True Bugs

Forensic entomologiest Gavin Pitts joins the hosts to talk about the hemiptera order of insects, more commonly known as ‘true bugs.’ Assassin bugs, chagas disease, bat bugs and water bugs that take down reptiles, amphibians, birds and mammals are all on topic! Plus: The Lesser of Two Evils – would you rather spend a few years in an Uzbekistan bug pit or trying to farm out a living under the Khmer Rouge?

Music: “I’m Just a Jitterbug” by Chick Webb & Ella Fitzgerald

Charity de Jour: The Chagas Disease Foundation



15 Responses

  1. oh wow. i haven’t listened to the episode yet, but i have a picture on my old phone of one of those water bugs. i wondered what it was. i put a toonie down beside it for reference in the shot. it’s as big as two toonies. and i found it on the ground in chilliwack.

  2. Just ‘cos I’ve been watching the X Files recently there’s also an an episode (series 7, episode 18) called “Brand X” which is about a non-carginogenic strain of tobacco which unfortunately holds lots of tobacco beetles. Kinda relevant. And then there’s the War of the Coprophages (series 3, episode 12) about cockroach infestations, where Mulder meets a very nice young entomologist called Bambi. Quite a funny episode. He also meets a Dr Ivanov, who builds robotic bugs too (reminds me of Rodney Brooks’ stuff at MIT – probably based on it, actually).

    Very interesting show, guys. Amazingly gross and creepy – very Causticy. 🙂

    1. Hey Derek, beetles are of course not hemiptera, but coeloptera. Will we have a beetle episode? Maybe. Will we have a cockroach episode? ABSOLUTELY!

    2. Also, Cockroaches are Blattodea, not Hemiptera. Don’t make me get out my entomological pins 🙂

  3. Great show guys. Very funny!

    I loved the lesser of two evils. I have to agree with the majority and go with the Bukhara bug pit. One of the things that you did not consider is the fact that if you were out in the rice paddies of Cambodia there would be TONS of nasty critters eating you all the time – leeches, foot long centipedes that can paralize a grown man, scorpions, snakes (both poisonous and man-eating constricting kinds), not to mention the mosquitos and deer flies. I’m pretty sure that the Khmer Rouge weren’t big proponents of bug spray or mosquito nets. So, you’d have the work and the creepy crawlies if you went with the Pol Pot farming! I say, lets laze around in the pit ‘o bugs.

  4. Great episode – I’m glad Gavin found some of my suggestions useful – but slight typo – Chagas should be capitalised

  5. Great episode!
    Also, would like to mention, that Ambush Bug is the self proclaimed sidekick of Lobo the last czarnian, whom I believe you mentioned in your Christmas episode

  6. I’m a bit surprised bedbugs were missed out…quite a powerful opportunity missed to give the Soda Jerks some serious heebie-jeebies. Or perhaps given Vancouver’s bedbug problem it would be a bit like laughing at Burn Camp kids…

  7. I though I would post this link to a recent article in the Toronto Star about Chagas’ diesease. According to the headline it might become the new AIDS/HIV.–chagas-disease-the-new-hiv-aids-of-the-americas
    Reading the article it becomes apparent it was the scientist stating that both dieseases have similiar socio-economic patterns and a stigma attached rather than Chagas’ was going to become as wide spread as AIDS/HIV.