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! 

Along Came A Spider…

August 10, 2012

– – If you are an arachnophobe, this tale is not for you!  It seems that a woman went to China’s Changsa Central Hospital complaining of itching in the left side of her face.–Well, it turned out that the source of her irritation was a spider which had been residing inside the woman’s ear canal for five days!  It had probably set up housekeeping.   The picture shows the actual spider before its removal…

Doctors used a saline solution to flush the spider out in order to avoid having it bite the woman, or burrow deeper into her ear!  Fortunately, the flushing technique was successful.  Speculation was that the spider crept into the woman’s ear as she slept,  brought in while her house was undergoing renovations.  Spiders can be quite the opportunists…

Spiders and insects are appearing in greater numbers this summer due to the warm weather and drought conditions across much of the United States.  As cold-blooded creatures, insects develop faster in heat conditions, producing more generations in a shorter time.   The Orkin folks and other exterminators ought to be able to get some memorable commercials out of this one!  And you thought the giant talking ants were creepy…

Waiter, There’s a Fly…

August 12, 2011

 – – People are forever finding flies and other repulsive foreign objects in their food, in some cases putting such objects in the food item themselves in the hopes of pursuing profitable litigation or at least getting a free meal.  I’ve found hair in restaurant food on numerous occasions.  Well, along these lines a woman in China recently bought some yogurt, ate half of it in the morning, and put the remainder in her refrigerator, returning that afternoon to consume the rest of it.  When the afternoon’s yogurt tasted funny, the woman spat it out to find…a dead fly!

 

We hope you weren’t eating, gentle readers.  Anyways, when the woman complained to the yogurt manufacturer, Bright Dairy & Food Co., company officials didn’t apologize or offer the customer a refund.  Rather, they asked her to autopsy the fly to make sure that it had gotten into the yogurt before she had opened it.  This rather put an end to the matter, as there aren’t many medical examiners offering fly autopsies.

Instances of food adulteration like this have given rise to use of the term mealbreaker to refer to a nasty, non-edible surprise found in food while it is being eaten.   Examples might include the bloody bandage reportedly found baked into a pizza, and of course the overalls found in Mrs. Murphy’s chowder…


Magnificent Mentos Spider!

February 9, 2011

– – Short of Peter Parker, you aren’t going to find an arachnid as breathtaking as the Mentos Rainbow pack spider! The commercial introduces us to a young couple sitting in their living room when suddenly the female goes ballistic, shrieking and recoiling on their couch.  The view shifts to the carpet, where we are shown…a spider!- –What is it with chicks and spiders, anyhow?!

Anyways, the guy responds by dutifully going to deal with the spider, extending a finger, possibly to crush the inoffensive creature.  The extended digit is all our eight-legged hero needs, however, to demonstrate his profound mastery of Jujutsu or perhaps Aikido, grasping the human’s finger and throwing him like a rag doll across the room no less than three times! A shelving unit and coffee table are splintered in the fracas!  The wrath of the spider is awesome, and the human is hopelessly outclassed!

In the closing images, we see the grounded human’s body dragged forcefully across the floor presumably by the amazing arachnid as the announcer intones, “It’s better to know what’s coming next!” It’s not revealed what fate awaits the human female, but I doubt things will go well for her, either…

…Bravo, I say!  Long may this arachnid martial arts master live and prosper!