Bug Scientist Explains Advantages of Having Honeybees, Spiders and Preventing Mosquitoes from Breeding
Part 2 of 3, interview with Aaron Rodriques
Interview by Fallon Davis
What is the difference between bugs and insects?
A bug is a type of insect, people throw the word around without knowing they are referring to a specific set of insects. I think they’re Hemiptera.
For example stink bugs are bugs, they have those sucking mouth parts and chill bug are also bugs because again they have that sucking mouth part to kind of feed on prey. It’s a weird sense of classification that not everyone understands or agrees with, but it works if you refer to it.
What are some insects people take for granted?
One insect that we really need to preserve are honeybees because without them most of our fruit production wouldn’t exist. We need them for pollination and we also need them for agriculture in terms of gathering honey, which we use in almost everything. They’re a major resource that we need to keep going and keep breeding for us to survive economically.
Mosquitoes are the opposite, they’re very harmful. They spread many different diseases, they’re very dangerous insect that we really need to watch out for. We need to lower the pollution and the kinds of habitats that we are currently causing because that can breed out a lot of mosquitoes. They are used to mercury water and dirty water– if we had better hygiene we could bring down the mosquito population quite a bit.
What is a noninvasive way to control mosquitoes in the summer?
It’s always important to not litter. One major breeding spot for mosquitoes is empty tires, people might throw away tires and even though they might not have water in them initially, it will eventually start raining and after that you’ll have some residue left-in the tires which mosquitoes can breed in.
Really any kind of litter can serve as a potential breeding ground for mosquitoes because anything that can trap water pretty much sets up this breeding spot, so hygiene is the best way to prevent them from breeding in the first place. If you’re good at preventing them, chances are you won’t need to resort to harmful pesticides which can end up hurting people as well as the intended target.
How do you exterminate bugs properly? What bugs are dangerous besides the obvious?
One of my first measures is again hygiene, being clean. Normally you won’t get infestations if you keep your house clean and if you keep things neat and orderly. If I do find a pest in my house, normally I’ll try to grab it with a paper and release it outside. I get a lot of spiders in my house so I’ll release those and centipedes. If it’s something like a cockroach that I don’t really want outside then I might just use bug spray or something light. I don’t kill spiders, I think they’re really important. Spiders keep down insects that can actually harm us so they’re something that we actually want around.
What chemicals and pesticides are safe for plants and bugs in farmland?
There are a few things you can use, I know there is one really cool aspect to pest control; it’s biological where you can actually buy insects that eat the pest that you’re worried about. For example, praying mantis’ eat many different annoying insects. People actually will buy them in different pods and leave them loose in the garden to keep down pests. Another thing you can do, very small amounts of DDT is OK but it may not be the best thing for soil so it really depends on where you put it.
You never want to put a pesticide in a water source because that can be pretty bad. Anything that can seep into soil that people use to grow crops is not the best. There are different methods, but it really depends on doing proper research about whatever toxin you’re dealing with. A lot of pesticides can be safe, but it’s only when you use them in very small amounts. Any spray you buy at the store is OK as long as you use it sparingly and you know you have ventilation wherever you’re spraying it. Using these sprays boils down to quantity, really.
Why do cockroaches and bed bugs run in packs and why are there infestations?
Stinkbugs: The thing about them, they rely a lot on temperature for activity so winter would be too cold for them. They would normally not multiply then, but the summer where it’s really hot and there’s humidity, that’s when they normally would mate. Also I’ve noticed that they are very small, sometimes you may not see them because they’re very tiny and blend into the plant they’re eating. Fun little creatures they are.