The Mighty Myth of Paper Mites

Paper Mite Facts:

The paper mite is a type of insect which lives inside the walls of your home. They are small insects with two pairs of legs and wings. Their bodies are made up mostly of keratin, or the same material as human hair. These tiny creatures have been known to cause problems when they chew through your wallpaper, eat away at your furniture, or even get into your bed sheets!

These little critters are called “paper bugs” because they like to chew up and suck down paper. When they do so, it causes a slight change in coloration of the paper. They can be found all over the world, but most commonly in Europe and North America. There are many different types of paper mites. Some species prefer certain kinds of materials while others prefer other materials altogether.

Paper Mite Types:

There are several different types of paper mites. Most commonly, there are three types of paper mites that inhabit homes. These include the white blood cell (WBC) paper moth, the brown recluse spider mite, and the black widow spider mite. Each one prefers a specific kind of material and will only feed on that particular type of material.

The WBC paper moth prefers old books, newspapers, and magazines. They can be identified by a white crescent marking on their backs (which gives them their name).

The brown recluse spider mite prefers cloth materials such as clothing and curtains. They are identified by a dark brown violin marking on their bodies.

The black widow spider mite prefers food packaging such as cardboard boxes or plastic bottles. Its body has a dark hourglass marking on it.

All of these mites are found all over the world. Most often, each one prefers a specific material and will only appear in locations where that particular material can be found.

Paper Mite Habits:

Paper mites have several different habits. These habits are often related to the type of material they eat, where they live, and how they hunt for food. Most of them are nocturnal insects which means they are most active at night. They can be found living and breeding in old furniture, bed sheets, dead insects, and even inside of book bindings.

All types of paper mites can fly short distances. This is one of the reasons why they move from one location to another. When a population grows too large in one area, its members will often fly to a different area. They cannot migrate very far though. Most will only fly to another nearby location.

These mites can also travel by hitchhiking in packages or on people. They can survive off of tiny amounts of food and can even go without eating at all for several months. This is a useful trait that allows them to hide inside of packages and then eat through the packaging when the package is opened. This allows them to spread all over the world very quickly!

Habitat:

Paper mites in general prefer warm and dry places. Most often, they can be found living in old and abandoned buildings. They also like to nest in places that contain lots of paper such as libraries or bookstores. Many times they will nest inside of old books, underneath loose floorboards, and even inside of old furniture.

Diet:

Paper mites are carnivorous insects but most often get their nourishment from paper based foods. Most commonly they eat dead insects, old food products, and even dried plants. Their saliva contains several types of digestive juices that break down these foods so that the mites can suck up the nutrients.

Mating Habits:

Paper mites are prodigious breeders and can produce several hundred eggs at a time. A female paper mite can lay between 40 to 50 eggs every couple of days during the spring and summer months. Most of these eggs will hatch within a week or less depending on temperature and humidity levels.

These newly hatched paper mites are all wingless and will undergo several molts before they reach adulthood. Molting refers to the process where an insect will shed its skin to allow for growth.

An adult paper mite has several characteristics that make it easy to identify. It has six legs, long antennae, and oval shaped eyes. It is also very tiny, roughly the size of a comma in printed text. Despite their small size, they can be seen by the naked eye if looked for carefully.

These insects can live for up to a year and are often found living in large groups or colonies. The queen of the colony is identifiable by her large body size and the number of eggs she can produce.

Paper mites get the majority of their moisture from the foods that they eat. On occasion though, they will find a damp or wet area where they can drink liquids.

4) Beetle

General Information:

Beetles are insects that have very hard outer shells called an exoskeleton. Their front pair of wings is covered with a thick plate like skin while the hind pair is thinner and more flexible.

These insects can be found all over the world and come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. From tiny beetles barely visible to the human eye to giant scarab type beetles that can be up to a foot long.

Beetles live just about everywhere on the planet. They are one of the most successful insect groups and can even be found living in trees. Some species even have special adaptations that allow them to survive under water for hours at a time!

Though they come in different sizes and shapes, most adult beetles have a common feature. They all have a pair of horn like projections on their heads. The purpose of these horns is to fend off other insects or animals that might try to eat them.

