The Weekly Buzz: Dung Beetle GPS, Rio Zika, Killer Bee Swarm
This week's roundup of the best bug and pest news includes new insight into how dung beetles use the stars for navigation, a WHO advisory on Zika virus in Rio, and a swarm of killer bees making life hard for a California town.
- The destructive power of Formosan termites was on display in Jacksonville, Florida, recently. The Woman’s Club of Jacksonville, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, will reportedly be demolished because of extensive damage from Formosan termites. The board of the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens could find no alternatives to demolition after the infestation was discovered in July.(Pest Control Technology)
- Why did the dung beetle look to the stars? To get its ball of poop safely home. It sounds like a bad joke, but it's real. Dung beetles use celestial navigation to help them roll balls of their favorite food to safety once they've been collected. New research provides some more insight into how these bugs navigate using snap shots of the stars.(NPR)
- The World Health Organization recently released a statement outlining methods to help travelers to the games this summer in Rio de Janeiro avoid contracting the Zika virus. The tips include using insect repellent, practicing safe sex to avoid sexual transmission of the disease, and staying in accommodations that offer air conditioning.(WHO)
- It takes power for one raccoon to impact the lives of 37,000 humans. Electrical power, that is. In Seattle, a raccoon snuck into an electrical substation and caused a short circuit that knocked out power to several neighborhoods in the city. Power was restored after a couple of hours but the raccoon, unsurprisingly, is toast.(Huffington Post)
- A swarm of suspected "killer bees," or Africanized honeybees, terrorized a California town recently. The swarm of bees apparently escaped from the hive of a hobbyist beekeeper and attacked joggers, mail carriers, police and others, and reportedly killed two dogs as well(ABC News, Orange County Register).