Pets, Pests, and Pestilence Perpetrators

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-qzwbv-90068c

In todays episode of random thoughts of entomo-interest, I was philosophical about the implications of the arthropod pet trade, whether the beetle will win or my cats, and what that might mean for the smaller infestations that crop up along the way.

Stay tuned to the very end for a brief snippet of what is to come in future episodes!

Please check out the Underscore Orkestra, an amazing group deserving of all of our praise.

New Jersey Dept. of Ag Info on H. longicornis

NYT Article Mentioned That Python in the Pet Store May Have Been Snatched From The Wild

Wildlife Laundering Through Breeding Farms

More on the Tick

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108: Butterball Beetles & Bugs on Your Plate

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-r6by9-8f0893

If you were to conduct a random sampling of entomologists, you would find that there are a number of issues in which we firmly divide ourselves when it comes to important, life decisions. 

What are the best IPM methods?

Who is better: The Beatles of The Scorpions?

Would you be willing to host a bot fly in your body?  You know, for science.

And would you eat a bug?  And it’s here that we land today.  So let’s dig in, and get a taste of the history of insect eating.  Some pros, cons. and downright weird. 

 

Further Reading:

A Brief History of Entomophagy

The Natural History of Cheese Mites

7 Upscale Insect Dishes From Around the World

The 1903 Cheese Mites Film History

Cheese Mites Film

Nutritional Value of Insects from Around the World

 

107: Epidemiology Friendship is Magic

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-gre7k-8e22bf

**Re-Upload…I have the editing skills of Keyboard Cat.  Errors had to be fixed**

Well hello again! Today we have the final half of my interview with Chris about Smallpox, Ebola, and the realities of being an epidemiologist.  Tl;Dr – All guts, no glory, but a cool story to tell.  Epidemiology is a fascinating field where disease, culture, and history all converge and inform the decisions of the present and the future. 

 Get in touch with Chris von Csefalvay through his Website Here or through his Twitter @chrisvcsefalvay

 

Some recommendations from the podcast are

The Imortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot.

I also found myself thinking about this great video by Caitlin Doughty about Ebola, Death, and Death Customs. 

 

Show Music: Underscore Orkestra ….Go get their music HERE!

If there’s one thing that I took away from this conversation it was Love the One You’re With.

106:The Problem with Ebola

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-bkrzs-8dabea

Part one of my chat with Chris von Csefalvay about his work in computational epidemiology where he focuses on most of the really nasty diseases. So strap on in for a different kind of bloody, buggy goodness.

Check out his epidemiology and food blog and find him in Twitter @chrisvcsefalvay.

Part Two will come out next week! That’s right! Instead of the standard every other week ( once a fortnight!) you, lovely listeners, will get three weeks of content! Cranking out the gross goodness.

Find me on Facebook at Bugs Blood and Bones, and Twitter @bugwitch. Email: BugsBloodandBones@gmail.com.

Music: Underscore Orkestra

Decomposition. What’s Not to Love?

Latest episode of the Bugs Blood and Bones podcast has been released. Check it out on iTunes or Google Play or on Podbean where it lives.

The Underscore Orkestra as always has excellent music and you should go check them out.

If you could be so kind as to leave a rating or review on your favorite podcasting service I’d greatly appreciate it.

Episode 4: Millipede Mania

Bugs Blood and Bones

Available on iTunes, Google Play, and on its hosting site Podbean.

Today’s episode features my interview with Derek Hennen and where we talk about millions of things…or not quite that manny. Much like millipede legs. And I decide it’s time to get a Nintendo Switch. For perfectly well thought out reasons.

A Trip Down Memory Lane: Season One of The X-Files (part 2)

Yesterday I posted about my first close encounter (har har) with invertebrates on The X-Files.  Ice (S1 E8) is a great episode that should be on everyone’s list of must see episodes.  But season one isn’t done with us just yet.  There is still some buggy goodness to be found in the spooky stories to be told.  In fact, there are two episodes for me to elaborate upon…well, three but that last one doesn’t count…sort of.

Next up…

The X-Files: Season 1: Episode 18: Miracle Man

Basic Premise:  People died! Mulder & Scully to investigate!  This time it’s a faith healing teen and his preacher dad in the middle of it.  Was someone murdered?  Who did it?  Where’s the healer kid?  WTF is going on!?!

This episode doesn’t really focus on bugs really, but they do play a small part.  While in court, the room is swarmed with grasshoppers.  There is a shot of the judge being swarmed by grasshoppers as well as a nice pile of crickets on his desk.  Cut to the courtroom and its filled with some real and many CGI swarming grasshoppers.  This is meant to serve as a representation of one of the 10 plagues of Egypt from the Old Testament.  In fact the next scene is Mulder reading the passage to Scully.  Surprise!  She was raised Catholic and knows all about locusts and plagues.  But did-ya-know that the grasshoppers that were swarming were the only ‘locusts’ in that courtroom?  Crickets are not locusts.  And for you Mid-Westerners out there, Cicadas are not locusts either.

S1 E18: Miracle Man He’s covered in locusts! Okay, less than ten…but creepy bugs right? A plague, a plague!

The Science of the Episode: The insects themselves don’t play any real part in the underlying plot but they are instrumental in moving it along and ultimately solving the crime.  The ultimate logic (again, avoiding too many spoilers) is the insects were lured into the courtroom for nefarious purposes.  Not, as divine retribution as is initially believed.  The items used to lure the critters in I doubt would do the trick, but the premise is solid.  Given the right conditions they could have been coaxed in there.  Good job writers!

