Friday, 15 April 2011

Diamond-Tipped Mandibles

It is the change of season here in Auckland; one day it is cool and the next a balmy 23 degrees with an autumnal sun.

This seasonal variation has triggered a number of metamorphic responses in the garden and also it would appear, in the pantry.

There is a report in today's online news about the increasing number of bugs being found in stored food.  Here I was thinking that the extra crunch in my morning muesli was a new ingredient dreamed up by Hubbards Foods, but perhaps I was mistaken?

Larder Beetle - cereals with extra crunch?
Entomologists have been most reassuring describing the caterpillars of the Indian meal moth, warehouse moth and Mediterranean flower moth as "perfectly edible" .  I am still not convinced that I want them in my diet.

Insect infestations are nothing new and in tropical climes such as Singapore the challenges of keeping food stuffs and household commodities pest-free are equally daunting.

Spraying for cockroaches was an ongoing exercise and according to a Singapore pest control service there are some 35 'greeblies' that are honing in on your food and furniture at any one time.

The aptly named Larder Beetle for example has a penchant for cheese.  I can't help but think that this must be a rather anorexic bug as cheese does not figure highly in the Singaporean diet.

I also observed the dogged persistence of a very small ant on the then Tanglin campus of UNSWAsia. This creature was so small that it could get inside through the screw top of a sugar jar.

While I can't pinpoint this species it was a surprise to discover that I had a namesake in the Singaporean ant world.  Roger's Ant, or Hypoponera punctatissima as it is known to its friends, wanders around aimlessly leaving no trails; an aptly named creature!

According to the bug scientist quoted in the article today, these insects can "chew straight through any packaging - they've got diamond-tipped mandibles. Once you've got them, you've got them"

So this autumn, or Fall as my friends in North America call it, we shall keeping a close eye on the pantry to ensure that no such infestations occur. 
Enhanced by Zemanta

No comments: