Experts Say: Natural Garden Pest Control Works

Experts Say: Natural Garden Pest Control Works

The current trend with pest control companies is using more green and eco-friendly methods of managing pests. Although many doubt the efficiency of these methods, experts such as Kevin Espiritu, Ben Probert, Melinda Myers and Michael Perry, stand by it. All of these specialists say that all you need is the right tools and the right mindset.

The Fruits of More Work

The key to using natural pest control is to understand and accept that it will never be as effective as chemical pesticides. In order to help the environment become healthy, we must trade our convenience for it. Ben Probert, a horticultural consultant from Pen and Trowel, who has studied gardening for 15 years, stated the following:

“There are several ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ options for controlling insect pests, but none are quite as ruthlessly efficient as the chemicals. Once gardeners come to terms with this fact it becomes a lot easier to work with other products and methods of insect controls. The key to controlling insect pests is to be vigilant and to act swiftly.

“We’ve lived in a privileged time of being able to reach for a quick and effective response to any pest or disease we see in our gardens, but as the environmental impact of the overuse of chemicals is being understood so many of these chemicals are no longer being made available.”

Experts Say: Natural Garden Pest Control Works

Find Ben Probert on:
Twitter: @penandtrowel

From these statements, it is clear that chemical products were engineered to kill pests. Unfortunately, it is at the expense of the overall health of the environment. Today, the pest control industry has started adapting greener and more eco-friendly products. But as stated by Probert, it is vital that people should prevent pest infestation by predicting it, even before they reach out for chemical products available in the market.

Prevention from the Get Go

The most effective way to keep deadly bugs from entering your garden is to make it unattractive to them. As discussed above, natural gardening requires more work from you. This means practicing the following to avoid making your garden a pest breeding ground:

  • Regularly remove weak plants
  • Use natural fertilizers or seaweed fertilizers
  • Do consistent weeding
  • Clear the garden of debris
  • Interplant and rotate crops
  • Keep the foliage dry
  • Always clean your tools

Doing these will either stop or slow down pests from calling your garden their home. But if these fail and pests arrive, then it’s time to call in the good guys.

Calling in the Good Guys

The most natural method to be able to combat unwanted pests is to rely on your ecosystem. In other words, encourage the natural predators of these pests to live in your garden. These are the “good guys” of your garden.

These beneficial predators are the ones that can devour pests, even during their larvae form. A number of them can directly eat pests, while others may use them as hosts. Naturally, it might take some time for them to be fully effective. However, you must think of them as a long term investment for the health and wellness of your garden.

For example, the braconid wasp lays their eggs on caterpillars. They do this so that, when the larvae emerge, they can feed on the host. This is needed for the larvae to move forward in their life cycle, which means that the host will surely be eaten. By encouraging the presence of these wasps, you can reduce the damage that caterpillars do to your plant’s leaves. You can attract these good guys by planting carrots, celery, parsley, caraway and Queen Anne’s lace – all of which are members of the Umbelliferae family.

Other good bugs include:

  • Ladybugs

    • These eat aphids, mites, whiteflies, and scale insects.
    • They love gardens with daisies, tansies, and yarrows.
  • Lacewings and hoverflies

    • Adult and larva lacewings and hoverflies feed on aphids and other pests.
    • These are similar to ladybugs because of their love for daisies and yarrows.
    • They also love goldenrods, blackeyed Susans, and asters.
  • Praying mantis

    • These eat most garden pests, which make them an essential good guy in your garden
    • Mantis eggs are hatched in the garden and the larvae quickly grow to adults.
  • Nematodes

    • These can kill underground cutworms that are responsible for killing sprouts before they grow into seedlings.
    • Probert states that these are “tiny parasitic worms that will eat the young grubs before they do (any) damage”
    • They are also effective against beetles and root weevils.
    • Nematodes can be bought online. If you order one, you will get a single sponge, which contains a million of these good guys.
      • This is applied by mixing the sponge in water and applying it onto the soil, where they get to hatch and grow. Once they’re old enough, they will kill your pests.
      • In case they get onto your leaves, then you can simply wash them to fall into the soil.
    • Probert also said that “Nematodes are fairly easily available online and are posted straight to you – (just) be sure to use them straight away or they will die.”

The greatest part of this pest control method is that you get a bunch of helping hands in your garden. Melinda Myers, an award-winning TV/radio host and author of over 20 horticultural books, says that this has allowed her to procrastinate:

“I tolerate some damage (sometimes procrastination pays) from aphids while I wait for birds, lady beetles, and other predators to eat them.”

