Tiny Cars driven by Moths!

This article is provided by: Go-Forth Pest and Lawn

How you might ask? Well the easy explanation is that scientists developed a tiny car that is steered using a Styrofoam ball. Then a moth is placed directly onto the ball, which it can then walk around on top of to steer. You may be thinking this would lead to aimless steering, or nothing since moths have no incentive to walk on small Styrofoam balls to operate tiny cars. The trick is all in the scent

It’s pretty cute, watching a moth steer a tiny car around, but why would scientists spend their time making tiny cars for moths? Well it can’t be driven by any moth, this can only work if you use a silkworm moth. The silkworm moth has antennae that have the ability to sense smell, and in the above video the scent they used was of a female silkworm’s pheromones.

The entire experiment is actually meant to observe and measure the ability of an odor tracking robot when operated by an insect. The success rate for the experiment was 100% for the moths, who would circle the odor spot presented. Current odor tracking methods are comprised of only well trained animals, such as the dogs you would find at airports or with police officers. The hope is that this experiment will open up paths to finding operated methods of odor tracking, since the moths uses sensory abilities in it’s antenna and not nostrils.

If you’re interested to learn more about this experiment, the entire procedure was recorded and documented on Jove.com from students at the University of Tokyo. Do you have any thoughts on moth controlled robots? Are they cute, or putting our canine friends at the risk of job security? Comment with your thoughts!

News Anchors Being Attacked By Bugs Is The Best Thing You’ll See All Week

This article is provided by: Lake Norman Pest Control

News Anchors. Most of the time they provide the mundane background noise to which you have your morning coffee or prepare your evening meal. Overly enthusiastic and packed full of terrible jokes, your local news program normally follows a strict script, down to the forced laughter and poorly timed puns, until….it doesn’t. One of the best qualities of the news is that, for our viewing pleasure: IT. IS. LIVE.

If you’re like me, getting most of my local and world news from the internet, you understand that (whether you admit it or not) a part of you watches live television news programs because you’re hoping that you’ll be lucky enough to bear witness to a mess up. Like a ballerina falling in front of a packed house, or the missed shot with seconds on the clock, we are hard wired to enjoy other people’s mild misfortune.

When news anchors start to stumble and fall, we are the spectators around the gladiator arena and we’re out for blood.

In the spirit of giving the people what they want, enjoy these:

FIVE TIMES NEWS ANCHORS LOST IT OVER BUGS ON LIVE TV

  1. This poor girl can’t catch a break. I can’t tell if the locusts are confusing her hair with a nest or if we are actually witnessing one of the seven plagues.

2. Everyone likes to say that they would be brave in the face of adversity, until they aren’t. Not really sure how he’s ever going to face his club racquetball team after that shrill scream.

3. DISCLAIMER: Do not watch this at work, near an elderly person/children, in church, or pretty much anywhere that you don’t want to offend someone.

4. Laugh all you want, but this guy is literally all of us.

5. I actually found out that this is the SECOND time this poor woman has been assaulted by an insect on live TV and is now forced to drink DEET in her morning coffee. She has never been the same…

YOU’RE WELCOME.

So, there you have it, your weekly indulgence of five people tripping on the sidewalk of life while we watch in silent amusement.

News Anchors

I AM.

Entomologists Rally Behind A 7-Year Old After She Was Bullied For Loving Bugs

This article is provided by: Go-Forth Pest Control

Entomologists are taking no shit when it comes to 7-year old Sophia Spencer, a girl who was being bullied at school for her love of insects.

After moving to a new school in Ontario, Sophia became the subject of ridicule from her new classmates over her love of bugs. Her mother even reports that she was “dragged through the mud” by a group of children because of her insect hobby. One boy even asked to see one of Sophia’s bugs, and after she graciously obliged, he stomped on it and killed it.

Um, what?! Who are these children? We will steal ALL their bicycles!

I mean, come on, look at this adorable little chicken nugget:

Sophia Spencer

“A couple of months ago, Sophia had asked me if she could make a career out of bugs someday, and I told her of course,” Sophia’s mother revealed. Not wanting her daughter to be discouraged by the vile, bottom-feeding little children in her class, Mrs. Spencer wrote to the Entomological Society of Canada for help.

The members of the society sent out the following tweet and the response was overwhelming.

Tweet for Sophia

…which garnered immediate attention from the community of insect enthusiasts.

Tweet to SophiaTweet to SophiaTweet to SophiaTweet to Sophia

YAAASSS! Schoolyard bullies, BOW DOWN TO QUEEN SOPHIA!

Her mother is nothing but overwhelmed with gratitude toward the scientists who went out of their way for her daughter, “There have been people working in Canada, the Amazon Rainforest, Venezuela, the UK, and USA reaching out to offer support, encouragement and offers to be her pen pal. I know she cannot even grasp the amount of support this has shown but I do and it has truly been a blessing.”

