Serving all of Southern California
Wasps
Wasps

Wasps are often feared by people because of their aggressive behavior and sting when disturbed.  There are two types of wasps, the social and solitary.  Social wasps include the hornets, the yellow jackets, and the large, mahogany colored wasps known as the paper wasps.  They live in communities consisting of males, females, and sterile workers.  The solitary wasps include the mud daubers, potter wasps, and digger wasps. These wasps build individual nests alone without workers.  The solitary wasps generally do not carry a sting that can harm human beings, but social ones, such as the yellow-jacket and hornet can sting.

Wasps vary in sizes.  Some parasitic wasps are so small that several may develop in a small insect egg.  Other species can reach a body length of about 2 inches. There are three stages to a wasp's development.  Once the egg is laid into one of the cells of the nest it begins to develop into the larvae stage.  The next stage is called the pupae. From there the wasp matures into an adult.  There are two types of wasps in a nest besides the queen.  One is known as the drone, which guard the queen.  The other types are called workers who build and protect the nest.

Although adult wasps are meat eaters, some also eat vegetable matter such as overripe fruit.  As a rule, young wasps are fed entirely on other insects or insect remains.

Social wasps build papery nests of chewed up fibers. The nests of yellow jackets and hornets are made up of several layers of cells enclosed in a globular outer covering. Paper wasps build open, flat nests of a single comb.  The nest is begun by the queen wasp, which alone survives the winter.  The first eggs develop into workers, which continue the nest building and largely take over the care of the young.

Wasps are critically important in natural bio-control.  Almost every pest insect species has a wasp species that is a predator or parasite upon it.  Parasitic wasps are also increasingly used in agricultural pest control as they have little impact on crops.  Wasps also constitute an important part of the food chain.

 

Earwigs
Earwigs

The name "earwig" came from superstition that while a person slept, an "ear" wig would crawl into their ear and bore into their brain. Once in the brain, the earwig would lay its eggs.

All earwigs are small, common earwigs are generally 0.75 inches in length, having slender, elongated and flattened bodies.  Their color is a reddish brown.  While most earwigs have two pairs of wings, common earwigs have two incomplete sets of wings, making them almost wingless and flightless.  For earwigs with a complete set of wings, their forewings are thickened, leathery and short, while hind wings are membranous and folded beneath the forewings.

Earwigs have chewing mouthparts and simple eyes. Their antennae are long and generally have 12-15 parts.  The most obvious characteristic of earwigs is their strong pincers located on the tip of the abdomen.  These pincers are used for defense and capturing food.

Earwigs are nocturnal.  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 as well.

Earwigs are omnivorous and mainly scavenge for food, eating organic and decaying matter.  Some species use their pincers to capture and eat small arthropods such as mites, spiders, flies or caterpillars.

 

Spiders
Spiders

Spiders are insects belonging to the class known as Arachnida.  Spiders have eight eyes, eight legs, two body parts; a hard front part, the head and thorax, called the cephalothorax and soft hind part, the abdomen, called the opisthosoma.  In addition, spiders are arthropods; they have outside skeletons and fangs.  This hard exoskeleton helps the spider maintain moisture and not dry out.  The bristles are not hair, but actually part of their exoskeleton.  Males are smaller than the females.

Spiders are web weavers; they use tiny claws at the base of each leg, in addition to their notched hairs, to walk on their webs without sticking to them.  Though spiders have simple eyes, they usually are not well developed.  Instead, spiders use vibrations, which they can sense on the surface of their web.  The tiny bristles distributed all over a spider’s body surface, are actually sensitive tactile receptors.  These bristles are sensitive to a variety of stimuli including touch, vibration and airflow.

Not all spiders spin webs, but many use silk in other ways.  Some protect their eggs in silken egg sacs.  The Wolf Spider carries her egg sac attached to her spinnerets.  Many tarantulas line their burrows with silk.  Some trap-door spiders make silken lids for their burrows.

The spider’s habitat is usually near where insects will fly, like near flowers or moist areas.  Some web spinners build their nest on the ground to catch walking insects and arthropods.  A retreat area may be just off the web in a crevice, rolled leaf, or twig. Species that burrow into soil may place nests under a log, rock or in a crevice.  The jumping spiders do not make webs, but actively hunt for prey.

Spiders are predatory, carnivorous arthropods, feeding on other live invertebrates.  Common prey includes crickets, flies, bees, grasshoppers, moths and butterflies. Spiders digest their food outside their body.  They secrete their saliva that contains enzymes which can decompose the prey body.  Once their food is decomposed, the liquid is sucked into the stomach.  Food is then stored in the mid gut.

