Giant Long-Legged Katydid

Giant Long-Legged Katydid

Photo By Houston Museum of Natural Science / CC BY 2.5

A Bug With Very Long Legs

Commonly referred to as the Giant Long-Legged Katydid, the Tettigoniidae are a bug that goes back all the way to the times of the dinoaurs! These bugs aren't some tiny bug either. They are known to grow to be up to 4.5 inches! Now that's one big bug. Just like bush crickets we have here in Tennessee, Tettigoniidae live in trees and are most active at night. Besides the massive size of the Tettigoniidae, they are almost an exact copy of just a regular grasshopper. The only other difference between the two species is that the Giant Long-Legged Katydid also has an extremely long antennae. Their antennae can be almost twice as long as their own body!

The Giant Long-Legged Katydid lives for about one year, give or take a month. During the final part of their lives, the last three months or so, they finally become adults. That sounds kind of nice! Living 3/4 of your life as a child! Anyways, once these bugs become completely mature they begin to of course try to reproduce. This is perhaps the most odd part about these bugs. After they reproduce the female tries to eat off the reproductive organ of the male! Now, of course this is not something the male wants, but he also wants to reproduce so he has quite the conundrum. He can either reproduce, and never reproduce again, or wait and just never reproduce in the first place. Well, these male bugs have figured out a way around this odd behavior exhibited in the females! Instead of reproducing and allowing the female to eat it's reproductive organ off, the males give what is called a nuptial gift to the females. This distracts the females for enough time that the male can reproduce with her, without getting himself hurt! This way the male can reproduce with another female, and another, and continue his bloodline. Because of the fact that these bugs, once they reach adulthood, are constantly looking for another mate, it causes a lot of infighting between the males over who is going to get the female. Once these bugs have reproduced the female begins to lay the eggs a few weeks later. She usually lays them under ground, although she may lay them near the base of a flower as well. The eggs are oval shaped and she will lay them in a line. In the case of the Giant Long-Legged Katydid, the nymphs usually look like small flower petals! Camouflage is this bugs best defense mechanism both as a nymph, and as an adult.

As we stated earlier, these bugs are most active at night, so they rest during the day. While they are resting during the day they literally become a statue. They pick one spot and one position and stay in that position and sleep all day. Because of the way they look, and their outstanding camouflage, they resemble a leaf almost perfectly. Unfortunately though, this bug does not have any other method of defense against a predator besides its camouflage. So, if it happens to move or give up it's camouflage, it is almost certainly going to be eaten.

Chiggers

Chiggers

Photo By Agricultural Research Service / Public Domain

The Bug with a Thousand Names and a Common Misconception

 Chigger using its stylostome to eat degraded skin cells. Photo By  BugBoy52.40  / Public Domain

Chigger using its stylostome to eat degraded skin cells. Photo By BugBoy52.40 / Public Domain

Ok... well maybe it doesn't have a thousand names, but it certainly does have quite a few! Known as Trombiculidae, Berry Bugs, Harvest Mites, Red Bugs, Scrub-Itch Mites, Chiggers, and Aoutas, these bugs are all over the the United States, and even most of the World! Although they have so many different names, they are most commonly known as chiggers across the world. Chiggers like to live in forests and grasslands and are also found in areas with very low vegetation. They love being near water, especially lakes or streams! Although they like moist environments, they are also commonly found in drier places such as peoples lawns, golf courses, and parks. Essentially, chiggers are found everywhere! Which is what makes them such a pesky bug to deal with. They are most active in the summers, as this is the time of year when there are so many of them. Surprisingly not all chiggers bite, even though it seems like every one does. Only chiggers when they are in their larvae stage bite. They will attach to animals and, as we all know, humans to feed on their skin. This larvae stage is the only stage of the chiggers life where they will actually bite people and cause that terrible itching. Chiggers attach to the host animal or human and feed off of the skin. This is where the common misconception comes in. Many people believe that chiggers dig into your skin and live under your skin! Some people believe they dig under your skin, live under it, and eat your blood and that is what causes that terrible itching pain! This could not be farther from the truth. They do not live under your skin, and they do not suck your blood like a vampire. When chiggers find a human or animal they want to feast on, they do a number of things, one of which is NOT burying under the skin. They will jump onto the host and pierce the skin. Once they penetrate the skin with their sharp jaw, they inject an enzyme into it that will begin to break down the skin tissue. This enzyme breaks the solid skin down into a liquid that the chigger can eat. The chigger then lowers a tube that is made of hardened skin cells, called a stylostome. This tube acts like a straw, and sucks up the liquified skin that the enzymes from the chigger has just broken down. Again, they do NOT burry into the skin, or suck blood like a tick. Just like we discussed in our blog about mosquitos, the enzyme they place in their host is what ends up causing the itching. The red bump that occurs after being bitten also has a common misconception that is very far from the truth. Some people believe that the red bump is where the chigger has laid its eggs inside of them. Again, this is not true. If not found and knocked off, chiggers will sometimes stay on their host for up to 5 days! 


If you have any problems with Chiggers, Certified Pest Control can be the answer! If you have any questions about chiggers, how we can service your home for chiggers, or any of our other services you can click the button below to get in touch!

Source: "Extatosoma Tiaratum.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 13 June 2018, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extatosoma_tiaratum

Australian Walking Stick

Australian Walking Stick

Photo By Rosa Pineda / CC BY-SA 3.0

A Bug That Smells Like Peanut Butter?

 

The Extatosoma tiaratum, also known as the Australian Walking Stick is a bug that, as its name suggests, looks exactly like a stick! This bug is native to only the country of Australia, although being very prominent there. These bugs are covered with thorn-like structures that are used to defend themselves from predators, as well as to camouflage them from other predators. The reason it gets its name, of course, is from the fact that it looks exactly like a stick, as you can see from the picture above. The thorns on it not only act as a defense from predators in case something is able to tell what it really is, but it also helps to even further improve the fact that this bug looks exactly like a stick, not just to us humans, but to other predators of the bug too. As the Australian Walking Stick continues to grow, it will grow to be anywhere between 5 and 8 inches long. Female Walking Sticks even have wings, although they are too small to allow it to fly. As is the case with many other bug species as well, the male Walking Sticks are much smaller than the females. They are a little less than half as long as the females, and another difference is that it has three eyes! However, unlike the females and lots of other bugs as well, these three eyes are not compound eyes. You can learn more about compound eyes in our blog about House Flies HereThe male Walking Sticks have eyes just like us humans! They are not compound in any way, and do not offer any extra advantages to the big. The only difference is they have three eyes instead of two, so that is what makes them a bit different from us humans. Another difference between males and females is the fact that they aren't covered in spikes like the females are. The males do have spikes however, it's just they are only located on the bugs face. The only advantage the males have over the females is the fact that they are able to fly. They have large enough wings, and their bodies are small enough that they are able to fly away is they are ever disturbed by a predator, or while they are on the search for a female.

 

Although they are camouflaged very well, of course this does not always work and they need other defenses besides just some soft spikes. Whenever the Walking Stick is attacked by a predator they have a number of different mechanisms they use to defend themselves. When they first become threatened they contort their body in a way that resembles a scorpion! They stand on their front and middle legs, point their abdomen up, and move the rear part of their body back on top of their own body. They also maneuver their rear legs so that they are able to use the spikes on the back legs as pincers! Their legs along with their thorns in this pincer movement are so strong they are able to puncture human skin! Again, as with most other aspects of this bug, the males are different in the way they defend themselves as well. They do not have the thorns on the backs of their legs they can turn into pincers, nor do they have a body long enough to make it look like a scorpion. Their main defense is, as we opened this blog with, the smell of peanut butter! Well, not exactly just that specific smell. The Adult males produce a click sound, letting the predator know that they need to back off, or something bad is gonna happen. After they make this clicking sound if the predator is still around, they will release a defensive odor, that to us humans smells exactly like peanut butter. This odor most often smells terrible and actually causes discomfort to the predator. Another technique the males have for defense is their wings. The one advantage the males have over the females are the size of their wings, and sometimes they will abruptly flash them in order to scare the predator away. If all else fails, the male can try to just fly away!

Source: “Extatosoma Tiaratum.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 13 June 2018, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extatosoma_tiaratum

 

Brown Recluse Spiders

Brown Recluse Spiders

Photo By Lisa Zins / CC BY 2.0

How To Tell If a Brown Recluse Bit You

When most people hear they have a Brown Recluse problem they think it is the end of the world! We all know they are all around Middle Tennessee, but when someone gets an infestation they can't believe it! Well, Brown Recluse infestations are actually much more common than people think. We come across many who thought they'd never have a Brown Recluse, and now have them all over their home! If you have a problem with Brown Recluse Spiders, don't worry, because it can all be taken care of.

