Service Coordinators and the 070 Branch Manager paraded in Mouse Cars across the city and then canvased a neighborhood in East El Paso. They covered a lot of ground and finished off the event by visiting customers.
Love is in the air this Valentine’s Day! Similar to humans, insects have their own unique techniques for finding and selecting the perfect Valentine. Forget flowers and chocolates, insects tap into their natural instincts when searching for love and engage in some pretty unique rituals in the process of trying to attract the right mate. While the mating habits of insects appear relatively simple from a human perspective, it can actually be quite the opposite. Insect mating rituals can be complicated and full of both romance and rejection.
The search for a mate can be a daunting task for humans and insects alike. Unlike humans (loosely speaking), insects have as specific wish list of requirements when it comes to determining what they want and need from a potential mate. With each type of insect using their own unique tactics for attracting the attention and affection of worthy suitors, first the insects must find each other and agree to mate. Insects typically engage in the widespread human practice of gift exchange prior to mating. However, instead of flowers or chocolate, male dance flies for example, are known to give prospective female mates an elaborate silk ball. Some species of insects will even go that extra mile and include edible prey within their gift, or fill the air with sweet smells in order seduce a potential mate.
In the world of insects, the search for love isn’t always a case of males pursuing females. Sometimes the females take love into their own hands. Female termites for instance, release mating pheromones that act as a sweet-smelling perfume intended to entice male termites. Once the male termite acknowledges the female working hard to allure him, they both break off their wings in order to symbolize that they are now a couple. Female fire flies on the other hand, use visual cues and glow to get the male’s attention. Males attracted by the female’s glow, use their sense of smell to locate the female and then mate. Female scorpion flies have very particular mating habits. These particular females choose their mates based on saliva-secretion ability. As the female waits patiently the male scorpion fly basically produces a large ball of saliva that serves as a nutritious nuptial gift for his new sweetheart.
The honeybee’s mating ritual is truly fascinating. Queen honeybees are selectively bred in a special “queen cell” in the hive. Queen bees are fed royal jelly by worker bees in an attempt to induce them to become sexually mature. Virgin honeybee queens that survive to see adulthood, without being killed by rivals, will take to flight mating with only a dozen or so male drones out of tens of thousands of eligible bachelors in the hive. Females also run the show in the world of fire ant colonies. The queen ant is in charge of laying eggs and even has control over the number of male and female eggs she decides to lay. The queen’s only priority is to produce a replacement queen. Worker ants on the contrary, have no use for males after mating and shortly afterwards they typically die off. If the queen needs males, she can just simply lay more male eggs replenishing the male population.
The females aren’t the only ones initiating mating calls in the wild, some male insects have their own unique ways of seducing the lucky ladies that cross their paths as well. Male grasshoppers are all about serenading their potential mate. There are over 400 songs male grasshoppers sing to females, each with its own meaning. Some species of male grasshoppers also incorporate elaborate courtship routines. The Syrbula Admirabilis species for example, displays 18 different poses that involve using their palp, legs, and wings. Other species of male grasshoppers flash brilliantly colored wings while pursuing the female, whereas some remaining species relinquish dating entirely. While male grasshoppers are focused on winning over their female counterparts, male water striders use aggressive tactics to ensure that their mates don’t reject them. The male water strider creates tiny ripples in the water that actually lure predatory fish towards prospective female mates. The male will continue tapping his legs against the water’s surface until the female either agrees to mate with him, or ends up becoming fish’s prey. Resorting to a more coercive copulation, the male mounts the floating female from above, so the female is more at risk from predators since she’s on the water’s surface. This menacing pick-up tactic likely started after females evolved a “genital shield” resembling a chastity belt. The evolution of this “chastity belt” meant that mating could only happen with female consent. Unfortunately, female water striders don’t have much of a choice when it comes to mating, considering it’s either mate or deal with advancing predatory fish. Perhaps fire ants could provide some evolutionary tips to these ladies!
After each species of insect has identified with whom they want to partner with, they must work to make the magic happen, something we commonly refer to as “courtship” or “dating”. Many insects use extensive courtship rituals to choose their partners. Insect mating and breeding rituals, for the most part, are similar to that of humans however, the focus is primarily on reproducing and less on romance.
While most animals mate simply for the livelihood of their species, there are some mating rituals that are actually in fact a bit romantic (the male grasshoppers’ serenading for example). Some will argue that nothing speaks to the beauty of reproduction better than nature’s vast collection of intricate and sophisticated mating rituals, uniform only to one another in their beauty.
Team 70 did a community event at the Las Cruces Hooters location. Hooters has been a Truly Nolen customer for a couple of years and we actually met the manager, Will, at an event and now he is allowing us to use his facility for one of our events. The Mouse Car Balloon made it’s first appearance in New Mexico and really got people’s attention. Las Cruces Territory Manager, Robert Munoz, handed out $10 Hooters gift cards to potential customers and everyone was extremely appreciative. A big thank you to all of the service coordinators who helped make this event a success.
