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Clark Bug Zoo featured on Good Day Sacramento


Clark Pest Control's Bug Zoo was invited to appear on Good Day Sacramento last Tuesday to play a fun game with morning host, Mark S. Allen..."Guess that Pest" and help promote the Lodi Grape Festival this weekend. 

Mark held a Madagascar Hissing Roach, Cave Spider and a really cool Tarantula. 

Click here to view the Bug Zoo Segment 

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Annual Bug Day educates youth about insects

Published: 07/27 6:56pm
By: Meagan Choi
kids learn about insects
Sam Mikalonis / The State News

From left, Lansing residents Ainsley and Hadley Lumanog, 6 and 3, pet a tarantula on Tuesday morning at the Michigan 4-H Children?s Garden for Bug Day. It was the Lumanog sisters’ first time at Bug Day but they were not afraid to lean in and touch the large arachnid or the cockroaches.

Wedged into a corner of the Michigan 4-H Children’s Garden, Gary Parsons carefully lifted a scorpion from its cage to give the children, who were crowded around the table for a better view.

Some took a couple steps back, but others leaned in for a closer look.

“They’re seeing things that they didn’t even know existed,” said Parsons, insect collection manager in MSU’s Department of Entomology. “Most of these kids have never picked up a bug, and to be able to hold a tarantula or touch a scorpion is a big deal for them.”

More than 175 children and parents attended the seventh annual Bug Day on Tuesday at Michigan 4-H Children’s Garden, said Jessica Albright, education coordinator for the garden.

“We really do it just to expose the kids to the insects that are in the garden and kind of give them an appreciation for the insects,” Albright said. “A lot of kids are afraid of bugs, so we try to fulfill that awareness.”

Various stations were set up around the gardens with hands-on activities, such as making a bug hat out of a paper plate, creating an insect out of pipe cleaners and tasting honey with graham crackers.

One of the busiest areas throughout the morning was the table with insects and workers from the Department of Entomology’s Bug House.

“It’s a great partnership — we really try to maintain and foster our relationship with (the Bug House),” Albright said. “It brings a lot of people in, because the Bug House isn’t open every day like we are.”

The Bug House is exclusively funded by the Department of Entomology, Parsons said.

“The university doesn’t contribute anything to it,” he said. “That is one of the reasons we are not open all the time.”

Emily McKay, a horticulture junior, worked at the welcome table and said the Bug Day offered exciting, interactive activities for the children.

“It’s a great day to learn and get involved within the garden and be excited about the creatures,” McKay said. “There is a lot of beneficial insects that help the garden.”

There were also insects that were not typically observed in the backyard, said Barbara Norton of Dowagiac, Mich., who brought her grandson.

“Children in the city don’t have an opportunity (to see insects) very often, unless they go in the country with their parents,” Norton said.

Seven-year-old Korben Leung of East Lansing came to the event, despite his dislike of bugs, and said he enjoyed seeing a giant moth and observatory bee hive.

“I have seen lots of amazing things,” Korben said.

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Bug Zoo Day 2 presentation recap


Our second day of presentations concluded with the La Petite Academy in Lodi. The age group was 4-6 year olds and they loved it! With Timmy the Termite by my side we took the kids on a bug adventure where they learned about Tarantulas, Scorpions, Madagascar Hissers and the Giant African Millipede.

The big excitement came when we brought groups of 5 over to the zoo table, the kids were amazed how old Tarantulas get, how Scorpions glow under black light and when it came to the Hissers and the Millipedes....lets just say that my bugs went from one kids hand to the next, our bugs were wiped out by the end of the presentation!!

Over all, the 2 days of presentations went great, and the fact that we were able to enlighten and educate a child is priceless!

Until next time.

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Bug Zoo Coming to a School near you!



Starting in July, we will be launching our Clark Bug Zoo! The purpose is to educate kids on some really cool bugs they do not get to see everyday. The Bug Zoo currently includes:

  • Estrella, my sweet Curly Hair Tarantula
  • Dude, California's native tarantula
  • Nuke, an Arizona Hairy Desert Scorpion
  • 2 Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches
  • 2 Bumble Bee Millipedes
  • Emperor Scorpion
  • Giant African Millipede

We are hoping to expand the zoo with possibly a Praying Mantis and more.

The program consists of talking about each insect they will get to meet, facts and more. Next we will head over to the tables set up with our fascinating zoo inhabitants along with handling demo of the roaches (I will be handling not the children) and talk about each one. This is a FREE service provided by Clark! I will continue to update any new insects we add.

Visit the Clark Pest Blog or visit ClarkPest.com to learn more.

Tarantulas - SF Bay Area Tarantula Society meeting coverage


Concord Ca,

Last Saturday I attended the San Francisco Bay Area Tarantula

 Societies quarterly meeting, to no surprise it was a great turn out. This quarters theme "Winter Webfest" kicked off the new year in a big way.

From children fasinated with insects and tarantulas to the enthusiest looking to buy or trade, this was the place to be. The highlights of the meeting that really had the crowds gathering around were the live demonstrations of handling, molting and even mating.  

