If you told your friends in other states that you were scratching mosquito bites on Black Friday, they’d probably think you’re crazy. But you’re not – they really are active much later than normal right now.
“Around this season they’re typically gone around this time of year,” Oz Sias said while fishing at Encanto Park in Phoenix.
“Very seldom do we have problems after Thanksgiving,” said Steve Devault, service manager at Phoenix Pest and Termite Control. “It might be isolated cases here and there, but nothing to the extent that we’re having right now.”
You can thank – or blame – the burst of rainstorms we had in early October. Later rains mean a longer season of active, adult mosquitoes. But Mother Nature isn’t the only one causing the itchy streak.
“With the watering of all the yards and so forth, with the winter grass coming in, everyone just waters the daylights out of that stuff,” Devault said.
If you’ve got soaked sod with standing water, you can count on mosquitoes laying eggs there – eggs that can lay dormant for years, even if you let things dry out. Phoenicians have noticed the longer mosquito season.
“I don’t normally see the mosquitoes by our house but we had a bunch of them in our backyard and we actually had enough that when we had the windows open overnight when it was nice and cool, that we were actually getting them coming in through the screens,” Jennifer Tieman said.
You could have a pest control company spray your bushes and your tree branches, but we’re talking about flying insects here, so there’s no guarantee that’ll take care of the problem.
But there are some things you can do to stop the problem before it starts. Any standing water that you can dump out on the concrete, for example, should take care of the eggs.
“The more you can [water lawns] probably at night or whatever, not during the day and kind of let the water – don’t have standing water out there,” Devault said.
A Hawaii-based burger chain has closed a Honolulu restaurant for cleaning after a video posted to social media appeared to show a rat being cooked on the grill.
Teddy’s Bigger Burgers has closed the Mapunapuna location and fired two employees who appeared in the Snapchat video.
“We are horrified that a former teenage employee would conduct themselves in that way and make such a video of which we are investigating its authenticity,” said Richard Stula, the president of Teddy’s Bigger Burgers.
The company initiated a “complete sanitization” and is replacing equipment and utensils at the fast-food restaurant after the video was shared with them several days ago, Stula said in the statement.
“We will then send a corporate team in to inspect and complete a thorough audit of the location before it is allowed to re-open,” Stula said.
The state Department of Health is scheduled to inspect the restaurant on Mapunapuna Street.
The company is also contacting a licensed pest control operator to examine the restaurant for rodents, said Peter Oshiro, the state’s environmental health program manager. “DOH appreciates the remedial and proactive efforts undertaken by the restaurant owner to protect public health,” Oshiro said in a statement.
The restaurant received a passing green placard following its last state inspection in June.
When you go on Facebook to brag about a "monster" 13-point buck you just bagged and share pictures to show your hunting prowess, you might want to make sure you have all your paperwork in order.
A tipster who saw the man's recent hunting post on social media dropped a dime to the Report All Poaching hotline run by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, according to one of the agency's enforcement reports.
Conservation Officers Jesse Curtis and Sgt. Todd Szyska did a little sleuthing, comparing the date and time of the man's Facebook post with the time he'd actually purchased his hunting license. They learned he'd bought his license after the photo was taken.
When they knocked on his door, the hunter was happy to show off his kill.
"The hunter was proud to show the COs his buck, which was hanging in the barn from a pulley system," the report reads. "The buck was tagged, and notched; however, it did not match the date of the Facebook post."
"When the hunter was confronted about the time discrepancy, he confessed that he shot it without a license and then obtained the license after the fact."
"The hunter explained that it was a buck of a lifetime and he couldn't help himself and knew he had done wrong."
This week, many American families gathered around the lunch or (and?) dinner table, feasting on a Thanksgiving meal centered on turkey. It’s a celebration of many things, but historically, stems back to 1621, when European settlers (“Pilgrims,” as any American elementary school children will surely tell you) marked the harvest by having a similar meal.
Turkeys are indigenous to the United States and Mexico; in fact, Europeans only first came into contact with turkeys roughly 500 years ago, upon discovery of the New World. So how did turkeys (the bird) end up being named so similarly to Turkey (the country)? Let’s follow that bird’s history from the New World to the Old.
As far as we can tell, the first European explorers to discover (and eat) turkey were those in Hernan Cortez’s expedition in Mexico in 1519. This new delicacy was brought back to Europe by Spanish Conquistadors and by 1524, had reached England. The bird was domesticated in England within a decade, and by the turn of the century, it’s name — “turkey” — had entered the English language. Case in point: William Shakespeare used the term in Twelfth Night, believed to be written in 1601 or 1602. The lack of context around his usage suggests that the term had widespread reach.
But the birds did not come directly from the New World to England; rather, they came via merchant ships from the eastern Mediterranean Sea. Those merchants were called “Turkey merchant” as much the area was part of the Turkish Empire at the time. Purchasers of the birds back home in England thought the fowl came from the area, hence the name “Turkey birds” or, soon thereafter, “turkeys.”
