Tag Archives: biology

Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants are big ants that live in many parts of the world. They like to build their nests or colonies from dead, damp timber. However, contrary to popular opinion, they do not feed on wood as termites do.

They use timber to build their colonies and tunnel through it in their search for new sources of food. This is evidenced by piles of frass, which is the debris that the carpenter ants have hollowed out of typically damp. dead wood.

There are over a thousand species of these large, typically black ants, which belong to the genus Camponotus. Carpenter ants live in colonies and have colonies both indoors and outdoors in moist, decaying or hollow timber. They like to travel through this rotting timber by chiselling out galleries or walkways in timber length-ways up the grain in order to provide passageways from one part of the nest to another.

The parts of a house that are most prone to be of interest to carpenter ants are floor joists, window frames and rafters in the roof. In fact, anywhere where you are liable to have a difficulty with water entry. Decks and porches are also obviously at risk.

An interesting fact about carpenter ants is that some species produce members that can explode in order to kill attackers. These so-called exploding ants are found mostly in South East Asia where there are at least nine species that can cause their bodies to explode, thus committing suicide.

These ants have a huge abdomen which produces a sort of glue which is shot out of the head onto attackers. The exploding ant dies, but all the attackers caught up in this mesh of glue are immobilized as well.

How do you know whether you have carpenter ants or not? Well, the best method of idetifying carpenter ants from other ants is by observing their waists. A carpenter ant has only one node or hump and their thorax or upper body is well-rounded and smooth. Other similar ants have more than one node or an uneven or two-sectioned back.

If you are looking at flying ants, then the disparity between carpenter ants and termites, with which they are often confused, is that carpenter ants have darker-coloured bodies, narrow waists, elbowed or bent antennae and, if they have them, the rear wings are shorter than the front wings.

Another aspect is that carpenter ants are fairly happy to come out and be seen, whereas termites are light-shy, even though carpenter ants are most active between dusk and mid-night and reproductive termites will take to the air during the day time.

Carpenter ants eat protein and sugar such as other insects, living or dead and spilled honey or sugar. This honey can also be extracted from aphids or greenfly, which is called honeydew. Therefore, if you want to trace carpenter worker ants back to their nest or colonies, you have to lay down something like honey and watch the ants take the food back to their colonies. This is the first step in destroying colonies of carpenter ants.

Owen Jones, the author of this article writes on quite a few topics, but is at present involved with Getting Rid Of Carpenter Ants. If you would like to know more or check out some great offers, please go to our website at Killing Carpenter Ants.

How To Make Natural Insecticides

A great deal of people are trying to get away from using chemicals and nowhere more so than in the use of insecticides in and around the house. The problem is that modern chemical pesticides work, are easily obtainable and are fairly inexpensive. The same goes for home-produced insecticides, but you have to gather the ingredients and combine them together. Some find this little bit of extra work off-putting.

Boric acid is the principal ingredient used in destroying a whole horde of insects. (By the way, it is also the prime ingredient in many commercial insecticides as well, but they combine it for you and quadruple the price. If you do not trust me, look at the ingredients on the box).

Boric acid or borax is created from boron, one of the borates. Borax has been a proven pesticide for about a hundred years. It has a variety of effects on different insects, but if an insect has mandibles or jaws, the boric acid will get inside and destroy the nervous system. Some insects, like bed bugs do not have these mouth parts, so it is less effective against them, but borax will dessicate an insect if it is dusted with the powder.

To kill any insects that love sugar, in particular ants, mix one cup of sugar into three cups of water and four teaspoons of borax. Mix them and dissolve it all completely. Get a few jam jars with lids and clean them carefully. Saturate a few cotton balls in your home-produced pesticide and put them in each jar. Then replace the tops and make a few holes in each. Put the jam jars, on their sides, in the path of any invading insects. Make sure that the holes are large enough for the insects to get through.

For cockroaches, mix borax with flour, particularly cornflour and leave about where they run or you could steep a slice of bread in borax and water for the same result.

Termites can be eradicated by adding borax powder to any non-poisonous fluid that will soak into wood, propylene glycol for instance, and really slop it on the end-grain of timbers as a preventative measure.

If you want a spray for your plants, you could crush a load of garlic into a pint or two of paraffin; put the bits in too. Leave it stand for a day; sieve it and add just as much soapy water. Mix thoroughly; store in glass, tipping only what you require into a spray gun as and when you require it, because it might dissolve some plastics.

Soapy water alone will kill greenfly, just spray it on.

Another natural insecticide which will work on a lot of garden pests is ‘stinging nettle juice’. Cut down a big bunch of stinging nettles and put them in a big bucket of water, leave them for three or four weeks until they have finished fermenting (no more bubbles). Take a jar full and dilute it with three of four jars of cold water, because it is too strong for many plant life. Just spray it on. Top up your fermentation bucket with fresh water and a few nettles.

Owen Jones, the writer of this piece writes on many topics, but is at present concerned with Terro Ant Killer. If you would like to know more or check out some great offers, please go to our website at Killing Carpenter Ants.

The Plight Of Sea Turtle Conservation

Sea turtle conservation is an effort of widespread interest among conservationists, especially since so many species are currently under threat by habitat loss or diminishing resources such as food and nesting areas. Turtles that are not under threat by lack of habitat or food often face commercial exploitation by humans who poach turtles for their meat or harvest their eggs as a delicacy. Sea turtles are important to the ecosystem because they are natural predators of many species of jellyfish, which can help keep exploding populations in check. Natural oceanic ecosystems suffer damage by the rapid decline in sea turtle populations.

One common problem with turtle populations is pollution, especially among olive ridley sea turtles that feed on jellyfish, since plastic debris looks like jellyfish and lead turtles to consume them accidentally. Consumption of plastic frequently causes malabsorption, meaning despite a normal diet turtles will suffer from malnutrition as they cannot absorb essential vitamins, minerals or proteins. Another issue is intestinal blockage, which can lead to fast death. Small olive ridley turtles may strangulate on plastic debris and die immediately, while larger adults will ingest the plastic whole. Most conservation groups agree that pollution needs to stay in check and make an effort to keep garbage, debris and chemicals out of the oceans for the sake of turtles and other wildlife.

Another problem is natural predation exacerbated by imbalanced ecosystems. Leatherback turtles notably are independent and have no real predators as adults, but juveniles are very small and unprotected by their parents. They hatch independently and enter in the ocean, where they become prey for large fish and invertebrates. Some never even make it to the ocean, instead becoming prey for shore crustaceans and birds while they are still on the sand. Conservationists agree that healthier populations of leatherbacks along with more normally distributed predators would cause a higher survival rate for young leatherbacks.

Conservation initiatives are varied and some of the most common include tagging individuals and tracking them by satellite. This is most frequently performed on critically endangered species to ensure that healthy breeding individuals remain healthy. Tracking adult females can help monitor where they lay eggs so that poachers and predators can be discouraged and future breeding encouraged. Relocation is also a potential solution to population issues, especially where a disproportionate number of predators exist. Additionally, ecotourism helps individual species and populations to become understood by the general public, making it easier to help prevent population decline.

Measuring the effectiveness of various conservation efforts is quite a challenge. Often populations are estimated through the reporting and recording of nesting sites. While this does not give researchers an exact number, it can be measured and compared to previous year’s data. It is not the most precise gauge but it is the best method we currently have and is our best bet for saving sea turtles for future generations.

Visit turtle facts for more about sea turtles.

Ensure Your Career And Academic Success With O Level Biology

Undergoing an O level biology course is one way to have a strong academic foundation. It can give you tons of benefits, one of which is the fact that you can learn about the basic concepts of life on earth. Second, you will be able to apply the theories you’ve learned into your everyday life. Third, you will acquire all the necessary knowledge to move to A level biology or other related courses. And in case you complete the course in good standing, you may have a chance to obtain a scholarship or get a job in a good company.

Where To Study O Level Biology?

Most secondary and tertiary schools offer O level Biology. In other places, it is called GCSE biology. Under this subject, you will spend hours learning in a classroom and in laboratories. You can expect to have plenty of lectures and a lot of interesting lab exercises. Remember that you will be graded based on your performance, so do your best in each exam during the end of every period. If you have innate interest in the course, you will surely find it rather easy to pass the exams.

If you cannot study biology in a normal classroom setting, you may enrol online through a distance learning program. Most reputable schools offer this option for working people, parents, or anyone living busy lives. You can gain access to online modules and lessons which are organised in the same way a teacher plans a day’s lesson. In case you have questions or concerns, you may talk to your instructor by email or phone.

O Level Biology

This course will prove especially beneficial if you are pursuing studies in the related field. Remember, knowledge in biology is heavily required in medical courses. Without the founding O level subjects, you will not be able to advance to A level. In addition, most of the employers nowadays prefer applicants with O level credits. AsiaOne News’ article stated last year that academic institutions today require pre-school teacher applicants to have a minimum of five O level credits under their name.

Indeed, O level biology is a very important step that will set the tone of your success in the future. Thus, make use of your time wisely and start learning today.