These meetings are extremely educational and encourage all to stop my at the next meeting in April, bring the kids out, they will have a great time!

Pictured is your Clark Pest Blogger.



To View more pictures from this event visit the SFBATS.org fourms 





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Tarantulas Coming to Concord!


I am very happy to announce that the San Francisco Bay Area Tarantula Society (SFBATS) will be holding their quartly meeting Next Saturday in Concord, CA.

This is a great opportunity to see and learn about tarantulas. This meeting is open to the public and is free.

These quartly events are filled with education and you may even get to handle a tarantula! I will be there covering this event and bringing out one or two of my tarantulas (I am an SFBATS member!). Just look for the table with someone wearing the name tag "NOT Squirrel aka Fred".   

Visit the SFBATS website at www.sfbats.org

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Tarantulas help scientists discover how muscles relax

Interesting article how tarantulas are helping modern medicine. Also not mentioned, tarantulas have assisted in some drugs that help with heart diease.  

Using muscle tissue from tarantulas scientists discover how muscles relax

Using muscle tissue from tarantulas, an HHMI international research scholar and his colleagues have figured out the detailed structure and arrangement of the miniature molecular motors that control movement. Their work, which takes advantage of a new technique for visualizing tissues in their natural state, provides new insights into the molecular basis of muscle relaxation, and perhaps its activation too.

"We have solved the structure of the array of miniature motors that form our muscles and found out how they are switched off," said Raúl Padrón, a HHMI international research scholar in the Department of Structural Biology at the Venezuelan Institute for Scientific Research (Instituto Venezolano de Investigaciones Científicas or IVIC) in Caracas, Venezuela.

The findings are reported in the August 25, 2005, issue of the journal Nature.

Padrón and his colleagues focused their studies on striated muscle--the type of muscle that controls skeletal movement and contractions of the heart. Striated muscles are made of long cylindrical cells called muscle fibers. Within the fibers, millions of units known as sarcomeres give rise to movement of skeletal muscles. Sarcomeres are composed mainly of thick filaments of myosin, the most common protein in muscle cells, responsible for their elastic and contractile properties. The thick filaments are arranged in parallel with thin filaments of another muscle protein, actin. When the actin and myosin filaments slide along one another, the muscle contracts or relaxes.

Padrón's study focused on the long, rod-shaped myosin of the thick filaments. The heads of these myosin rods project outward from the thick filament to connect with and move actin filaments during contraction of a muscle.

The structural studies were done using tarantula striated muscle, which the team has been studying since the 1980s. Striated muscles from the large, hairy spiders contain filaments that are particularly well ordered, making them easier to study structurally than the more disorganized filaments found in vertebrate striated muscle, Padrón explained.

Click here to read the entire study

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Clark Pest Control introduces "Estrella"


As you all know I am Charli the Tarantulas keeper, currently Charli lives at my home with a few others. Well all of us at Clark wants


 Charli back at Corp. Office, she would be really lonely in my office with out a friend right? well guess what...I picked her up a friend (she loves looking into other tanks).

The newest member of the Clark family is Estrella (Star in Spanish), She is a Curly Hair Tarantula (Brachypelma albopilosa) which orginates from Honduras and other parts of South America. Estrella is captive bread here in Northern California and is calm/docile. She is very sweet and will love her new home.  Keep an eye out for videos of both Charli and Estrella!

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Myths and Urban legends about Spiders...Fact or Fiction



Myths have been around since ancient Greece, with stories being told of Greek god and goddesses such as Achilles and Hercules just to name a few. Throughout time there has been many myths about spiders, and I can honestly say I believed in a few myself.

I wrote this article to clear the air, focusing on 4 well known myths that revolve around spiders.

The Tarantulas namesake:
As the myth implies, the Tarantula received its name in fifteenth century Italy in the town of Taranto, if bitten by these large spiders It could inflict a disease called Tarantism, In the 15 th to 17th centuries, the city of Taranto in southern Italy was the center of Tarantism which spread across most of southern Europe. The term "tarantism" (also called tarantismo or tarantolismo) comes from the town of Taranto. The large and very venomous tarantula is also named for the city of Taranto. The only cure was to engage in a dance called the Tarantella.

Myth: YES

Tarantulas did get their name from Taranto,Italy. The peasants of Taranto in the fifteenth century were suppressed of any fun activities such as dance, it is believed that the peasants used this as an excuse to dance.

Tarantism: A disease once thought to result from the bite of the tarantula spider. This extraordinary affliction was associated with melancholy, stupor, madness and an uncontrollable desire to dance. In fact, dancing off the tarantula venom was considered the only cure. The dancing was violent and energetic and went for 3 or4 days.


Only the Brown Recluse can shed its skin:

It is said the only spider in existence to be able to shed its skin is the Brown Recluse.

Myth: YES

All spiders shed their skin, but its not really skin it is their exoskeleton. Spiders do this when they grow,  like buying a toddler a coat, in a year they grow out of that coat and need a new one, so when the spiders "Coat" gets too tight they have to get another. This process is called Molting.