The tricky part of this is that these beneficial bugs arrive in your garden because of the presence of their food source – the harmful pests. Thus, if you kill all of them, then the good guys will also disappear because they need to look for other sources of food. If you haven’t done your proper gardening practices, then you will be open to pest infestation for a period of time. In order to always have a healthy garden, the key to managing your bugs is to have a good balance of harmful and beneficial bugs. You must have enough bad guys to attract the good guys but not too much that your garden will suffer. In order to make sure that you do not reach a dangerous level of harmful pests, you can (finally) reach out for some products to aid you.

Keeping it Natural

There are organic and natural tools, recipes, and methods that you can practice in order to “implement a layered approach” as stated by Kevin Espiritu – founder of Epic Gardening, a website that has and continues to teach millions of people how to do do-it-yourself (DIY) gardening and farming. Espiritu says that he practices this layered approach by doing the following:

Experts Say: Natural Garden Pest Control Works

 

This is what the preventive measures and good guys are for. But when the pests still persist, then you must follow the next measures:

 

Experts Say: Natural Garden Pest Control Works

Find Kevin Espiritu on:
Facebook: Epic Gardening
Twitter: @epicgardening

 

Millions of his students have followed this approach and have become well-trained gardeners.

The second step in this layered approach is using organic and home-made products to not only save you a lot of money, but also give you the peace of mind because you know exactly what is entering your soil. One of the top 20 horticulturalists in the UK, Michael Perry (aka Mr Plant Geek) also uses natural methods – a spray of soapy water in particular. He states that:

Experts Say: Natural Garden Pest Control Works

Find Michael Perry on:
Facebook: Mr. Plantgeek

 

Melinda Myers agrees with the use of natural products and mentioned that “I will use insecticidal soap, BT (bacillus thuringiensis), and other organic products if I feel intervention is truly needed.”

 

Experts Say: Natural Garden Pest Control Works

Find Melinda Myers on:
Facebook: MelindaMyersLLC
Twitter: @melindagardens

 

Clearly, even the experts are big fans of keeping their garden and themselves healthy without resorting to chemicals.

Listed below are common garden pests and what natural remedies you can use to combat them:

  • Mites and Other Soft Bodied Insects

    • Mix one tablespoon of canola oil along with a few drops of Ivory soap into a quart of water.
    • Place it into a spray bottle and shake it well before using.
    • Start spraying it onto your plant from above while going down its height and from below going up; doing this will get all mites, aphids, and mealybugs on all side of the leaves.
    • The mixture smothers the insects; Proberts states that this and similar mixtures “coat the aphids so that they suffocate, rather than killing them by affecting their nervous system.”
  • Grubs and Beetles

    • Use milky spores, which are granules that cause disease in grubs; this doesn’t affect beneficial bugs.
    • Apply this by spreading it on the soil.
    • These multiply over time and will sit in wait for a grub to infect; it can last for as long as 40 years.
    • Grubs are actually young beetles, so killing them will also mean less beetles in your garden.
  • Mites

    • Mix hot pepper sauce, Ivory soap, and water. Let it stand overnight.
    • Place it in a water spray. Shake well before use.
    • Most pests cannot handle the intensity of the pepper onto their senses; it kills them.
  • Earwigs, Snails, and Slugs

    • Diatomaceous earth has small diatom particles that are sharp.
    • Sprinkle this on and around plants.
    • The soft exoskeleton of insects, earwigs, snails, and slugs cannot handle the sharp particles and drive them away from your plants

These are only a few examples of natural pest remedies. You may look here for the complete list. However, there are more straightforward ways to deal with pests. Espiritu states in his second and third steps that he resorts to cutting leaves and picking off the insects by hand. This and other physical interferences are a good last resort to minimize infection damage.

It’s a Trap!

When infection starts to become bad, you will need to use traps and barriers to save some of your plants. These will prevent physical contact between these plants and pests. Using these will lessen the infestation and allow you to have breathing room to be able to think of ways to exterminate them yourself or for a professional to do it.

Here are a few examples of traps and barriers.

  • Flypaper

    • The good old fashioned fly paper will attract insects to fly into the sticky trap with pheromones.
    • The critters caught in this trap will die from hunger.
  • Apple Maggot traps

    • These are traps hung in apple trees so that apple maggots lay their eggs here instead of in the apples.
  • Floating row covers

    • This is basically a material that is draped over plants to prevent physical contact from pests while still allowing water and sunlight to come in.
    • Myers states that she uses these to “prevent cabbage worm damage.”
  • Cloche

    • This is just like floating row covers, but for seed beds and young plants.
    • It created a greenhouse effect for the young plants.
    • These need to be opened for watering.

Key Takeaway

Clearly, there are multiple methods in which a gardener can practice natural pest control. Natural products, beneficial pests, preventive gardening, traps, and barriers are all available to use for one to garden without damaging the environment. It may require more work than using chemical pesticides, but you will be repaid with a beautiful and healthy garden free from annoying and destructive critters.

The Insect Family Tree: Orders of Insects Part 1

The existence of different species of insects around the world balances our ecosystem. However, some of them are dangerous and harmful to humans and their properties. Two of these pests are termites and cockroaches. These pesky insects do not only have the ability to destroy your home, but damage you and your family’s health as well. This is why plenty of people practice termite control methods, as well as procedures for cockroach prevention in the Philippines to try and eradicate them.

In spite of this, insects can also be quite useful to mankind and the environment. Take bees for example. Do you know that they play an important role in pollination, directly affecting the world’s food supply positively? So you see, it’s just a matter of understanding which of them are helpful and which are dangerous. To help you understand them better, you should learn the different orders of insects. Here are 5 of them:

Coleoptera

Coleoptera is the largest order of insects and it is mainly composed of beetles. It is comprised of more than 400,000 species and they make up at least 40% of the discovered insects. Insects that belong in this order are usually equipped with two pairs of wings. The ones in front are called elytra and together, they create a hard shell on the torso of the insect. Meanwhile, their hind wings are somewhat membranous and they are often used flying. But when an insect is resting, these wings remain folded under the elytra.

lady bug - type of coleoptera

Hymenoptera

Hymenoptera is an order of insect that is made up of over 150,000 species. Insects in this order are known for having well-developed mandibles and two pairs of wings. Meanwhile, the size of their bodies ranges from small to large frames. Insects in this order have different feeding habits. For instance, some are herbivores which means that they consume leaves and pine needles. Then, there are some that are predatory, trapping their prey before feeding on them. Ants, bees, sawflies, and wasps all belong in this order.

Neuroptera

Net-winged insects, or neuroptera, are prominent for the complex vein patterns in their wings and they are made up of around 6,000 species. Insects in this order possess soft bodies, four wings, large compound eyes, and strong mandibles.

They undergo a complete metamorphism – wherein they develop, grow, and change their forms – throughout their whole lifecycle. The larvae of insects in this order are mostly predators since they eat aphids and other pests. However, as they become adults, some of them start feeding on nectar only. Antlions, lacewings, and mantidflies are some of the insects that belong in this order.

Orthoptera

According to some researchers, Orthoptera has been existing for over 300 million years. Insects in this order have elongated hindlegs, cylindrical bodies, and large compound eyes. Their mandibulate mouths are used to bite and chew their food. Compared to insects that belong in neuroptera, insects in this order do not undergo a complete metamorphosis. Crickets, grasshoppers, katydids, locusts, and weta are some of the insects that belong to orthopteran order. 

praying mantis - type of Orthoptera

Plecoptera

Plecoptera came from ancient Greek word “plekein” which means braided wings. Commonly known as stoneflies, insects that belong in the plecoptera order possess chewing mandibles, large eyes, robust legs, and multiple-segmented antennae. There are various insects that belong in this order all over the world, except in Antarctica. Stoneflies are also known for their lack of tolerance for polluted water which is why their presence in a body of water often indicates that a particular stream is clean.

These are the five orders of insects. Learning all about them is the first step to understanding insects as a whole.

Keep These 5 Kinds of Pests Away From Your Home

Every living being on Earth exists because they have a role to fulfill in the ecosystem. However, when a certain being becomes detrimental to mankind or the environment, then these creatures become a pest. Pests are organisms that cause nuisance and diseases associated with high mortality rates. If there is one at your home, don’t hesitate to contact your local pest control company especially if the infestation is widespread and you cannot handle it on your own. Listed below are some of the common types of pests that you may have in your house and neighborhood: 

Insects

These are the most common and major pests. Insects are characterized to have three pair of legs, two pairs of wings, and a segmented body. They also have compound eyes and antennae. Most species are tricky and can cause damage in a variety of ways. Some suck the sap from plants, bite off plant parts, transmit diseases from one host to another, bore holes in fruits and crops, and destroy certain structures. Insects can cause damage no matter what stage they are in. Some cause damage as larvae, nymphs, and even as adults. 

Mites

Some people confuse mites for insects but they are not the same. These creatures have soft bodies and four pairs of legs. They vary in color; some mites are red, yellow, or brown. Like some insects, these creatures suck the sap from plants or hosts. In some cases, they also attack crops in huge numbers. Mites are sometimes so tiny that it takes quite some time to detect their presence. 

Rodents

This group of pests is notorious for eating away large amount of human food. They can also damage crops on a large scale. As a matter of fact, rodents are responsible for heavy loss to stored grains in farms, warehouses, and houses. The most popular example of rodents is rats. This kind of pest caused the Black Death to spread in Europe quickly, killing around 75-200 million people in Eurasia. The bubonic plague was one of the most devastating pandemics in human history. It was caused by a certain bacteria that are carried by fleas on rodents.

india-359_1280 

Mammals

Certain mammals are considered as pests. They become pests because they are large in numbers and can cause damage to lands, property, as well as crops. Rabbits, wolves, dingoes, and foxes are some mammals who can become pests to man. 

Birds

Birds attack crop plants and eat grains. However, when they are not acting as pests, they are actually an important part of the ecosystem. Some birds eat insects that are harmful to crops while there are others who help in pollination like hummingbirds, sun birds, and honey eaters.

Admittedly, pests are indeed scary. It is important to keep them at bay to prevent disasters from happening. Once you find out that you have an infestation in your house, call your local pest terminator. Don’t worry, though; before you know it, your house will be back to normal and you and your family can finally live in peace again.

Pest Control 101: Are Snails Pests?

snail3

Snails would definitely rank high among gardeners’ most despised entities. They are for a fact classified as pests and when your garden gets infested, pest control should be summoned immediately. They emerge from hiding at night and chew holes in leaves and flowers of many garden fruits and plants. This is just the tip of the iceberg; there are plenty of facts that one must know in order to control and manage this little slug. So in this article we will be discussing a little more about snails.

Let’s Talk About Snails Baby

SNAIL

There are thousands of snail species, but a few of them are just widely known as the Garden Snail or the Roman Snail. Most people would usually associate snails as lazy and not good for much; most of these perceptions might have been shaped because of the animated cartoon show Spongebob Squarepants, wherein the main character’s pet happens to be a snail. In real life, land snails are more invasive because they cause great damage to agriculture and food production.

In the past, snails have been relevant and useful because they are consumed for survival purposes. Unfortunately, nowadays their role have become much more of the protagonist because of their behaviour. As a matter of fact, snails can have a long life because their life span depends on their habitat and species. If it so happens that you have a vast or wide land of crops, then they will surely host plenty of snails.

They Do Things Slowly and Slimy

Slimeysnail

 

Aside from being extremely slow, snails leave behind a trail of mucus when moving. This mucus acts as a powerful lubricant that reduces friction against the surface, which is why they are able to move upside down, around corners and other ways too.

While they don’t move fast, they do move at a steady pace. Talk about consistency; also let it be known these pests are one of the slowest moving creatures in the entire planet. The most a garden snail can go about 50 yards in an hour (top speed already) which is equivalent to 1.3 cm. per second.

How Will You Spot Them?nightsnail

 

At first, you wouldn’t notice these pests because they love to infest during night time. In order for you to spot them, you will need night vision goggles to hunt. Once you have them on, it will be quite easy to find them because they leave out slimy trails behind.

How Can You Manage Them?

deadsnail1

First, be sure your garden is situated in the sunniest spot available. Then remove garden objects, adjacent plants or ground covers which can serve as shady shelters to these pests. Also don’t forget to reduce moist surfaces as much as possible.

If you’re thinking about using baits to capture them, then think again because it would be really difficult considering the pace they are able to go. The only effective way to manage is to remove their prospect shelter and food.

If all else fails, you can always call on pest control! We’ll be there in a jiffy to take care of your worries. Give us a call now.

3 Insect Pokemon You Shouldn’t Use Pest Control On

Pokémon, a ridiculously addicting video game for the Game Boy way back in 1995, has now become one of the most beloved game franchises the world has ever known. Ever since its release, it has accumulated a huge number of media products, ranging from more video games, to movies, to an animated TV show, and even various kinds of toys and merchandise. Created by Satoshi Tajiri, it revolves around the idea of a human player going on a journey to catch more powerful Pokémons (also known as pocket monsters) as he or she progresses through its fictional world.

