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1. Did you know: that insects have feelings?

Well, according to a study recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (and reported by Discovery News), the creepy crawlies are “conscious and egocentric.” No one actually interviewed bugs to determine this, but the researchers base their conclusions on neuroimaging that “suggests insects are fully hardwired for both consciousness and egocentric behavior.” That is not to say “egotistic,” mind you.

And did you know that flies fear fly swatters? Yeah, well, they should. Another study, this one published in the journal Current Biology, attempted to determine whether flies that flee a stimulus are actually afraid or just, y’know, flying. Here’s Discovery again: “Gibson and his team enclosed flies in an arena where the buzzing insects were exposed repeatedly to an overhead shadow. The flies looked startled and, if flying, increased their speed. Occasionally the flies froze in place, a defensive behavior also observed in the fear responses of rodents.”

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2. Did you know: that the beech blight aphid (Grylloprociphilus imbricator) is the Sally Rand of the insect world?

This prolific pest of Fagus sylvatica tends to settle en masse onto the limbs an unfortunate beech, where it’ll suck out the sap and leave tell-tale honeydew, causing more aesthetic than existential harm to the tree. However, if a colony senses a threat, the young will raise their fuzzy rear ends in unison and execute a waggling, fan-dance performance intended to intimidate perceived prey. More likely, said “prey” just falls down laughing— this is, unless it gets too close, at which point the dancing darlings will sting. Check out the videos at the link below.

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3. Did you know: that the Tiny House Movement is growing?

Well, wait a sec: What we mean is, the desire for living in a tiny house is reported to be growing, not the structures themselves. Anyway, the appeal of living in a house that measures between 100 and 400 square feet (seriously?) has to do with environmental and financial concerns, and, we guess, the ability to hook it up to the Subaru and get out of town on a moment’s notice. Reliable statistics, however, are pretty hard to find, with one source stating that less than 1 percent of homes purchased are 1,000 square feet or less, and “tiny houses are hard to track down since many don’t require the same building permits as a larger home.” So: If this is, indeed, the wave of the future, what does that say for the commercial horticulture industry?

Do we downsize and turn to producing fairy garden plants?

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4. Did you know: that ancient Druids used ferns in magic spells?

Yup. They believed the plant could confer invisibility. It’s not clear whether they themselves wanted to disappear, or if they were considering use of the fern on pesky in-laws. And apparently modern Druids (who?) still believe this, sort of. It’s said they might use a fern “if they were wishing to pass unnoticed through a hostile crowd.” Huh. Wouldn’t the hostile crowd just steal the fern?

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