Black Widow lays eggs in a womans hairdo, she was bitten and dies.

This myth/Urban Legend stems from the Bouffant hairdo or also known as the "Beehive". This hairdo was all the rage in the 1950's, and it was said that a woman ratted up her hair very high and used a can of hair spray on it. The woman did not wash or comb her hair in fear of ruining her "Do". over time a Black Widow spider crawled into her hair and laid eggs. When the eggs hatched, she was bitten so many times he had died.

Myth: YES

This never happened, Spiders do not find the human hair or even the body a good place to lay their eggs, and the eggs of a spider is not easy harvest in any amount of hairspray.

Tarantulas Can Jump 3-4 feet.

So I have heard this one personally by a co-worker that said his sister was poking and pushing a tarantula when one of her friends said that she shouldn't do it because tarantulas can jump real high. I have also seen this on the web (no pun intended).

Myth: YES

As a tarantula keeper, I am in and out of their enclosures all the time, and can say from experience Tarantulas DO NOT JUMP!  What people do not realize is that... say a tarantula jumped 2 feet, from the fall alone the poor thing would die. Tarantulas are very fragile creatures, regardless if they are a U.S. native or not.

These are only a few that have been out in circulation for many years, from exploding cactus filled with tarantulas to black widows laying eggs in your hair they are all fiction. Hope you enjoyed this article!

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Spider spin doctor says arachnids getting bad rap


'Rosie' the rosehair tarantula helps Tyler Cobb's learn to love spiders.

Halloween is a time when people don't seem to mind decorating their doorways with spider webs. But during the rest of the year, eight-legged creatures are on the wrong end of some bad press, according to one University of Alberta graduate student.

"I'm not sure I totally understand arachnophobia, but it's been a part of Halloween for such a long time," said Tyler Cobb who teaches Conservation and Management of Endangered Species (ENCS 464) at the U of A. "I think the way spiders get treated in movies is unfair. Moviemakers are just tapping into that fear of the unknown, but usually when people learn about spiders - what they're really like - that fear starts to go away."

Cobb uses spiders to help his students understand that all creatures - even those that aren't cute and cuddly - deserve respect and protection. When Cobb sees a spider in his home, he's not one to reach for the rolled-up newspaper.

"I just think it's cool. I'm totally fascinated by spiders," he said. "There seems to be a fear of them, an innate fear, and I don't know where that comes from. I think every kid starts off with that bug fascination phase and then, somewhere along the line, that curiosity about the unknown becomes fear of the unknown."

For the past few years, Cobb has been using live tarantulas and other cool creepy crawlies (scorpions, mantids, etc.) as part of laboratory demonstrations in the ENCS 464 class. He's been attempting to "spread the word" about the importance of invertebrates in conservation and ecology, dispel myths, and assist students in getting over their fears.

"For example, with careful encouragement, we are regularly able to get someone who is terribly afraid of spiders to hold a large live tarantula and leave with a new understanding and interest in these animals," he said.

"Occasionally, through education, we can give that childhood fascination back to them, such that they look at the invertebrates in their own back yard with a more sympathetic eye. In the long run, this can lead to increased awareness about biodiversity conservation."

'Rosie,' the rosehair tarantula who makes regular appearances in Cobb's classroom, has helped a lot of students reclaim their natural curiosity.

"There are all sorts of myths out there about tarantulas being lethal, but it's a big spider. It's normal to be nervous," said Cobb. "By handling Rosie ourselves and letting it walk across our hands, we can convince students who are nervous to give it a try.

Usually, those students who are not really afraid will start handing Rosie, and then eventually you can get students who are deathly afraid of spiders to handle her with a glove on."

"By the end of the class, you occasionally get that magical moment where somebody who's totally afraid of spiders, who didn't even want to be in the room, is willing to handle Rosie and leaves with a new awareness of how cool spiders really are.

" Cobb says he just never outgrew his fascination with bugs of all kinds. Although most of his own studies focus on beetles, spiders hold a special lure for him. "When you start to look at the details of their lifestyle and their behaviours, how they look, the things they eat and their role in the ecosystems, respect builds on that," he said.

"I love the way tarantulas walk - they're so slow and methodical. Jumping spiders move very, very quickly, they just leap on their prey. Something like the ballooning behaviour is absolutely incredible. Baby spiders will leave the nest by spinning little bits of web that catch the wind and disperse them - when you're walking in the woods and you feel that little bit of web on your face, that's probably from ballooning." While leaping and flying spiders might not put the fears of an arachnophobe to rest, Cobb points to helpful behaviours such as helping to control mosquito populations as reasons to gently release the next eight-legged visitor outside instead of reaching for the Raid.

"It would be nice if they could get people to look at spiders like they look at other cute and furry creatures and offer them some respect," said Cobb. "We're trying to get people interested in the conservation of these poorly studied organisms. We use these big, showy invertebrates, like the tarantula, to raise people's awareness about the spiders and beetles in their own back yards. In the process we get to help people get over their fears."

Source: University of Alberta

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