Miniscule Mountain Beetle Turning Forests Red

“It’s about the size of a mouse turd,” says Diana Six, Professor of Forest Entomology/Pathology at University of Montana, when describing the Mountain Pine Beetle. Historically, the Mountain Pine Beetle contributed to a healthy forest by eliminating weakened trees, making room for new growth. Cold temperatures kept populations in check, only 20% of larvae would survive a winter. Beetle Lifespan … Read More

Fleas & Disease in the California Gold Rush

Fleas were a frequent irritant during the California Gold Rush.   Migrants from all over the world transported more than possessions. They also carried parasites and disease. Overcrowded, unclean living conditions were ideal breeding grounds many nasty bugs. Disease such as cholera, tuberculosis, and smallpox was deadly especially for Native American populations with no previous exposure or immunity. 2:42 Smallpox … Read More

Invasive Species Choke Natives & California’s Floristic Province

The California Floristic Province is considered a world biodiversity hotspot. It contains a large number of ecosystems that include alpine forest, mixed evergreen forest, riparian forest, sagebrush steppe, coastal sage scrub, redwood forests and more. Currently, only 25% of the original vegetation remains unharmed. Highly populated and a producer of agriculture products for 50% of the country, California is also considered ‘one of … Read More

Pill Bug – Heavy Metal Detector of the Underworld

The shrimp sized roly-poly kids love to play with has a night job making soil a nicer place to live…if you’re a plant or microorganism. Also Known As… Doodle bugs, potato bugs, wood shrimp, pill woodlouse, armadillo bug, log-louse, boat-builder (Newfoundland), cheeselog (England), chiggy pig (Devon, England), monkey-peas (Kent, England), and slater (Scotland) these tiny animals are best known for a defense … Read More

Cuckoo Wasp – A Living Jewel

The Cuckoo wasp is an eye-catching creature that is easy to see. Its brilliant turquoise color is created when light refracts between the hollow layers of the exoskeleton. This adaptation makes the stealthy insect virtually invisible when it enters the dark burrows of its prey. The Cuckoo wasp is parasitic. It watches and waits to find ground bee and wasp … Read More