I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to deBugged over the past year, and thanks also to everyone else who has tweeted, bookmarked the blog or posted articles to their Facebook pages.
From big fat rats, harlequin invasions, to flying ants and monster sized queen wasps hiding in the folds of my curtains I’ve had my fair share of pests invading my house in 2011. To round off the year I thought I would take a peek at the most visited blog posts of 2011.
1. Cartoon Rodents
Our top post of 2011 explored how rats and mice make great animated characters. From the happiness and joy of Mickey Mouse to the dark villainy of Megavolt, rodents make popular comic fodder. This blog explores the role mice and rats play in animation. Check out our list of rodents that have stood the test of time and still keep us laughing today. Who is your favourite cartoon rodent?
2. Giant Spider’s are Taking Over
In Texas 2007 giant communal spiders began to cast their web over swathes of Lake Tawokoni State Park. The park looked like something from a horror movie. Ever wondered how bad your house would look if you didn’t spring clean? Check out the pictures of a water treatment plant in Maryland which was covered in webbing so dense it pulled a bracket off the wall.
3. Spring Clean To Vanish Pests
This blog was written to support a #springclean twitter party. We responded to dozens of queries about how to get rid of the pests hiding in your cracks and crevices and offered advice on how to get rid of annoying household pests like fleas, moths and carpet beetles.
4. Plants which Repel Mosquitoes
If a mosquito can detect a human from 20-35 metres, they can also detect a number of plants they hate like lavender, citronella, basil and catnip. During the day mosquitoes like to rest on low lying plants like weeds because of the high humidity levels between the earth and the plant. By keeping your garden free of weeds and standing water you can help keep your garden free of mosquitoes. Planting in some of the plants mosquitoes hate can’t hurt either!
5. Bed Bugs Can’t Resist The Heat
In New York City, bedbugs now are 250 times more resistant to standard pesticides than bedbugs in Florida, researchers at the University of Massachusetts reported. This is due to changes in a gene controlling the resilience of the nerve cells targeted by the insecticide. The bad news for bed bugs is that pesticides are not necessary to eliminate the irritating blood suckers. Last year Rentokil developed an environmentally friendly product called Entotherm which not even the most armoured of bed bugs could desist. The heat treatment eliminates all insects, including bed bugs, cockroaches or textile pests as well as moulds and pathogens without the need for large quantities of insecticides.
6. Rabbits And Other Superstitions
From a sailor’s terror of fleeing rats to lucky ladybugs and money spiders, the animal and bug kingdom is rich in superstition and folklore. There’s an old saying that stepping on ants brings rain. When ants are agitated there will be bad weather. Ants building a nest near the door to your house is a clear sign of financial security in the future (apparently).
7. Ants In My Cavity Wall
Ants to me are a real nuisance pest… mainly because of the sheer number of them. You never just see one lonely ant on its own, do you? There is usually a whole army of them (did you know there is actually an ant called Army Ant?). Although the most common species of ant, the Black Ant, is not thought to carry diseases, it still concerns me to find them in my home, you just never know where they have been before.
8. War and the Trenches
World War I conditions were horrific and death was never far away. If the soldiers managed to survive enemy shelling and the sneaky sniper’s bullet they could just as easily be defeated by an illness such as Trench Foot or Wiel’s Disease. Fleas, lice and rodents were rife and would plague the men with disease.
9. Protecting The Water Vole
Laura Drake from The Mammal Society kindly wrote this blog for us. One of the most endangered species is the water vole which is often confused for a rat. Laura outlines the reasons why we should all know the difference between a water vole and a rat, and the impact the invasive American Mink has had on the water vole.
10. Shooting Insects For Science
This blog was written almost two years ago but due to its huge popularity remains one of our most popular blogs ever. We interviewed David Spears, specialist cinematographer and science photographer at Clouds Hill Imaging, a company which supplies incredible microscopic film and photography for a range of clients including the BBC and Channel 4.
So many thanks, Happy New Year, and if you want to write a guest blog or have a pest control issue please do let me know…