Spiders help manage insect populations by eating lots of insects.  Medical research using spider venom has yielded several chemicals that may be useful to control or treat diseases in humans.  The spider's bite may cause pain but in most cases the venom is usually harmless.  

 

Spiders
Carpenter Bees

Carpenter bees are large, black and yellow insects about 1 inch long.  They are similar to bumble bees but the posterior is black and shiny and does not have the extensive yellow hairs found on bumble bee abdomens.  Males have a yellow face while females have a black face.

Carpenter bees nest in dry wood and occasionally hollow stems.  Those which survive the winter mate in the spring and then begin nesting activities.  They often refurbish old tunnels instead of new ones.  The tunnel may be a foot or more in length.  The eggs are placed in cells; the female places nectar and pollen she has gathered from flowers to feed the young in each cell.  Then the larvae hatch, feed and pupate within the cells.

Though carpenter bees are very large and intimidating, unlike their wasp relatives they are not generally aggressive.  Though capable of stinging, these insect don't usually sting unless provoked.  The males may hover around and intimidate people as they pass.

Carpenter bees are very interesting in that they will enter primarily unpainted softwoods such as pine and chew a 3/8" entry hole.  After chewing a relatively short entrance, the bee will chew another tunnel, several inches long at a ninety degree angle to the opening.  Here a female will lay eggs starting from the back, working toward the gallery opening.

These bees nest inside of the wood.  There is one generation of these insects annually with most of the activity in the spring.  These bees are known to return to previously used galleries from year to year, although other bees can make new galleries as well.

The most common sites for these intruders include behind gutters, on deck railings, unpainted lawn furniture, posts and playground equipment.

Carpenter Bees
Ants

Ants have been living on the Earth for more than 100 million years and can be found in most every terrestrial habitat on the planet.  Ants average from 2 to 7 mm long, although some species of carpenter ants may be as long as 1 inch.  Ants can be brown, black or red and can have wings or be wingless.  They have narrow waists and elbowed antennae.  The eyes of ants are made up of many lenses enabling them to see movement very well.  The antennae are special organs of smell, touch, taste, and hearing.  The metasoma contains the stomach and rectum.  Many species of ants have poison sacks and/or stingers at the end of the metasoma for defense against their many predators.

Ants are social insects, living in colonies consisting of millions of ants.  There are three types of ants within the colony; a queen, sterile female workers and males. The male ants have a short life span and their only purpose is to mate with future queen ants.  The queen grows to adulthood, mates, and then spends the rest of her life laying eggs. Ants go through four stages of development: egg, larva, pupa, and adult.

Ants do not have lungs.  Oxygen enters through tiny holes all over the body and Carbon Dioxide leaves through the same holes.  There are no blood vessels.  The heart is a long tube that pumps colorless blood from the head back to the rear and then back up to the head again.  The blood kind of coats the insides of the ants and is then sucked into the tube and pumped up to the head again.  The nervous system of ants consists of a long nerve cord that also runs from head to rear with branches leading to the parts of the body, kind of like a human spinal cord.

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.  When creatures die, ants utilize whatever remains until all the edible parts are gone.  Once food is found, an ant leaves a scent trail as it returns to the nest.  Other ants will pick up this scent and follow the trail to the food.

 

Ants
Honey Bees

All honeybees are social and cooperative insects.  They are generally divided into three types; worker bees, male bees, and the queen bee.

Workers are the only bees that most people will ever see. These bees are females that are not sexually developed.  Workers scavenge for food (pollen and nectar from flowers), build and protect the hive, clean, circulate air by beating their wings, and perform many other societal functions.

The queen lays the eggs that will spawn the hive's next generation of bees.  There is usually only a single queen in a hive.  If the queen dies, workers will create a new queen by feeding one of the worker females a special diet food called "royal jelly."  This special formula enables the worker to develop into a fertile queen.  Queens also control the hive's activities by producing chemicals that guide the behavior of the other bees.

Male bees are called drones and several hundred drones live in each hive during the spring and summer.  During the winter months drones are expelled from the hive as it goes into a lean survival mode.

Bees live on stored honey and pollen all winter then cluster into a ball to conserve warmth.  Larvae are fed from the stores during this season and by spring the hive is swarming with a new generation of bees.

 

 

Web Design Company
Computaid  Web Design Los Angeles

 

Copyright ©