Friday, 9 September 2011

Stopped Dead In It Tracks

This adult Balta sp. cockroach (family Ectobiidae=Blattellidae of many authors) was killed in its tracks by a parasitic disease, either a bacterial infection or a fungal disease. Insect diseases are sought by researchers in Biological Control. Several kinds of insect diseases have been employed to control pest insects. A fungus, Metarhizium, has been used to successfully control grasshoppers and locusts in many countries. These fungi are usually quite host specific and do not transfer to non target organisms. Some have been genetically modified just for this purpose. Could the disease that killed this cockroach have potential in controlling other cockroach species that infest homes, hospitals and restaurants?

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

A Close Call

We have had a few days of rain following a period of very dry weather. As a result very dry rainforest vegetation became wet and sodden in a couple of days.

This huge branch, which was rotten at its core, just could not cope with the weight of water-soaked Basket Ferns and came crashing to the ground during the day.

As you can see, it was right in front of the light sheet! This would have been a major catastrophe, for me, had I been standing there at the time. No additional damage was done. I could find no insects of any kind amongst the foliage as I dismembered the fallen limb. Pity.