Beetles as a group are omnivorous, which means they eat both meat and plant matter. Some species are even carnivorous, which means they rely strictly on animal flesh for food.

Most adult beetles don’t have extensive defense mechanisms. The worst they can do is bite you with their mouth parts. Though their bite may be irritating to your skin, it won’t usually break it.

Some types of beetles however have evolved different defenses. Many types will squirt a noxious fluid from their bodies when threatened. Others have ornate patterns on their wings that act as a type of camouflage.

Beetles undergo complete metamorphosis, meaning that they have four stages to their life cycles. From egg to larvae to pupa to adult. Most species of beetles bury their eggs in the ground where they will eventually hatch. Their larvae are grub like insects that are mostly active during the day time. As they grow, they enter a stage called a pupa.

During their pupa stage they become inactive and take on a different appearance than their adult selves.

5) Wasp

General Information:

Wasps are a common insect found all over the world. Like bees, they belong to the insect order known as Hymenoptera which means “veil wing”. This is due to the bristle-like wings that cover the front pair of wings. These wings are so thin and translucent that they are almost invisible to the human eye. Most wasps have yellow and black stripes or bands and a very painful sting.

There are a few different types of wasps you may encounter in Rask. The most common type is the native species known as the Northern Paper Wasp. It resembles other types of social wasps that create nests out of chewed up woody material mixed with saliva, but it’s completely unrelated to them. In fact, it’s more closely related to the honey bee and gets its name from the papery texture of its nest.

Paper Wasps are usually black and yellow in color with reddish legs. They have a painful sting that can cause an allergic reaction in some people.

It is very important that you do not disturb their nest as the female wasps will become aggressive to whoever is nearby. If the nest is disturbed often, the wasps will continue to attack any nearby creature until the threat is gone.

Another type of wasp you might encounter are the Common Ground Wasp. These are generally smaller and darker than Northern Paper Wasps. They do not have as potent a sting and don’t usually attack unless their nest is disturbed.

A final type of wasp you may find in Rask are the Mining Wasp. These are generally smaller than the other types and are black with yellow stripes. They have a very painful sting that can cause an allergic reaction to some. These wasps tend to burrow underground and build their nests there, hence the name.

Uses:

Wasps have little use to people as they tend to attack relentlessly. Some farmers will keep them around to get rid of tree rats that might ruin crops. They are also used by hunters in some areas as prey for their pets, this is a very risky occupation however.

Habitat:

Paper Wasps make their homes in colonies usually within trees though they will sometimes make their homes within the abandoned properties of human settlements. These homes are made of chewed up wood, plant fibers and saliva.

Diet:

Paper Wasps are carnivores and generally feed on whatever prey they can catch which is usually other insects. The larger the wasp, the stronger the prey they can kill.

Additional Information:

Paper Wasps create their nests out of chewed up wood and saliva, this “paper” is then shaped into a ball and used to build the nest around. The saliva helps the paper keep its shape and hardens when exposed to the air.

4) Tick

General Information:

Ticks are small parasites that are very common in Rask. They usually live on the bodies of larger animals such as wolves, bears and giants among others. They are known for spreading disease among the animals they live on.

There are three types of tick found in Rask. The first and most common is the Common Wood Tick, which tends to live on wood animals such as deer and elk. They attach themselves to the host and generally feed on blood for several days before moving on to another host.

The other two types are the Tundra Tick and the Meadow Tick. All three thrive in different climates. Meadow ticks prefer to live on grazing animals such as goats and sheep while Tundra ticks prefer to live on creatures such as rabbits and foxes.

All ticks have a six-stage life cycle: egg, larva, nymph, protonymph, deutonymph, and adult. The deutonymph and adult stages are the only ones that actually feed on blood, the other stages are not capable of this. All ticks go through a gender-specific mating dance before being able to reproduce, something that is not necessary for the hosts of the ticks. All ticks can only feed on one host for their entire lives.

Ticks are not generally aggressive, but if threatened they will raise their front two legs and open their mouths in an attempt to look dangerous, though this usually just makes them look cute.

