Personally, I’m not a fan of Valentine's Day. Since it is tomorrow, I will put my own romantic spin on it. A pest control spin!
Who doesn’t want a gift from their paramour? German cockroach males present their potential sweetheart with a precious gift…of bodily secretions. There’s a bit of love for the progeny as well. The female hangs onto her egg case, protecting it, until it’s just about ready to hatch.
A nice comfortable room? Harvester ants have a “perennial mating site” that males mark with “secretions of their mandibular glands”. They essentially have a love nest that everyone visits year after year.
Save the best for last! Our pests aren’t monogamous. In house mice, not only do females mate with numerous lovers, but they are “indiscriminate” in their early choices and seem to mate with their “preferred male” last.
How about some perfume? Pests with short adult lifespans have just one thing on their mind: finding a friend. Indian meal moths have a strong sex pheromone that the females release to draw in a male. Of course, this can also be used as a control method when an area is flooded with that female perfume and males can’t track down a lover.
Get excited! Carpenter ants get so excited for their first (and only) mating flight that workers have to stop males from going early. They actually drag and carry the winged males back to the next entrance until they are basically overwhelmed and the females start to leave.
Do a little dance. There is nothing better than watching tiny peacock jumping spiders dance to attract their mate. This is more typical in birds and mammals to show their fitness, it’s less common in the arthropod world. Scorpions also have a kind of push-pull dance they do with each other.
Treat them like royalty. In other words, be a badass monarch and take what you want. Take the sperm you want, and throw in some bondage. I mean, what good monarch from history hasn’t done some torture? Two closely related species of crazy ants can interbreed. But when a male of species A makes sweet love to a female of species B, he knows his genetics are going to get lost while she benefits. So he tries to leave. But she won’t let him!
Slow it down some. Bed bugs definitely need this advice. When males get amorous, they get a bit impatient. Instead of “hitting their mark”, they often pierce through the female’s abdomen. Maybe this should be titled “love hurts”. House flies will also get physical with their companion: they will knock themselves into the female mid-flight or jump on her when she is sitting.
Who needs love? Psocids certainly don’t, many species are parthenogenic. Females can reproduce without any help from a partner. The newly invasive longhorn tick also does the same and in some populations, males have never been seen.
So there's some pest love for you. You want to show your customers the love by providing them with the best service you can. We can show you the love by giving you expert technical advice and world-class training. Contact us.
Lagniappe – I have no words
Urban pest consulting