Tag Archives | Insects

Meet The Asian Giant Hornet. Soon.

PIC: Mgigantius (CC)

PIC: Mgigantius (CC)

Warmer weather and international trade are introducing these thumb-sized hornets to new habitats around the globe. They’re already in Europe. Next stop? Maybe a shrub or old tree stump near your home!

In recent years, Vespa m. populations have exploded in parts of China, where 42 people died and more than 1,600 were injured from hornet attacks in 2013, alone.

Attracted by human sweat, and disturbed by human activity (particularly running), the hornets vigorously defend their territory, chasing people up to 600 feet and stinging them multiple times with their very toxic venom that can cause: “Anaphylactic shock and renal failure. One of the victims . . . said she has spent two months in a hospital undergoing 13 dialysis treatments. . . . She has 200 stiches, but still cannot move her legs. She told . . . a news agency . . . ‘They hit right at my head and covered my legs.

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The Food Of The Future? UN Report Spurs Growth Of Insect Farms

Teleogryllus_oceanicus_female

PIC: Rymiduff (CC)

Who wants seconds?

I keep a reptile that eats crickets, so I’m forced to house them on my property. There’s nothing more foul than those things. Enjoy your bugs, Ohioans.

A TWITCHING mass of European house crickets clings to a maze of meshed cardboard in a tent about the size of a minivan. They are inside their new home, an abandoned warehouse in Youngstown, Ohio, where they will prosper until being killed, ground into “flour” and baked into cookies and tortilla chips.

These are the first insects in the US to be farmed for human consumption. Big Cricket Farms, the company running the warehouse, is working with insect food start-up Six Foods in Boston, who will make the cricket chips (pictured right) – which they call “chirps” – and cookies. They are among many adventurous eaters hoping to carve out a niche for a protein-rich, environmentally friendly food source that could transform the modern diet.

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Giant Hornets Kill 42 People In China

giant hornets

The New York Times reports:

Swarms of giant hornets have killed 42 people in Shaanxi Province and injured more than 1,600 in recent months, according to Xinhua, the official news agency. Government officials have yet to figure out why their attacks have been so widespread and deadly.

Officials said on Thursday that emergency response teams were working to locate and destroy the nests of Asian giant hornets, the species involved in the attacks. Their venom is highly toxic and can cause shock and renal failure.

Hornet attacks have been reported elsewhere in China as well. Last month, a swarm attacked a primary school in the Guangxi Autonomous Region in southern China, injuring 30 people, including 23 children.

Up to two inches long, the brown and gold Asian giant, or Vespa mandarinia, is the world’s largest hornet species.

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Crop Circle Pre-Cog Dude Chillaxes with the Grasshopper People

grasshopperpeopleI must confess that as much as I read about things like crop circles and U.F.O.’s in my youth, I haven’t honestly kept tabs on much of it for the last decade. I suppose I just sort of hit a wall, or moreover, the whole thing strikes me like a plea from deep within us to explore genetics and psi phenomenon rather than our current consumerist/materialist obsessions, which are obviously a dead end. I’ve never read a single report about an abductee who claims that the “aliens” (don’t buy the extra-terrestrial hypothesis at all) gave any sort of flying fuck about all the fancy technology we’re so impressed with.

Anywho, this is the sort of story I always found the most fascinating in U.F.O. lore (recommended to me on Facebook, friend me) – the bizarro outlying stories which hint at the limitless potentiality of the human imagination. Like the guy from Holland who predicts crop circles in advance and hangs out with hilarious grasshopper people, who for some reason are quite fond of turtlenecks:

 

The awareness that a new crop circle is either forming (or is about to) at the precise moment Dutch medium Robbert van den Broeke “sees” in his “mind’s eye” either the pattern of the new crop circle and/or the exact field where it will be found has been carefully recorded every year since he was 15 years old (he is now 32).… Read the rest

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Billions of Cicadas About to Overrun U.S. East Coast

I have visions of African locust swarms, but apparently being outnumbered 600 to 1 by cicadas shouldn’t worry residents of the East Coast of America as all these insects are looking for is sex. From AP via Black Mountain News:

Any day now, billions of cicadas with bulging red eyes will crawl out of the earth after 17 years underground and overrun the East Coast. The insects will arrive in such numbers that people from North Carolina to Connecticut will be outnumbered roughly 600-to-1. Maybe more.

Scientists even have a horror-movie name for the infestation: Brood II. But as ominous as that sounds, the insects are harmless. They won’t hurt you or other animals. At worst, they might damage a few saplings or young shrubs. Mostly they will blanket certain pockets of the region, though lots of people won’t ever see them.

“It’s not like these hordes of cicadas suck blood or zombify people,” says May Berenbaum, a University of Illinois entomologist.

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Convenient Insect Cuisine Coming to UK

I’ve likened my gastronomic habits to that of a catfish: If I’m hungry, I’ll be happy to eat just about anything that floats by. I credit my lack of pickiness to growing up in a home where there weren’t a lot of home-cooked meals, so it was catch as catch can. (I also developed terrible eating habits, which I’m still addressing, but that’s a story for another time.) Anyway, I’d cheerfully eat an insect-based meal – especially if it’s nutritious and convenient. I can understand that others might be squeamish, tough.

Via Gothamist:

One British company has now presented their plan (in the video below) to get bugs into our bellies, noting insects are high in protein, and low in fat and cholesterol. But this isn’t just a personal thing—eating them would also be good for the planet, which is being damaged by digestive gas and feed production from the unsustainable herds of cattle that are at the center of the Western diet.

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Brain Transplants? Just Another Day at the Lab.

photo by Diganta Talukdar

Everyone knows entomologists are the creepiest people in the world. Even entomologists themselves know this.

Perhaps trying to distract from this unwanted attention, bug scientists have been relatively modest about the nightmarish experiments that have been commonplace in their profession for the last 90 years: brain transplants.

IO9 reports on the first instance of insect brain transplants:

… a biologist named Walter Finkler reported that he had managed to successfully transplant the heads of insects. He’d grab two insects, cut off their heads with sharp scissors, and switch them. The fluid that the insects themselves leaked cemented the new heads in place. After a little time — a 1923 article says a few weeks — the insects were healed up and doing whatever their new heads told them to do.

According to Finkler’s research, male heads transplanted to female bodies continued acting as males. The reverse was true of females.… Read the rest

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Human Societies Starting to Resemble Ant Colonies

Ants“The similarities offer a look at just how ever-growing human societies could collapse,” as Jennifer Viegas writes in Discovery News:

The human population is growing at such a staggering rate that we are organizing ourselves more like ant supercolonies, with new research finding that we have more in common now with some ants than we do with our closest living animal kingdom relatives.

The new study, published in the journal Behavioral Ecology, points out that both humans and ants (termites, too) live in societies that may consist of up to a million plus members.

“As a result, modern humans have more in common with some ants than we do with our closest relatives the chimpanzees,” Mark Moffett, author of the study, told Discovery News. “With a maximum size of about 100, no chimpanzee group has to deal with issues of public health, infrastructure, distribution of goods and services, market economies, mass transit problems, assembly lines and complex teamwork, agriculture and animal domestication, warfare and slavery.”…

Read More: Discovery News

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