Thank you to everyone that participated In The shoe drive. We raised 9 bags full of shoes to donate to the underprivileged at my sons elementary school. We also delivered pizzas to the teachers. It was an awesome feeling to see the gratitude of all the teachers, PTA, and my sons class. We definitely added value to some lives today. Special thanks to Scott Martin and branch 064, Joe Knowles, Scott Tring, Chris Waite and all of 065 for really owning this project and help raise this many shoes for the less fortunate.
Truly Nolen for the past three years has been the Chalk Block Sponsor which provides local high school students to demonstrate their talents. This year 2015 we had 37 teams which has 3 students per team and 4 professional coaches to give feedback to those students. ArtFest Ft. Myers is the largest event in Ft. Myers bringing in over 80,000 people in two days and having artist from all over the world. We love participating in this event, because we get to interact with the community, seeing current & future Truly Nolen customers.
In honor of Valentine’s Day, we thought we would get you in the mood to celebrate. When you think of the words; love bug, ladybug, kissing bug, what comes to mind? Probably lots of emotions. Some of us even use these terms as words of endearment for our love ones. Despite their passionate names, these bugs can also be quite a nuisance. Here’s what you need to know about our Valentine’s Day love bugs.
Love bug…sounds romantic, doesn’t it? Love bugs get their name because they spend most of their life mating. Love bugs aren’t dangerous insects (they don’t bite or sting), but can be very irritating. They cause havoc wherever they go. During the daytime hours, female love bugs usually go hunting for a location to lay their eggs and the males chase after them (that’s why they appear in large swarms). Female love bugs lay their eggs in dead animal carcasses, or decaying organic material. The larvae from laying their eggs help break down decaying vegetation and enriches the soil. Other than hitting our windshields when driving, love bugs are the least problematic bugs on the list.
There is nothing more adorable than the ladybug? From children to adults, everybody loves them. Ladybugs are the ultimate love symbol. Asian traditions hold to the belief that if you catch a ladybug and release it, your wish will come true. Even with the romantic backstory, ladybugs are just as frustrating as any other bug. The good news is they won’t bite you or harm you but they do ooze out a toxin when in danger. It is yellow and smells pretty vulgar, it infects the predator with poisonous fungus that kills (not harmful to humans). They may not damage home structures, except for the yellow stain, but ladybugs also leave behind trails of pheromones, the pheromones remain and draw them to the same location year after year which could lead to an infestation. You must be vigilant because once ladybugs are in, it is a challenging task to remove them.
Kissing bugs are a different story completely. These bugs are known for biting humans on the face, especially around the lips, hence their name. Like mosquitoes and bed bugs, these insects feed on the blood of humans and animals. Attracted by the aroma of the carbon dioxide we exhale, kissing bugs climb onto the faces of sleeping individuals and feast. The kissing bug’s ability to sense heat allows them to wander around without being caught. The results of a kissing bug’s bite can range from slight irritation to life threatening. The greatest fear concerning kissing bugs is the possibility of contracting Chagas Disease. The deadly parasite, Trypanosoma cruzi, lives within the kissing bug’s digestive system and is excreted after feeding. Humans can become infected if the parasite enters their bloodstream.
As sweet as the names may sound, don’t be deceived these bugs are unpleasant. These bugs have become synonymous with love and endearment throughout the years although nothing could be further from the truth. Kissing bugs bring disease, love bugs kill their mate after breeding, and ladybugs are sometimes cannibalistic. Think twice before calling a loved one any of these names in the future. Not a good one in the bunch!
Jeff McChesney of Pinellas Park was interviewed by the local ABC affiliate WTSP channel 10. The subject was termites and how to identify, treat and prevent them. Jeff did an amazing job informing the local community about the dangers of termites and how to combat them. A new customer to the Truly Nolen family was gracious enough to allow us the use of her house to film the segment. We were able to show live activity around the house (we are doing her treatment tomorrow btw). Jeff also pointed out steps that homeowners could take to help alleviate termite pressure to their structures.
Our final event in January came fresh off the heels of sale! Our service coordinator, Luis Vidro, brand new to the company sold a fumigation to a preschool -for their playground equipment!! As Luis was building the relationship with our newest customer, Luis asked if we could come by and give away some Truly Nolen back packs, coloring books and other items! The pre-school was very accepting and invited us in! So on January 29th, all the service coordinators took to the streets in thier mouse cars! The kids were so excited to see the caravan of mouse cars! Once all the kids were gathered Luis began showing the kids posters of “icky” bugs. The children were mesmerized and all so attentive! In one picture you can see Service Coordinator , Jolsen DIaz with all the kids wrapped around him as he talked about “scary spiders”! One child kept yelling out, “I SAW A ROACH AT MY HOUSE!”. We all laughed in good fun! At the conclusion of the event, the youngest of the children came out to the cars and took pictures in front of the mouse cars wearing their new backpacks!
