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There aren’t many people who like roaches, much less find them useful in any significant way. In fact, most of us would put in an immediate call to our Ridgewood pest control technician. However, these creepy, bacteria-covered bugs might actually be life savers if research scientists have anything to do with it.

Researchers are examining whether roaches can be used to help find buried or trapped victims of natural disasters. As the old adage goes, roaches could survive till the end of time. Their tough exterior make them harder to hurt or kill and they also have sharp instincts that allow them to quickly move out of the way of danger. For these reasons, scientists have identified them as perfect responders during disasters where time is of the essence. Instead of waiting for machinery to remove debris, these new “cyborg” roaches can be sent in to find people in need of help. But how will they be able to alert rescuers?

The roaches have surgically implanted electrodes in their antennae and cerci that allow them to be manipulated through electrical impulses. On their back will be a locator beacon and a tiny microphone that will transmit any sounds from individuals who are trapped and need assistance. Researchers are hoping that they will also be able to affix a small camera so they can retrieve images of the disaster area.

The antennae of these roaches will allow them to move about, as they use their antennae as sensors. The electrodes attached to their cerci will stimulate them to move in a forward motion. However, all the testing so far has been conducted on flat surfaces, so it has yet to be determined how well they would do when traveling through a more treacherous landscape.

Of course, this knowledge doesn’t mean that roaches are welcome in your home and that a call to your local Ridgewood pest control company isn’t in order!

Can you explain exactly how you are able to steer the biobots?

We use electric pulses to stimulate their antenna sensor cells, making them think there is an obstacle to navigate around.

Cockroaches use their antennae as touch sensors, similar to the way a blind person might use their hands to recognize the environment. So when we stimulate the antennal sensor on the roach’s right side, it makes a left turn, and vice versa. We also stimulate their cerci to make them go forward. Cerci are the sensors at the very back of the insect that sense any predator behind.

(See pictures of animal robots—marine machines made in nature’s image.)

Do the electrical pulses hurt the roaches?

No, there are a lot of scientific papers and evidence that show that invertebrates don’t have the sense of pain as we, humans, perceive it. So it was not like we were zapping them and they were reacting to pain. Their reflexes were simply navigating them around perceived obstacles.

We don’t want to torture cockroaches. Actually, we hope that our research will help the public to appreciate the importance and complexity of these little folks that we share an ecosystem with. Personally, I can’t even kill Ridgewood pest insects at home since I appreciate them so much!

Pest Control: Mosquitoes

by on January 15, 2020

Hands down, mosquitoes are probably one of the most annoying Ridgewood pests around. They can turn a perfectly enjoyable evening into an itchy, aggravating event that will deter you from enjoying a warm summer night again.

Besides being downright irritating (both mentally and physically), they also could pose a serious health risk. Pest control experts say mosquitoes can carry several deadly illnesses and the most vulnerable victims are children and the elderly. Most recently they have been blamed for transmitting the West Nile Virus and causing thousands of deaths. Additionally, they also carry malaria, elephantiasis, yellow fever, encephalitis and dengue.

Many Ridgewood pest control companies offer mosquito control so you can rest easy while you enjoy watching the stars with your family or friends. If you have a big event coming up, you can also have the area sprayed so mosquitoes will not disturb your guests.

If you live on or near water, you should really be mindful of the potential harm mosquitoes can cause. Pest control specialists say water is a must in order for mosquitoes to breed, so if you have standing water around your home that you can get rid of (ex: pooling water on your Ridgewood lawn that could be graded), it might be a good idea to do so and remove the threat.

If mosquitoes are becoming a serious problem, you should call your local Ridgewood pest control authority right away. Many people think a mosquito bite is harmless, but you don’t want to take the risk of being bitten by one that is infected with a deadly disease.

Pest Control Tip: Don’t Trash Your Grass Clippings

January 1, 2020

Lawn clippings aren’t exactly considered valuable to a Ridgewood lawn or landscape, but the reality of the matter is that they can be extremely helpful in the growing process of your turf – and a healthy turf means its more able to fight off pests! Many people bag or rake Ridgewood lawn clippings instead of [...]

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Pest Control: Fall Check List

December 18, 2019

Many people find the bi-annual daylight savings to be a time to check in on their house to make sure everything is working properly and running smoothly. They may make it a time to inspect their roofing or plumbing, but include smaller tasks such as checking smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Depending on the part [...]

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Pest Control Tip: Bee Awareness

December 4, 2019

As a population, we are not very fond of bees. They sting and buzz by our ears and chase us when we have something sweet or fragrant in our possession. Many people are even severely allergic to bees, which if the allergy is severe enough, can be potentially fatal. So with that stated, it is [...]

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Fend off grass seed feeders

July 10, 2013

Trying to grow grass can be the bane of anyone’s existence as Ridgewood pest control experts all know firsthand. You find yourself putting more effort into your Ridgewood lawn than some people put in at the gym, so darn it! You want results! But after weeks of strategically placing grass seed throughout your yard, you [...]

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Natural Methods to Eliminate Lice from Hair

June 26, 2013

Lice. It’s enough to make anyone’s skin crawl. Despite the stigma, lice are actually attracted to clean and oft-washed hair, so don’t feel like it’s a hygiene issue if you or your child happens to become infested. There are ways to prevent lice, but if it’s too late and you don’t want to subject yourself [...]

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Prevention and Elimination of Slugs and Snails

June 12, 2013

Anyone who has ever had a garden probably knows that seeing a slug or snail is cause for much more worry than just the general icky-ness they present. These slimy insects can wreak havoc on a garden, especially those gardens that include fruit plants or trees, which slugs and snails seem to prefer. Since slugs [...]

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Pest Control: All you ever wanted to know about slugs and snails

May 29, 2013

Although snails and slugs look harmless enough (just kind of gross and slimy, maybe), they are actually quite destructive to domestic and commercial gardens. They can cause so much damage that it is best to have an effective pest control regimen in place to stop the damage before it begins. First you should know a [...]

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The Basics of Dust Mites

May 15, 2013

For weeks now you’ve been hacking, coughing and sneezing. You have no idea why all of a sudden you wake up feeling groggy and miserable and have frequent headaches. You haven’t changed anything in your diet or your regular routine, so what could be the cause of all these health problems. Pest control experts suggest [...]

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