Gobble Up! What You Need to Know About the Pest Control Pitcher Plant

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Plenty of pests rampage our agriculture, but luckily for us there are natural ways to get rid of these creatures. Aside from getting help from our trusted pest control service, there are also plants that manifest the same act of pest control.  As a matter of fact, there are many carnivorous plants that love to munch on their own prey.

Today we are shining the spotlight on a specific plant and that is none other than the pitcher plant. It is perhaps the most mysterious leaf in the whole wide universe. With its unique ability to obtain food, pitcher plants are definitely one of the most magnificent carnivorous plants out there. To further discuss on this topic, here are a few things you might want to know:

About Carnivorous Pitcher Plants

Pitcher plants resemble goblets of all shapes and sizes. There are two large families of monocots wherein these meat-eating pitcher plants belong to: The Old World, Nepenthaceae and the New World, Sarraceniaceae. Pitchers from the Old World family live high above trees, but unfortunately they don’t have that much food source up there so they resort to waiting for helpless victims. Meanwhile, the New World family members enjoy their abundant food source by being on the ground. Unlike its relatives who live up in the tress, these pitchers can form a whole pitcher out of its leaf.

How Pitcher Plants Eat

Pitcher plants have a unique feature for them to attract their prey. It is a deep cavity filled with liquid known as a pitfall trap, which lures flying and crawling insects. This area of cavity is formed by the cupped leaf. The sides of the pitcher are slippery and it is grooved in such a way to ensure the insects can’t climb out after they get to the trap.  When the pitcher digests, the prey is converted into a solution of amino acids, peptides, phosphates, ammonium and urea from which the plant obtains its nutrition.

How did they become meat-eating?

You might shake your head and wonder, “what?. Not long ago this simple and harmless leaf wasn’t the carnivorous and meat-eating plant it is now, and it’s all thanks to natural selection! This means nature has favored the growth of leaves with larger dents until it became what we know today. The plant evolved because it has found that eating small insects could give it the necessary protein, nitrogen and other minerals it couldn’t get from simply seeping from the soil.

Pitcher plants are indeed exotic and fascinating plants, but unfortunately, they are also prone to the same problems that affect any other plant; just because they feed on insects doesn’t mean they are not open to becoming a target of infestation. If you own a garden with pitcher plants or you happen to have a farm of them, make sure they are well-taken care of. For insect infestation problems, simply call us up!

HUNGRY! 3 Insect Gobblin’ Plants

It seems evolution does have its quirks. You’d think plants thrive only on water, sun and air but actually, there are plants that include pests in their diet. These are what we call carnivorous or insectivorous plants. They have adapted to environments that provide them with low nutrient concentrations. This is probably why these plants thrive in fens and bogs because they get to be exposed to an abundance of sunshine and water, even if they’re in low nutrient environments. Their main strategy is to attract and capture prey, something that we usually observe in animals.

Let’s check out some of nature’s very own pest control services.

Snap Traps: Venus Flytrap

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The speed with which the Venus Flytrap captures various insects and arachnids has baffled biologists since Charles Darwin’s time. There was a theory the movement of water within the plant is what allows it to move its jaws fast, but this was recently scrapped, and the search for a biologically and physically possible explanation continues.

Once an insect is drawn into one of the traps and touches more than one sensitive hair, the trap will snap. If the insect struggles to get out, more of the hair outgrowths get triggered, and trap will tighten its grip even more while releasing digestive enzymes.

Pitfall Trap: Nepenthes

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Found mostly in the subtropical regions of Asia, the Nepenthes is a genus of pitcher plants that has more than 110 species diverse in size, shape, and color. The Nepenthes has modified leaves that form a pitfall trap or deep cavity filled with liquid where prey is captured. To attract insects, it secretes a kind of sugary nectar on the rims of the pitcher cavity. Once an unwary insect follows this sweet aroma on the rim, they will almost immediately slip into the pitcher.

Within the cavity, waxy crystals make it hard for insects to climb back up. The pitcher will then secrete another fluid, this time digestive enzymes to dissolve the insect in order for them to extract and absorb the nutrients.

Flypaper Traps: Drosera

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Commonly known as Sundews, the genus Drosera is a plant with at least 194 species and can be found on every continent except for Antarctica. Like the Venus Flytrap, Sundews are also notorious for capturing their prey at jaw-dropping speeds. They make use of their mucilage-covered tentacles to curl around their prey. Mucilage is a thick, gooey, glue-like substance that “sticks” the insect to the tentacle, making it impossible for them to escape. If the prey tries to struggle, it will only prompt the Sundew to speed up the process.

The Sundew got its name from sticky drops at the end of each tentacle that closely resembles morning dew on plants. It is called a flypaper trap because of the  unique way it ensnares its prey. Sundews make use of another set of tentacles— longer and touch sensitive—to snap forward and throw the insect with great force into flypaper like traps where the sticky tentacles can move it for digestion.

