CORVALLIS, Ore. – Face it, a lot of things bug us. From blood-sucking mosquitoes that ruin our weekends in the high Cascades to those miserable little “sugar” ants that invade our kitchens and won’t go away, the pests of the insect world are ubiquitous.
Jack DeAngelis has spent a lifetime studying insects and advising the public. The longtime Oregon State University Extension entomologist has used his storehouse of knowledge and experiences to write a new book, “Living with Bugs: Least-toxic Solutions to Everyday Bug Problems,” which has just been published by the OSU Press.
Whether you’re wigged out by bed bugs in a motel room, fearful of Africanized killer bees, disgusted by slithering cockroaches, terrified of spiders, or want to declare war on marauding termites, “Living with Bugs” has background information – and solutions.
One of his goals in writing the book, DeAngelis says, is to get readers to stop thinking about bugs with feelings of disgust, terror, fear, or being wigged out. In his introduction he writes: “…nearly all insects, spiders, mites and their allies are harmless and even beneficial – they all play critical roles in the Earth’s biological systems.
“A very small number are potentially harmful,” DeAngelis said, “but even these can be managed in safe and responsible ways that minimize their damage potential while not hurting anything else, including yourself.
“A few, of course, are truly annoying,” he added. “That’s what this book is for – to sort the good critters from the bad – and the truly annoying ones.”
DeAngelis looks at more than 50 of the most commonly encountered household pests, from head lice to flies, and offers environmentally friendly solutions on how to dispose of them. The book includes more than 90 photographs and drawings, an identification guide, information about the pests’ life history, and a number of other resources, from web links to advice on pesticides.
“Living with Bugs” is divided into categories, including:
- Critters that bite and leave a red, itchy bump;
- Insects that damage building materials;
- Insects that swarm and sting;
- Insects that invade kitchens and pantries;
- Insects that damage natural fabrics;
- Tiny microscopic biting mites;
- Large flies that bite people and livestock;
- Insects that invade homes but cause little damage;
- Dust mites;
- Medically significant spiders in North American.
The book concludes with segments on real and imaginary fears, and pest control.
DeAngelis has been studying the little critters that bug us for 30 years and admits to a fascination with them. His Extension background allowed him an opportunity to work with the public and educate them about the insect world, and “Living with Bugs” will expand his audience greatly.
Designed for homeowners and renters, the book also is a valuable resource for libraries, master gardeners, extension agents and anyone who has to deal with bugs – which is just about everyone.
DeAngelis spent 15 years as an entomologist at OSU, conducting research and teaching. He has a Ph.D. in entomology from Oregon State.
“Living with Bugs” (ISBN: 978-0-87071-421-4) is a 192-page paperback that retails for $19.95. It is available in bookstores or can be ordered by calling 1-800-426-3797, or going online at http://oregonstate.edu/dept/press/k-l/LivingBugs.html