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Attack on dog by stinging insects has left experts perplexed

 

By Sharon Roznik • The Reporter

Bee experts are scratching their heads, trying to figure out why a swarm of insects -- bees, wasps or hornets -- stung a local dog to death and seriously injured another.

Fond du Lac Police Department Capt. Steve Klein said a 911 call came from the Schroeder residence at 540 Ledgewood Road about 1 p.m. Monday, May 17, for a report of a dog being attacked by what appeared to be thousands of stinging insects.

By the time an officer arrived, Grady, 7, an Australian cattle dog, was curled in a ball on the ground, covered in insects, said the dog's distraught owner, Joyce Schroeder. The other dog, 5-year-old Riley, had managed to slip out of his collar and escape. He was found hiding beneath a tree, and with medical treatment, survived the incident, but is still not doing well. Australian cattle dog

Local beekeeper and Fond du Lac Fire Dept. Lt. Todd Shippee said the seriousness of the incident prompted him to request that Fond du Lac County's Regional Hazmat Team be provided with bee suits.

He said the six suits have arrived, and dispatch has been notified to call the Fire Department, not police, if the situation should arise again.

"It's bad enough these people lost their pets, but it could have been a child or an elderly person that was in the area," he said.

Dan Schroeder, 21, said at the time of the attack the dogs were tied outside on a long running line.

"I heard Riley bark. I looked out the window and I saw hundreds of bees attacking the dogs," he said.

He frantically looked for a hose to spray the insects, but finding none, threw on a winter coat, hat and gloves and began dousing the dogs with pails of water. He had difficulty getting near enough to unhook the dogs from the tether because their collars and leashes were covered in insects.

"When I finally got Grady off the leash, even then they wouldn't leave him alone. By that time he couldn't walk," Dan said.

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Wasps! - Tiny wasp with potential for big impact

 

David Perlman, Chronicle Science Editor

SAN FRANCISCO -- A tiny parasitic wasp, the venomous archenemy of many insects that ravage livestock and crops and trigger human diseases, has yielded the secret of its genes to an international team of scientists who decoded its entire genome.

Sequencing the genes of three species of the wasp known as Nasonia took more than four years and 157 research groups in six nations, but the $3 million project's potential is high for developing fresh insights into evolution and - more practically - for reducing the use of farm pesticides and developing new drugs against human disease, the research leaders say.

"It's a brilliant achievement," said Brian Fisher, an expert in insect genetics and leading entomologist at the California Academy of Sciences who was not part of the research. "It's the first case where scientists can see how the genes of closely related species of an animal differ, and how evolution has rapidly changed them in varied directions."

The success of the international wasp genome project was reported Thursday in the journal Science; its leaders are John Werren of the University of Rochester in New York and Stephen Richards at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

Christopher Smith, a molecular biologist and geneticist at San Francisco State University and a member of the wasp genome team, sees the findings as a major advance in basic evolution research that come with the potential for practical applications.

"Nasonia wasps are already an important weapon against crop infestations, and save at least $20 billion a year in crop losses," Smith said, "so determining the sequence of their genes gives us a parts list for greatly improving their effectiveness with major reductions in the use of chemical pesticides, Smith said.

Werren, the leader of the International Nasonia Genome Working Group, calls the predators "smart bombs" because each species zeroes in on its specific prey. The wasps' bodies are tiny - about the size of a pinhead - but they are deadly to many insects, including varied species of house flies, blowflies and flesh flies.

The Nasonia wasp tribes are only one major group of "parasitoid" insects that sting their prey by injecting venom and also lay their eggs inside the larvae of other insects to destroy them. There are an estimated 600,000 species of such parasitoids on Earth.

"If we can harness their full potential, they would be vastly preferable to chemical pesticides which broadly kill or poison many organisms in the environment, including us," Werren said in a statement.

Another fascinating aspect of the rapid evolution of Nasonia, Werren said in an interview, is that in barely 100,000 years or so, its genome has acquired the genes of pox viruses as well as a species of bacteria called Wolbachia. Just what role those extra genes play in the Nasonia genome is unknown, but to evolution scientists it poses an intriguing mystery for still more research.

The Nasonia genome project was financed by the National Human Genome Research Institute - the same organization that identified all the estimated 25,000 human genes 16 years ago.


Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/01/15/BAPE1BH5V9.DTL#ixzz0d67I2rFY


Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/01/15/BAPE1BH5V9.DTL#ixzz0d673BlKx

 



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What is this giant wasp doing in my living-room?!