When most people think about Brown Recluse Spiders, they think about the terrible results of getting bitten by one. However, although most people think that if one bites you it is going to eat your skin away, this is rarely the case. Most Brown Recluse bites are just like any other spider bite. They swell up, may hurt a little, and also may itch. While most of these bites are like common spider bites, there are of course some other cases where the bites get out of hand, which is what you have most likely come to associate with these spiders. The Brown Recluse has a potentially deadly venom inside of it called hemotoxic venom. This is the venom that causes, in some cases, the skin to eat itself away and form a hole. It is very important to note though, that necrosis (what makes the skin get eaten away) only occurs in 14% of Brown Recluse bites. If you get bitten by one, there is no reason to be immediately alarmed. Most likely, it is just going to be like a normal spider bite, and cause no other major problems. On top of there only being a 14% chance of this bite causing major issues, you also have a very small likely hood of even getting bit! As suggested by the fact that the word recluse is in its name, these spiders tend to stay out of the way of everything. Even if they are found in plain view, they are not aggressive at all and would much prefer to not bite you. In one extreme infestation documented in Kansas, over 2,000 Brown Recluse Spiders were removed from this home. Talk about an infestation! Even though there were over 2,000 of these spiders in this home, the 4 people living inside the house were never once bitten, although they had seen them many times. The only time a Brown Recluse will bite you is if you touch it. If they sense pressure on their skin they will think that they are being attacked, and bite whatever is touching them. This is why most of the time Brown Recluse bites are completely accidental. There may be one in your bed, or in some old clothes, and if you happen to role over in the bed and land on it, well you're probably going to get bitten. Likewise, if you put on a shirt that you haven't worn in quite some time and there is a Brown Recluse living in the shirt, well as soon as you put the shirt on and the spider feels some kind of pressure, you are again most likely going to get bitten. If you are unlucky enough to be accidentally come into physical contact with one of these spiders and get bitten, here are a few ways you can tell if it is going to be within that 14% of serious bites:

  • The bite will become painful and very itchy within 2 to 8 hours.
  • Pain will become even worse 12 to 36 hours after the bite.
  • Over the next few days the skin will become very weak, and begin degrading.
  • The skin could degrade in a spot as large as 10 inches.
  • After some time and the skin has degraded, the damaged skin will then peel off like it was never attached.

So yes, while these spiders are a much more common pest than people suspect, they are capable of causing extreme damage to the human body. Thankfully for most of us however, the extreme damage is only prevalent in 14% of cases. On top of that, the only way to get bitten by one is if you accidentally happen to touch one, and given that they like to be recluses and hide away, that is probably not going to happen either. If you do however have Brown Recluse Spiders in your home, there are multiple options to rid these bugs from your home, and make sure that there is a 0% chance you'll be bitten by one, and have to deal with the extreme damage they can do.


If you have any problems with Brown Recluse Spiders, please give Certified Pest Control a call, as we would absolutely love to help! We are always the cheapest price in town, and always give the absolute best service possible to every customer. If you are interested in our Brown Recluse services, or any other service we offer, please click the button below!

 

Source: “Brown Recluse Spider.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 31 May 2018, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brown_recluse_spider

Tsetse Fly

Tsetse Fly

Photo By International Atomic Energy Agency / CC BY-SA 4.0

The Deadliest Disease Carried by a Bug

The Tsetse Fly (pronounced SEET-SEE) is a type of fly that lives in most of Africa. This insect is an extremely large type of fly that live by feeding on the blood of other animals, including even humans! These flies have been studied extensively by scientists because of their role in transmitting disease. This bug is not the most dangerous bug because of a poison it contains, or a powerful bite. It is the most dangerous because of what diseases it spread, how it spreads them, and how quickly it is able to spread those diseases. These flies produce up to 31 groups of larvae every year, with each brood of larvae being about 7 - 10 larvae.

Like most other insects, the Tsetse Fly has a body made up of three very distinct parts. They have two extremely large eyes, and a very distinct, only found in these bugs, forward-pointing proboscis underneath their head. This proboscis is what they use to suck the blood from whatever mammal they have chosen for their next meal. They don't just take a small amount of blood from each mammal either. When a Tsetse Fly has discovered the mammal it wants to feed on, it will stay on that creature for as long as it can without getting swatted away, or until it is full. If it is able to stay until it is completely full of blood, it will have consumed so much blood that a sack in the back of its abdomen will grow to be the same exact size of the fly, only it's filled with blood. That's right, as the fly sucks your blood it doesn't digest it. It instead takes it and stores it in a sack in its abdomen that can make the fly almost double in size. Another thing that makes these flies different than other flies is their toughness. Unlike the common house fly that can be killed with a fly swatter, it takes a tremendous amount of force to crush one of the Tsetse Flies.