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O Level Biology: Learning What The Course Entails

Undergoing an O level biology course offers a strong academic foundation for students. By taking this subject, you will better understand how life on earth works. In line with it, you will be able to utilise your learning and apply the theories in your daily life. Moreover, completing your O level course provides you with the knowledge that you need to move to A level courses. And if you perform well, you have better chances for scholarships and even employment.

Where To Study O Level Biology?

O level Biology or GCSE biology is offered by many secondary and tertiary schools. Besides listening to classroom lectures, students will also have to perform laboratory exercises. These two parts of the course are allocated the same hours. If you have innate interest in the subject, you will surely find it fairly easy to pass the exams. You’ll be graded based on your performance so you’re encouraged to do well in class and during the exams set at the end of each period.

If you cannot study biology in a regular classroom setting, you may go for a distance learning program instead. Many reputable schools offer this alternative for parents, employees, or anyone who have a very limited time. You will have access to online modules and lessons which are similar to a day’s lesson in a brick and mortar school. If ever you have questions or concerns, you may send an email or make a phone call to talk to your instructor.

Benefits Of O Level Biology

If you are planning on studying medicine or any biology-related course in college, you’ll be required to have credits in A level biology. You will not be allowed to advance to A level without passing the O level. In addition, it is likely that your future employer would require you to have credits in O level. AsiaOne News stated last year that applicants for a pre-school teacher position must have a minimum of five O level credits under their name.

O level biology is truly a vital step that sets the stepping stones that lead to your success. Spend your time wisely and begin learning today.

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The Facts On Photoacoustic Technology May Prove Its Need For The Future

Although the concept seems to be a complicated one, in reality the facts on photoacoustic technology are clear. The idea was first discovered when Alexander Graham Bell was trying to find a wireless form of communication. When items were exposed to a constant flickering beam of light, the object would emit a sound.

Although, the discovery was remarkable, there had not been any way to transmit those sound waves. Therefore, the idea laid dormant for many years. Finally, almost a century later, what is known as Bell’s photoacoustic effect is finding its way back to the forefront of biomedical imaging.

Researchers are beginning to look at the combination of ultrasonic images and optics. This is referred to as photoacoustic tomography and is being thought of as a way to supply detailed pictures. Many researchers are comparing the newer scans to MRIs and CT scans that many physicians use to diagnose and monitor illnesses.

The main difference with this new technology is that it is much cheaper to use that the standard scans. Because the scans are able to view deeper than many other options, it is hoped that with more development it will be able to aid biopsy needles to go deeper into the tissues. Optimism is strong that it will also be able to assist with gastrointestinal endoscopy and check oxygen levels in the lymph nodes in order to help determine if a tumor is benign or not.

The process in which this technology works is the use of rapid pulses in laser form onto the tissues of the body. The laser heats up the tissue and causes the cells to expand and contract emitting sound. The sound waves are then recorded and create a three dimensional picture using a computer of what lies below the surface of the skin.

Researchers are hopeful that this method of scanning will help in treating cancer patients. Because blood cells easily absorb light, they are ideal candidates for giving a clear picture of the veins. If there is a heightened metabolic level, the scan can also detect its movement. These two conditions are both indicators of cancerous cells.

Scientists are also looking into the idea of developing a scanner that can provide technicians and physicians with both ultrasound images, as well as, the photoacoustic. Superimposing the two copies can offer an even better picture, it is believed. Currently, the developments are being used with monitoring the growth of breast cancers that have already been diagnosed.

This new technology seems to have been making some remarkable advances. However, there are a number of issues that have yet been answered. While the laser is able to look much deeper into the body’s tissue, as the laser beams go deeper they become more difficult to read. This does limit the ability of the technology. Even though, these issues remain, the facts on photoacoustic technology are exciting many researchers on the possibilities it provides. Many believe that, with some work, it could soon replace the standard forms of Contrast Imaging.

One of the top digital imaging companies providing modalities specifically designed for preclinical research such as in vivo imaging, In vivo testing micro imaging, high-resolution imaging, scientific digital imaging, digital imaging system.

Mudflats Ecology – A Feast for the Birds

The northern region of the Bay of Fundy features extensive tidal flats and a large number of expansive salt marshes. These occur as a result of the Fundy tides. During each tidal cycle, enormous quantities of fine sediments are brought in to flood the tidal area. Much of the sediment then remains in the sheltered areas along the coast, forming the popular red mudflats of the upper Bay. The mudflats and salt marshes are critical pieces of Fundy’s food production system.

Because the tides churn the water up each day , the water is rather turbid, or cloudy. The rays of the sun cannot reach really deep into the water column, thus phytoplankton cannot photosynthesize. But, when the tide ebbs, it leaves behind a lot of nutrient elements on the mud flats absolutely exposed to the sun. As a consequence, phytoplankton production is awfully low in the water but extremely high on the mudflats and salt marshes. In addition, both intertidal areas contribute crucial nutrients to the Fundy Bay eco-system.

The mud flats also provide easy access to food for migratory shorebirds. Each year up to two million semi-palmated sandpipers and other shorebirds stop over in the Fundy area during July and August on their yearly migration from their spring breeding areas, far to the north on the arctic tundra, to their wintering areas along the coastlines of South America.

The semi-palmated sandpipers that stop in the Minas Basin and other areas represent 75-95% of the whole planet’s population of this species. They build up their fat level on miniscule crustaceans found only in mud of a certain consistency.

Thanks to the strength of the tide, the Bay acts as a vast nutrient pump for the remainder of the Gulf of Maine, sending its waters flowing out past Grand Manan Island to mix in the current of the Gulf. It is around Grand Manan Island that you can watch the great whales play in the early fall each year.

Slightly to the south of Grand Manan Island is Machias Seal Island, a speck of rock on which a rising population of puffins lives. Their presence is testament to the relatively undisturbed character of this corner of the Gulf of Maine.

For more info about the Fundy Bay tides and other Bay of Fundy facts visit bayoffundy.com

The London Underground Mosquito

Who would have thought that the London Underground is home to a unique species of mosquito? The species is called the London Underground mosquito and is considered to have evolved from Culex pipiens. The London Underground species has been dubbed Culex pipiens molestus, because it is a vigorous biter.

It is not new, but it is relatively new in biological terms. Molestus is known to have bitten Londoners during the Second World War whilst they were taking refuge during the air raids. However, there are other references to a mosquito with the same name, molestus, 170 years before the war, when there was no underground railway system in London or anywhere else in the world.

This mosquito was first discovered in the London Underground, which is why it got its name, but it can be discovered in metro and underground railway stations all over the world. No one really knows a lot concerning this insect species yet.

Some people suggest that it is a variant of a local Culex pipiens that has adapted to living in warmer, subterranean tunnels, whilst others say that is a southern (and therefore warmer) variant of C. pipiens that is able to live in the colder north because it has colonized the warm train tunnels of the underground systems.

Yet others, notably Kate Byrne and Richard Nichols, suggest that it is a totally different species from Culex pipiens. Their proof for saying this is that there are differences between pipiens and molestus: they display very different behavioural patterns and do not mate readily with each other.

C. pipiens molestus will bite rats, mice and humans and dies in cold temperatures but stays active all year round, whereas C. pipiens can tolerate cold weather, only bites birds and hibernates if the weather gets too cold.

On the rare occasions when the two varieties cross breed, the eggs are infertile, which suggests that they are distantly related if at all. Recent studies indicate that molestus originated in one source but spread rapidly around the world, maybe in freight.

Second-hand tyres have been held responsible for spreading molestus around the world. There is a colossal international trade in second hand tyres and it is notoriously difficult to get all the water out of a tyre that has been left in the rain. Mosquitoes can breed in a minuscule amount of water, so this is a possibility.

There is a bizarre and not entirely explained twist to the story of the molestus, the American version of molestus pipiens still bites birds which leads some individuals to suggest that molestus is a separate species, but that it has formed a hybrid in America with pipiens.

This is fairly frightening, but quite possible, because the American pipiens can transmit human encephalitis caused by the West Nile virus, an eruption of which hit New York in 1999.

There is much more to find out concerning the London Underground mosquito, since the story is only just beginning to unfold. The true story will probably come out of America where this new mosquito has proved to be the most perilous.

Owen Jones, the writer of this piece writes on several subjects, but is currently involved with finding a home remededy for mosquito bites. If you would like to know more, please go to our website at Getting Rid of Mosquito Bites.

Arbovirus Encephalitis In New York In 1999

In the late summer of 1999, there was an epidemic of encephalitis and meningitis in New York. Initially, all the victims came from an eight square kilometer region centered on Queens and the Bronx.

Later, it spread further, although there were merely 59 cases and seven deaths – all in older people. 677 individuals were tested in the original survey, 19 of which tested positive for meningoencephalitis.

Going by the size of the population of New York, it was determined that between 3,500 and 13,000 people (average: 8,200) had been infected with West Nile virus. There were almost certainly far more than that, but serious indications usually only show in the young and the old.

Those in the in-between age group probably reckoned that they had a bad cold, which means that fewer than one percent of sufferers displayed severe neurological symptoms.