The Pokémon themselves are a marvel to discover as most of them are obviously derived from real – world counterparts. For example, Psyduck very closely resembles a platypus, while Squirtle’s look is based on that of our normal, common turtles. The broad spectrum of animals that they resemble are remarkable; they can range from mammals, fishes, and even insects!

Much like our normal world where bugs are constantly subjected to some form of pest control when necessary, insect-like Pokémons are also kept in check by the humans who capture them. But what kind of Pokémon are they, you may ask, and what are they like?

In the following list, you will find 3 Pokémons that are actually based on real insects – while emulating its powerful, fictional counterpart is surely not possible, content yourself with the fact that they actually exist – at least in the visual sense.

Caterpie Pokemon

Caterpie

Based on the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Caterpillar, Caterpie is a good starting Pokémon for beginners who want a bug-type in their arsenal. In the real world, though, they’re far from being able to fight, especially in their state as a caterpillar… or as a butterfly. As one of the most common species of butterfly that can be found in the Eastern United States, they’re mostly harmless; they spend most of their time feeding on the nectar of flowers such as those of the Apocynaceae, Asteraceae, and Fabaceae families.

Leavanny Pokemon

Leavanny

Looking at the cute Pokémon version, one would not be faulted for inferring that its real world counterpart would look just as adorable and complex. Well, they might not be as glamorous, but they’re certainly just as impressive – Leavanny is based on twig-like, leafy insects known as “walking sticks”, or more precisely, Phylliidae. These insects are some of the most remarkably camouflaged organisms in the entire animal kingdom with their appearances very closely resembling leaves – some of them even sport “wilted” areas of their bodies to really give off that authentic leafy look!

Nicanda Pokemon

Nincada

As its name suggests, the Nincada is based on our real world Cicadas. They’re known for their loud songs and they feature prominently in Chinese lore. They represent carefree living and immortality; some even consider them good luck and keep them as house pets much like any other would with a cat or dog. Other times they’re eaten deep fried.

Bugs are an integral part of any natural ecosystem, and in this case, even Pokémon’s! However, keep in mind that in the real world not all bugs should be tolerated as much because collecting them won’t do you good. Instead, call on pest control as it is the most necessary form of action to battle them.

Fight and Flight: 5 Insect-eating Birds Found in North America

It’s official, the Ber months have officially started and Fall is here. Expect a rise in numbers for insects and creepy crawlies alike. You can sure they are celebrating right now and making plans to invade your homes to scout for some food and hidden territory. You should be fine if you have insect-eating birds living in the area.

With these flying beauties around, termite control won’t be that big of a problem anymore because they’ll be having those critters for lunch. Fly up into the sky and let us introduce you to five of North America’s insect-eating birds.

Chickadees

CHICKADEE

Chickadees are among the most common birds you can see across the United States. There are three types of this bird namely – the Black-capped, the Carolina, and the Mountain chickadees. These birds are universally considered to be cute due to its having a round sized head that is bigger than its body. As these birds are naturally curious to their surroundings, they are easily found near feeding stations and are attracted to small boxes with wood shavings and will make it as their own nesting area. The Chickadee’s favorite snacks are beetles and caterpillars, flies and wasps.

Wrens

Rock Wren_FINAL

Wrens are common backyard birds you will find flying over shrubberies and tree branches. They often prey on vulnerable insects like ants, millipedes, beetles and grasshoppers. Like the chickadees, wrens are prone to stay in areas that they think are suitable for nesting. After coming back from their winter migration, they will return to the same nesting area if it was left untouched.

American Robin

robin_FINAL

The American Robin is mostly found in North America and is particularly attracted to over grown shrubberies and large trees. Their natural habitats are likely in parks and gardens even in golf courses and open fields. Robins eat a wide variety of insects and fruits are mostly seen tugging earthworms off grounds. Robins are known for their majestic orange breast with a white patch on the lower section and grayish-brown feathers.

Mockingbirds

MOCKINGBIRD_FINAL

You may have heard or read about them in the Hunger Games, but no, they are not associated with Katniss Everdeen. Mockingbirds acquired their name because of their ability to mimic the call of other birds. Northern Mockingbirds are gray in color with two white wing bars on their wings. They can be quite aggressive if there are other birds flying over their territory and prey mostly on grasshoppers, beetles and tree ants.

Purple Martin

purple martin_final

Purple Martins are your typical social birds and share breeding sites with other martins. These birds are larger than the average swallow and feed only on flying insects and fire ants. You’ll be seeing them zooming around the highest perch of trees but during the evening, they hunt in lower grounds or near their nesting area.

