Pest Facts: It’s a Matter of Taste

We’ve all read about people in other countries where insects are a part of the diet. Some insects are dried and crushed, then used as seasonings in Taiwan; others are roasted or fried to form a crunchy snack. I am not up for eating insects although humans reportedly eat at least thirty insects in their sleep, eight of which will be spiders. For those with arachnophobia the thought can cause insomnia.

This isn’t about what insects taste like, but how insects taste. Knowing how they taste, and how evolved that sense of taste is, can help us control their route and keep them out of our homes. Ants taste by touch and use their antennae as well as their feet to taste their environment. When they find food, ants excrete a pheromone trail that can be followed by others in their colony. Many ants only live for a couple of months, but the queen can live up to fifteen years and lay hundreds of millions of eggs. The ants in the colony have the job of finding food and feeding the queen, plus caring for the eggs and larva. All of this is done by taste, touch and smell, because most ants are blind. Many ants that do have eyes can only distinguish between light and darkness. They use their sense of touch taste and smell to identify each other and their enemies, their path home and their food sources. Keeping ants out is as simple as placing a perimeter of boric acid or BORAX around your house. Ants generally prefer sweet and salty things and boric acid is indigestible.

Flies on the other hand can only survive for about two weeks; they taste with their feet and their sense of taste is about 10 million times the taste buds we possess. Keeping flies from infesting your kitchen involves keeping tasty dishes covered, spills mopped and taking any food trash out daily. Insects will only come in and stay if there is a steady food supply. House flies have no mandibles to chew with so they regurgitate food from their stomach and their stomach acids dissolve the food to that they can suck it up. Flies repeat this action over and thereby contaminate the food that they land on.

Pests in Tempe can be prevented by keeping a contract with pests management professionals. Many people believe this is an unwarranted expense because of the products available for home use. Most insect species have built up a tolerance to the chemicals used in home pesticides. Chemical treatments provided by professionals eliminate the pest population by transference; the insects carry the chemicals back to the colony and others become poisoned. Most “do it yourself” treatments do not provide this protection.


Mesa AZ –

Termite Control Arizona

MESA, AZ 85210-2064

(480) 582-0996