(Music comes up)
(Cut to: Painting of a sunset, but the sun has a face that is smiling in menace at the sailboat
directly beneath it. Words 'we're back' are in the upper right hand corner at 45 degrees)
(Cut to: Jane at desk, looking over at orchestra and bobbing her head. Looks back to camera.)
Jane (as applause is given for the band as the music fades): Welcome back. Now, our next guest
is from Florida. He's a entomologist who works for the government. Now, for those who don't
know, an entomologist is someone who specializes in insects. (Looks over at Daria) Right?
Daria (looking slightly out of sorts): Um, yeah. Insects.
Jane: He's been kind enough to come in for us and bring in some samples of the wild variety of
insect life we've got roaming around with us on this ol' rock we call home. Let's give a round of
applause for Mr. Richard Lobinske!
(Theme to 'The Fly' plays)
(Curtain opens and Richard Lobinske steps out. He is fortyish with a medium build, brown hair
long enough to reach the bottom of his shoulder blades and is wearing medium-sized gunmetal-colored glasses. He has on tan slacks, brown boots and a short-sleeved blue Oxford shirt. In his
hand is a box with clear panels on all sides. Jane greets him and motions to the chair. He sets
the box on the corner of the desk and sits after shaking hands with Daria. A buzzing noise can be
heard from the box.)
Jane: Hi. Welcome to Lawndale.
Richard: Thanks. You know, from what your people told me I was expecting something out of
'Dawn of the Dead.' Doesn't seem that bad. Although, (he looks confused) there was this one
guy who was just bouncing this ball on the sidewalk.
Jane: Yeah, he use to do it closer to downtown, but they moved him out by the new hotel for the
tourists. Now, (looks at box) you brought us some of the cream of the insect crop to observe?
Richard: Well, I don't know if you'd consider these to be the 'cream of the crop' but I thought I'd
start off with something simple.
Jane: Looks like a box of mosquitos.
Richard (nodding): Yep. I'm from Florida so it seemed apt.
Jane: I didn't realize they made so much noise. (Looks up at the boom mike.) Bring that down
(Mike lowers in to shot and the buzzing sound gets much louder.)
Jane (Looks out at audience): That's what it's sounding like up here without the mics. (Mike
raises up as Jane continues to look.) That's cool, in a 'oh god if they get out I'm dinner' kind of
Richard: Oh, it'd take a lot more than this to drain you dry.
Daria (looking slightly nervous): But only one can spread diseases.
Richard (glancing over and smiling at her): Quite true. (Turns back to Jane) Of course, we've
tested these before using them for display purposes.
Jane: So they're clean?
Richard: Nope. (When Jane looks up in shock he smiles) Didn't give them a bath. They aren't
carrying any diseases, though.
Jane (Looks annoyed at audience as they laugh then leans forward): Great, that got more laughs
than the entire monolog. (Leans back as audience laughs some more.) You know, we could have
left you out in the rain. (Looks back to mosquitos.) Now, haven't these things been around
Richard: About 170 million years, we think.
(Cut to: Close up on box. Individual mosquitos can be seen moving but no real details can be
Richard: But the oldest fossils are 144 to 165 million years old. There are a lot of different kinds,
but these are Asian Tiger Mosquitos. They came to the U.S. in 1985 and are sometimes called
the 'tire mosquito' because they can breed rather well in old car tires.
Jane: Oh, you mean the ones left in heaps at junk yards?
Richard: Not only that but in back yards as well. Any place where there's standing water is a
breeding ground for mosquitos.
Jane: They carry diseases, as we mentioned earlier.
Richard: Yep. But you know not all mosquitos even bite for blood. The Toxorhynchites, or
'mosquito hawk' is one of the few types that doesn't suck blood at all. They eat nectar and other
natural carbohydrates. In fact they've been used for controlling other types of mosquitos because
their larva prey on the larvae of other mosquitoes.
Daria: Sounds like a nice thing to have around.
Richard: Certain kinds of fish love mosquito larvae. Dragonflies are also wonderful predators for
Jane: So we've got a box of 170 year old mosquitos. (Smiles) I'm impressed with their longevity
but I still don't want them in my yard.
Richard: Well, they're from Florida so it sounded like a good idea. (Takes box and stands) I've
got something here, though, that should prove more unusual.
(Walks to curtain and hands box to someone backstage then takes another box before returning to
Richard: Here we have Pheropsophus verticalis, or the Australian Bombardier Beetle.
Jane: That's one big bug. Almost as big as some of the roaches we had at BFAC. (Waves at
camera) Get in close to this thing.
(Camera zooms in to show an orange and black beetle. It is moving around the transparent case,
but seems calm.)
Jane: That is so ugly it's cool. Wouldn't you say, Daria?
Daria (looking very uncomfortable): I don't know, I'm too far away. Well, actually, since I can
still see it's moving I don't think I'm far enough away.
Jane (waving a hand): Come on, Daria, tell me what you think.
Daria: I think I'm going to go looking for a new job if you try to get me anywhere near that bug.
(Scowls at audience when they laugh) You know what bombardier beetles do?
Jane: Drop crap on you from trees?
Daria: No, they fire chemicals at you.
Richard: Very good, Daria. Yes, Jane, that's exactly what they do. These beetles store
hydroquinone and hydrogen peroxide in their bodies, then mix them when they feel threatened.
They undergo a reaction that takes them to boiling and then shoots it out with a loud popping
Daria: Chemical warfare in a shell.
Richard: How'd you learn about them?
Daria: We had them in Texas and two idi, uh, I mean, two of my classmates tried to keep one as a
pet until it sprayed them.
Richard: Were they okay?
Daria: No, but it had nothing to do with the beetle.
Jane: How big do these get?
Richard: This one is just under half an inch long. They can up to three-quarters of an inch.
(Cut to Daria, who shivers and looks just slightly green.)
Jane: So they shoot this stuff out at their attackers?
Richard: Oh yeah. A lot of the time the noise itself will scare them off, but it's strong enough to
kill an insect and it can give you a nasty burn. Imagine a cat or dog who decides the beetle looks
like fun to play with getting a shot of this on its paw.
Jane: Doesn't sound like too much fun to me.
Richard: It's not. Hurts like you wouldn't believe.
Jane: One of them ever get you?
Richard: No, but an Australian friend of mine showed me the burn he got from one while it was
still fresh and it was ugly.
Jane (lightly tapping the case): This thing won't melt if it --
(There is a loud 'Pop" and smoke appears in the cage and comes out the air holes in the top
Jane (Starts coughing and waving her hand): Oh that stinks!
Richard: Part of the plan. As for your question, no, it won't melt.
Daria: Doesn't mean our noses won't, though.
Jane (nods): Yeah. (Looks at camera) We're going to take a quick time-out then be right back
with something that, hopefully, won't explode!
(Cut to commercial)