If you have these birds near you, they are sure to be of great help in lessening pests near your home. Maintaining your garden won’t be a chore anymore because of the perfect pest control you can ever have— insect eating birds.

Fight and Flight: 6 Insect-Eating Birds Found in Asia

We were taught in school that birds feed on worms, but did you know that some species actually snack on insects? Some of these birds can even help out with termite control. Indeed, they are truly useful in balancing out the food chain.

Asia is home to a number of insect-eating birds—some are even experts in eating in mid-air! Soar high with these flying creatures as we let you into the world of Asia’s insect-eating birds.

WHITE-BELLIED WOODPECKER

Termite control

The White-bellied Woodpecker (Drycopus javensis) is a bird found in the tropical forests of Asia, particularly in evergreen areas of the Southeast. It is known for the noticeable white area on its belly, hence the name. These birds are considered to be one of the largest of their kind and also one of the most dominant in terms of population. They breed on dead tree barks and feed mainly on insects such as ants and grubs that live under barks. During the breeding season and during meal time, they make drumming sounds. These birds make a distinct “kuk” sound before flying off.

CHINESE PENDULINE TIT 

Chinese Penduline Tit, Termite Control

The Chinese Penduline Tit (Remiz consobrinus) is a species of the Remizidae family. They can be found in Japan, North and South Korea, China (particularly in Hong Kong), and Russia. Among its favorite food are caterpillars and small invertebrates. They are relatively small in size and light brown in color.

PHILIPPINE FROGMOUTH

Philippine Frogmouth, Termite Control

The Philippines is known for its diverse nature and wildlife. Among the wonders living in our country is the Philippine Frogmouth (Batrachostomus septimus). This nocturnal bird lives in lowland forests and survives by eating different insects such as beetles, cicadas, grasshoppers, and crickets. They have soft, downy feathers held together by moss and lichens.

VELVET-FRONTED NUTHATCH

 Velvet Fronted Nuthatch

The Velvet-fronted Nuthatch (Sitta frontalis) is a small bird belonging to the Sittidae family. It can be found in South Asia, particularly in Sri Lanka, Pakistan and India; these can also be sighted in Indonesia and China. Evergreen forests are their primary habitat and they can actually climb down trees! They feed on spiders and other invertebrates, often feeding in flocks. Despite their small size, their beaks are strong and they can easily be identified by their lavender cheeks and red bills. The Velvet-fronted Nuthatch are noisy birds as they always sing loud songs.

HODGSON’S TREECREEPER

 hodgson treecreeper

A certain type of passerine bird lives in the Himalayas: the Hodgson’s Treecreeper (Certhia hodgsoni). Aside from Nepal, this bird can also be found in China, Myanmar, Bhutan, India, and Pakistan. Like the Velvet-fronted Nuthatch, this bird also uses its voice but this time for calling out to its relatives and signal for flight. They typically feed on arthropods and live mostly in temperate climates in coniferous woodlands.

BLUE-TAILED BEE-EATER

 blue tailed bee eater1

The Blue-tailed Bee-eater (Merops philippinus) is a species belonging to the family Meropidae. They are migratory birds commonly seen in India. Their bodies are richly-colored, with the hues of their tails being their most prominent feature. They live in farmlands and rice fields. They munch on hornets, dragonflies and of course, bees. These birds prefer to be near large bodies of water and sandy banks.

There you have it, six of the most common insect eating birds in Asia. Stay tuned for the next installment of insect-eating bird adventures!

In Disguise: 6 Camouflage Expert Insects

Camouflaging, in general, is the imitation of the surroundings or staying in a location where their outward appearance perfectly blends in with the environment. There are a lot of insects that use camouflaging in the wild (and maybe even in your households) as a way to keep themselves hidden from predators and people.

Don’t worry; if you call pest control, even camouflaging insects can’t hide from them.

Still, it’s pretty amazing what these creatures can do. Take a look at the following insects and their amazing skills in hiding.

Dead leaf butterfly

dead leaf butterfly

The dead leaf butterfly, also known as the orange oakleaf butterfly (Kallima inachus), is a nymphalid butterfly that is found in tropical Asia from India to Japan. It gets its name from resembling a dry leaf with dark veins when its wings are closed. When its wings are open, on the other hand, the forewings exhibit a black apex, and orange disc band and a deep blue base.

