Gypsy Moth


Monarch Butterfly




Ladybugs (also called lady birds and lady beetles) are small, oval-shaped winged insects. These shiny insects are usually red with black spots or black with red spots on the wing covers. The number of spots identifies the type of ladybug. Most ladybugs are less than 1/4 inch (4-8 mm) long. As ladybugs age, the color of the spots fade. Birds are the major predator of the ladybug. Ladybugs will play dead when threatened.

DIET: These tiny predators are usually very welcome in gardens because ladybug larvae and adults eat aphids, mealybugs, and mites (which are garden pests). Ladybug larvae can eat about 25 aphids a day; adults can eat over 50. There are about 5,000 different species of ladybugs throughout the world. A common species is the two-spotted ladybug; it is orange red with one black spot on each wing cover.

ANATOMY Ladybugs are winged insects (a type of beetle). When they are not flying, the flight wings are covered and protected by a pair of modified wings (called elytra). When flying, the elytras open up, allowing the wings to move. The area above the elytra is called the pronotum (it is part of the thorax). The pronotum frequently has grayish spots on it. The head of the ladybug is very tiny (and frequently confused with the pronotum). Females are larger than males. Like all insects, ladybugs have: 6 jointed legs (arranged as 3 pairs) one pair of antennae, an exoskeleton made of chitin (a type of strong protein similar to the one that forms our hair and fingernails), a three-part body consisting of the: head (which has the mouthparts, compound eye, and antennae), a thorax (the middle section which is where the 3 pairs of legs and the pairs of wings attach) and an abdomen (which holds the excretory and reproductive organs and most of the digestive system).

LIFE STAGES The labybug, like all beetles, undergoes a complete metamorphosis during its life. The life stages of the ladybug are: egg --> larva --> pupa --> adult. Female ladybugs lay tiny eggs, usually laid in a small mass (fertilization is internal). The larvae that hatches from the egg is small and long and has 6 legs. As it rapidly grows, the larva molts (sheds its skin) several times. After reaching full size, the larvae attaches itself to a plant leaf or stem (by its "tail"). The larval skin then splits down the back, exposing the pupa. The pupa is about the size of the adult but is all wrapped up, protecting the ladybug while the it undergoes metamorphosis into its adult stage. This last stage in the metamorphosis takes a few days.

HABITAT: Ladybugs live in a variety of habitats, including forests, fields, grasslands, gardens, and even in people's houses.

LADYBUGS ON THE SPACE SHUTTLE Four ladybugs were sent into space in 1999 on NASA's space shuttle led by Eileen Collins. Ladybugs and their main food, aphids, were sent to a zero-gravity environment to study how to aphids could get away from the ladybugs without being able to jump using gravity. According to the STS-93 Pilot Jeffrey S. Ashby, "One of the experiments that I do understand well, and is also very interesting, is an experiment that involves aphids and ladybugs. We are taking a small container with some leaves and aphids, and the ladybugs that are their prime predator. I'm told that the ladybugs on Earth will climb up a stalk to capture the aphids, and the aphids will use gravity to assist them to fall off of the leaf to escape from the ladybug. The question is, how will these defense mechanisms work in the absence of gravity, and what will happen to the relationship between predator and prey? One of the things that extra time has allowed us to do is to come up with names for the four ladybugs that we have. I think they have been very appropriately named after The Beatles: John, Paul, Ringo, and George. We're taking these ladybugs up and we're going to release them and see what they do." Results of the Experiment: Upon completion of the mission, it was determined that the ladybugs survived and did eat the aphids while in a microgravity environment. Ladybugs do very well in space!

LADYBUG CLASSIFICATION Kingdom Animalia (animals)/Phylum Arthropoda (arthropods)/Class Insecta (insects)/Superorder Uniramia/Order Coleoptera/Family Coccinellidae

The dragonfly is a flying insect that can hover in mid-air. It eats other insects, catching them while it is flying. There are many different species of dragonflies, and most of them are found near water. The earliest dragonflies appeared over 300 million years ago. Like all insects, the dragonfly has a three-part body: a head, a thorax, and a long, thin, segmented abdomen. The dragonfly has 2 large compound eyes that take up most of the head. On the short thorax there are three pairs of jointed legs and two pairs of long, delicate, membranous wings. The dragonfly breathes through spiracles (tiny holes in the abdomen). Life cycle: A dragonfly undergoes incomplete metamorphosis. The larva hatches from an egg which is laid in water, in plants near water, or even underwater. As this aquatic (living in the water) larva (called a nymph) grows, it molts (loses its old skin) many times. When fully-grown, it emerges from the water, using the claws on its feet to crawl onto a plant. The dragonfly flies away over land. It only returns to the water to reproduce and continue this cycle. The life span ranges from about 6 months to over 7 years (most of it is spent in the nymph stage - the adult lives for only a few weeks). Classification: Kingdom Animalia; Phylum Arthropoda (arthropods); Class Insecta (insects); Order Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies); Suborder Anisoptera (dragonflies), many families, including Family Libellulidae (skimmers or pond dragonflies).

