Everyone has certain expectations when it comes to love, sex, or even Valentines Day. Some us like to keep it simple and low key, while others crave adventure and something more exciting. The same can be said about the insect world, though some of their excitement may be a bit more than we can handle. Here are your top five crazy and strange insect mating rituals.

BED BUGS

Bed Bug Traumatic_insemination - Rickard ignell

Baby bed bugs are created through a process called ‘traumatic insemination’. Male bed bugs pierce the abdomen of female bed bugs and inject sperm through the wound. Though a lot of the time the male bed bug will mistake another male for a female. Oops.

HONEY BEES

Honey Bees on Flower

The queen bee will venture out on a flight for the sole purpose of mating. Male drone bees will mount the queen mid-flight to inseminate their seed. Once finished the drone flies away but his endophallus remains stuck inside the queen causing the pelvis to be ripped open and resulting in his death. At least he died doing what he loves.

WATER STRIDERS

Water Striders Mating - Markus Gayda

If a female refuses a male water striders’ advances, the male will hold the female under water and tap the water’s surface causing ripples to attract predators. The female has to decide if she wants to be someone’s lunch or give in and mate with the male. Males will only stop attracting predators to the female if she gives in. Apparently, they haven’t heard the saying, ‘no means no’.

SOAPBERRY BUGS

Soapberry Bug2 - Judy Gallagher

Male Soapberry bugs heavily outnumber females, competition among males to find a mate is fierce. Males will take extreme measures to ensure their seed is passed on to the next generation. Males will stay connected to their female partners for up to 11 days as a way of guarding their mate from copulating with another male. Some males will even stay connected with the female until she is ready to lay her eggs. Being clingy pays off for these guys.

PRAYING MANTIS

Praying Mantis Mating - Oliver Koemmerling 

Female praying mantis’ lure males to them with attractive pheromones. Males approach and engage in a courtship dance, once a worthy mate is crowned he is allowed to mate with the female. During fertilization the female chews the head off her partner and cannibalizes his body for nutrients to feed her growing offspring. Delicious.

Mating is not all traumatic, murderous, and cannibalistic in the animal world though, on a lighter side, we do have a rodent that believes in true love…

PRAIRIE VOLES

Prairie Voles - Dr Zuoxin Wang 

Male and female prairie voles enter into lifelong pair bonds, they groom each other, cuddle, share a nest, and mate for life. These monogamous rodents have a bond that is beyond mating, and even when a female prairie vole dies, her male partner will not find a new mate. But, if you give a male prairie vole a taste of alcohol and he will be more likely the cheat on his partner. Females on the other hand are more likely to stick to their partners when drinking.

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Charles Henry TurnerIn honor of black history month, we wanted to pay tribute to Charles Henry Turner (1867 –1923) who was a trailblazer in entomology. His research was ground-breaking in the area of insect learning and behaviors. He was the first person to prove that insects can hear and distinguish pitch, that cockroaches can learn by trial and error, and that honeybees can see color. He was also the first African-American to receive a PhD in Zoology from the University of Chicago.

Charles Turner was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1867. After receiving his PhD from the University of Chicago in 1907, Dr. Turner settled with teaching biology at various high schools and ended up relocating to St. Louis, Missouri to focus more on his research. Even with very little access to research and lab facilities, Dr. Turner was able to conduct experiments and was the first to prove that:

  • Insects could hear and distinguish pitch;
  • Insects have the ability to learn by trial and error and can modify their behavior based on past experience; and
  • Honeybees can identify certain colors, patterns and smells.

Throughout his 33-year career, Dr. Turner published over 70 research papers and was considered an expert in insect behavior patterns. Some of his papers included “Hunting Habits of an American Sand Wasp”, “Habits of Mound-Building Ants”, “Psychological Notes on the Gallery Spider”, and “Experiments on the Color Vision of the Honeybee”.

Charles Henry Turner was passionate about helping African Americans in his community gain access to educational and social services. He led a life committed to civil rights and was a leader of the civil rights movement in St. Louis. After his death in February of 1923, several schools in St. Louis have been named in his honor.

 

Sources:

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GroundhogScientific Name: Marmota monax
Common Names:  Groundhog, Woodchuck, Whistlepig, Marmot
Color: Brown/Grey
Weight:  Approx. 10lbs.
Length: 16 – 20 inches

FACT: Groundhog Day is a common tradition in Canada and the USA, people gather around to watch the rodent predict if there will be an early spring. Evidence has shown that Groundhogs are wrong in their predictions more often than they are right.

 HABITS
Groundhogs are the largest member of the squirrel family and live on average to about 3 years in the wild. Even though they are large in size, they have proven to be excellent swimmers and tree climbers. When groundhogs are distressed they will emit a high-pitched whistle, to warn others of danger, hence the nickname ‘whistlepig’.