Walking leaf insect

walking leaf insect

Walking leaf insect is an insect from the family Phylliidae that is famous for perfectly mimicking the appearance of a leaf. They do this perfectly so predators will have a hard distinguishing them from leaves. Some species of walking insects’ bodies even have “bite marks” to further confuse predators. They also rock back and forth when walking to mimic a real leaf being blown by the wind.

Flower mantis

Spiny mantis 6

Flower mantises are a species of praying mantis that mimic flowers. Unlike other insects that use camouflaging as a method to hide from preys, flower mantises use this form of camouflaging called aggressive mimicry. Aggressive mimicry is defined as a form of camouflage where a predator’s colors and patterns lure prey.

Dead leaf mantis

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Just like the flower mantis, the dead leaf mantis is another type of praying mantis. It got its name from mimicking dead leaves. There are various species of dead leaf mantises (and are often treated as pets), and they include the giant dead leaf mantis, Malaysian dead leaf mantis, and Philippines dead leaf mantis.

Lichen katydid

Lichen katydid

Katydids are known for their ability to mimic their natural surroundings, and the lichen katydid is no different from its relatives. This newly found specie of katydids, which was first discovered at around 2012 in a small number of locations in northern Queensland, looks like a lichen-encrusted branch. It admittedly has high details of structure and color and are speculated to be found on lichen-covered branches of higher trees.

Stick insect

stick insect

If you have watched the animated film The Bugs’ Life, you’ll encounter a walking insect there. Stick insects, sometimes called the walking sticks, resemble twigs – making it one of the most efficient natural camouflage insects on Earth. Their species can range from the half-inch-long Timema cristinae of North America to the formidable Phobaeticus kirbyi of Borneo. Aside from blending in with the environment, stick insects also feign death to fool predators, while some will shed occasional limbs to escape from an enemy’s grasp.

Aside from the fact that they feed on plants, these camouflaging insects don’t pose too much threat inside human homes. However, they would probably prefer not to be inside your house as well, where they can clearly be seen.

Ungross: Adorable Insects that You Never Thought Existed

Insects are scary, especially when they outnumber the humans in a house. That’s why we call a reliable pest control company to take care of them. One thing’s for sure: the insect world is a colorful place. Not only does the color or size vary, insects also vary in looks.

Guess what! There are insects that are actually not gross, and are even truly adorable and fuzzy! Check out these cuties you probably didn’t even know existed.

China Silkworm Moth

Chinese Silk Moth

Silk was first made in China and was once a luxurious item for aristocrats. It is often produced by moths and butterflies, but silkworm larvae are the most famous source of silk.

As they grow up, they become fluffy and furry moths often white in color. Identifying whether a silkworm moth is a male or a female is rather easy. Females have larger abdomens while male silkworm moths have larger pairs of antennae (which look like long rakes or comb-shaped eyebrows). Male silkworm moths are also noticeable because their wings vibrate rapidly to attract a female mate.

Jumping Spiders

jumping spider

Also known as salticids, jumping spiders are known for their very sharp eyesight, and unlike their other arachnid relatives, jumping spiders produce silk. This silk is used to protect their eggs, and function as dragline when jumping. This dragline allows jumping spiders to control their fall and trace their steps.

Even though jumping spiders’ bites contain venom, they are not considered particularly harmful to humans, therefore not medically threatening.

Bumblebee

bumblebee

We know that the Autobot Bumblebee is adorable, but the fleeting flying adorable bumble bee is cuter. These social insects form colonies with a single queen – just like other bees. One of its main differences with other bees is the fact that a colony only composes of as few as 50 individuals in a nest.

Bumblebees feed on nectars just like their relatives. They play an important role in pollination therefore their decreasing population in Europe, North America, and Asia become something alarming to different agricultural groups.

Japanese Emperor Caterpillar

japanese emperor caterpillar

This cute caterpillar is the larva of the Japanese Emperor butterfly which is also known as Oomurasaki in Japan. The Oomurasaki is the national butterfly of Japan, and is also a native in the Korean peninsula, China, Northern Taiwan, and Northern Vietnam.

Feather-Horned Beetle

Feather-Horned Beetle

A local in Australia, a feather-horned beetle can be as small as 10-25 mm in length and can easily be recognized by their oversized fan-like antennae. To differentiate the male and female feather-horned beetle, a person just has to observe its antennae. Male feather-horned beetle have much larger antennae and more pronounced than females. These bigger antennae are used by the males to locate female feather-horned beetles that emit pheromones – an indication that she is ready for mating.

