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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Eating you out of house and home: A close-up look at the creepy crawlies that lurk in your cupboards, carpet and clothing


A bug's life: 'Macro' photographer Stephen Gschmeissner used a scanning electron micrograph to create this 3D image of a common furniture beetle emerging from a wooden hole

You know they're there when holes appear in your favourite woolly jumper.

But you don't often get a close-up look at the millions of creepy crawlies that lurk in your wardrobes, nest in your carpet and scoff through your food.

These 150-times zoomed 3D photographs show the insects that are rife throughout your house during the summer months.

Uncovered: This worker termite feeds on wood, paper wood and carpet

Retired scientist and specialist up-close, or 'macro' photographer, Stephen Gschmeissner, 62, from Bedford turned a £100,000 electron microscope onto the bugs to create an incredible photo-tour of our own homes.

'I wanted to show people the insects they are living with everyday,' he said.

'These range from creatures that can literally bring your house down, like woodworm and termites - nuisances like book worm and beetles that get under the wallpaper.

In the floor: Carpet beetle larvae are a significant pest, feeding on animal materials including fur, feathers, hair and leather

'People just don't realise what's going on under the covers of their beds, in the carpets underfoot and inside the wardrobe.

'We can't see the little creatures so it's not on our minds - until the damage is done.'

Mr Gschmeissner wanted to take 3D images of the insects he had to use a very special method.

'The equipment is called a scanning electron microscope and it builds up 3D image using electrons not light,' he said.

'Electrons are tiny electrically charged particles that rotate around the atoms that make up everything we can see and touch.

Watch what you eat: The German cockroach contaminates food and also feeds on toothpaste and books

Lock-up your jumpers: This clothes moth feeds on cotton and wool, destroying valuable garments

Lunchtime: An French book damaged by Order Isoptera termites which feed on wood and paper and can cause considerable damage to buildings and possessions

Experts recommend keeping houses and clothes clean and treating wood with varnish to reduce insect infestation - but it is impossible to completely eliminate them.

source: dailymail


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