Description:

Ticks can be found on any part of a host’s body, though they are usually located somewhere easily reachable such as the head or limbs. All types of tick have six legs and a round body covered in short fur which is usually the same color as the hosts’ primary fur color. The eyes are small and black with no visible iris or pupil.

All types of tick have a large number of young. A female tick can produce over a thousand young in her lifetime, made possible by the fact that each individual tick stage can produce several eggs.

Ticks are not known to be intelligent creatures, but they do communicate with each other in loud, high-pitched voices and are able to work together when necessary. Tick society is tribal in nature with each tribe having its own hunting and feeding ground. Any trespasser of another tribe is treated as prey.

The relationship between ticks and their hosts is somewhat complex. Ticks feed on blood, but they do not generally kill their hosts. It is believed that they actually get most of their nutrition from eating the host’s flesh, which is why they are often found on parts of the body where skin has been lost or where fur does not grow.

Ticks are usually drawn to hosts because of they emit a certain smell. This smell is released through the pores of the skin and is different for every creature. Human’s have not been able to determine exactly what this smell is, though it is thought to be composed of several different chemicals that all combine to produce an odor that ticks find very appealing.

Ticks will also feed on dead or dying creatures, though this isn’t preferred by the tick. If no suitable host is found, ticks will actually be driven to cannibalism, however this only happens if there are no other food sources around, such as dead or dying creatures or vegetation.

Despite the fact that ticks feed on blood, they are not parasitic in nature. Ticks do not suck blood in the same way that a leech does. Ticks inject a large number of tiny teeth into the skin with a poison that deadens the skin and flesh around it. The entire tick then grinds its way through the skin with the teeth and slurps up the blood like a leech. This means that the host does not suffer from blood loss and enjoys a quick recovery time, but it also means that ticks usually have to eat on a regular basis if they want to survive.

Habitat:

Ticks live in areas with a large number of hosts. Forests, plains and grasslands are ideal. They can also be found in the mountains but only if there is a large number of goats, cattle or other livestock for them to feed on when they wander down from the slopes.

Ticks are most common in rural areas such as the Tulan kingdom, but they have been found as far south as the Garwold Confederacy and as far north as the Rask frontier. They have even been found on ships, crawling across the underside of boats that have stopped at ports for long periods of time.

Diet:

Ticks are strictly carnivorous. They only eat flesh, with a preference for blood.

Intelligence:

Ticks are not known to be intelligent creatures and will attack anything that has the right smell. They are, however, able to communicate with each other and work as a team when hunting. The “leader” of a tick pack emits a certain pheromone that causes the others to follow it. If the leader is killed, then the most aggressive creature becomes the new leader.

Attacks:

Ticks attack by burrowing into the skin of their prey with large numbers of tiny teeth that break the skin. They then begin to suck out the hosts blood.

The tick dies after it has sucked out enough blood from the host.

If ingested by a large enough quantity, ticks can also inject a poison that causes massive allergic reactions in some people. These people usually die as their body begins to shut down. Antidotes do exist, but most physicians do not keep them on hand and must be ordered before hand. They cost a small fortune and are known to cause extreme nausea, dizziness and long bouts of diarrhea.

Sources & references used in this article:

Chinese mythology: an introduction by MR Berenbaum – 1996 – Basic Books

Creation myths of the world: An encyclopedia by A Birrell – 1999 – books.google.com

Madame Blavatsky: The woman behind the myth by DA Leeming – 2010 – books.google.com

Sheep, Scab Mites, and Society: The Process and Politics of Veterinary Knowledge in Lesotho, Southern Africa, c. 1900–1933 by M Meade – 2014 – books.google.com

Myth, symbol, and colonial encounter by CR Conz – Environment and History, 2020 – ingentaconnect.com

Bugs in the Garden Teaching “The Bible as Literature” in Oklahoma by J Reid – 1995 – library.oapen.org

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS OF ORIENTAL MYTHOLOGY by JG Catlin – Christianity & Literature, 1982 – journals.sagepub.com