The Pest Control Blog North America

Pray For What You Have This Thanksgiving

Praying Mantis
Thanksgiving is a time to reflect upon the things we have to be appreciative of. This could be our health, economic security, food or just plain old contentment with our lot.

If we take time to step back and consider … there’s always someone, somewhere having a far tougher time. Take for example insects. They might not know where their next meal is coming from, or if they’re going to be the next meal. These guys pictured are certainly in a tight spot  - I know I would not want to be a fruit fly

Twig mantis with fruit fly

Praying Mantis Hunting Fruit Fly

The praying mantis is named for its bent front legs held at an angle that suggests the position of prayer.  Formidable predators, they are typically brown or green to provide camouflage from their victims. They will patiently wait in disguise until they are confident they can ambush their supper. The front legs they use to snare their prey with have with reflexes so quick that they are difficult to see with the naked eye. Their legs are further equipped with spikes for snaring prey and pinning it in place.

Mantids can turn their heads 180 degrees to scan their surroundings with two large compound eyes and three other simple eyes located between them – if you’re in the sights of the Praying Mantis you’re the one who needs to say a prayer.

The praying mantis is not a pest but the fruit fly can be, especially in the brewing industry. It breeds in fermenting residues found in pubs, fruit & vegetables and may also breed in unclean drains and cleaning utensils.

Jumping Spider Eating Fruit Fly

Jumping spider eating fruit fly

Jumping spiders contain over 5000 species and can be found in a number of locations including North America, Asia, Africa, India, Europe and even the Arctic. Jumping spiders can be recognised by their distinctive eye pattern. They have four pairs of eyes which provides them with some of the best vision among invertebrates, employing it with dramatic effect when hunting.  They normally move quietly and fairly slowly but most species are capable of very agile jumps, notably when stalking prey, but sometimes in response to sudden threats.

Jumping spiders range in size from a body length of 1 mm to 22 mm. In addition to using their silk for safety lines while jumping, they also build silken “pup tents” where they shelter from bad weather and sleep at night. They molt within these shelters, build and store egg cases within them, and also spend the winter in them.

Frog eating fly

There are 80 species of frogs in the US, and depending on the species, frogs can live between two and 40 years.  The average

Does the fly know what's coming next?

age for a frog or toad is about four  to 15 years.

A frog tongues is attached near the back of the jaw and folded on the base of the mouth with the tip of the tongue pointing back toward its throat. The tongue can be flipped out very rapidly and accurately in order to catch a fly or other tasty treat.  The mucus glands in the mouth produce a sticky substance that helps to catch prey.

Wasp caught in spider web

There is a wasp that specializes in catching and paralyzing spiders. The wasp buries the spider alive, so that its young can feed on fresh food when they hatch, but in this case the spider got to the wasp first.

Caught in the web

Spiders spin webs to catch their prey who unwittingly fly straight into the trap. It is common for spiders to eat their own web daily to recoup some of the energy used in spinning.

Other spiders like the net-casting spider employs a mixed strategy of running and web spinning to catch prey.  This spider weaves a small net which it attaches to its front legs. It then lurks in wait for potential prey and, when such prey arrives, lunges forward to wrap its victim in the net, bite and paralyze it.

With so many legs and eyes they may look a little bit creepy, but before you whack that spider, take time to digest this fact – a spider eats about 2,000 insects a year, so spiders are good to have around the home.

Thanks for reading this post and Happy Thanksgiving!

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