After 60 years, man returns library book that clearly influenced his life

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Larry Murdock just returned a library book that he checked out from the Linton, Indiana Public Library in 1956, when he was just 8 years old. The book is "Moths of the Limberlost." Murdock is now a Purdue University professor of entomology who specializes in the study of moths. He said the book turned up in a box.

"(Returning) it was the right thing to do," he said. "Maybe after all those years there are kids out there who might get some benefit" from the book.

Murdock paid a $436.44 fine.

(AP) Read the rest

China bans mentions of newly discovered species of beetle from social media

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The Rhyzodiastes (Temoana) xii is a newly classified species of beetle, indigenous to China's Hainan Island, whose name is a tribute to Chinese leader Xi Jinping. Read the rest

Bumblebees sense electricity with their fine hairs

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In 2013, Gregory Sutton from the University of Bristol published an important paper demonstrating that bumblebees can sense electricity (his experiment trained bees to associate current in fake flowers with nutrients, and showed that bees preferentially sought out electrified flowers), but now how they sensed it. Read the rest

Infested: an itchy, fascinating natural history of the bed bug

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The resurgence of the bed bug caught modern civilization flatfooted: an ancient pestilence dating back to the Pharoahs, gone for two generations, has returned with a vengeance, infesting fancy hotels and slums alike, lining our streets with mattresses spraypainted with the warning BEDBUGS. Infested, science writer Brooke Borel's natural history of the bed bug, looks at the bug's insurgency as a scientific, cultural, and economic phenomenon, and will leave you itching with delight.

Tender arthropod: mama centipede cradles her young

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Ivealreadyreddit, who's working in Thailand, posted this picture of a tropical centipede cradling her newly hatched babies. Dawwww. Read the rest

Gin with distilled wood ants

Each bottle of Nordic Food Lab's Anty Gin contains formic acid distilled from approximately 62 wood ants. Read the rest

Anti-bedbug luggage uses heating elements to bake your stuff

Thermalstrike's heated luggage has plug-in elements that heat the contents of your bag to 140F before you unpack them, which should theoretically kill any bedbugs that hitched a ride home with you from the road (remember to take out your toiletries and electronics first!). Read the rest

Unused bed colonized by giant horrifying wasp-nest

Exterminator John Birkett found the bed in a house in Winchester, England, in a spare room that had not been entered for several months. The crocheted blanket was saved.

5,000 wasps found in St Cross bedroom [Andrew Napier/Hampshire Chronicle]

(Thanks, PD Smith!) Read the rest

A horrible way to kill fruitflies

Redditor Ergas has a disgusting way to lure fruit flies to a very personal fiery death. Read the rest

Designing the packaging for cricket protein bars

How do you package a protein bar made from cricket flour? Here's how. Exo raised $54.9K on Kickstarter last summer, as a pair of Brown roommates took their senior year project to the next level, trying to come up with a sustainable protein source, along with help from molecular gastronomy superstar Heston Blumenthal. The packaging was designed by New York's Tag Collective. Read the rest

Humanoid wasps' nest built over an abandoned sculpture

Redditor Countbubs posted this photo of a wasps' nest built over a wooden humanoid sculpture, with the wasps' paper following the contours of the underlying form. It's a genuinely nightmarish image. (via Crazy Abalone) Read the rest

Crowdfunding a smart, open source beehive to monitor hive-collapse

Tristan writes, "The Open Source Beehives project is a partnership between the Open Tech Collaborative and Fab Lab Barcelona crowd-sourcing a solution to the bee colony collapse issue. Read the rest

German beekeeping laws are weird: an excerpt from "The Emergency Sasquatch Ordinance"

Earlier today, I reviewed a new book by Kevin "Lowering the Bar" Underhill called "The Emergency Sasquatch Ordinance and Other Real Laws That Human Beings Have Actually Dreamed Up, Enacted, and Sometimes Even Enforced." Kevin kindly provided us with an excerpt from the book, a series of weird-but-true German beekeeping laws:

My swarm of bees has fled! What shall I do?

If you own a bunch of bees (known to bee experts as a “swarm”), and it flies away one day and ends up on somebody else’s property, who owns it?

It’s too bad they don’t teach bee law in school anymore, because this would be a great bar-exam question. Turns out that the German Civil Code has a set of rules about bee ownership in this situation that seems to cover the gamut of possible outcomes. Most importantly, the first rule of fleeing-bee procedure is that you must pursue the bees immediately. Otherwise any claim to swarm ownership will be waived:

Loss of ownership of bee swarms: Where a swarm of bees takes flight, it becomes ownerless if the owner fails to pursue it without undue delay or if he gives up the pursuit.

Bees are not really considered “domesticated” in the full sense of the word, given that they have a habit of picking up and moving when­ever they want to and there isn’t much you can do about it, unless you thought ahead and took the time to make a shitload of bee leashes. Read the rest

Butterflies rendered in pancake

I though making a banana slice and some raisins into a face was something. Pancake artiste Nathan Shields recreated nine of nature's most wondrous butterflies in batter, producing a carby, gluteny batterfly museum that puts my cookery to shame.

Butterflies (via Neatorama) Read the rest

Fruitfly evolved pictures of ants on its wings

A recently discovered G tridens fruitfly that has evolved a to have images of detailed, ant-like insects on each wing, complete with six legs, a thorax, antennae and a tapered abdomen. The fly uses the images defensively, waving them back and forth when threatened to create the illusion of massing ants. Many G Tridens varieties bear elaborate wing markings, but this one, discovered in Oman, is very striking. I think more beasties should have van-art bestowed on them by the strange world of evolution. Read the rest

Meet the "Mad Hatterpillar"

This is Uraba lugens, a caterpillar that wears a bunch of its old heads on top of its current head like the world's most ridiculously macabre hat. The part of this photo where the otherwise horizontal caterpillar goes vertical? That's a pyramid of exoskeleton head capsules, stacked in descending order from smallest to largest.

The venerable Bug Girl has some better shots of this phenomenon at her blog, along with lots of great information explaining how the heck Uraba lugens ends up making this questionable fashion statement. She also offers this helpful advice:

If you do happen to see one of these, you should not touch it! Apparently these caterpillars are covered with highly itchy and irritating spines–which seems to make their chapeau of old heads a bit redundant.

Image: Uraba lugens, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from dhobern's photostream

Read the rest

Huge attic bee hive falls through bathroom ceiling

Redditor Underdog106 found a huge beehive in his attic and called for a beekeeper to help him with it. Before the keeper arrived, the hive actually fell through the attic into his bathroom below -- the previous owners had used 1/4" sheetrock for the bathroom ceiling -- and split open. The accompanying photoset documents the sad and weird business of trying to save the colony and get it packed for shipping, amid a great ooze of honey and comb spread all over the bathroom.

Jerry the bee keeper was supposed to come today at 5pm. It was a very warm day in Columbia. The bee hive was heavy and the structure detached and fell through the ceiling. It turns out the old owners of the house used 1/4 inch sheet rock for the ceiling in the bathroom. Which is absurd and ridiculous. Jerry came as soon as he could, and he drove an entire hour to get here. The hive fell 3 hours before he was supposed to come today. What are the odds? Seriously. What are the F%^$KING ODDS. But all is well.

Most of the hive fell. As you can see. But we were still able to save around 12,000 out of the estimated 30,000 bee hive.

I have been noticing bees in my apartment for a few weeks now. Finally decided to check the attic. And yes. That is a full on colony. It was a huge adrenaline rush when I recognized what I was looking at. [UPDATE] And seriously, you will not believe this. Read the rest

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