The Pyralis firefly (also known as the lightning bug) is a common firefly in North America. This partly nocturnal, luminescent beetle is the most common firefly in the USA. The Firefly's Glow: At night, the very end (the last abdominal segment) of the firefly glows a bright yellow-green color. The firefly can control this glowing effect. The brightness of a single firefly is 1/40 of a candle. Fireflies use their glow to attract other fireflies. Males flash about every five seconds; females flash about every two seconds. This firefly is harvested by the biochemical industry for the organic compounds luciferin (which is the chemical the firefly uses for its bioluminescence). Anatomy: This flying insect is about 0.75 inch (2 cm) long. It is mostly black, with two red spots on the head cover; the wing covers and head covers are lined in yellow. Like all insects, it has a hard exoskeleton, six jointed legs, two antennae, compound eyes, and a body divided into three parts (the head, thorax, and abdomen). Diet: Both the adults and the larvae are carnivores (meat-eaters). They eat other insects (including other fireflies), insect larvae, and snails. Classification: Order Coleoptera, Family Lampyridae, Genus Photinus, Species P. pyralis

Beetles are a type of insect (a type of invertebrate, animals that lack a backbone). Beetles constitute the largest order of insects (order Coleoptera, meaning "sheath wing"). Beetles (like all insects) have a hard exoskeleton, a three-part body (head, thorax, and abdomen), two compound eyes, three pairs of jointed legs, and two antennae. The legs and wings are attached to the thorax. In beetles, the front pair of hardened wings forms the elytra, which protect the hind wings. Beetles (like all insects) breathe through holes called spiracles. Metamorphosis: Beetles hatch from eggs. They undergo complete metamorphosis consisting of four stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. An egg hatches into a larva (sometimes called a grub - which sometimes looks like a worm but can also look like a tiny lizard or insect). After molting many times (shedding the hard exoskeleton which has been outgrown), it develops a hard outer shell, the puparium, and the beetle undergoes tremendous physiological changes (although it is seemingly inactive during this stage) - this is the pupa. It emerges from the puparium as an adult beetle. Worldwide Species: There are about 350,000 different species of beetles and many more that have not been discovered yet. Insects evolved during the early Permian Period, 265 million years ago (before dinosaurs evolved). Beetles live all over the world (except on the continent of Antarctica or in the oceans); they live in regions ranging from deserts to mountains to rainforests. Most beetles are not aquatic, but a few species live in the water during their adult life stage. The word beetle comes from the word "bite" in old English. Well-known Beetles: Some well-known beetles include the ladybug (also called the ladybird - helpful in the garden), the firefly, scarab beetles (including the Goliath and Hercules beetles), rove beetles (that superficially look like earwigs), jewel beetles (beautiful agricultural pests), click beetles, weevils, leaf beetles (like the potato beetle), ground beetles (like the bombardier beetle and tiger beetle), diving beetles, and mealworms (which metamorphosize into darkling beetles). Classification of Beetles: Kingdom Animalia (animals), Phylum Arthropoda (arthropods), Class Insecta (insects), Order Coleoptera (beetles), about 150 Families.

The honeybee, one of man's oldest insect friends, gives us honey, beeswax and most important of all, the fertilization of many of our cropbearing plants. The honeybee is a social insect living in large colonies of from 20,000 to 80,000 individuals. There are five species of honeybees known: Apis mellifera (common honeybee); Apis dorsata (giant honeybee); Apis laboriosa (giant honeybee); Apis cerana (Indian honeybee) and Apis florea (dwarf honeybee). Like all insects, bees have six legs, a three-part body, a pair of antennae, compound eyes, jointed legs, and a hard exoskeleton. The three body parts are the head, thorax, and abdomen (the tail end). Bees can fly about 15 mph (24 kph). They eat nectar (a sweet liquid made by flowers) which they turn into honey. In the process of going from flower to flower to collect nectar, pollen from many plants gets stuck on the bee's pollen baskets (hairs on the hind legs). Pollen is also rubbed off of flowers. This pollinates many flowers (fertilizing them and producing seeds). The Castes. Three types of individuals, or castes, can at one time or another be found in a honeybee colony, including the queen (a fertile female), workers (infertile female) and drones (male). There is only one egg-laying queen in a hive. Most of the colony is made up of workers who build and repair the hive, search for nectar and pollen, produce wax and honey, feed the young and protect the hive against enemies. Worker bees are unmated females. The males have but one purpose in life and that is to mate with virgin queens. Once they have done this they die. Drones buzz ferociously, but lack a sting and are entirely harmless. The Bee Sting. Most people who fear bees, do so because of their painful sting. When the bee stings, the stinger, poison sac and several others parts of the bee's anatomy are torn from the bee's body. It soon dies, a fact that offers little relief to the person who is stung. The action of the sting takes place almost instantaneously. The sting has barbs on it, and if it is not immediately removed, the reflex action of the muscles attached to the sting drive it deeper and deeper into the skin. This gives more time for the discharge of poison from the poison sac. The pain from the sting is increased by the discharge of toxin. Different individuals are affected in different ways by bee stings. Some of the things that cause the differences are the part of the body that is stung, the amount of poison that has entered into the system and the natural immunity of the individual. The actual pain from the bee sting doesn't last long and it is the after effects - the swelling and itching - that are the most disturbing. Some individuals are naturally immune and do not swell, while others are so badly affected by bee sting they may be confined to bed for a number of days. In some instances, the sting of a bee may result in red blotches on the skin, nausea, fainting and even death! The stinger of a bee, as was previously mentioned, has barbs on it, and thus remains in the skin. At times, complications may result from the sting being embedded in the skin. For this reason, an effort should be made to remove the entire stinger. The western honeybee, or hivebee, also builds its nest of many combs in sheltered places and is found in the United States, Europe, and Africa. Colonies kept in hives yield an average of 23 kg (50 pounds) of honey. Unlike other bees, honeybees do not hibernate during cold weather. They last out the rigors of northern winters by feeding on stored supplies and sharing their body heat, clustering together in dense packs. Socialization is most advanced in honeybees. As new, young queens are about to emerge in an established hive, half of the colony leaves with the old queen and clusters on a nearby bush or tree while scout bees search for a new home. When the scouts appear to agree on a new location, the swarm departs. At the old nest, meanwhile, the first queen to emerge disposes of the other queens (by stinging them) before they have a chance to emerge. Within a few days, the virgin queen will fly to where drones assemble, and mate with 6 to 12 drones. The sperm from these drones is stored in a sac (spermatheca) and used during her egg-laying life of from two to five years or a maximum of nine. All the members of the hive are related to each other. There are three types of honey bees: " the queen (who lays eggs) " workers - females who gather food, make honey, build the six-sided honeycomb, tend eggs, and guard the hive " drones - males who mate with the queen. Bees undergo complete metamorphosis. The queen lays an egg in a cell in the wax comb (all the immature bees are called the brood). The egg hatches into a worm-like larva, which eventually pupates into an adult bee.

DRONES AND WORKERS Drones develop by parthenogenesis from unfertilized eggs that the queen produces by withholding sperm from the eggs laid in large drone cells. Drones lack stings and the structures needed for pollen collection; in the autumn they are ejected by the colony to starve, unless the colony is queenless. New drones are produced in the spring for mating. Both queens and workers are produced from fertilized eggs. Queen larvae are reared in special peanut-shaped cells and fed more of the pharyngeal gland secretions of the nurse bees (bee milk or royal jelly) than the worker larvae are. The precise mechanism for this caste differentiation is still uncertain. Although workers are similar in appearance and behavior to other female bees, they lack the structures for mating. When no queen is present to inhibit the development of their ovaries, however, workers eventually begin to lay eggs that develop into drones.

PHEROMONES The integrity of the colony is maintained by chemical secretions, or PHEROMONES. Workers secrete pheromones from the so-called Nasanov gland at the tip of the abdomen when they cluster, enter a new nesting site, or mark a source of nectar or water. The colony scent is recognizable by bees of the same colony because of its unique combination of components derived from the colony's particular collections of nectar and pollen. When queens fly to mate, a mandibular-gland pheromone attracts the drones. The same gland produces another pheromone, called queen substance, which workers lick from the queen's body and pass along as they exchange food with one another. The eaten pheromone inhibits the ovaries of workers; when the queen's secretion is inadequate, the colony produces queen cells to supersede her. The mandibular, or mouth glands of workers produce an alarm odor, which serves to alert the colony when it is disturbed. Workers also produce a sting odor, which is released at the site of the sting and serves to direct other bees to the sting area. Stingless bees bite leaves at intervals along their flight path to provide a scent trail of mandibular secretions.

DANCE LANGUAGE The ability of honeybees to communicate direction and distance from the hive to nectar sources through dance "language" has received widespread attention. In 1973, Karl von FRISCH received a Nobel Prize for deciphering the language, which consists of two basic dances: a dance in a circle, for indicating sources without reference to specific distance or direction; and a tail-wagging dance in which the exact distance is indicated by a number of straight runs with abdominal wagging--the fewer runs per minute, the farther away the source. Wing vibrations produce sounds at the same rate as the tail wagging and are detected by organs in the legs of other bees. Researchers have developed a robot "bee" that can communicate with other bees in this way. The various species of Apis, and races of honeybees, indicate a particular distance by a different dance tempo. This may lead the individuals in colonies with a mixture of races to misunderstand messages about the distance to a feeding site. Stingless bees communicate only by sounds. The direction, or azimuth, to the food source is indicated by the angle of the wagging dance to the Sun. That is, bees use the Sun as a compass, orienting the dance angle to the plane of polarization of the sunlight. Even when the Sun is obscured by clouds, bees can detect its position from the light in brighter patches of the sky. Ultraviolet designs in flowers serve as nectar guides to blooms in areas as small as 4 sq m (43 sq ft2). Honeybees also have a little-understood, built-in clock that appears to be synchronized with the store of nectar in flowers. Hence, honeybees making the rounds of flowers in search of nectar always seem to be at the right place at the right time. The common honeybee is found worldwide and consists of a number of races or subspecies. There are four subspecies of the common honeybee occurring in Europe, three oriental subspecies and 12 African subspecies. These races vary in their nature. Italian bees are generally gentle creatures, whereas German bees are agressive. However, it should be noted that even the normally gentle Italian bee, when provoked, will try to sting you. The weather often affects the temper of bees, and on windy, cloudy days, when they are unable to search for nectar, pollen, etc, they are somewhat angry or frustrated, and they may "take it out" on some innocent passerby. One honeybee with a nasty disposition is the hybrid Brazilian honeybee. This hybrid resulted when African bees brought to Brazil in 1956 escaped and bred with native bees. The African bees were imported to improve production in the bee keeping industry. African bees are very industrious, foraging, or searching for food, earlier in the day and working longer in the evening. They also can work at higher or lower temperatures and thus produce more honey per year than the European species. However, they are very aggressive, sting with little provocation and chase their victims up to 328 feet. (Italian bees will normally only chase about 33 feet). Right now the Africanized bees are widespread in South Africa. They have become established in Mexico, and should already be established in Texas. A swarm of them were transported to Southern California in 1985, but they were destroyed. The effect of this bee on the United States beekeeping industry is uncertain. Also uncertain is how far north they will be able to survive.