Sophia Spencer

This makes us happier than words can begin to describe!

Stay “weird” Sophia! The scientific community, and we, have your back!

(PS. We were serious about the bicycles, let us know girl…)

Royals Lose Steam After Morale Boosting Mantis Perishes

This article is provided by: Go-Forth Pest Control

The Kansas City Royals, winners of last season’s World Series, have bid farewell to any hopes of reiterating their previous season’s success. However, the reason might surprise you…

Rally Mantis has died.

Mantis

(We recommend you read the remainder of this post while listening to “In The Arms Of An Angel” by Sarah McLachlan. And because we love you, we’ve provided the LINK HERE)

This is almost as bad as the time Randy Johnson nailed that bird with a 105 mph pitch, giving ornithologists all over the world a collective mass stroke.

Rally Mantis first debuted alongside the Royals after he was discovered lingering in one of the many trash receptacles of Kauffman Stadium. Outfielder, turned brief entomologist, Billy Burns became the unofficial keeper of the mantis, allowing him to ride along on his hat and even sleeping next to the insect (which is a matter we feel needs to be investigated separately).

As the magic of Rally Mantis proliferated the stadium, fans even found themselves moved by his mysterious aura as his presence helped the team go 5-1.

mantis

The Royals even bought him a tiny traveling cage, so that he could hit the road with them:

Mantis Cage

But, despite their best efforts and provision of what was arguably considered “luxury insect housing,” Rally Mantis ascended to the big trashcan in the sky on Friday.

Ed Volquez, the Royals’ pitcher, released this incredibly sentimental and moving statement regarding the passing of the mantis:

“He gone. We need a new one.”

As you can see, emotions are running high.

Below is an emotional tribute to Rally Mantis, posted on the Twitter account of Royals Team Member, Dillon Gee.

Although RM is gone, the Royals will not go quietly into that good night. In a recent turn of events, the ballplayers have taken the stance of Volquez and procured a “new one.”

Rally Mantis Jr., a new praying mantis, joined the team this week and its members are taking every step to make sure he’s here to stay.

“I want to take care of him,” Burns said. “He’s part of our team now.”

You can find Rally Mantis Jr. enjoying his new home in the Royals’ dugout. But, will he bring about the same good fortune as his predecessor?

Mantis Jr.

Only time, our fickle friend, will tell.

10 Sci-Fi Movies That Are Absolutely Infested With Insects!

Bugs, revered by the general population as vile and somewhat frightening, encompass the perfect characteristics to star in the movies of our nightmares. Since the early fifties, directors of science fiction movies have been coming up with new and terrifying ways that insects can horrify and entertain us. Here are ten science fiction movies that are absolutely infested with insects:

And the movies are…
1. Men In Black (1997)

MIB MOVIES

The only thing better than the skin-wearing, sugar-loving race of giant, alien cockroaches attempting to steal the galaxy during this movie, is the sick track that star Will Smith dropped during the credits.

Relive that glorious mix-tape moment from 1997:

Men In Black Music Video, Will Smith (director copy) from Caruso Company on Vimeo.

2. The Fly (1986)

A few years before he was as the naysayer in Jurassic Park, Jeff Goldblum starred in a lovely little film called The Fly in which a haughty scientist gets more than he bargained for when a science experiment goes awry (surprise, surprise). There’s lots of fun images in this film– Goldblum’s body parts simply falling off at random intervals, him vomiting digestive juices all over his food, just to name a few.

All of the stills from the movie are actually horrifying, so I sincerely apologize in advance:

The FLY MOVIES

Told you.

3. Eight Legged Freaks (2002)

8 LEGGED FREAKS MOVIES

This science fiction/comedy employs an age old archetype of the genre: a toxic spill. A lot going on here: giant spiders, alien enthusiasts, and townspeople taking shelter in the local mall to defend against the eight legged invaders. Oh, by the way, David Arquette and Scarlet Johansson star in it, so that’s cool.

4. Arachnophobia (1990)

Arachnophobia Movies

Doesn’t that shower look relaxing?! This is a still from Arachnophobia (starring Jeff Daniels and John Goodman), the story of a rogue spider who, aside from making cameos at bath time, created a new species of deadly spiders. The spiders in turn make it their business to wreak havoc on the local townsfolk, killing them off one-by-one.

Still from Arachnophobia movies

Same Jeff Daniels, same…

5. Them! (1954)

Still from Them! Movies

Based on the photo above, I’m sure that you don’t find it hard to believe that our next film, Them! was nominated for an Oscar in the category for “Best Special Effects.” It was the first “big bug” feature film and presented an entirely new genre for its time, paving the way for many of the other films on our list.

