National Insect Week: All you need to know about bugs in the home

We asked entomologist Adam Hart some questions about our tiny, multiple-legged friends. Turns out they're not so creepy after all

 

Why do mosquitoes bite some people more than others?

Everyone seems to know someone that is a mosquito magnet! Studies are starting to shed some light on why some people are especially attractive to mosquitoes and it turns out that there might well be a variety of factors playing a part. Blood type, your metabolism, how much carbon dioxide you exhale, how much you have exerted yourself, what you’ve eaten and even the bacteria on your skin can make you more or less attractive to mossies. If it’s tied up with your genetic makeup then there’s a not a lot you can do about it, but covering up and using a good repellent should help to keep them away.

Why is arachnophobia so common?

Spiders are generally dark in colour, have very angular legs and move quickly and unpredictably. These features, along with the fact they are often found in dark corners, conspire together to make spiders a particularly effective “fear factor”. Spiders are actually fascinating animals and if you are scared of them then it is worth seeking out phobia treatment – it can be very effective and change your life if fear of spiders is stopping you from doing things.

Should we eat insects?

There are two rather simple but opposing facts when it comes to eating insects. Firstly, they are an excellent source of nutriment and can be farmed ethically and sustainably. Secondly, western tastes have dramatically veered away from eating them and most consider the idea to be, at best, objectionable! However, we happily pay top dollar for other invertebrates (like lobster or tiger prawns) and if they are well prepared many insects are delicious. The key thing will be marketing and good recipes. My favourite is crickets covered in sage leaves and deep fried in beer batter. Absolutely lovely, and much cheaper than prawns flown in from the other side of the world.

What's the most venomous insect in the UK?

We are lucky in the UK – we don’t have that many venomous animals. However some insects, especially members of the order of insects called the Hymenoptera can give you a nasty sting. They are more commonly called the ants, bees and wasps, and of these the beautiful hornet (our largest social wasp species) is probably the most painful to be stung by. However, they are not particularly aggressive and they are magnificent insects, so if you are lucky enough to see one then enjoy the experience – just don’t try to handle it!

 

Why do moths eat our clothes?

It’s the caterpillars that can do the damage to our clothes, accessories and even our carpets but only the caterpillars of certain types of moths – most commonly called, appropriately enough, clothes moths. They can feed on natural fibres and we use a great many of these in our clothes. 

What's the best way to get rid of ants in the home?

Number one tip – block up the hole that are coming in through. It is also a good idea to be clean and tidy – remove food waste and other things that might attract them. Finally, and if there is no other solution then ant powder is effective, but it is far better to redirect them than to kill them. Ants have some of the most fascinating social behaviour of any animal so take your time to appreciate their amazing chemical foraging trails then next time you see them coming through your kitchen.

Adam Hart is Professor of Science Communication at the University of Gloucestershire. He is a Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society and a regular broadcaster, including co-presenting BBC4's Planet Ant, upcoming series Hive Alive on BBC2

Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm today
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Bianca Miller and Katie Bulmer-Cooke are scrutinised by Lord Sugar's aide Nick Hewer on The Apprentice final
tvBut Bianca Miller has taken on board his comments over pricing
Life and Style
Approaching sale shopping in a smart way means that you’ll get the most out of your money
life + styleSales shopping tips and tricks from the experts
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
News
Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
News
in picturesWounded and mangy husky puppy rescued from dump
News
newsAstonishing moment a kangaroo takes down a drone
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Project Director / Operations Director

    £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an incredible opportunity for a ...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator

    £16000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Administrator is requir...

    Recruitment Genius: EWI / IWI Installer

    £23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of design...

    Ashdown Group: IT Support Analyst - Chessington

    £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Service Desk Analyst - Chessington, Surrey...

    Day In a Page

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

    Panto dames: before and after

    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

    Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
    The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

    The man who hunts giants

    A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
    The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

    The 12 ways of Christmas

    We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
    Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

    The male exhibits strange behaviour

    A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
    Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

    Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

    Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

    The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'