Even if you’re a bug yourself.
Researchers from Simon Fraser University, have discovered Western Boxelder bugs, chase away their bugs, by spending a little time under the sun.
Stinking under the sun
Western Boxelder bugs, are a bug that likes to hang out in the sun, with a few hundred friends.
It turns out, the sun is able to fire off a little chemistry in these bugs – which sees them pushing out, rather strong smelling chemical compounds, known as monoterpenes.
Most of the time, in nature, odd smells are all about SEX.
But monotrenes are not being used as a love ballad.
A beetle brand of bug repellant
So if the monoterpenes are not making Mr or Mrs bug, a whole lot more “attractive” – what are they doing.
They’re about protection.
Not from the bogey man, that might eat beetles for breakfast, but little annoying pests, that give beetles itches and things.
Yup, humans are not the only creatures that have to contend with nasty infections and unwanted “friends” coming along for the ride.
It turns out, the monterpenes are actually a beetle fumigation system.
Sun bathing with friends
The details of the chemistry still need to be worked out.
But, the research team have established the sun bathing with friends beetle ritual, is a sanitation exercise.
The stink in the air, penetrates the potentially dangerous fungal spores, which attach to the beetles, causing them TROUBLE. The toxic gases stops the fungi from sending their long stringy hyphae into the beetle and ultimately “sucking” the life out of the insect.
Fortunately, when you sun tan with friends – you don’t create a STINK, unless you’re a little heavy handed with the sun tan lotion.
But too much sun tan lotion, applied too soon – can actually create a few unexpected health stinks, because we use the sun to do a little chemistry too.
The sun’s rays convert cholesterol to vitamin D (which can help keep those pesky cholesterol levels in check), and other things too. (The other things maybe more important than vitamin D, which makes sun tanning A MUST DO). Too much sun tan lotion, too soon, stops this chemistry.
Creating the uproar, due to shortages of vitamin D which can cause
- the immune system to go out of balance, either it switches on too much or too little
- the body’s metabolism also fails to fire on all cyclinders, causing obesity etc.
- and the brain forgets to take out the rubbish
So this summer, don’t be afraid to sun tan with friends. Practise a little beetle medicine and gets things cleaned up.
Beetles don’t stay long enough to cook
Beetles are not blessed with BIG BRAINS, but they do know that staying in the sun for too long, will cook their little body’s.
So when the beetles are hot and bothered – they head for the shade.
Do the same.
Baking in the sun for hours , is what increases the risk of SUN BURNS. And SUN BURNS cause DNA damage, which can put you at risk of skin cancer and make you look old before your time.
But a little sun everyday will keep the bugs away !
NOTE : Morning sun tan is preferable to afternoon tanning – not because the sun is different, but because you are different.Do western boxelder bugs sunbathe for sanitation? Inferences from in vitro experiments. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata (2012) 145(1):38-49. Joseph J. Schwarz, Zamir Punja, Mark Goettel, Gerhard Gries.
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