 

By: Eric Paulsen, Clark Pest Control

Or Firewood Pests:

Last night my wife cried something to the effect of  "What is this giant wasp doing in my living room?!" I glanced up and sure enough there was large black wasp more than an inch long with an ovipositor almost as long as her body flying around our living room. No worries I casually said as I watched our two cats jumping up onto furniture, trying to get at this invader into their territory.  "It is going to sting me or the cats! Do something!" - "It won't sting anyone" I causally responded. "But look at that giant stinger" was my wife's worried reply. "It won't sting anyone" was my reply again.  Still not satisfied with my answer she asked a very good question: "Well where did it come from, I hate those things!"

"The firewood" I said smiling to myself remembering that I have been meaning to write a short article for the Clark Blog about these pests of firewood. 

For purposes of this blog I will break them into three groups, not listed necessarily in order of importance:

I will first address a group of pests which are probably the least concern from my perspective, but of biggest concern in the eyes of my wife and of many other homeowners: The wild and scary wasps and beetles that can emerge from firewood when you bring it into your warm home. The most common among this group of pests include a variety of wood-wasps, and a host of beetles ranging from the beautiful metallic wood borers and other Buprestidae beetles, the long horn and round head wood borers of the Cerambycidae family, and the Black Polycaon of the Bostrichid family.  The good news is that generally these wood destroying pests do not re-infest homes. Without going into too much boring biology, what happens is when you bring your firewood into your house many of these pests will sense the warmth and emerge.   Last night a fierce-some wood wasp emerged; the female has a long ovipositor which is used to lay eggs.  These wasps are big, noisy, ugly and intimidating with their large ovipositor, but these wasps will neither sting you, nor will they re-infest structures.   

While generally these scary looking pests which emerge from firewood will not re-infest structures, there are some smaller and less intimidating looking beetle species (beetles in the Lyctidae and Anobiidae families for example) which have the potential to emerge from firewood and infest structures or their contents.

The second group of pests are subterranean termites: (Dampwood termites can infest your wood pile if it gets damp enough) We have a couple of different species of subterranean termites which attack firewood and structures in California and Nevada.  To minimize the risk both to your firewood and to your home, firewood should be stored and stacked off the ground and away from the structure. Firewood stacked immediately next to your home adds the threat of potentially promoting and sustaining active colonies in close proximity to your valuable home.

The third group of pests are carpenter ants: Like subterranean termites carpenter ants are pests of both firewood and structures.  Carpenter ants don't actually eat the wood like subterranean termites, but rather carpenter ants like to live inside the wood and will develop large complex galleries in firewood and in lumber.

The last group of pests I will briefly address today are the host of pests which like to live in and around firewood: Firewood can harbor rodents, spiders, scorpions and other pests.  Care should be taken when handling firewood as not to come into contact with these pests, and again stacking wood next to your home provides harborage for these pests in such proximity to your home as to increase the likelihood of these pests migrating from your wood-pile into your living spaces.    

While it is impossible to guarantee that you won't bring any pests into your home with your firewood, your licensed Clark Pest Control wood destroying pests and organisms inspector can assist you in managing these pests in a host of ways: helping you pick the best location to put your wood pile, addressing any carpenter ant and other pest problems around your wood pile.  If you are worried that these pests may have infested your structure your licensed Clark representative can inspect your home and offer appropriate controls if necessary.

So what happened to the wasp in my living room you ask? Did I leave my poor wife hanging?  For the record, I attempted to knock the wasp to the ground so the cats could play with it, and the wasp landed in a large box full of presents waiting to be wrapped.  The cats jumped into the box after the wasp and spent the better part of 30 minutes digging through that box till the found and killed the wasp.  Who am I to deny my cats the enjoyment of hunting and killing a giant wasp!

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

Tiny wasp offers 'pest control'

 

Source: The BBC
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/kent/8315281.stm 

A tiny wasp discovered in Kent is providing an "ecosystem service" by attacking a common pest.

Dr Andrew Polaszek, who works at the Natural History Museum intiny wasp London, found the insect in school grounds near his home in Sevenoaks during the summer.

The 1mm (0.04in) long stingless Encarsia aleurochitonis lays its eggs in white fly and devours its host.

The wasp is known to live in mainland Europe, but may have been overlooked in the UK until now because of its size.

Dr Polaszek said since he first discovered the parasitic insect during a study of white fly it had been identified in other parts of the country.

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Now this is some serious bug squashing!

 



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2 thumbs up 76!

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Man stung 200 times after falling on wasp nest

 
Wasp hordes poised to invade British gardens

 UK Man attacked and stung 200 times after he fell into their nest. The man is expected to recover. Visit the Clark Pest Blog or visit ClarkPest.com to learn more.
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