At first, it was considered whether this outbreak could be the result of an act of terrorism, but others suspected mosquitoes. Investigation concentrated on St. Louis encephalitis. However, when it was thought to test for West Nile virus, the number of cases increased.

The cause of the epidemic was soon confirmed to be a West Nile-like virus based on the identification of viral infection in human, avian, and mosquito samples.

This had not been considered because the New York epidemic was the first time that West Nile virus had been seen in the West.

Then recent bird deaths were remembered. Substantial numbers of wild birds, particularly crows, had died recently in the area and there were deaths at the Bronx Zoo of exotic birds as well.

Examination of the corpses of these birds revealed evidence of encephalitis which resembled West Nile virus (WNV). When doctors knew what to look for, they discovered similar traits in the brains of the dead humans

The authorities instantly initiated widespread measures to reduce the population of Culex pipiens, the mosquito in the region that specializes in attacking birds. The public was informed and helplines were set up – by the end of September more than 150,000 calls had been made.

The local authorities continued to spray and handed out 300,000 aerosols of DEET and 750,000 public health leaflets, which recommended tidying up the garden, not going out at dusk or dawn and covering up bare skin.

WNV is an arbovirus (arthropod-borne virus), which means that it is transmitted to humans by arthropods (insects), normally the tick or the mosquito. Previously, WNV had only been seen in Uganda, where it was first discovered and in isolated cases in Europe and South Africa.

A report concluded that it was “unclear whether the virus that caused this outbreak is a previously identified strain of WNV or a new variant”, however now recent evidence seems to suggest that a new mosquito – a hybrid of C. pipiens – living in the New York metro was to blame.

This is still not definite, but if it is true, then the whole world should take care, because the New York ‘hybrid’ is related to the London Underground mosquito which inhabits almost every underground railway station on the planet.

Owen Jones, the writer of this piece writes on several topics, but is currently involved with finding a home remededy for mosquito bites. If you would like to know more, please go to our web site at Getting Rid of Mosquito Bites.

When And Where In Vivo Molecular Imaging Is Used And Importance Of It

In vivo molecular imaging is the science of studying biochemical processes in the living organism without disturbing its equilibrium. Many different techniques fall under the umbrella of this term. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is one. Color Doppler scanning is another. Other methods include optical imaging and positron emission tomography (PET). Where in vivo molecular imaging is used and importance of it are therapeutic areas like cardiovascular research, neurology and oncology (the study of cancer).

Evolving technologies are driving medical research to the stage when scientists are able to study what they call the ‘pre-disease’ state. This refers to a molecular situation that exists early in the development of a disease, long before the patient is aware there is something amiss. This ability may lead to the early diagnoses and more effective treatments.

One therapeutic area in which in vivo imaging methods has been the study of the growth of new blood vessels early in the development of a condition called atherosclerosis. This is the deposition of globs of fat inside the lining of arteries. The development of new blood vessels, a phenomenon called angiogenesis, may contribute to the development and rupture of these fatty globules, called plaques. Once in the bloodstream, these fatty deposits can cause strokes or heart attacks.

Another area of neuroscience where visualization of processes at this level could be important is in the study of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). It is becoming clear that the world’s population, as well as getting bigger, is also growing older. Hardly a week goes by when there is not a story in the media about people living healthily to the age of 100 and beyond. As a generation of Baby Boomers from the 1940s and 1950s reach their seventies and eighties, rates of AD and other forms of dementia are destined to skyrocket.

A massive increase in the number of adults with AD is going to pose tremendous social, medical and financial burdens on society. Fortunately, new technology may enable the early detection of the condition as well as improved efficacy assessment of new therapies. Beta-amyloid is the main protein component found in Alzheimer’s plaques that characterize the disease. Scientists are in the process of developing new biomarkers for this protein using PET scanning.

Scientists are also finding ways of using micro-ultrasound in conjunction with color doppler technology to evaluate the rate of blood flow in the rodent brain. Soon, they hope to be able to use these techniques to better understand cerebral blood flow in humans.

Bioluminescence is the emission of light by living organisms. Early experiments exploiting this phenomenon were conducted in the early 1990s. These experiments incorporated the use of luciferase, a light-emitting enzyme, in studies of gene expression. Key to the success of this research were the ability to completely block out ambient light and to keep the animals under anesthetic long enough to conduct the experiments.

Where in vivo Molecular Imaging is used and importance of it have the potential for developing new methods of identifying and conquering diseases earlier than we do now. Hopefully, pharmaceutical companies will be able to develop more efficacious and personalized medicines. Areas where this is most urgent include the brain, heart and the initiation and growth of cancers.

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