insects

Better than mosquito repellent – The most eco-friendly (and spiritual) way to repel pests in Japan

There’s no need to use toxic substances to kill off unwanted insects in Japan, because there’s a much more eco-friendly method they’ve been using for hundreds of years. Although it may not be scientifically proven, many people feel this is still the best way to get rid of everything from garden aphids to mosquitoes. And if the method has endured for centuries, it must be at least somewhat effective right?

This uniquely Japanese insect repellent is far cheaper than commercial insecticides, easier to implement, and you only have to use it once a year in spring or early summer. And the best part? It involves Japanese sake!

What’s the secret? We’ll let you know after the jump.

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Panda-cosplaying beetle is possibly the cutest bug we’ve ever seen

Late last month, Hiroshima City’s Asa Zoological Park shared a tweet displaying a picture of a beetle that has a unique black-and-white design on its back. Japanese net users have been getting a kick out of the little guy, who, according to some of them, has been described as being decorated like a panda!

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Island off Hiroshima coast slowly being eaten away by millions of insects

You’ve probably heard of Battleship Island before, the small abandoned island off of Nagasaki that looks like a battleship from afar and a zombie wasteland up close. It’s on its way to becoming a UNESCO world heritage site, which will bring in more tourists and help with its preservation.

But while Battleship Island gets its moment in the limelight, other abandoned islands around Japan are having a pretty tough time. Take Hoboro Island off the coast of Hiroshima for instance. It was once a decent-sized island known for pearls and oysters, but now it spends its days mainly being eaten away by millions of bugs and slowly sinking into the sea.

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Gross-out chocolates make Valentine’s Day extra sweet for bitter singles

Valentine’s Day is approaching with the speed of a runaway freight train, which for all those out there who are currently unattached can be a cause of sweaty palms and lips curled up in sneers of derision. In the west, Valentine’s Day is a totally commercialised flurry of unoriginal gifts and saccharine sappiness, but in Japan it’s kinda different. The chocolate companies have managed to turn it into a sort of one-day nation-wide chocolate-making fest, wherein lovestruck women take up their wooden spoons and mixing bowls in hopes of creating sweet treats to win the hearts of their beloved (or, alternatively, earn points with male colleagues).

But for those who are sick of Valentine’s Day and its traditional hearts and flowers, this collection of disgusting chocs is sure to raise a few evil chuckles.

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Japan is home to the cutest bug in the world, but they’re on the verge of extinction

Yes, you read that right: A cute bug! Well, that is up to debate, but it is definitely not as a gross as other bugs, like that hand-sized spider I had in my house that one time…

Because of the way they hover and their fuzzy bodies, these cute little fellas kind of look like a cross between a hummingbird and a bee. Their long mouth/noses resemble those of a nasty mosquito, but the fact that they are barely 10mm long (approximately the length of the first part of your pinkie finger) and harmless pollinators make them really people-friendly. Join us after the jump as we meet arguably the world’s most affable insect: the Tiger Bee Fly.

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Tohoku University team discovers blue light is effective at killing insects

Earlier this year Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano, and Shuji Nakamura won the Nobel Prize in Physics for their development of an efficient blue light-emitting diode (blue LED).

It was a well-deserved victory for the Japanese scientists whose invention continues to impact our lives in ways we often don’t even notice. It could be in the display you’re looking at right now or it could be helping some of the millions of people in parts of the world without electrical infrastructure get affordable lights for their homes.

And now in a report published in Scientific Reports, a team of researchers from Tohoku University have found a new use for blue LED. When used in the right frequency it can be an effective, safe, clean, and cheap way to kill insects. For the first time, they showed that visible light around the blue part of the spectrum is lethal to insects such as mosquitoes and fruit flies.

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Thai schoolgirl invents eco-friendly method of roach disposal using 3 simple ingredients

One thing we can probably all agree on is that cockroaches are gross and disgusting. They stink, they fly at your face and they can make you sick. They must be exterminated, but not everybody enjoys breathing in the noxious fumes from aggressive sprays, nor do they enjoy handling toxic poisons. So what’s left? Drown the suckers? They can survive in water for around 30 minutes. Suffocate them? They can live without air for 45 minutes. Chops their heads off? They’ll just keep on scurrying. Luckily, a high school girl in Thailand has come up with an all-natural non-violent method of disposing of the icky invaders. All you’ll need is flour, cement powder, and… malted milk powder?