Grasshoppers are insects that can hop, walk, and fly. Many male grasshoppers make noise by rubbing their back legs together. There are about 10,000 different species of grasshoppers. Metamorphosis: Grasshoppers undergo simple (or incomplete) metamorphosis; eggs hatch into nymphs, which look like little adults without wings and reproductive organs. Nymphs molt many times as they grow to be adults. Anatomy: Like all insects, the grasshoppers have a three-part body (head, thorax and abdomen), six jointed legs, two pairs of wings, and two antennae. Their body is covered with a hard exoskeleton. Grasshoppers breathe through a series of holes called spiracles; they are located along the sides of the body. Most grasshoppers are green, brown, or olive-green. The biggest ones are about 4.5 inches (11.5 cm) long. The Legs: The long hind legs are used for hopping. The short front legs are used to hold prey and to walk. Diet and Predators: Grasshoppers eat plants. Their predators include birds, beetles, rodents, reptiles, and spiders. Some flies also eat grasshopper eggs.

Ants are normally from 2 to 7 mm long, although carpenter ants can stretch to 2 cm, or almost an inch! Ants can be brown, black or red and can have wings or be wingless. They have narrow waists and elbowed antennae. Ant colonies consist of males, females and workers. When a colony begins to grow too large, winged male and female ants leave the colony, mate in flight and then search for a new nesting site, usually in soil, under concrete, or in rotting stumps and wood. Once they find a good site for their new home, they shed their wings and the male soon dies. When the nest has been established, the "queen" lays eggs that hatch into grubs, that pupate into wingless workers. ( Ants go through complete metamorphosis - egg, larva, pupa and adult ) These workers care for the new eggs produced by the queen. Incubation, or hatching of the eggs, lasts from 10 days to several months depending on temperature. Larger ants, called soldiers, are produced for defense and usually have large strong jaws used to protect the colony. Once well established, colonies will produce winged male and female ants that swarm out of the nest, fly away to mate, and the process starts all over again. When food is plentiful some females will return to the original colony thus expanding it rapidly. One of the main jobs of ants is to look for food. They are scavengers and are one of nature's best clean up crews. Believe it or not, ants are responsible for "cleaning up" much of the environment all around the world. When creatures die, ants will pick at whatever remains until all the edible parts are gone. Once food is found, an ant lays down a scent as it returns to the nest. Other ants will pick up this scent and follow the trail to the food. Some ants actually care for and "farm" other insects! Aphids, scale insects and mealybugs suck the sap of plants. These insects can't use all the sugar that they get from the plants, so they excrete "honeydew", which the ants collect to feed the colony. Ants will transport aphids from plant to plant and take the eggs into their colony for the winter. Ants will also defend aphids from insect predators, such as lady beetles and lacewings, by attacking them in large numbers. Carpenter ants are black or reddish black with large jaws and are among the largest ants. They prefer moist, softer wood that has begun to decay but may also attack newly built structures. Carpenter ants do not eat wood, they simply dig it out to create a nesting place. Piles of sawdust that are produced often contain parts of ant bodies.

ANT FACTS: The queen ant lays all the eggs in the anthill. Wood ants squirt acid from the end of their abdomens. Wood ant workers live seven to ten years. Wood ants make anthills out of twigs, leaves and soil. The queen ant lives up to ten or twenty years. The wood ant can threaten the enemy with open jaws. There are thirty-five thousand kinds of ants in the world. The ants exoskeleton is made of chitin. The male ant has wings for a short while. There are sixty species of ants in North America. The queen ant has wings. The army ant bites and stings any bug that comes toward it. The army ant can even bite a huge snake. Ants have two stomachs one for them and one to feed others. Some ants sleep seven hours a day. The queen licks the eggs to make them hatch. The queen feeds her eggs her own saliva. Some ants can have up to three queens.

Subterannean termites, the most common kind, live in the soil, from just below the surface to as much as 12 feet down. Up to two million termites inhabit a colony. These colonies consist of a network of tunnels and chambers built around a King and Queen whose sole job is to reproduce. In fact, in some of the 55 termite species, queens can lay up to 86,000 eggs a day! Often the queen's swollen body can weigh more than a pencil. The rest of the colony is made up of termites who all play specific roles in keeping the colony healthy. Among these termites are the workers. Worker termites keep busy 24 hours a day digesting wood fibers and other forms of cellulose which they eat, digest and share with the other members of the colony. Workers also clean the royal pair, the King and Queen, and carry away the eggs. Termites that are going to become queens are fed special chemicals and food by the workers to make sure that they grow up with wings and the ability to mate and to lay eggs. Most of these termites, often called "reproductives", fly off from the nests in large numbers during the wet part of the year. At this stage they all look very similar, whether they are male (kings) or females (queens) and none of them have swollen abdomens. They fly away from the nest to begin a new colony in another place. If they are successful, they meet a mate and dig into the soil. Once there, they begin to form a new colony. It is only when the king and queen are safely together in the nest, that the queen begins to grow and produce the eggs to start a new colony. There's really no such thing as a standard "termite queen". It is true however, that some termite queens are very large (up to 3-4 inches in length and about an inch in diameter), and some lay a lot of eggs in a very short time. In laboratory experiments some species have been shown to lay an egg a second, and so could theoretically lay over 30 million eggs a year! This sort of termite can lay such a large number of eggs for a number of reasons. First, because she is able to grow massively in size so that her ovaries fill almost her whole body. Second, because she is constantly cared for by worker termites, and often has a special chamber (the "queen cell") in the center of the nest where she can sit, which is kept at a constant temperature and humidity and away from danger. Third, because the queen does nothing else except lay eggs and, in any case, is usually too large and bloated to move. This means that if there is any danger the workers have to move the queen themselves, and this does happen sometimes, when ants attack the queen cell, and the workers try to drag the queen to safety. Queens make a very nutritious meal for ants and, in some parts of the world, humans love to eat them too! Yuck!!! Worker termites are rarely seen because they stay deep within the colony. But in the spring or fall, "winged reproductives" may be noticed swarming around the outside of the colony. This form of termite can be easily confused with a winged ant. Winged termites are usually only 1/8" or so in length and have straight antennae and no "waistline". Their wings are longer and of equal length. Ants are often several times larger. They have elbowed antennae and three distinct body segments, with very slim waists. Their front wings are much longer than the back ones. Termites break off their wings and ants do not. Although termites are beneficial insects in nature by breaking down dead wood and returning nutrients to the soil, they cause nearly one billion dollars of damage to structures each year. That's more damage than all fires, storms, and earthquakes combined! Termites don't try to destroy things, they just naturally eat dead wood and happen to be particularly good at it. Most of the time this is a good thing, because it helps to make sure that dead trees don't just end up piling up on top of each other over the years.

TERMITE FACTS A queen termite can lay thirty thousand eggs a day. Termites have been called the white ant. Like ants, termites live in colonies. The most common termite is the black mound termite. Each termite has there own job. The termites build their homes in the ground. There are twenty-one hundred species of termites. Some workers have no eyes. Common termite mounds can be up to 2 feet high!

House flies are the most common flies found in homes, restaurants and other structures where man and his domestic animals live. Adult flies lay eggs in horse, cow, pig, dog, poultry and human manure, garbage or decaying meat. They can readily breed in fresh and wet incinerated garbage but not in scattered, dry garbage. They may also breed in wet flour and soybean meal around industrial plants. As many as 868 fly pupa can develop from 1 ounce of manure. Houseflies go through 4 stages of development: egg, larva, pupa and adult. The entire life cycle can be completed in 7-10 days under ideal conditions. Adult females can lay as many as 2,700 eggs in 30 days but more commonly lay 350-900 in 5 or 6 different batches. The eggs are white, elongate and about 1/20" long and are laid singly but often appear in clusters hatch in 6 to 24 hours. The larva is also referred to as a maggot. When it first emerges from the egg it is transparent. As it grows it assumes a creamy white color. The maggot remains in the breeding media for 4-10 days, feeding and growing. In wet breeding areas, full grown larvae climb to the surface or sides of the breeding media before pupating. There have been cases of the larva crawling a distance of 150 ft. from the breeding source in order to pupate. Maggots have no legs and are somewhat carrot shaped. Two small openings used for breathing are located at the hind end. They're about 2/5" long. The pupa are reddish-brown in color. They are barrel-shaped and about 3/8" long. Pupal cases are sometimes mistaken for American cockroach egg capsules. The pupal stage lasts 3-6 days. The adult female is ready to lay eggs 22 days after emergence and continues to lay eggs for about one month. Adult flies live from 30-60 days during warmer months. In Northern areas, some adults may survive indoors for several months. It appears that flies continue to breed all year in low numbers in heated buildings such as dirty restaurants or incinerator rooms. In the spring these flies disperse to other buildings and increase in numbers rapidly. Houseflies are a danger to the health of man and animals principally because it carries and spreads disease organisms. Adult house flies do not bite. They have sponging mouthparts for feeding. In order to feed on a piece of food, the fly must first regurgitate some saliva on the food to soften it. They move from garbage and sewage to our dinner plates and carry bacteria on the outside of its body, regurgitating saliva and depositing wastes on human food. The food is transformed into a liquid and sponged up. Black specks left on walls and surfaces where the fly rests are deposits of saliva and fecal material. By comparison the cockroach is sanitary. Houseflies usually stay near their breeding places but records show they can travel up to 28 miles carried by wind currents. These flies can move 4-6 miles within 24 hours. Flies prefer to rest on corners and edges of thin objects such as wire and strings. At night they usually rest near their food sources, 5-15 ft. off the ground. The adults have two wings (most adult insects have four). There are four narrow black stripes located on the thorax or area just behind the head. The adult is 1/4" long.