What are They and What To Do About Them?
A house-dwelling insect, the Lepisma saccharina, more commonly known as the Silverfish or bristletail, derives its name from several characteristics such as its silver/gray exoskeleton and fish-like habit of moving at a rapid pace, interspersed with short intervals of stopping or pausing. The scientific name (Lepisma saccharina) lends itself to the insect’s primary diet of sugar and starch filled items. These guys are addicted to carbs! This species of insect dates back millions of years and tends to have a prehistoric or fossil like appearance with its long antennae and scale like exterior.
Considered more of a nuisance than anything else, the presence of one or two silverfish in your home could mean that there are more of them lurking behind the scenes. The biggest complaint of the Silverfish is their destructive feeding habits, often ruining items in the home such as wallpaper, books and magazines, soaps and shampoos, clothes and much more.
A Behind the Scene look at the Silverfish
A bit of a sneaky insect, Silverfish are mostly nocturnal and do a great job at hiding. With a high reproduction rate, preventative measures should be taken once you’ve spotted a silverfish in order to avoid a full blown infestation. Drawn to dark areas, the silverfish will make its home behind wallpaper, in dark closets and behind bookshelves, inside window and door frames and behind baseboards.
The biggest error that homeowners make is not taking action early on to get rid of these insects as their ‘hide and seek’ habits can allow for an escalation of an existing problem. If you have noticed yellow stains on your fabric, or small holes in boxes or wallpaper, chances are while you were sleeping these insects were already at work!
Characteristics of the Silverfish
As small and harmless looking as they are, the Silverfish can be a tough little insect as it can survive in most environments and can go extensive periods without food. Showing preference to more humid conditions, Silverfish are also somewhat difficult to get rid of as they move around fairly quickly, making their elusive nature quite frustrating to many homeowners. Even though these little guys don’t have wings, you’d be surprised at how quickly they appear and reappear in different areas of your home.
The most common of the three species of Silverfish is:
Lepisma saccharina (regular Silverfish) is the most common variety usually measuring up to a ½ inch in length. Their bodies have a consistent silvery sheen with no markings on them. You’ll find these guys near areas of high moisture, and lower level spaces such as basements.
Other traits of the silverfish include:
- Flattened, carrot shaped body with 3 noticeable “tails” on the rear
- Wingless with a hard exoskeleton
- 2 long, slender antennas on the head
- Long life cycle with egg to adult development taking anywhere from 3 months to 3 years.
- Prefers a moist climate with a high humidity
- Adults lay anywhere from 5-50 eggs, usually near food sources
- Consumes items high in carbohydrates and protein such as glue in bookbindings, silk fabrics, dry foods such as dried meat and cereal, paper and cardboard.
Where to find Silverfish in your home
Since the Silverfish is somewhat of an elusive creature, more often than not you’ll spy signs of its existence rather than the insect itself. Their feeding habits will leave behind evidence through small holes in your wallpaper or in boxes you may have lying around, or even by yellowish stains on fabric. You may also notice evidence of their feces, usually mistaken for dust, or through the shedding of their cast skins. If you happen to catch glimpse of a silverfish, more than likely you will spot them in areas that are dark or have moisture such as:
- Under sinks
- Bathrooms/bathtubs or laundry rooms
- Storage rooms
- Behind closets and bookshelves
- Garages and sheds
Additionally, items such as boxes, cardboard or even furniture can be source for infestation if either eggs or adult silverfish were attached to these, and brought into the home.
Control and Prevention
Here are some tips to help control the silverfish population in your home:
- Since they prefer an environment with a high humidity and high temperature, lowering the temperature in your home can help to repel them from settling in and reproducing.
- Use a dehumidifier or fan in areas of the house more prone to moisture, such as basements.
- When moving furniture or boxes into your home, carefully inspect in and around these items to ensure that there are no signs of silverfish (either eggs or adults). This is particularly helpful when moving boxes from a garage or shed into your home.
- Don’t give silverfish something to snack on! If possible, eliminate sources of food like old papers and books, as well as unused clothes or fabric that may be left lying around.
- Make sure to caulk and seal any cracks that may be found around windows or doors on the exterior of your home. This will help to keep them from entering.
- Repair or replace wallpaper that is torn as this makes for an inviting space for silverfish to inhabit.
Hiring a professional to address a silverfish problem is the most effective method, as Do It Yourself solutions such as traps or insecticides only target individual insects and not the potentially larger issue at hand. Since these insects reproduce quickly, eliminating them at their source is important. Your Truly Nolen pest professional can effectively assess the problem and provide solutions for treating both eggs and adult silverfish to prevent future infestations.