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Singing, ticking timebombs – 5 facts about the special significance of cicadas in Japan

Coming from the UK where the largest insect you’re likely to encounter is a slightly overweight bumblebee, I was quite taken aback the first time I saw a semi, or cicada in English, in Japan. Having arrived in the middle of summer, at first the ear-piercing racket coming from the tree outside my window drove me to distraction, but over the years I came to enjoy the sound these little bugs made, even if their appearance still gives me the creeps.

As it happens, I’m not the only one who appreciates these little bugs’ songs. Cicadas hold special significance here in Japan, and are considered to be almost synonymous with summer, so join us after the jump for five quick-fire facts about Japan’s summer bug.

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Seven unbelievable jobs that actually exist in Japan

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? Did you achieve your dream? If that’s got you thinking about a career change, you may want to look to the Land of the Rising Sun because in Japan there are some unusual employment opportunities available. From human dog food testers to bad smell specialists, we’ve found seven surprising jobs for you to consider. And they’re all ready and waiting for you in Japan.

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Fighter discovers Japanese giant hornet in his apartment, hilarity ensues 【Video】

When people talk about Japan, they usually talk about its beautiful landscapes, rich culture, and delicious food. They talk about the cherry blossom in spring, the soft, powder snow in winter, the deep red autumn leaves, and the summers that, while swelteringly hot, go perfectly with a big glass of cold Japanese beer.

What they don’t talk about are the bugs.

Although Japan has nothing on “Don’t Touch That, It’ll Probably Kill You” Australia, it nevertheless has its fair share of creepy-crawlies, and the oosuzumebachi, or Japanese Giant Hornet is perhaps the worst of the bunch. It’s still only April, but it would seem that the Japanese branch of Satan’s striped servants are already out and about, and getting into people’s apartments, no less…

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New species of mayfly discovered in Fukushima that can never get their prescription glasses

On 2 March this year, a research group from Fukushima University will present the results of their study in which they believe to have found a new species of mayfly. This particular insect was found in a remote swamp near Lake Hibara. This new species is unique in that rather than living from a day to a week like related mayflies, this particular one has a life span of only an hour.

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Chinese man wakes with centipede in his ear: hilarity does not ensue

We’ve probably all had itty-bitty insects fly into our mouths or eyes or even up our noses at one point in time. Whether it’s a mosquito zipping down your throat as you go for a jog or a dive-bombing gnat attacking your eyeball with laser precision, it’s definitely not pleasant. Though it rarely amounts to anything more than a minor annoyance.

For one Chinese man, though, this “minor annoyance” was more like hellish torture. Read More

Unusual Cuisine: Deep-Fried Caterpillars “Make a Wonderful Beer Snack”

Those of you who abhor the very idea of eating food that’s been anywhere near a creepy-crawly may wish to look away now.

Here at RocketNews24 we like to pride ourselves on our willingness to take up unusual food challenges. If we’re not baking Big Mac bread or gorging on bacon, we’re fighting our way through a kilo of curry and rice for your enjoyment. So as soon as word reached Rocket Towers that a nearby restaurant was serving up genuine insect cuisine, our reporter Mr Sato immediately sprang into action and boarded a train to Takadanobaba.

Who’d have thought that deep-fried imomushi (hairless caterpillars or hornworms) could be so delicious that they could bring smiles to our reporter’s face?

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Tokyo Bug Eating Club to Hold Festival Tomorrow, Guess What’s on the Menu?

As icky as it sounds to many of us brought up in Western cultures, the human consumption of insects is common in many parts of the world.

Most Japanese people are on the same page as the rest of the developed world in thinking of bugs as unappetizing—not to mention creepy, gross, and/or scary— little creatures that have no place in the home, and especially not on the dinner plate.

