Archive for the ‘insects’ category

Of Giant Monsters…

May 20, 2020


There’s a special place in my heart for 1950’s horror movies, especially those featuring giant monsters…and it’s hard to think of a better tag line for one than, “This was the day that engulfed the world in terror!”  More than 60 years after its 1957 debut, The Deadly Mantis continues to be entertaining as a high camp classic, more amusing now than horrifying.  The clumsy and dated not-so-special effects of the giant mantis flying are alone worth watching the film for.

In these times of invisible horrors like the coronavirus, it’s so nice to see our fears embodied as something gigantic and readily identifiable that we can shoot artillery at, and direct flame throwers towards; we know that we’re going to win against it at the end.  I doubt, however, that bleach and bright lights would be effective against this thing.  Perhaps we can get a large number of regular praying mantids together, and make one really big one like this that we could threaten murder hornets with.  A Universal Picture creation, one yearns to see the Deadly Mantis locked in mortal combat with some creature from the Toho Studios world…Mothra vs. Mantis has a nice ring to it.  Now that’s entertainment…I’d go bugs over that one!

 

https://youtu.be/G8R9OoQh4q0

 

 

Our Insectile Savior…

May 8, 2020


Just as it appeared that we had no defense against the nasty and invasive murder hornets, a champion appears who can beat them at their own game…the praying mantis!  We haven’t seen a battle this epic since Species 8472 handily beat The Borg in Star Trek.  Come to think of it, Species 8472 somewhat resemble praying mantids, who do look rather alien with their triangular heads and all.  It’s a good thing that they don’t grow to six feet in size, or they might want a piece of our action…

It’s no mercy in a viral video depicting such a match-up between the hornet and the mantis, who gets right to work, latching onto the hornet, and eating his head!  Yes, this video is not for the squeamish.  As the hornet operates more through nerve ganglias than a brain, the remaining parts of the hornet continue to try and sting the mantis, all in vain. – – Can we get a collective ewww here?  Thank you…

 

So it would appear that the bad boys of buzzdom can be beaten, and it’s all in a day’s work for our backyard beneficial buddy, the praying mantisHe’s mean and green.- – Who can blame him for doing a victory dance?  Oh yeah, who’s bad?!

 

 

“Murder Hornets” Are Here!

May 4, 2020

Just when you thought that 2020 didn’t have much left to throw at us, we have a new horror. They’re big, and frankly they don’t look real…but Asian Giant Hornets (Vespa mandarinia) appropriately nicknamed Murder Hornets, are a thing, and they’re invading North America… 🙀

Not to be confused with killer bees (so very yesterday), Murder Hornets are an invasive species native to Japan that have crossed over the Canadian border into the Pacific Northwest of the U.S., where they’ve been found in the state of Washington. An impressive two inches in size, Murder Hornets pose a serious threat to already beleaguered honeybee populations, which they can decimate within hours. These giant aggressive hornets bite off the heads of bees, then kind of mash up the thorax of their victims to take home to feed to their larvae. It all sounds like a bad SyFy channel movie…perhaps a script begs to be written for Killer Bees vs. Murder Hornets (No Matter Who Wins, We Lose)!

Now Murder Hornets have a stinger long enough to penetrate a typical beekeeper’s protective outfit, and the sting of multiple insects can be as lethal as snake venom. About 50 people are killed annually in Japan from the hornets, whose sting is likened by victims to having hot metal driven into the flesh. Experts advise, “Don’t try to take them out yourself if you see them. If you get into them, run away, then call us!” Sounds prudent to me, but the running away part might not be easy; they can fly at 25 mph. Serious efforts are underway to track and limit the spread of the insects before it’s too late…

It’s said that the hornets don’t ordinarily attack humans unless threatened. Be careful not to do this, knowing that the right lawyer could probably get a Murder Hornet charge downgraded to a Manslaughter Hornet offense… 🦊

 

Advantage II for Cats Huge Flea Commercial…

July 25, 2017

Fleas the size of humans are the stuff of nightmares, especially if you happen to find them watching a movie with you, or (shudder) squirreled away all cozy in your bed… 

The giant fleas in the Advantage II for Cats commercial are both repulsive and oddly fascinating; it’s hard to look at them or away from them, perhaps because they’ve acclimated to human life so well.  They seem like world-weary couch potatoes, not really trying to make a fuss but just fit in.  And so it is when the woman vacuuming approaches the giant flea encamped on her couch, the insect very accommodatingly lifts a hind leg to allow her work to continue.  The flea fits in all too well, and is possibly less offensive than other house guests.  

If your cat has fleas, you probably do also” is the commercial’s disturbing message.  Perhaps in a sequel, we’ll hear the pitter-patter of not-so-little flea legs around the house, or see the one on the couch pick up the phone to order a pizza…

Termites Are Monsters!

June 13, 2013

termites– – A new Terminix campaign visually supersizes termites and other household pests, making them visually repellent and a disgusting joy to watch.  Rather than the small and largely unseen insects that termites actually are, these are giant, horrific hell-beasts that look fully capable of eating your house and probably anyone inside it as well.  They are delivered to viewers complete with eerie horror-movie sounds and sinister voiceovers; Syfy original movie monsters should be half this good!  One almost expects to see Ellen Ripley and a squadron of space marines appear to dispatch these loathsome and dangerous beasties, getting slaughtered in the process…the termites even have circular buzz-saw type jaws within jaws!

 

…fearmongering sells, ‘ya see, as the political world has long since discovered!

Getting Bugged…

November 19, 2012

– – Don’t the bugs seem to get bigger each year?  And there’s something marvelously surreal about going along in a big RV with a human-sized blue bug riding shotgun up front!  I could get into this scene…well, this is an ESPN RV marketing campaign commercial that features New Orleans rookie Anthony Davis traveling in the RV together with ESPN commentator Mike Breen and Hugo, the team mascot.  They are all very comfortable in one another’s company, a cozy group…thank heavens for cultural diversity!

The driving commentator is conversing with the big blue bug when, Thwack! – – A standard-size bug hits the windshield, leaving the predictable bug splat on it.  Thoughtfully, the commentator offers his condolences to the mascot, and then turns his attention to the problem of the bug smear.  The wipers are tried, which only smears the bug splat…then the washer fluid is resorted to, which makes the smear worse.  Needing to take care of business, the driver then advises the bug mascot that there are napkins in the glove compartment, and asks the big blue insect if he would reach out, and try and grab some of the big pieces of the bug remnants!  I think we’ve all been there, don’t you?

Cybernetic Roaches…

September 12, 2012

– – I, for one, would be freaked to find a remotely-controlled Madagascar hissing cockroach at large in my domicile.  One would wonder what kind of sinister intelligence would be behind it, and such a creation would represent an unnatural perversion of the already repugnant.

Scientists at the North Carolina State University have already created such a fun toy, however, by taking a lightweight chip with a wireless receiver and transmitter, and attaching it to a cockroach like a tiny backpack.  Madagascar hissing cockroaches are the roach of choice as they are large, heavy-duty, and already carry a significant gross-out factor.  With a microcontroller connected to the roach’s antennae and cerci (rear sensory organs), small electrical charges from the wires to the cerci trick the roach into moving in response to a perceived threat.  Charges sent to the antennae make the roach think that it’s bumped into something.  By utilizing both inputs, it’s possible to basically steer the cockroach.

Now what, you might ask, would you use a biobot roach for?  Well, they could be sent into tight spaces to search for survivors after disasters…but would you want to be found by such a rescue party?- -aieee!   Just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse, right?  Perhaps they might additionally tie small casks of brandy around the roach’s head…

Steerable roaches…that’s something new!  I think I want one for Xmas, too!