This was another great episode as it begins to build some in depth back story for Mulder (beyond basic exposition) and is more Law & Order-like, than Unsolved Mysteries.  It actually feels more like an episode of Scooby Doo for grown ups with some elements of supernatural woo.  But not too much.  The elements of woo are minimal and can be explained logically within the framework of the episode.  I love that about the first few seasons of the show.  Overall, a good episode, not the greatest but I do enjoy it.  It’s in my top 10 for the season.

The next episode to feature creepy crawlies has been one of my favorites of the whole series.  I want to give it its own post so I’ll hold off on that until tomorrow.  So I’m going to skip and make a brief mention about the fourth arthropod-related reference in season one.

Season 1 Episode 21: Tooms

I won’t go into the plot because it has nothing to do with bugs.  Not one bit.  It does have to do with a creepy Captain Fantastic-like man who eats human liver.  No word on the inclusion of fava beans and a nice Chianti though.

So, where does the bug reference come into play?  A nicely built up scene where Mulder sleeps on his couch while Tooms is slowly sneaking into his apartment.  Why was Mulder on the couch?  As far as we know he doesn’t acquire an actual bed until many seasons into the show…but I digress.  This great scene, were we anxiously await to see if Mulder will wake up in time to thwart Tooms is juxtaposed by a scene from a classic science fiction film playing on the TV.  That’s right.  It’s the original The Fly.

That’s it.  See you next season.

That movie poster is simply amazing. I need it.

A Trip Down Memory Lane: Season One of The X-Files (part 1)

I’m a huge X-Files fan.  Seriously.  I devoured this show in all its cooky glory back in the day.  I’ve long been planning a Netflix binge of the series but have been putting it off in order to be a productive adult.  That’s all over!  With news that the series will be brought back for a short stint I decided it’s time to revisit the entire show.  And, whaddya know?  There’s buggy stuff in it!  I’ll post updates as I progress through the series because I KNOW you want to know all about those bugs.  This has actually been pretty fun.  For the most part, the show holds up.  Although, I will admit I cringe now at some of the “science” but that is not restricted to this show by any means.  And, for the most part, the cringe-worthy elements are less painful than on other shows (Bones, I’m looking at you).

I just finished season one and here is a summary of what I noticed.  I may have missed some things because it didn’t occur to me that I should actually be documenting everything I saw…I know, I know.  Bad scientist…

The X-Files:  Season 1 – Episode 8: Ice

Basic Premise: People died!  It was a multiple person, murder-suicide at a research station in Alaska!  Holy crap!  Whaddyagonnado?  Send in Mulder & Scully of course!  The episode itself was meant to be a “bottle episode” meaning a cheap, easy to film, self contained episode.  You need to remember that this show wasn’t considered a guarantee for FOX.  It was running alongside another experimental show (a personal favorite: The Adventures of Brisco County Jr.) and it wasn’t doing so well.  The fact that this show got off the ground and succeeded was not expected.  Every penny spent went up on screen.  There wasn’t anything wasted in that first season.

Back to the episode…A small investigative team is sent to Alaska to uncover the truth of this event.  While up there, they get attacked by a rabid dog, are exposed to weird ancient ice, and people get all pissy for the plot.  And it works!  As I rewatched this I found myself really glued to the screen.  It was the first time I felt completely sucked in.  The acting is great, the set, being cramped and restricted adds to the sense of anxiety and claustrophobia that the characters must be experiencing.  As a 20-year old episode, it holds up quite well.  Without giving away too many spoilers (because if you haven’t seen the show yet you need to go do that…right now.  Go ahead, I’ll wait) there is a parasitic organism that has been transmitted to people/dog and is causing them to act strangely.  “We are not ourselves” we are told early on.  And that’s the point.  Mind controlling parasites!  This is classic science fiction and a well done piece of television history.

No, the microorganism in the episode isn’t an insect, nor is it an arthropod.  But it’s an invertebrate, so I’m counting it.

The “worms”, an unidentified parasite that causes all sorts of havoc. S1 E8: Ice

The Science of the Episode: For the most part it works.  Some cringe-y elements but not distractingly so.  There are examples of parasitic organisms influencing behavior in similar ways.  One example are parasitic flukes (Leucochloridium paradoxum) ingested by snails. Once the fluke enters the snail it alters the snails behavior, causing it to scoot to easily visible locations where its normally benign eyestalks begin to fluctuate.  This movement of the eyestalks makes the snail easily visible to birds.  The birds come along and eat the eyestalks and possibly the whole snail. (Zombie Snails on YouTube)

To be honest, Ice is one of my favorite episodes so far.  As the season progressed I came upon another buggy-related episode that I remembered being a favorite, and it still is.  I put this episode in my Top 5 for season one.  Mulder also gets some great one liner’s in this episode.

S1 E8: Ice The ‘worm’ they used for filming looks to be a mealworm. Mealworms are the larvae of members of the family Tenebrionidae, Darkling Beetles. At the very least the design is modeled after them.

Insects & Critter Fear Survey

Heyloo there everyone.  If you haven’t noticed, I know a bit about bugs.  I also happen to be an arachnophobe.  Yup.  I’m not the only one either; and am looking to get some insight into the minds of my fellow humans.  I’m curious about what it is about critters that makes us afraid or just uncomfortable.  So I created an impromptu survey in hopes of letting you all speak your minds.

The first link below is to the survey itself.  At the end of that are links to the photo surveys if you wish to add your impressions of those. The photo surveys are split in two because Survey Monkey only let’s me use 10 questions per survey.

Thanks for your help everyone!

Actual survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/W8KRHKB

Photo Survey p1: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/WKZX72L

Photo Survey p2: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/WKT6S5G

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