A Termite-Damaged Book…Or Is It?
Henry Fox has seen just about everything in a pest control career spanning 54 years (beginning at age 7), but the veteran pest management professional was taken aback by a recent discovery.
Fox recently was called to a home in Meadville, Pa., for “termites.” A homeowner had noted sawdust that had fallen on a lawn tractor being stored in a shed.
“Upon closer examination, I realized that the frass was not wood shavings, but appeared to be some sort of insulation,” Fox said.
Fox then examined a makeshift shelf in the shed’s rafters that was holding a variety of boxes. “The first box I opened contained a large number of worker carpenter ants (C. pennsylvanicus) and pupae. I found it very interesting to see the damage to the books and I came to the realization that the hollow areas between the stored books provided an ideal location to establish a satellite nest. The main colony was in a tree just adjacent to the shed.”
This was a first, even for Fox. “You learn something every day — just like those ants trying to find a new nesting site.”
Fox and his family have a long history in pest control. His uncle, Lloyd Crosby, was founder of Commonwealth Exterminating, which sold to Chicago-based Diversey; that company was eventually sold to Rentokil. Fox sold his family business to J.C. Ehrlich in 2002. He now owns and operates a pest control business in an Erie, Pa., suburb. — Brad Harbison
Japanese Zoo Trying to Change Public Opinion on Roaches
Cockroaches, one Japanese zoo believes, have been given a lot of unjustified bad press. And so employees at Shunanshi Tokuyama Zoo in western Japan have launched an exhibition to try to persuade people that cockroaches really aren’t all that bad, AFP reports.
Visitors to the exhibition can come face to face with the Madagascar Hissing Cockroach — that can grow up to a whopping 7 centimeters long — and even watch five-way roach races.
The zoo also has about 200 individual cockroaches from 15 different species on display, and staff say the exhibition is a hit with the public.
Anyone for a Centipede Vodka?
Trying to capitalize on what some believe is the future of food, ThailandUnique.com is an online marketplace offering unusual insect specialty foods, drinks and gifts.
One of the company’s offerings that has piqued the collective interest of the PCT staff is Centipede Vodka Infusion, Thai rice grain vodka infused with a 10-centimeter farm-raised giant centipede (Ethmostigmus rubripes). According to the website, “the vodka is steeped for several months, which then imparts a unique flavor into the liquor.”
Other vodka offerings include Longhorn (Beetle) Vodka and Tarantula Vodka; you can guess what the main (non-alcohol) attraction is in those bottles.
While it sounds crazy to much of the Western world, alcohol infusions containing herbs and/or snakes, scorpions, spiders, etc., are commonly used in Southeast Asia for various medicinal purposes, and they are believed to reinvigorate a person according to Traditional Chinese medicine, the website reports.
Established in 2004 by Graeme Lee Rose and his wife Warunee Rose, ThailandUnique.com offers a large selection of edible insects and bug-related products for both the retail and wholesale markets. According to the company’s website, ThailandUnique.com was created to meet the demands of the world’s growing numbers of entomophagists — humans who consume insects. “More than 1,000 species of insects are known to be eaten in over 80% of the world’s nations. These folks know how to get their vitamins and lysine, courtesy of Mother Nature,” according to the website. — Brad Harbison