  • Feeding: Groundhogs eat crops, grasses, and berries. They may also eat insects, grasshoppers, snails, or grubs.
  • Hibernation: Groundhogs will often build a separate burrow just for winter hibernation. This burrow is dug below the frost line and remains in an above freezing temperature all winter. Typically, groundhogs will hibernate from October to March or April.
  • Burrows: Groundhogs are excellent burrowers and will create burrows for sleeping in, raising young, and hibernation. Burrows will have 2 – 5 entrances (approx. 6-8” in diameter) providing the animal with many escape routes when dealing with predators. Burrows can be very large and cause damage to structures.
  • Reproduction: Breeding season is March to April. Mated pairs remain together for the 31-day gestation period, once the young a born the male groundhog will leave the den. A female groundhog will have one litter a year, each with approximately 2-6 young.

 CONTROL
Groundhogs can be controlled with live traps and exclusion measures.

  • Live Trapping is an environmentally safe and humane way to deal with groundhogs. Use gloves while placing and baiting the trap your scent is not left lingering. Bait the trap and cover with some bush to camouflage.
  • Exclusion is an environmentally safe and humane way to help prevent groundhogs from coming onto your property. Groundhogs are great climbers, but a good fence will help make it a lot harder for groundhogs to wander into your yard. Fencing should extend at least 1-foot underground to ensure groundhogs will not burrow underneath.

If you find yourself with a groundhog problem, we can help!  Poulin’s has 8 locations throughout Western Canada.  Our technicians can control these rodents early in the spring before the new litters of 2 – 6 young come out of the burrows in approximately April / May.  Once you see them give us a call.

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don poulinDON (SONNY) POULIN 1936 – 2018

With broken hearts we announce the peaceful passing of our beloved husband and father, Don Poulin, on January 21, 2018 at Riverview Health Centre. Don will be lovingly remembered by Carol, his wife of 37 years, and sons, Lincoln and Ashton. He will also be missed by Aunt Jeannine, his sister Irene, many cousins, nephews, nieces and Carol’s siblings as well as many friends and business associates. Don was a well-respected man, a kind hearted man who never held a grudge. He was always willing to lend a helping hand to anyone who needed it, be it friend, acquaintance or stranger. Starting at the age of 15, Don worked alongside his dad in the Pest Control Industry. Once he took over, Don expanded the business and opened offices throughout Western Canada. During his 66 plus years in the industry, Don’s motivation and passion established Poulin’s Pest Control into one of the largest pest control companies in Canada. In Don’s eyes everyone employed by Poulin’s is considered extended family. He cared for each and every employee and his door was always open to everyone. Don loved spending time at the “camp” in St. Malo. This was considered family and friends time. Here he was known as “Sonny”. Swimming, canoeing, bonfires, laughing, throwing sticks for the dogs; he enjoyed it all, especially four wheeling where getting stuck, usually in wet mud, was his favourite part. Lincoln or Ashton were usually around for the challenge to “get dad out’. All fun! Many thanks to the doctors, nurses and aids at Riverview Health Centre, 3 East, for the excellent care during Don’s short stay.

Donations in Don’s memory can be made to The Salvation Army, 203-290 Vaughan Street, Winnipeg, MB R3B 2N8 or Winnipeg Humane Society, 45 Hurst Way, Winnipeg, MB R3T 0R3.

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Indian Meal MothAt this time of year in Canada, the prevalence of Indian Meal Moth seems to increase as this pest is present in stored grains, dried fruits, nuts, cereals and various processed foods. The larvae can be seen inside packaging that has or has not been opened in pantries and other food storage areas. The larvae spin loose webbing as they move through food stuffs they are feeding on and this is a good identification characteristic for determining the presence of Indian Meal Moth. The larvae vary in colouration like greenish/yellowish or even pinkish with a distinctive brown head capsule. When they have fed on the food source they are in, they can complete their life-cycle from egg to an adult moth in as little 40 to 50 days in normal environmental conditions. This can vary if its colder or warmer in the location they are found in and can create anywhere from 7 to 9 generations per year based on normal conditions and food source presence.

When the adults emerge, they have a distinctive reddish-brown colouration with a whitish band on the first 1/3 of the wings. If adults are seen flying around control can be achieved by pristine sanitation practices combined with a residual insecticide treatment. If no adults are present then a pheromone monitoring program can be implemented. In homes with larvae present in the pantry, removal of the infested material and a residual insecticide treatment will rid your home of this stored product pest. Call the professionals at Poulin’s for identification and treatment if you believe this pest is present in your pantry or if you’re a farmer in your grain bins.

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