6. MIMIC (1997)

Still from Mimic Movies

Well, well, well…here we are again with a science experiment that got a little out of hand. Bred as a solution to a cockroach problem that was plaguing a city. Any guesses on what happens next? The insect asset cannot be controlled and seeks vengeance on those who created it in the first place. Will they ever learn?

7. The Deadly Mantis (1957)

Still From Deadly Mantis Movies

As the second oldest film on our list, The Deadly Mantis
stems from a fiasco involving a volcano and some ice caps. Deadly mantis, who has been slumbering peacefully beneath the glaciers, is awakened and leaves devastation in its wake. Despite the world being on the brink of chaos, the characters of this film somehow find the time to participate in a pretty heavy love-story. Appropriate.

8. Naked Lunch

Still From Naked Lunch Movies

Naked Lunch is just all kinds of weird. Not only does this guy think he’s a private eye (which he isn’t) — due to a heavy does of hallucinogens, he also believes that he is assisted by two handlers (which he isn’t), and that they are giant bugs (which they aren’t). Lots going on here.

9. The Swarm (1978)

Still from The Swarm Movies

Ah, yes. You are not mistaken. That is Michael Caine starring in 1978’s The Swarm. Consistently making “Worst Movies Ever Made” lists and bearing a dismal half-star on Rotten Tomatoes, The Swarm follows a swarm of bees as they cause all kinds of chaos after attacking a military base. There are bombs and a flame thrower involved, so…there’s always that.

10. Spiderman

Still From Spiderman Movies

Some will argue that Spiderman belongs in the action genre rather than sci-fi, but to them I say “NAY.” A nerdy kid is bitten by a radioactive spider, in a lab where weird science-y things are happening, and is then mutated to shoot webs from his hands? Tell me again how that is not science fiction?

If you get nothing else from this movie, at least you got to see Toby Maguire act out one of the WORST emotional scenes in film history:

Crying Movies GIF

You’re welcome.

Table For One At The Bug Buffet

“Every year, you will eat seven to eight bugs while you’re sleeping.”

I’m sure you’ve heard this before. But, before duct taping your mouth shut becomes part of your nightly routine, know that this statement is completely false.

As gag reflex inducing as it may sound, scientists are arguing that adding insects to your diet might actually be incredibly beneficial to your health and to the environment as a whole. In reality, about eighty percent of the world’s population eat insects in their everyday lives. In many countries, such as China, certain insects are actually considered a delicacy.

Scientist Marcel Dicke is arguing that not only is it a good idea, it is imperative that we add insects to our diet. According to his research, the typical human being already consumes around 500 grams of bug per year, whether they know it or not. She also argues that as the population continues to grow, it only makes sense that we would begin to consume a food source that is readily available and abundant.

His argument breaks down as follows:

  1. Seventy percent of our agricultural land is being taken up to produce livestock. However, to feed our growing population, the agricultural production rate needs to also increase by seventy percent. Which is not likely.

2. Eating meat puts our health at risk because some of our meat sources, like pigs, are so much like us that they can transmit diseases. Not only transmit but “proliferate [viruses], and because of their kind of reproduction, they can combine and produce a new virus” that could make masses of humans ill.

3. The livestock market is incredibly wasteful. Dicke argues that it takes ten kilograms of food to produce one kilogram of beef. Why not simply add insects, which are rich in protein as well, to our diet and yield nine kilograms of insect meat with little to no waste?

4. Raising and eating insects will reduce negative impacts on the environment that livestock produce. These include things like greenhouse gases that are produced from livestock manure.

5. Insects are incredibly healthy containing significantly less calories and far more proteins and vitamins than foods we are typically eating day to day.

In his opinion, Western countries are slow to jump on the bug train simply due to a challenge in mindset. Most Westerners view bugs as a gross nuisance rather than an enticing food source. It is his hope that in the future, Western countries will follow the lead of countries like Laos, China, and even the Netherlands whose citizens regularly consume bugs in their daily diets. And I’m assuming that they enjoy them?

What do you think? Should we make a reservation for you at the bug buffet?

Watch Marcel Dicke’s TED talk on about why he thinks we should add bugs to our diet:

How Monarch Butterflies Are Actually Nature’s Nurses

Imagine you’re feeling ill. You feverishly drag yourself to the doctor’s office and find yourself sitting atop a sterile table awaiting the arrival of the physician. The door opens and in flies a monarch butterfly, carrying a thermometer, waiting for you open wide and say, “Aaaaahhh.”

Okay, that’s just crazy. A monarch butterfly could never lift a thermometer.

However, recent scientific developments have suggested that monarch butterflies are exhibiting behaviors that model the same goal as our medical professionals. They are using medicinal means to protect and heal their young.

Jaape de Roode, a biologist who specifically studies these insects states,

I study monarchs because they get sick. They get sick like you. They get sick like me. And I think what they do can tell us a lot about drugs that we can develop for humans.”

What they can do, he found, is make a decision to lay their eggs on species of milkweed (the only plant monarch larvae eat) that has medicinal qualities as opposed to other species that do not display those same characteristics.

Monarch butterflies are often afflicted with a disease called ophryocystis elektroscirrha (don’t even try). This disease, that is essentially a parasite, infects the butterflies and greatly reduces their lifespans, hinders their ability to fly, and often kills them before they reach adulthood. This naturally occurring insect control has devastating impacts on butterfly populations.

De Roode found that some species of milkweed contained properties that naturally defend against these symptoms. He also found that mothers chose to lay their eggs on the medicinal milkweed sixty eight percent of the time. The spawn of these butterflies were studied as they grew on a diet of the milkweed. De Roode found that the offspring of these mothers lived longer and were considered “less sick” than the offspring that had been laid on the other grouping. Essentially, the mother butterflies were seeking out plants that administered the healing traits and protected their future young.

De Roode regards this revelation with incredible optimism expressing,

The discovery that these animals can also use medication opens up completely new avenues, and I think that maybe one day, we will be treating human diseases with drugs that were first discovered by butterflies, and I think that is an amazing opportunity worth pursuing.”

Watch his TED talk on his experiments with monarch butterflies: HERE.

RoboBee: Coming Soon To A Swarm Near You

Picture this: you’re taking a stroll on a balmy summer day. The sun is shining and the flowers are in full bloom, but wait… Suddenly you hear a mechanical buzzing noise and a robot no bigger than a penny lands delicately on your arm. But don’t swat it! That little bee is worth ten million dollars.

robobee

This is a RoboBee.

It was invented by the scientists at Harvard University and while it won’t likely be swarming your local meadows anytime soon, its development team hopes to put it to far more beneficial uses in the near future.

In fact, they’re hoping this buzzing bot will one day be able to assist in search/rescue missions, pest control, and artificial pollination efforts. Due to their small size, having only a three centimeter wingspan, developers are anticipating that they will be able to travel to locations (both rural and urban) that larger robots or human beings cannot. The United States Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency funded early models of Robobees with the intention that one day, they will be able to provide stealth surveillance in battlefield and high-risk situations.

However, creating a functioning robot on such a small scale presented many challenges. The first challenge was to make them fly. To do so, the scientists on the Harvard team invented a way of creating artificial muscles that allowed the wings to beat 120 times per second. As if that were not enough to make the rest of us look like simpletons, the scientists are now working on a means of giving Robobee the ability to use what they are calling “swarm intelligence” so that they can make decisions for themselves.

Not to mention, in recent developments, the Robobees are actually able to use static electricity to land and stick to surfaces. Also, in the name of leaving no stone unturned, Robobee can now dive into and swim beneath water.

robobee next to a flower

What will be next for the Robobee? Could it “bee” world domination?

I guess only time will tell.

Japanese Scientists Prepare To Fight Future Cockroach Overlord

Well, maybe not exactly….

But it does seem that the scientists at one Japanese pest control company do have some extra time on their hands.

You see, they are preparing for the monster cockroaches of tomorrow. The kind of bugs that typically emerge from, “There’s been a terrible accident at the chemical plant,” scenarios in your favorite Sci-Fi movies.

Allow me to explain:

Earth Chemical, the Japanese pest control company responsible for a wide variety of in-home pest control creations, has actually created a model of their cockroach trap that is 925 times its original size.

Enter the cockroach trap “Gokiburi Hoy-Hoy:”

cockroach trap

This seemingly innocent, and disturbingly cheerful, cardboard box houses some of the most lethal adhesive on the market. It is designed to tempt cockroaches in, using alluring scents, and trap them in their very own “Hansel & Gretel”-esque prison.

The giant model, featured in a video below, was meant to show the effectiveness of the product by testing it not on insects, but three human volunteers including: a scientist, a sprinter, and a sumo wrestler. They measure each on their levels of skill, stamina, intelligence, power, and speed.

The Jouji Lab is a branch of Earth Chemical created to focus on projects deemed “sci-fi” in nature. They have created the following video in which they hilariously depict the first trial run of their creation:

After going through each candidate, not one makes it close to the other side of the board and the scientists deem the “Mission Complete.” While its modern day practical applications may be a little questionable, it’s safe to say that the product is undeniably effective. We can all rest easy tonight knowing that there are pest control companies out there doing their part to protect us from current and future pest invasions…

I mean…

cockroach trap

Ouch.

That’s gotta hurt.