Wacky Pest Wednesday: Scorpionfly

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Credit: Gailhampshire on Flickr under a CC BY 2.0 license

Well hello there all you Tri-County Pest Control fans, and welcome to our latest edition of Wacky Pest Wednesday.  In this week’s edition, we’re taking on a pest that truly belongs in an alien world: the scorpionfly!

Yes, this is actually a bug, and not the result of some freak experiment gone wrong (and no, this critter did not come out of the radioactive depths of Chernobyl, either).  The scorpionfly is as real as it gets, and in fact, scientists believe that the scorpionfly evolved during the Jurassic period (so before it was scaring the daylights out of humans it was creeping out the dinosaurs)!  This guy has been around for a long, long time, and because of that, many entomologists will call these critters “living fossils.” However, as menacing as this critter looks, it is actually not that harmful. The “scorpion stinger” you see as its tail is anything but a stinger—it is actually used for reproduction and is only found on the males.  So, even though it looks deadly, we can assure you that nothing bad can come of it.

Unfortunately, no matter how far you travel, it is pretty hard to escape the scorpionfly as they are literally found on every continent except for Antarctica.  Venture into a marshy area this summer, and there is a chance you can run into one of these guys munching on some flies or spiders. Should you happen to live near a marsh or still water, you may find these critters out and about on the cooler days.  Yet, no need to worry, as they post virtually no threat to humans.

Did you know that male scorpionflies will attract the female ones through a food offering?  In an act of insect-chivalry, the male will fetch a dinner and present it to the female, who will in turn select a mate based on the type of food that he brings.  See, even though they look really wacky, they’re not that much different from us humans, after all!

Be sure to check back next week for our latest edition of Wacky Pest Wednesday!

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