As the world experiences its sixth mass extinction event, species are disappearing at a rate of 1,000 to 10,000 times more than the Earth’s natural extinction rate, according to the World Wildlife Fund. That could amount to losing hundreds or even thousands of species each year. The blame for the most recent mass extinction isn’t natural disasters, natural climate changes or even devastating meteor strikes — it’s humans, says Noah Greenwald, the Endangered Species Director at the Center for Biological Diversity
“I think when you consider that we’ve greatly accelerated the rate of extinction, and that our population is constantly growing, our consumption is beginning to grow and now we’re actually changing the climate, we’re looking at a massive loss in diversity,” Greenwald said. Right now, there are more than 16,000 species listed as endangered on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s red list. The red list is regarded as the most comprehensive list of threatened species.
One of the animals introduced to this list is the vaquita, a small porpoise that lives in the upper part of the Gulf of California and was discovered in the 1950s. With fewer than 30 members left in its population, the vaquita is at immediate risk of extinction, said Leigh Henry, the director for wildlife policy at the World Wildlife Fund. The World Wildlife Fund began working with locals to decrease the number of rare porpoises caught in deadly gill nets. Brian Hires, a spokesman for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, provided a public list of animals whose time is running short.
- Freshwater mussels — Though North America has the highest diversity of these clams, more than half are federally classified as endangered. Many of the mussels listed under the Endangered Species Act are there because of water quality issues.
- Devils Hole pupfish — Listed as endangered in 1967, there are now estimated to be about 35 of these fish living in their natural habitat. Reasons for their decline are unclear.
- Rusty patched bumble bee — This bee was only added to the list a few months ago. Rusty patched bumble bees currently only live in just 0.1% of its original range.
- Bartram's Hairstreak butterfly — This species is threatened by human development in its natural habitat in the Florida Keys and the Everglades National Park in south Florida.
- Hawaiian crow — After years of being listed as critically endangered, this species is now listed as extinct in the wild on the IUNC red list. The population is threatened by malaria-carrying mosquitoes.
- Rio Grande silvery minnow — This minnow once dominated its natural habitat, but now is confined to less than 200 miles, thanks to human damning of the rivers it lives in.
Henry said consumers can make conscientious buying decisions by making sure that fish and other animal products they purchase were humanely caught. Greenwald said citizens can also call their representatives and urge them to support the Endangered Species Act. “The majority of our medicines, for example, come from plants,” Greenwald said. “As we lose diversity, we’re losing potential cures to cancer and other things.”
The stomach of a whale is bound to be pretty gross — all those giant intestines and immense amounts of blood — but now officials have found nearly 13 pounds (6 kilograms) of plastic trash in the stomach of a dead sperm whale that washed ashore on a beach in southern Indonesia. The trash included more than 100 plastic cups, four plastic bottles, 25 plastic bags, two flip-flops and hundreds of other pieces of plastic, WWF-Indonesia said in a Facebook statement.
The 31-foot-long (9.5 meters) whale was in such an advanced state of decay by the time it washed up on the beach that it was impossible for researchers to determine if the enormous lump of plastic was what ultimately killed the animal.
"Although we have not been able to deduce the cause of death, the facts that we see are truly awful," Dwi Suprati, a marine species conservation coordinator at WWF-Indonesia, told the Associated Press. [Whale Album: Giants of the Deep]
Sperm whales (Physeter microcephalus) are the only living species of their genus and the largest living species of toothed whales. Adult females reach up to 36 feet (11 m) in length and weigh some 13 to 14 tons (11.7 to 12.7 metric tons), while adult males are far bigger, growing to 59 feet (18 m) long and weighing 35 to 45 tons (31.7 to 40.8 metric tons), according to the American Cetacean Society (ACS).
These marine giants primarily feed on deep-water squid, fish, rays and octopus and consume about 2,000 lbs. (907 kg) of food each day, according to the ACS. And, it appears plastic is becoming a more common part of their diet. Earlier this year, another dead sperm whale washed up on the coast of Spain, likely killed by the 65 lbs. (29 kg) of plastic trash discovered in its gut.
Sperm whales are found throughout the world's oceans and it's no surprise that they'd be cruising around Indonesia. The country is smack in the middle of the so-called Coral Triangle — a hotspot of marine diversity and the area with the highest risk of plastic pollution in the marine environment, according to a 2017 study published in the Proceedings of the International Conference on Microplastic Pollution in the Mediterranean Sea.
Since 2010, Indonesia has ranked as the second-highest plastic-polluting country in the world after China; it produces more than 3 million tons of plastic waste per year, according to a 2015 study published in the journal Science.
Indonesia's coordinating minister of maritime affairs, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, told the AP that the dead sperm whale should inspire the country's government and its citizens to significantly reduce plastic use.
He said the government is working to urge shops to discontinue use of plastic bags and for communities to educate students nationwide about the problem. The Indonesian government aims to reduce plastic use by 70 percent by 2025, the AP reported.