://pestdefense.com.