The gypsy moth is native to Europe and Asia and is the major introduced pest of eastern United States hardwood forests. The gypsy moth is found mainly in the temperate regions of the world including, central and southern Europe, northern Africa, central and southern Asia, and Japan. The gypsy moth was originally introduced into Medford, Massachusetts in 1869 by Leopold Trouvelot, a French astronomer with an interest in insects. Trouvelot wanted to develop a strain of silk moth that was resistant to disease as a part of an effort to begin a commercial silk industry. However, several gypsy moth caterpillars escaped from Trouvelot's home and established themselves in the surrounding areas. Surprisingly, it wasn't until 20 years later that the first outbreak occurred. Despite all control efforts since its introduction, the gypsy moth has persisted and extended its range. In the United States, the gypsy moth has rapidly moved north to Canada, west to Wisconsin, and south to North Carolina. Gypsy moth caterpillars defoliate, or eat all the leaves from, millions of acres of trees every year in the United States. Moths emerge in late July and early August. It's easy to tell the difference between the adult male and female gypsy moths. Male moths are brownish-gray and have small bodies and well-developed wings. The females are mostly white with black markings and larger than the males. The male gypsy moths emerge one or two days before the females. Unlike the males, European gypsy moth females can't fly. There is a type of Asian gypsy moth female that can fly! After emerging from the cocoon, female moths give off a pheromone (chemical) which attracts males for mating. Eggs are laid mostly in July and do not hatch until the spring. The females lay oval-shaped egg masses. The fuzzy, creamy white egg masses, covered with yellow hairs from the adult female, contain 100 to 1,500 eggs and are laid on the underside of tree limbs, bark, rocks, and structures including buildings, campers, mobile homes, etc. These eggs hatch the following year in late April and May. Short distance spread results when small caterpillars are blown by the wind, a process known as "ballooning". These tiny caterpillars are so small and light that they can float quite a distance in a strong wind. Long distance spread of the gypsy moth occurs when egg masses are unknowingly transported from infested areas on vehicles. Larva: Gypsy moth caterpillars hatch from eggs during mid-spring. The caterpillars are hairy with 2 rows of colored dots on their back (5 pairs of blue and 6 pairs of red). When fully grown they are about 2.5 inches (6 cm) long. Although the caterpillars are capable of feeding on over 300 species of trees and shrubs, they prefer oaks. The male and female caterpillars normally go through five and six instars (stages) before they enter the pupal, or cocoon stage in early to mid-summer during June or July. They spin very loose cocoons on bark and and other objects and pupate. Gypsy moths go through complete metamorphosis: egg ~ larva ~ pupa -~adult Generations Per Year: 1 Over-winter as: Eggs. Pupa: Reddish-brown. Lasts about 2 weeks. Plants Attacked: Apple, Cherry, Cranberries, Birch, Oak, Pine, Poplar and most other deciduous and evergreen trees and shrubs. Damage: Chewed leaves. These insects are capable of defoliating, or eating all the leaves of trees rapidly. Repeated defoliation stresses trees and can kill the trees. During outbreaks in residential areas gypsy moth caterpillars are an extreme nuisance. Trees lose their foliage, caterpillars crawl everywhere, and their droppings rain from the trees. When disease kills large numbers of caterpillars, which happens often, the smell is terrible! In some cases, people develop an allergy to the hairs of the gypsy moth

The name originates from the superstition that earwigs crawl into the ears of sleeping persons and bore into the brain. Although earwigs appear somewhat dangerous due to their forceps, they are practically harmless to man and do NOT crawl into peoples' ears. Earwigs vary in size from 1/2-1" in length, they are brown to black in color. Species may be winged or wingless. Only a few species are good fliers. They have sharp pincers on the tip of the abdomen (to defend against ant attacks from the rear). These forceps or pincers are the earwig's most distinctive characteristic. The forceps are used in capturing prey and mating. Antennae are segmented. Earwigs are nocturnal and hide during the day in dark places, such as in between newspapers, in cushions on patio furniture, under patio pots etc. Earwigs are omnivorous, feeding on a wide variety of food. They will eat live or dead insects as well as live or decaying vegetation but can cause damage to cultivated plants. They can be a nuisance when they migrate indoors. Migrations of earwigs numbering in the 100's have been reported but they seldom become established indoors. Some species will emit a foul odor. Earwigs can be of value as predators of certain insect pests. They are notcutral but during the day they will be found in moist shady places, under wood piles, stones, boards, compost piles, flower beds, and other secluded locations. When earwigs migrate indoors, they hide in cracks and crevices around baseboards and other locations. They may be found in potted plants and cut flowers. Earwigs have 4 front pair which are short and leathery (no veins), which meet in a straight line in the middle. Hind wings are membranous and hidden underneath the forewings when folded.

METAMORPHOSIS: Gradual (egg, nymph, adult). Nymphs are cared for by female adult.

The monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus), a brightly patterned black and orange butterfly, is one of the most fascinating insects in the world. This familiar butterfly has a life cycle involving four distinct stages: egg, larva, pupa and adult butterfly. This is known as complete metamorphosis. Eggs are oval shaped and translucent green in color. Larva are horizontally striped with black, white and yellow. Pupae are a brilliant green colour, with a gold band near their silk point of attachment to a leaf or branch. The adult monarch is orange with black stripes radiating from the point of attachment of the wings to the thorax. The black edges of the wings are dotted with white spots. Males are distinguishable from females by the presence of black coloured scent glands on each of their hind wings. Monarchs breed in the northern United States and southern Canada. Western populations of adults, which emerge late in the season, migrate to California, and eastern populations migrate to the Sierra Madre mountains in Mexico to overwinter, or spend the winter. Monarch butterflies are totally dependent on milkweed during their larval stage. After eating the egg from which they hatch, the tiny caterpillar begins eating milkweed leaves. The larva are eating machines and grow rapidly. In the two weeks following hatching, the caterpillar sheds its skin four times as it grows too large for its skin. After only two weeks it is about two inches, or five cm long, and 3,000 times its birth weight! The caterpillar is ready for its change into the chrysalis, or pupal stage. The caterpillar spins a silk button in a sheltered spot such as the underside of a leaf. Attaching itself firmly to the silk, it hangs head down in a characteristic J-shape, and begins transformation into the pupa. The pupa does not eat. Inside the casing, the adult butterfly develops from the reserves built up by the caterpillar. The monarch emerges from the pupa in approximately five days. After pumping fluid into its wings, and waiting for them to harden, it is ready to fly. The adult butterfly has no mandibles (grasping mouth parts), feeding instead with its long tongue, called a proboscis. Adults feed on nectar, sap, juices and dew, and prior to migration build up large reserves of fat. Monarchs have evolved a special means by which to avoid being eaten by predators. The sap of the milkweed that they eat as a caterpillar contains a chemical which tastes terrible to most birds. Birds attempting to eat a monarch butterfly soon spit it out. A monarch's bright colors are a signal to predators of its bad taste. In addition, viceroy butterflies, which are unrelated to monarchs but look almost exactly like them, are not bad tasting to birds, but may have evolved to look like monarchs and thereby avoid being eaten.

The mystery of monarch migration was solved by the use of lightweight wing tags, which directed people who found tagged monarchs to send them to Dr. Fred Urquhart at the University of Toronto. Records of tagged butterflies were then tracked and their migratory route determined. After several years of searching, the first winter location of monarch butterflies was discovered in 1975 in the Sierra Madre mountains west of Mexico City. Monarchs are believed to guide themselves during migration using the position of the sun and the magnetic field of the earth.

Life Cycle During the summer, female monarchs look for milkweed plants in meadows, along roadsides, and abandoned farmers' fields of the northern United States and southern Canada. Females lay their eggs only on milkweed plants, and each female lays about 400 clear green oval eggs. The monarch egg is no bigger than the head of a pin, and is attached to the underside of a milkweed leaf. Within a few days, the egg hatches and a yellow, black and white striped caterpillar emerges, beginning its life cycle. Like many insects, the monarch parents provide no care for their offspring. Monarchs which breed early in the summer live only a few weeks. Adults die shortly after mating and laying eggs. Several generations of short lived monarchs are produced in early to mid summer. However, in late August, shorter days and colder temperatures cause the emerging monarchs to postpone reproductive maturity. This last generation of the summer will live for eight or nine months and travel over a thousand miles to Mexico, a place they have never been before. Before migrating, monarchs gather in huge numbers at departure points such as Presqu'ile Provincial Park, on a peninsula sticking out into Lake Ontario. In the spring, the eight or nine month old monarchs reach sexual maturity, and begin migrating in a north-eastern direction to the southern U.S. They mate all along the migratory route. Unlike their marathon journey south the previous fall, they do not complete the trip, passing this responsibility on to their offspring.

The largest threat to the monarch butterfly is human activities within their wintering grounds. While widespread on their summering grounds, the butterflies are highly concentrated and vulnerable to threats in wintering areas. Habitat destruction and changes caused by logging are a constant threat. The Sierra Madre wintering sites of the monarch are close to Mexico City in an area under heavy development pressure. Since 1986, several of the sites occupied by the overwintering monarch butterfly have been protected by the Mexican government, but even though they are supposed to be protected, some forested areas have been logged. Of the five protected areas, one has already been seriously damaged by excessive logging, and the monarchs do not seem to form their colonies there any more. In California, where many western monarchs overwinter, the effects of tourism and poorly planned management and development are a problem, and at least seven of the 80 known monarch sites have already been destroyed. Milkweed is widespread and abundant in Canada and the United States, and is often considered a weed. Some researchers have expressed concern that the spraying of pesticides for weed control are killing milkweed plants and may be endangering the habitat and food source of the beautiful monarch butterfly.


  • The mosquito's visual picture is an infrared view produced by its prey's body temperature.

  • The average life span of the female mosquito is 3 to 100 days; the male's is 10 to 20 days.

  • Mosquito adults feed on flower nectar and juices of fruits for flight energy.

  • The female requires a blood meal for egg development

  • Depending on species, female mosquitoes may lay 100 to 300 eggs at a time and may average 1,000 to 3,000 during their lifespan.

  • The mosquito matures from egg to adult in 4 to 7 days. o Most mosquitoes remain within 1 mile of their breeding site. A few species may range up to 20 miles or more.

  • Several mosquito species are known carriers of significant diseases of man and domestic animals.

  • There are 140 different kinds in the world.

  • Female Mosquitoes are attracted to carbon-dioxide and will pierce the skin of people and other warm-blooded animals to suck blood, causing a painful swelling.

  • The larvae feed on algae and organic matter. They are full grown in 2 - 14 days.

  • The pupae still swim about actively, but do not feed as pupae. Eyes, legs and wings can be seen developing.

  • Adults emerge after 1 - 14 days.

