An Insect that seeks Forest Fires

Forest fires can run rampant, destroying thousands of acres along with homes and whole towns. Although humans consider this natural disaster a horrible thing to be avoided, there is an insect that thrives for this opportunity. When a forest fire begins to grow, the infrared heat that builds can travel many miles. We may be able to sense the urgency by site of fire and smoke, but humans do not have receptive enough sensory organs to feel that heat from miles away. However there is an insect that can not only feel the heat, but actually seeks it – the Fire Beetle.

As a forest fire begins to rage, many Fire Beetles begin to anticipate the opportunity they will have to reproduce. This beetle can sense the heat from a large fire up to 40 miles away. They are ultra sensitive due to the pit organs that it possesses in between its legs. These organs can detect infrared radiation that comes from a forest fire. However, unlike human’s tendency to run from a fire; these insects run towards the fire. Why would an insect ever have an attraction to such a large fire? They are seeking a safe place to reproduce, which begins the flying migration for the Fire Beetle.

The Fire Beetle can be Black or very colorful, almost mimicking the fire itself. They have a hard outer shell and measure about ½” in length. As they arrive and blend in with the carnage that has been left, they use their antennae to find a tree that is still smoldering. These antennae have been thought to act like smoke detectors that can sense this smolder from a mile away. Once the proper tree is identified, they begin to reproduce. This environment is conducive for the beetle’s reproduction for several reasons. The wood that has been left by the fire has been weakened, and therefore is very easy for the beetle to bore into for laying eggs. Also, since the whole area has been burned and destroyed of all life, it gives the beetle a safe place with no natural predators to eat their eggs. This dead tree is also a disease free source of food, making this a place for numerous wood boring beetles to mate safely. Even firefighters have to be aware of the numbers of beetles they may encounter in the still smoldering woods. Other than being a nuisance of getting into clothes, biting or pinching, they pose no serious danger. So the firefighters work around the cycle of life that happens with a forest fire.

The pit organs of the Fire Beetle are of interest to many scientist and researchers because of the sensitivity to presence of fire from many miles away.  Most all of human inventions to sense fire have to do with smoke or heat. However the Fire Beetle is far more advanced because it can detect infrared radiation. Humans cannot sense this type of a wave. If a sensor like the Fire Beetle possesses could be developed, it would assist with fighting fires. The major reason for this is because the infrared wavelength travels long distances. A sensor that could mimic the same type of sensitivity could alert officials that a very small fire has started miles away, and could be extinguished before it becomes a large problem to fight. The Fire Beetle could hold the answer to saving millions of dollars in fighting fires and the value of property damage that occur every year.

So, the Fire Beetle is not a Nashville Pest Control problem, rather it could become very helpful to those that live in areas prone to forest fires. However if you happen to find yourself with a beetle pest issue, such as Asian Lady Beetles, Carpet Beetles or Ground Beetles – please call your Local, Family Owned and Operated Certified Pest Control of Nashville.