These hungry plants are just some of the numerous carnivorous plants seen around the world. There are other varieties such as Lobster Pot or Bladder Traps. Now… isn’t Mother Nature cool?

 

Termite Facts: 6 Good Things About These Wood-Munching Bugs

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Would you believe that termites are considered to be one of the oldest insects on Earth? These wood eating pests have been around for over 130 million years! Isn’t that amazing? We bet early men had a harder time dealing with these termites without today’s termite control.

You have to remember that these pests aren’t all that bad (or evil) for that matter because they’re here on the planet for a reason in which they play a big role in the ecological system. Here are some interesting facts about termites that you would be amazed to find!

Ecologically Beneficial

While much have been said about termites being a pesky home invaders, Mother Nature needs these so-called pests to maintain the balance in our ecological system mainly because the termites are effective decomposers. They are the ones responsible for recycling the dead and decaying wood.

Fecal Matter= Food

It may be a bit weird for us but, yes, you read it right— poop becomes food for termites. In a practice called trophallaxis, a termite eats one another’s poop to a number of microorganisms for digesting all that wood since they are not born with bacteria in their digestive tract which supposedly aids in digestion. Now that’s recycling.

Related to a Cockroach-like Insect

Cockroaches and termites are closely related. They share an ancestor who crawled on the Earth during the Cretaceous period. In fact, Termites are called  the social cockroaches. The name seems to be suitable due to the fact that they build and nurture in a colony that follows a caste system. This means termites are divided in different social classes based on their roles for the colony namely, soldiers, workers and reproductive termites. Cockroaches, on the other hand, are well-known for their solitary behavior.

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Daddy Helps with Mommy Duties

It’s amusing and endearing how termite kings will stay with the queen even after the eggs are fertilized. Unlike male bees that die after mating, termite kings stay with the offspring since he will help feed the young. How ‘bout that, dad sharing parental duties with mom!

Effective Communication Skills

Studies have shown that termites release certain chemicals and pheromones to communicate with each other. These chemical signals are their way to guide each other. They simply leave a scent (coming from the glands of the termite’s chest) for the others to follow as a trail, just like breadcrumbs. Aside from that, the termite’s head banging on the wall is also a form of communication,given that the vibrations caused are also signals to tell each other messages.

Young Kings and Queens Have Wings

New king and queen termites, also known as alates, have the ability to fly since they will leave the colony to make their own. Once they settle into a new area, they break off their wings to settle down and create new offspring for their new colony.

We’re used to the idea of termites being an annoyance to almost every household but there’s so much more to these insects. They have a valuable role to play in our environment but as long as they stay away from our homes, then they can stay for as long as they’d like.

 

Eye Openers: Why should you Contact a Termite Control Company?

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“Small but deadly.” This is probably the most perfect way to describe a single termite. Of course, a termite or two is no big deal. But do you want to make them grow first in a whooping number before calling a termite control company? Of course not!

But if you still doubt why you should call a termite control company, we’ve listed the reasons why.

 

Termites continually reproduce

Prepare for trouble. Make it double. Or triple. Or even a thousand more times. Termite colonies have a large population – the older the colony, the bigger the termite population is. Imagine, if a 5 year old colony may contain several thousand termites, what more of a 27 year old colony? It can contain millions of termites! The more the termites, the more they eat, the more items of your house might end up as termite food.

The wooden parts of your home are vulnerable

Is it your beautiful and intricate door? Or that sofa with frames made from narra? How about that gorgeous furniture made from hardwood? Or those well-maintained old frame for your paintings? These are only some of the items made of wood where termites may reside.

Our precious furniture pieces aren’t the only things made from wood. Our houses, one of the main places where we feel safe and sound, have parts that are made from wood. From the pillars inside to the plywood used as a frame for various parts of the house, especially for the roof part. No one would want to see their house crash after finding out that its wood foundations were munched by termites.

Everyone knows that we love the things in our own houses (considering that they may also cost a lot) so let’s not termites destroy each and every one of them.

Simple spraying won’t work

Unlike other pests like roaches, flies, and mosquitoes which freely roam the house thus can be sprayed or swatted with our slippers (a classic way to kill insects), termites live in wall cavities, framing members, or attic spaces – places where insecticides can’t penetrate. These are the places where termites often live, eat, and multiply, and only professionals and experts know how to deal with them.

Calling a termite control company immediately will save you a lot of money

We all know that repairs can cost a lot of money as compared to pest maintenance. Examples of these repairs are replacing this part by the window with a new one just because it was eaten by termites, or repainting a wooden table because it was inhabited by them. Without the professional’s help, you’ll be blindly repairing things in your house without actually solving the main problem. Immediately calling a professional pest controller will definitely save you a lot of money and time.

 

It may sound trivial, but these small critters are no small joke. Contact a termite control company (or a pest control company for all kinds of pests) to get rid of termites. Remember, it is better safe than sorry.