The Tsetse Fly are thought to be a huge huge reason why in Saharan Africa they have rural poverty. This is because they are thought to have prevented mixed farming. Any land infested wth the Tsetse Fly, which is almost all land in Sahara Africa, has to be cultivated by humans using hoes, instead of by animal and plow. This is because these flies carry a disease called nagana that, if bitten, will slow and weaken the animal carrying the plow, and eventually in most cases kill it. However, not all hope is lost. There are some cows that are able to survive the diseases spread from the Tsetse Fly. Unfortunately though, these cows that do survive produce much less milk, pregnant cows always have abortions, and they produce much less manure as well.

 

Source: “Tsetse Fly.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 4 June 2018, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsetse_fly

The Assassin Bug

The Assassin Bug

A Bug That Deserves It's Own Spy Movie

The Assassin Bug is actually a whole entire group of bugs, not just one specific type of bug. They are found all over the world, including a large population here in the United States. Assassin Bugs come in many different shapes and sizes, and also each have their own odd quirks about them. The scientific name for bugs a part of this family is Reduviidae. These bugs aren't just called assassin bugs for no reason though. They get their name "Assassin Bug" from the fact that almost all of them are terrestrial ambush predators. Of the bugs that do not ambush their prey and eat it, the rest actually find a living creature and attach themselves and suck blood from the host! Bugs in the assassin bug family can range from 0.15 inches to over 2 inches in length. Although they are all different in their own respect, they all have a very distinct narrow neck, long legs, and very obviously segmented mouthparts called the proboscis. Most assassin bugs are very brightly colors and have different spots or stripes that are red, orange, or black. The most interesting feature to this group of bugs is the ridges that are on top of many of their backs. These ridges aren't just a part of their body shape, they are actually an organ! They use this organ when a predator is around to produce a sound that discourages predators from attacking them. If the predator continues to harass the assassin bug, most species will stab the predator with their point nose. This isn't just any stab either, it is a poisonous one. Depending on the species this stab will either contain venom that causes extreme pain and irritation under the skin, or it can contain digestive juices. These digestive juices are very acidic and also cause extreme pain and discomfort to anything injected with it. Some assassin bugs are even capable of killing, or seriously and permanently injuring other creatures with their poisonous stab.

The assassin bug's feeding habits are what gives them their name. Most species will wait in a secluded area very still, and camouflaged, while waiting on prey to appear. Once something that they want to eat appears they very quickly jump in it, and inject it with their saliva using the point on their head. Their saliva literally liquefies the insides of the prey in a matter of seconds. As this liquefaction process takes place the assassin bug must hold onto the prey, so it does not get away. Tiny hairs on their legs aid in the holding of their prey. Even if it does though, it will not be able to get very far, as it will be dead very soon. Once the insides of the prey are liquefied, the assassin bug sucks the guts out. This saliva is very strong as well. It is capable of killing an insect almost three times the size of the assassin bug within one or two minutes. 

As larvae many assassin bugs are quite defenseless, so their best option is camouflage. However, unlike most other bugs, they don't have natural camouflage. They have to create their own! Most of the time this camo is created from leaves and sticks that they stick onto their own bodies, however, some species have been known to use dead bodies of other insects to hide themselves to predators as either something they don't want to eat, or something that has already had most of the nutritious guts and insides eaten out of it.


Unlike many bugs we have discussed on this blog, this is actually one that is in the Middle TN area, and one we treat for. If you have any pest problems with the assassin bug, or any other type of bug, please give us a call. We will be happy to help!

(615) 886-7139

Source:  “Reduviidae.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 1 June 2018, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reduviidae

Strepsiptera

Strepsiptera

Image By Doc. RNDr. Josef Reischig, CSc. / CC BY-SA 3.0

A Bug That Lives in Other Bugs

The Strepsiptera is one of the creepiest, most unnerving bugs we have ever discussed in this blog. What makes it so creepy is that they are born, and even live inside of other bugs, such as wasps, bees, and cockroaches. Adult male Strepsipteras do not live very long at all. Most of the time they do not live for more than 5 hours, and don't even feed during that time frame. On the other hand, females live for a lot longer, but they actually live inside of the insect they are born in! The Strepsiptera females, living inside of the abdomen of a wasp or bee, release a hormone, which the males use to locate them. Very painfully to the host, the Strepsiptera female pokes its anterior region out of the body of the host, breaking the skin and causing extreme pain to the host insect. The males, having been attracted by the hormone from the females, find the females anterior sticking out of the hosts body, and then mate with it. Once this process is complete the male has no other purpose and he dies quickly. However, the female still has a job to do. The female becomes pregnant with not just a few larvae, but literally thousands of minuscule larvae with legs. These larvae then eat their mother from the inside! Child birth is painful enough, but imagine being eaten alive from the insides of your stomach by thousands of small larvae! Throughout this whole process, the host insect remains alive, and in pain, as well surprisingly. Once the larvae have eaten their way out of their mother, they still have to get out of the original host insect. They begin making their way to the head. Once they get to the hear, they push and eat their way out of the head of the host insect, thus killing it as well. Once they have eaten their way out of both their mother, and the original host, they go on looking for a new host to begin their life in. Once they find a new host they find a way into its body, many times finding a small hole or scratch in the insects skin they can exploit. Once inside of the new host they no longer have a need for their legs, so they go through a process called hypermetamorphosis, which turns them into a legless version of themselves. They then trick the host insects body into making a mag-like structure inside of its abdomen that feeds the Strepsiptera and also even protects it from immune deficiencies of the host. If the larvae is a male, once it is fully grown inside of the host, it will then grow a pair of wings and break out of the host. Then its only purpose is to find a female to reproduce with, and the cycle begins all over again.

 Image of the Strepsiptera's abdomen sticking out of a host abdomen | Image By  maxson.erin  \  CC BY 2.0

Image of the Strepsiptera's abdomen sticking out of a host abdomen | Image By maxson.erin \ CC BY 2.0

Adult male Strepsiptera have eyes unlike any other insect in the world. Instead of compound eyes like the flies we discussed in a previous blog, their eyes are made up of a few dozen "eyelets" that each produce a complete image individually. This means that they see the same whole entire image 12 times over, giving them an extreme ability to analyze whatever they are looking at. 

This is definitely the creepiest bug we have discussed so far, and it looks like it is going to remain that way. Not only does it live inside of another bug, but it then busts out of it and kills it! This sounds like something a monster from a horror movie would be based on. Thankfully these small creatures only use bugs as their hosts, so lets hope that as time goes on they don't develop a taste for the insides of humans for to live in!

Hummingbird Hawk-Moth

Hummingbird Hawk-Moth

It's a bird, It's a plane, It's a... moth?

We have discussed a lot of big bugs, but none of them were able to fly like the Hummingbird Hawk-Moth. This bug is located throughout the northern area of what is called the Old World. This Is an area that includes the northern parts of Africa, all of Europe, and most of Asia. The Hawk-Moth is a very strong flier, just like the hummingbird that it is named after. They are most active during the summer, and in some areas very far north in the Old World, it will get so cold that it will kill these bugs. When winter hits the entire area that they live in, they almost all die. Surprisingly, a few of these bugs have been spotted in areas of Texas and Florida, although these sightings are very rare, and they most likely do not have enough of a population to begin growing quickly.

The Hummingbird Hawk-Moth raises about two broods of babies every year. The eggs are much smaller around than even a half of an inch. they take between 6 and 8 days to hatch after they are laid. Each female can lay up to 200 eggs in one sitting! The females lay their eggs on plants that the larvae can hatch, and immediately start eating. As they grow they begin to get some color. They go from being a clear yellow color to bright green with two grey stripes going down the sides of their bodies. They also grow horns, which are red and change to blue as they get older. When it is finally time for them to turn into their adult form, they create a cocoon and hide in it as they transform into the full grown flying Hummingbird Hawk-Moth. When this transformation is complete the adult has a wingspan of around 2 inches. 

Just like a hummingbird, this bug flaps its wings extremely fast, allowing it to hover. It also has an extremely long tongue, that allows it to feed on nectar filled flowers, again, just like a hummingbird. It has been studied, as it is known and perceived as having a very good memory. It is able to identify and remember colors, and chose the color that in the experiments would give it nectar to eat. Although this bug cannot survive in cold weather at all, these bugs are known as the bug able to withstand the highest temperatures. They have been found in areas with temperatures of over 125 degrees!

 

 

House Flies

House Flies

One of The Most Irritating Bugs Out There

Flies are some of the most annoying bugs there are. They get in your house, make that irritating noise as they fly around, and just get all over everything with what seems to be their nasty legs! Flies are not only one of the most irritating bugs to deal with, but they are also very difficult to get rid of from a pest control stand point. Because these bugs are able to fly, they are able to fly from anywhere around your home, so creating a protective barrier around your home that is able to completely cover the whole air space is a pretty difficult task. Although we see these terrible bugs constantly, there are some facts that you probably don't know about flies. Here are 8 facts you probably didn't know about House Flies!

1. They taste with their feet

Flies do not have teeth, so they can't chew up food. So, instead of chewing food they live on a diet that consists of liquid items. But how do they eat only liquid, when we see them on solid foods so often? Well, they regurgitate digestive juices onto the food they are eating, which then breaks it down into a liquid that they are able to eat. Before they eat however, when they find a food source they don't just dig in. They walk around it, on top of it, and taste and get the flavor of all of their food before they turn it into a liquid to digest it.

2. They spread many different diseases

Due to what flies feed on, they are very nasty and dangerous bugs. House Flies commonly feast on feces, and because of this are capable of spreading lots of diseases such as Salmonella and E. Coli. This is why it is very important to keep flies out of your home, and especially off of cooking surfaces.

3. Flies have eyes in the back of their head

Flies have what is called compound eyes. Compound eyes are made up of ommatidia which are tiny independent photoreception units that consist of a cornea, lens, and photoreceptor cells which distinguish brightness and color. Because their eyes are made of so many different lenses they are able to have nearly a 360 degree field of view. Because this field of view is so large, it enables them to virtually have eyes in the back, top, front, rear, and bottom of their head!

On top of their amazing 360 degree field of view, they also have an extremely quick reaction time. That's why it makes it such a problem to kill and swat away flies when you see them. Their brains are able to process what they see much faster than us humans. Our brains process around 60 images a second, while fly brains are able to process over 250 images a second!

4. They have a very short lifespan

The average House Fly doesn't live for more than 30 days! Although they don't live for very long, they sure do get a lot done. In just 30 days each House Fly female lays up to 500 eggs! Because of this high level of productivity, House Flies can cause an infestation very quickly.

 

Sure, we all hate flies, but who know they tasted with their feet, had a 360 degree field of view, and lived for such a short time! Next time you see a fly in your house, keep in mind just how quickly they can reproduce. If you have flies near your home and would like to avoid an infestation, or already have an infestation and would like it taken care of, please call Certified Pest Control where "We Treat Your Home Like It's Ours."

 

 

Thorn Bug

Thorn Bug

Photo By Malcom Manners / CC BY 2.0

A Bug Very Appropriately Named

 

The thorn bug gets its name from the fact that it looks exactly like a thorn from a bush. Found in the United States only in southern Florida, the thorn bug is mostly found on fruit trees. The thorn bug flies onto these trees, and can cause a lot of damage to the limbs and life supporting structures of the tree. The damage to these trees is caused by the thorn bug making cuts in the plant in order to lay its eggs inside the tree.  When the bugs cut these holes in the tree limbs it can cause the tree to lose much of its foliage, and in some cases even cause the tree to die. On top of just creating holes in the branches to lay their eggs, they also use these small crevices to eat. They feast on the sap from any tree they can get their hands on, thus giving them more reason to cut into more trees, and unfortunately cause more damage to crops. Most of the bugs we have discussed are not treated with pest control, but this bug is an exception. Because it causes so much damage to fruit trees in South Florida, farmers are forced to use insecticides to keep these bugs away. Another interesting fact about the thorn bug is that it secrets honeydew from its body! Because it secrets honeydew as it sits and lays its eggs, many times mold will form around the areas where they lay their eggs. On occasion, thorn bugs have been known to try to lay eggs on cars, causing large amounts of honeydew to appear on the tops of peoples cars. 

The thorn bug is part of the same family as the treehopper, which is a bug we have written about before that can be checked out here. The part of their body that looks like a thorn has no purpose but to serve as camouflage. It is actually completely hollow! When the thorn bug crouches down on a branch, it can be almost impossible to distinguish it from an actual thorn. Although it looks hard and sharp, it is actually very soft, and cannot be used as a defense from predators. It only serves as camouflage. When thorn bugs are born they are not very colorful. They are mostly brown or grey, with a few small hints of color. As they grow older however, they begin to turn very lime green and yellow. Many times in the wild these bright colors signify to other animals that they are dangerous to eat.

 

Source: “Thorn Bug - Umbonia Crassicornis.” Africanized Honey Bee - Apis Mellifera Scutellata Lepeletier, entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/orn/thorn_bug.htm