Panda Ant

panda ant

Panda ants are in no way related to pandas, nor are they related to ants. Panda ants are wasps in the hymenopteran family. They are famous for their black and white color. Despite their fuzzy appearance, panda ants have stings that can be very painful. They are called “cow-killers” because they are able to knock out a cow or any other larger animals with their stings.

Cute, aren’t they? But let’s not forget the quote “Don’t judge a book by its cover”. Why? Because we’ll be featuring cute insects which are also real killers some time this month.

Stay tuned.

The Anatomy of 5 Common Household Pests

Pests, no matter how much you hate to admit it, are all too familiar to you. Your household pests are too familiar that you already know what your roaches’ time in is at night, or your ants’ favourite among your food. You know what blood type your mosquitoes must have by now—of course, you share it with them— and you now know why there’s so many of them.

By now you should also have the complete contact details of your most reliable pest control services. Everything about the pest world you already know that you dearly feel as if you majored it in college. Like any student, you wish you could just graduate already!

But answer this: do you know the workings under your pests’ skins (or, rather, exoskeletons)? When you think you know your pests, that may only be less than skin/exoskeleton deep. So let’s see, shall we…

 

Rats

rat_anatomy

There are pests that are too cute to be called pests, and some rats can be and are kept as pets. However, the ones in your home are not so welcome nor friendly. And at times, it’s even bigger than your kitty. You might find it funny to see your rat having dumbo ears—yes, they’re actually called such—but the rats with these ears are actually the friendliest.

Now why are you still laughing? Don’t you dare; they will bite! With four long sharp incisors along their molars, they have the power and the means to chop your hand off! Or maybe just your finger, but it’s really not up to you; it depends on their cravings.

 

Termites

termiteanatomy

Right or wrong: termites are mostly related to cockroaches than to ants?

The answer is: right. And you’re wrong to think that it isn’t. Just by looking at their bodies, you’ll actually get to see what we mean. Now what else don’t you know about termites?

There is that their body parts can simply be enumerated as the antennae, the head, the thorax, the legs, and the abdomen. Notable about them are their mandibles, which for soldiers are bigger than the other members of the colony, even the king and queen.

Fun fact about their abdomen: some of their kind store bacteria and protozoans in their hindgut, which is a part of their digestive system, that does the digesting of the enzyme cellulose for them. We don’t digest cellulose either. These microorganisms may be neat to have, don’t you think?

 

Cockroaches

PeriplanetaAmericanaBody parts: antennae, head, thorax, legs, and abdomen—familiar? Didn’t we tell you so?

Roaches are ever special in the world of pests. They can actually be considered the action stars of Pestywood, simply by their anatomy. See, although they have a brain, much of their thinking actually happens in the nerve ganglia, which is located—get this—all over their bodies. So you can say that roaches are creepy crawling brains that live in our filth and spread diseases. Man, and you haven’t bowed down to them yet.

If you still have this itching feeling to grab your slipper and just swat at roaches like that smartphone app, you may be successful at the right time. Roaches, if you don’t know, molt. And this means that they shed their exoskeleton, which is much like snakes, leaving them fragile for some time. And this happens quite a few times in their lives, too, so if you’ve missed once, you have more moments to try again—brain squiiiiiiiiish!

 

Ants

Ant_bwAnts are interesting. They work together in a colony, and you can really tell that they love food by the way their body is formed. See, they have a mouth, just like any feeding animal, then close to that they have a food pouch, next comes a food passage, and—brace yourself—a second stomach. It’s surprising how they’re able to keep those slim waists, isn’t it?

But Mother Nature has her functional answer for this. See, ants have to make their way through elaborate tunnels and holes under the earth, right? But they can’t if they cannot twist their bodies a number of ways. Isn’t that amazing? Everything has a reason!

Even the ant’s heart is interesting. If you can’t view it properly, you’d think it’s the whole string of cord lying on its back—or maybe it is.

 

Mosquitoes

mosquito anatomyUgh. These things.

Although you may argue that bats are the ugliest vampires that ever lived, we still maintain that mosquitoes are the ugliest bloodsuckers in the face of the planet. And they may be the most tenacious.

They owe this to their various sensors, namely heat, chemical, and visual that have been heightened throughout their 30 million-year existence. Let’s not even go to those straws that they have at the end of their heads. Those are the work of hell, sent to torment us living.

 

Our common pests have bodies, as we do, but theirs may be more impressive. So although you think these critters are the lowliest of life forms, they actually have the right, and the anatomy, to prove otherwise.