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Southern Devil Scorpion

Southern Devil Scorpion

A Scorpion In Tennessee?

Most people think of Scorpions as residing in arid, dry areas such as Southwest areas of the United States. However, we do have Scorpions that reside here in Tennessee. The most common is the Southern Devil Scorpion, or also called the Unstriped Scorpion. In addition to Tennessee, they can be found in most of the Southeast. Scorpions are arthropods and classified as Arachnids which also includes spiders.

They are not deadly, like most Scorpions from the Middle East; however their sting can be quite painful. It has been likened to the sting of a wasp that produces pain, swelling and redness around the bite area. They are relatively harmless, as they are not actively looking to bite humans, although some people do have allergies to them and may need to seek medical attention if bitten and symptoms persist.

Mature adults are brown in color, are 1 ½” to 2” Long, have 8 legs, front claws, and a stinger on the rear. While most of the time they are skittish and run from danger, they can take a defensive stance with front claws outstretched and the tail / stinger raised up and over the body in a menacing posture. Do not get close if in this stance because they now feel in danger and can be quick to sting.

The female Southern Devil Scorpion can give birth to as many as 30 – 60 offspring. They are born not as eggs, but as live babies that are carried on her back for 4 – 5 weeks until they are large enough to live and hunt by themselves. At this point they shed their exoskeleton for a larger and tougher shell to survive as adults. They need this protection, as they have predators such as birds and lizards.

They are generally found at night due to the fact that they are nocturnal and will find hiding places underground, in wood piles, stacks of lumber, dead logs or even in trash. But as they venture out at night, they are looking for food such as small spiders, crickets and caterpillars. They use their tail to inject the venom into the prey, pin the insect down until it is dead, and then use their claws to pull apart pieces small enough to eat. 

Although their natural habitat is among the leaves and downed limbs outdoors, they can find their way into your house. This is through any cracks, crevices or unsealed doors and windows. The best way to protect from having the unfortunate encounter of a Southern Devil Scorpion in your house is through exclusion. Eliminate any openings, seal doors, windows, plumbing, electrical and any other devices that penetrate your walls from the outside. Also, cleaning up of debris, wood and leaf piles near the house will control their environment. An insecticide can also be applied to the outside perimeter of the home and glue traps along baseboards to discourage entry.

As with many other spider species such as Brown Recluse, if you suspect have Southern Devil Scorpions have invaded your home, be aware and take precautions. These scorpions look for dark hiding places. Always shake out stored blankets, shoes that have been stored, stacked clothes in closets or any other good dark hiding place. Although it is rare that we come across these in homes, they do reside here in Tennessee. So, be aware and cautious to avoid this painful sting.

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

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

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."

 

 

Puss Moth Caterpillar

Puss Moth Caterpillar

 

Image By Gail HampshireCC BY 2.0

Very Vulnerable, and Incredibly Creepy

     Like most caterpillars, the Puss Moth Caterpillar is a very squishy, very vulnerable creature. Because of this it has to resort to some kind of self defense in order to keep itself alive. Rather than have any offensive capabilities, it instead uses the tactic of mimicry to scare off possible predators. Its face, as seen in the photo, is made to mimic some kind of larger creature, specifically one with bones in its face, as those are more likely to be scary than a caterpillar with no bones.

     The Puss Moth Caterpillar has a bright green body, and one white spot on each separate portions of its body. The two black dots on its face are meant to mimc eyes. Then, its actual face, is in the center of what looks to other creatures as a gigantic mouth hung open. It may be a little hard to see, but if you squint your eyes, you can make out how it could look like a scary creature to other bugs and animals. On top of it just looking creepy, it acts like something from a horror movie. If you touch it, it will immediately turn around and stare at you. Touch it in a different spot, and it will stare right back at you again. No matter where you are, it will detect where your eyes are and turn around and stare directly at you. If this isn't enough to scare you, or any predator away, then through the two horns on its back, it will spray a mist of formic acid, causing extreme irritation to anyone or anything that gets in the mist.

The Goliath Beetle

The Goliath Beetle

Image By Encyclopedia BritannicaPublic Domain Mark 1.0

A Bug The Size of Goliath!

Most of the time, the bugs we encounter are very small. So small, we don't notice them until there are so many of them that they have multiplied into the thousands, or they have begun crawling on us! Unlike our average sized bug however, the Goliath Beetle would be impossible to miss. It is the largest insect on Earth today. These gigantic beetles can be found in many different African forests, where they feed on Fruits and Tree Sap. Although they prefer Tree Sap and Fruit, when they are held in zoos, they have been found to love eating dog or cat food! Goliath Beetles grow to about 10 inches as adults, but weight a less than a fourth of a pound.

As these beetles grow up they end up shedding their childhood shell. When they are finally ready to molt and become a complete adult, they form a giant dome around themselves made of sand. When it's done building its dome it will create a cocoon inside of it and shed its skin, and regrow an adult exterior. After it does this it goes into a period of hibernation until the rainy season returns, at which point it breaks out and begins feeding on Fruits and Tree Sap.

The Goliath Beetle has two sets of wings, one for protection and one for flying. The outer set of wings are very hard and create a protective barrier for the beetle himself, and his wings. The second set of wings are the ones that he actually uses to fly with. The Y-shaped bars on the end of the Beetles heads are used for fighting over mates. Only the males have this, but when they find a suitable mate they will fight over her using these bars. Females on the other hand have a wedge on their head, which is to help them dig a hole to bury their eggs.

The Rarest Bug in the World

The Rarest Bug in the World

Image By Drägüs / CC BY-SA 3.0

It's Rare, and Very Expensive!

Every country has its own special bugs. For instance, in just certain African countries the Scorpion Fly we talked about last week can be found. Perhaps the rarest bug in the world though, is the Black Beauty Stick Insect. This extremely rare species is only found in a tiny 12-acre area high in the mountains in northern Peru. Because these bugs are so rare, it is very common for people to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for these bugs on the black market. The Black Beauty Stick Insect wasn't even discovered until 2005. Because they are so rare, and were just recently discovered, not much is known about them besides the fact that they are most active at night. TO blend in with their activity during the night, the Black Beauty is completely black, ecept for its golden eyes and bright red wings. They also have a gland in the backs of their head that acts as a defense against other predators. When threatened, they will spray a corrosive, strong-smelling substance into the faces of the predator attacking. This not only causes the predator to give up on his attack on the Black Beauty, but it also can cause long lasting damage, as the corrosiveness of the spray is very strong!