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Catching flies in New Zealand

We may have a two-foot blanket of snow here at RESCUE! headquarters in the Pacific Northwest, but we're still catching insects in other parts of the world. A customer in Auckland, New Zealand was so impressed with our disposable fly trap that he e-mailed us to share some photos he took after it had been up for two weeks. 

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Thanks, Brendan!

January 28, 2008 in Flies | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Fun with bugs while they're not flying

It's cold in many parts of the country. Single-digits and below. Not a good time to be trying this:

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For this reason, there's not too much happening in the world of insects. But you can amuse yourself with this pest control game where you rack up points for swatting flies, yellowjackets, beetles, maggots and and other bugs.

January 24, 2008 in Just fun | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sexy fruit flies, or what we can learn from insects.

Here at Sterling International, we make it our job to study insects so that we can design the best attractants and traps to lure and catch them. The manpower and money we spend on research has a definite purpose, as we hope to create more products to make consumers' lives better while also growing our business.

It amazes me a little to read about other researchers who study the insect world. Sometimes these studies come out that make me wonder what useful purpose they serve.

Fruit_fly_research03_6810 Take this one: A university study that shows attractiveness is hereditary. The University of Exeter, in the United Kingdom, studied fruitflies and came up with this conclusion: "Sexy dads produce sexy sons, in the insect world, at least." That piece of earth-shattering information was learned by observing that the male fruitflies who took the least amount of time to mate produced offspring that also were able to mate in a short amount of time.

Wow. What kind of grant money was awarded to the university? Did they really need to devote a team of scientists to showing that attractive creatures produce offspring that resemble them?

Wasp_brain_slice_2 Then there's the University of Arizona study on wasp brains and "facial coding" -- or the ability to recognize faces. The experiment compared the brains of two species of paper wasps that are able to tell each other apart, along with two paper wasp species not having that ability. They found that the brains of the first two wasps who can recognize each other were not any larger than the two wasps who couldn't.

Oooh-kay. Glad we settled that!

Paper20wasp This study piggy-backed on a previous UA study involving a type of paper wasp, P. dominulus. Wasps of this species judge the strength and identity of other wasps in the colony by the number of black spots on their bodies; more spots indicate the wasp is stronger. In her experiment, the scientist disguised some of the wasps by changing the pattern of black spots. As a result, she observed that the insects "had trouble figuring out who was stronger, and spent more time fighting."

I can see the purpose of this study a little more than the previous one. Aggressiveness between wasp colonies is important when you're working on controlling their behavior such as luring them to a trap.

Both UA researchers are continuing to study insect brains, and the subject matter seems a little more promising. One is studying learning patterns of bees, and the other is testing the memory of wasps.

Whether anything comes of these studies that benefits society remains to be seen, but I dare say that any revelations coming out of our lab will rival them!

January 23, 2008 in Entomology | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack