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Tag: pests

Photo of scale insects on a maple tree in Raleigh, N.C.

Mar 4, 2019

Dying Trees in Cities? Blame It on the Concrete

A study of the effects of urbanization, scale-insect abundance and latitudinal warming on trees shows a surprising result. 

Apr 10, 2012

Know Your Enemy: Cockroaches

Most people think cockroaches are disgusting. And if you’ve ever turned on a kitchen light, to find them skittering for dark corners, you probably agree (reference: my first apartment). But of the thousands of species out there, only a few can be considered pests. There are well over 4,000 described (i.e., named) species of cockroach… 

Apr 6, 2012

Know Your Enemy: Termites

Termites are fascinating insects, and not just because they can turn your front porch into mush. For example, did you know that many researchers have concluded that termites are actually social cockroaches? Whether you group them under the order Blattodea or Isoptera (and entomologists do both), there are more than 2,500 species of termites globally,… 

Mar 28, 2012

Know Your Enemy: Fire Ants

No series on arthropod pests would be complete without fire ants. They are violent. They are deadly. And they’re seemingly out to conquer the world. I’m exaggerating on that last point, but not by much. There are over 20 fire ant species around the world, including at least four species that are native to the… 

Mar 23, 2012

Know Your Enemy: Japanese Beetles

Last year I wrote a series of posts about critters we love to hate: mosquitoes, ticks, horseflies, black widows and carpenter bees. With the arrival of spring, I decided to pick up where I left off. First up: Japanese beetles or, as rose-growers call them, #@!*ing Japanese beetles. As the name suggests, Japanese beetles –… 

Jun 1, 2011

Bad Bugs of Summer: Horse Flies

Mosquitoes and ticks are nasty, but no family of blood feeders can compete with horse flies. They’re the most diverse group of blood-feeding animals on Earth (and, as far as we know, in the entire universe). Whether you call them horse flies, greenheads, deer flies or bloodthirsty so-and-sos, these insects are all part of the… 

May 23, 2011

Bad Bugs of Summer: Black Widows

It’s hard to think of an arthropod with a worse reputation than the black widow. Heck, the term is even used to describe serial killers – and it doesn’t get much worse than that. We’ve already covered mosquitoes, ticks and carpenter bees in our “bad bugs” series, but any conversation about bugs people hate has… 

May 20, 2011

Bad Bugs of Summer: Carpenter Bees

Our first two posts on the bad bugs of summer were about bloodsuckers: mosquitoes and ticks. We’ll now look at a pest that is a plague on our homes, if not our flesh – carpenter bees. However, in keeping with tradition, this “bad bug of summer” is not a true bug. Why are carpenter bees… 

May 17, 2011

Bad Bugs of Summer: Ticks

In our second post on the bad bugs of summer, we’ll be talking about ticks. Or, as I like to think of them, those bloodsucking disease spreaders. First of all, I really shouldn’t call ticks “bad bugs.” Technically, they’re not bugs at all. Of course, mosquitoes aren’t either. But ticks aren’t even insects. They’re arachnids.… 

May 11, 2011

Bad Bugs of Summer: Mosquitoes

Summer is more than lemonade and swimming pools. It means bug bites – mosquitoes, ticks, horse flies, you name it. This is the first in a series of posts profiling these bad bugs of summer: what they do, why they do it, tips on how to protect yourself, and the occasional trivial factoid. We’re starting…