However, there are some rural regions of Japan where insects are are a local delicacy, and have been so for centuries. In Nagano, the prefecture this writer calls home, you can walk into any supermarket and expect to find plastic packs of grasshopper (inago) or stonefly larva (suzumushi) boiled in soy sauce, and sometimes even read-to-eat packs of boiled wasp larva mixed in with rice (hachinoko-gohan).

In the cities, eating bugs is still taboo, and even in rural areas insect cuisine is now considered fringe cuisine, especially among the younger generations.  But in Tokyo, there is a group of people who believe that bugs just need to be given a chance, which is why they are hosting what is now the 4th annual Tokyo Insect Eating Festival (Tokyo Mushikui Festival) on November 23.

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Tokyo Board of Education to Offer “Insect Touching Classes” to Teachers Who Are Afraid of Bugs

Earlier this week, we ran an article featuring the most hated insects in Japan.  This article revealed that 40.4% of those surveyed dislike all bugs, no matter what kind.

In addition, an article from Karapaia discloses that an overwhelming amount of teachers in Tokyo admit they are afraid of insects.  In order to encourage these teachers to successfully incorporate nature observation and science experiments in the classroom, the Tokyo Municipal Board of Education will begin offering lectures featuring simple science experiments and animal care classes next spring, including a lecture on how to touch insects.  These classes will be held at universities and zoos and are aimed at elementary school teachers who have limited knowledge in the field of science.

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Poll Reveals 60% of Japanese Hate Insects, but What is the Most Despised?

My Navi News, a Japanese news website, polled 1000 of their members to find out just how many people dislike creepy-crawlies. A whopping 63.1% said they can’t stand the little guys.  Take a look at their reasons why and find out Japan’s most hated bug.

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Cockroaches Ending 2012 Season with a Bang, Stories of our Black Buddies Coming Fast and Furious

As the summer cools back down to a comfortable autumn, the cockroach index has slid to a 1 across much of Japan. But before they go to sleep in many parts of the world, it looks like our little black friends are squirming their way into the headlines to give us something to remember them by.

We’ve all probably heard the tale of Edward Archbold who mysteriously died after winning a cockroach eating contest in the USA.  However, in China, roaches making quite a stir – by getting stirred into the food.

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Annoyed by Buzzing Mosquitoes? A Smartphone App May Be the Answer to Your Problem

We’ve introduced some unique smartphone apps in one of our previous posts, but here’s one more unique app that’s caught our attention and may even be useful, if you believe what the developers say. If you’ve ever been annoyed by mosquitoes in the outdoors, and I believe most of us have at one time or another, then the Mosquito Buster app may be the solution to your pest problem. Yes, those small, buzzing blood-suckers can really be a pain, can’t they? But can a smartphone app really help you avoid mosquitoes? Well, the people at TABROID, a Japanese site that focuses on Android-related news and information, have apparently tested the app out in the field to see if it actually works. Read More

Molted Insect Skins Are so in This Summer: Japanese Entertainer Shokotan Sports Exotic Headwear

TV personality, outspoken otaku, avid cosplayer, diligent blogger: Japanese celebrity Shoko Nakagawa, or Shokotan, as she is lovingly referred to by fans, is known for many things. Normality is not one of them.

Exhibit A: On August 11, the quirky entertainer posted a series of pictures to her blog of herself covered in molted insect shells.

We think that should be sufficient evidence.

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Japanese Research Proves Stinkbugs Can Pass Out From Their Own Stink (Video)

Japan is home to a number of terrifying insects, such as the mukade, a giant venmous centipede with a sting that can be fatal to children and the elderly, or the suzumebachi (Asian Giant Hornet), which actually kills a handful of people every year.

But perhaps no insect in Japan is feared more than the kamemushi, commonly referred to in English as the stinkbug. While you can easily drop centipedes and hornets with a good dose of pesticide or a well-timed smack of the shoe, it is in death that kamemushi is feared the most.

You see, when you kill a stinkbug, it stinks. It stinks a lot, which is why most Japanese people gently pick them up with a tissue and throw them outside or roll them up in tape so they can’t move and dispose of them in the trash.

Recently, a team of amateur Japanese “researchers” decided to make that unholy stink of the stinkbug the subject of their latest study, which asks the question: “Can kamemushi be knocked unconscious by the smell of their own fart?

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