The mosquito goes through four separate and distinct stages of its life cycle: Egg, Larva, Pupa, and Adult. Each of these stages can be easily recognized by their special appearance. Egg : Eggs are laid one at a time and they float on the surface of the water. In the case of Culex and Culiseta species, the eggs are stuck together in rafts of a hundred or more eggs. Anopheles and Aedes species do not make egg rafts but lay their eggs separately. Culex, Culiseta, and Anopheles lay their eggs on water while Aedes lay their eggs on damp soil that will be flooded by water. Most eggs hatch into larvae within 48 hours. Larva : The larva (larvae - plural) live in the water and come to the surface to breathe. They shed (molt) their skin four times, growing larger after each molting. Most larvae have siphon tubes for breathing and hang from the water surface. Anopheles larvae do not have a siphon and lay parallel to the water surface to get a supply of oxygen through a breathing opening. The larvae feed on micro-organisms and organic matter in the water. On the fourth molt the larva changes into a pupa. Pupa: The pupal stage is a resting, non-feeding stage. This is the time the mosquito turns into an adult. It takes about two days before the adult is fully developed. When development is complete, the pupal skin splits and the mosquito emerges as an adult. Adult: The newly emerged adult rests on the surface of the water for a short time to allow itself to dry and all its body parts to harden. The wings have to spread out and dry properly before it can fly. The egg, larvae and pupae stages depend on temperature and species characteristics as to how long they take for development. For instance, Culex tarsalis , a common California, USA mosquito, might go through its life cycle in 14 days at 70 F and take only 10 days at 80 F. Also, some species have naturally adapted to go through their entire life cycle in as little as four days or as long as one month. Culex mosquitoes lay their eggs on the surface of fresh or stagnant water. The water may be in tin cans, barrels, horse troughs, ornamental ponds, swimming pools, puddles, creeks, ditches, or marshy areas. Mosquitoes prefer water sheltered from the wind by grass and weeds. Culex mosquitoes usually lay their eggs at night one at a time. A mosquito may lay a raft of eggs every third night during its life span which looks like a speck of soot floating on the water andis about 1/4" long and 1/8" wide.Tiny mosquito larvae emerge from the eggs within 24 hours.
NOTE: Anopheles mosquitoes lay their eggs one at a time on the water, not in rafts. Aedes mosquitoes lay their eggs one at a time on damp soil. Aedes eggs hatch only when flooded with water (salt water high tides, irrigated pastures, treeholes, flooded stream bottoms). Mosquito larvae, commonly called "wigglers", must live in water from 7 to 14 days depending on water temperature.Larvae must come to the surface often to get oxygen through a breathing tube called a siphon. The larvae eat algae and small organisms which live in the water.During growth, the larva molts (sheds its skin) four times. The stages between molts are called instars. At the 4th instar, the larva reaches a length of almost 1/2 inch. When the 4th instar larva molts it becomes a pupa. Mosquito pupae, commonly called "tumblers," must live in water from 1 to 4 days, depending upon species and temperature.Because the pupa is lighter than water, it floats at the surface. It takes oxygen through two breathing tubes called "trumpets." When it is disturbed it dives in a jerking, tumbling motion and then floats back to the surface. The pupa does not eat. The metamorphosis of the mosquito into an adult is completed within the pupal case.The adult mosquito splits the pupal case and emerges to the surface of the water where it rests until its body can dry and harden. Only female mosquitoes bite animals and drink blood. Male mosquitoes do not bite, but feed on the nectar of flowers. Aedes mosquitoes are painful and persistent biters, attacking during daylight hours (not at night). They do not enter dwellings, and they prefer to bite mammals like humans. Aedes mosquitoes are strong fliers and are known to fly many miles from their breeding sources. Culex mosquitoes are painful and persistent biters also, but prefer to attack at dusk and after dark, and readily enter dwellings for blood meals. Domestic and wild birds are preferred over man, cows, and horses. Culex nigripalpus is known to transmit encephalitis (sleeping sickness) to man and horses in Florida. Culex are generally weak fliers and do not move far from home, although they have been known to fly up to two miles. Culex usually live only a few weeks during the warm summer months. Those females which emerge in late summer search for sheltered areas where they "hibernate" until spring. Warm weather brings them out in search of water on which to lay their eggs. Culiseta mosquitoes are moderately aggressive biters, attacking in the evening hours or in shade during the day. Anopheles mosquitoes are the only mosquito which transmits malaria to man.

American cockroach adults are 1 and 1/2 inches long (38mm) and are reddish brown with with a yellowish margin on the body region behind the head. They are the largest of the common roaches. When disturbed, the cockroach may run rapidly and adults may fly. Immature cockroaches resemble adults except that they are wingless. They generally live in moist areas, but can survive in dry areas if they have access to water. They prefer warm temperatures around 84 degrees Fahrenheit and do not tolerate cold temperatures. In residential areas, these cockroaches live in basements and sewers, and may move outdoors into yards during warm weather. These cockroaches are common in basements, crawl spaces, cracks and crevices of porches, foundations, and walkways adjacent to building and feed on a wide variety of plant and animal material.

Females produce egg cases and carry them protruding from the tip of the abdomen for about two days. Egg cases are then generally placed on a surface in a hidden location. Egg cases are 3/8 inch long, brown, and purse shaped. Immature cockroaches emerge from egg cases in 6 to 8 weeks and require 6 to 12 months to mature. Adult cockroaches can live up to one year, during which females produce an average of 150 young.