Is It a Honeybee? Is It a Bumble Bee? No, It’s a Carpenter Bee

Nature
Many people love Summer, perhaps with certain reservations: excessive heat and humidity, mosquitoes, snakes, ticks chiggers, hurricanes, power outages, and certain bees. What kind of bees? Well, they're not sure altogether. There are honeybees – they're OK. Wasps and hornets are not beloved. Yellow Jackets are a no-no. Bumble bees are usually not too much of a problem, even though they can sting. Yet there is a kind of "bumble bee" or perhaps a look-alike that does not sting. In fact, it seems downright friendly! The only problem with these guys is they drill holes – the most perfect holes – in wood. Once in, they build tunnels. This also is a no-no. They're Carpenter Bees These hole-drilling bees are carpenter bees. No one wants holes in their outbuildings. If…
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Spring Webworms, Fall Webworms – What’s the Difference?

Biology, Nature
[caption id="attachment_26380" align="alignright" width="480"] Fall web worms in nest.[/caption]You've seen or heard of webworms? Well, there are Spring webworms and there are Fall webworms. What's the difference? In some people's minds, there is no difference. Let's illustrate why that is by comparing it to the world of crime. When someone perpetrates a series of crimes, TV police closely consider the "Perp's" modus operandi, or method of operation. This is of some value in understanding the thinking of the criminal so they can better identify him or perhaps anticipate his next victim. Another person might choose to commit a crime using the same modus operandi so his crime will be blamed on the serial criminal. That way he, this other person, will not be held accountable for the crime he committed.…
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The Chemical Structure of the Anti-Fungal Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate

Chemistry, Health
Ever purchased wipes or some other product that was labeled hypoallergenic? Why did the label say that? Hypoallergenic is defined as: relatively unlikely to cause an allergic reaction. So all the ingredients in such a product must have a well-established safety record. Even if a few individuals experience difficulty, it would be mild, perhaps superficial. There is a compound that, despite being hypoallergenic, fights mold successfully. Its name? Iodopropynyl butylcarbamate. The achieved objective requires only a very slight amount of IPBC. Effective at minimal concentrations and water-soluble, IPBC is a cost-effective anti-fungal preservative. A Closer Look at IPBC Notice the chemical structure of iodopropynyl butylcarbamate in the illustration. The portion of the molecule encircled by green is the carbamate portion of the molecule. It is a derivative of carbamic acid…
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Odor Chemistry: Lady Beetle Vs. Marmorated Stink Bug

Chemistry, Nature
It was the ol' one-two. First we were attacked by Asian Lady Bird Beetles, Harmonia axyridis, then the brown marmorated stink bug, Halyomorpha halys. The Lady Bird Beetles were detected first in Louisiana in 1988. Close on its heels, the Stink bugs were detected in Pennsylvania in 1996. Both exude horrible odors when provoked or crushed, though the constituent chemicals are entirely different. Stink Bug Chemistry The stench of the Stink Bug is actually rather simple, as far as stenches go. Two organic compounds, each a "first cousin" of the other, are the culprits: trans-2-octenal and trans-2-decenal (see image). These two compounds are classified as both aldehydes (-CHO) and alkenes (-C=C-). Let's first examine how they are named. Notice both compounds have a straight chain or backbone of carbon atoms…
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In Simple Terms: The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle

Nature, Physics
[caption id="attachment_26306" align="alignright" width="480"] L to R: Niels Bohr, Werner Heisenberg, Wolfgang Pauli[/caption]Werner Heisenberg (1901-1976) was yet another bright German physicist. He was a "founder" of quantum mechanics, the physics of the subatomic. As with astrophysics, behavior at this level appears to vary from the physics of the everyday world. A Brief Description The velocity of an auto of mass m can be measured accurately. If its velocity remains constant, its location over time is predictable. This is the norm according to ordinary human experience. Yet, at submicroscopic levels, physicists experienced something different. For certain measurements, various pairs of variables could not both be accurately known simultaneously. Simultaneous measurement is only precise to a point. These pairs of variables are termed conjugate variables. The Standard Example The simplest example is…
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Woodward cis-Hydroxylation Reaction

Chemistry, Medicine
Silver acetate, in combination with iodine, forms the initial reactant package for the Woodward reaction. This reaction, carried to completion, selectively converts an alkene into a cis-diol. The prefix cis- refers to the addition of two atoms (or groups of atoms) to the same side of a molecular double bond. Trans-, when used, refers to addition across the double bond – of one atom or group to one side, one to the other side. The Mechanism The mechanism is illustrated in the image (below) up to the point of hydrolysis. The product of that hydrolysis is pictured in the introductory image. We see, first, the iodine splits, the I atom adding to the double bond. In the next part of the reaction, the silver atom attaches to the iodine, and…
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How Does Bleach Bleach? What Removes the Color?

Chemistry
When doing the laundry, we ask, what temperature should the water be, how much detergent should I use, will I need fabric softener, will I need bleach? If I use bleach, should I use chlorine bleach or should I use oxygen bleach? Kinds of Bleach There are two kinds of bleach, based on needed strength and fabric sensitivity. Chlorine bleach, historically the older and stronger variety, is based on sodium or calcium hypochlorite, NaOCl or CaOCl. One name brand of laundry bleach is Clorox®. It contains 5.25% NaOCl. How does chlorine bleach remove color? In order to understand that, we need first to ask, what is the chemistry behind the colors used in fabrics? Color in Fabrics When we think of colors applied to fabrics, the chemist usually thinks of…
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Tetrahydrofuran or Diethyl Ether – Which to Use?

Chemistry
Tetrahydrofuran (C4H8O) is a heterocyclic hydrocarbon. One of the carbon atoms of a cyclopentane ring (along with its two hydrogen atoms) is replaced by an atom of oxygen. THF is an ether. It's frequently used for its solvent properties. In certain organometallic reactions, tetrahydrofuran replaces all or part of the standard solvent diethyl ether, (C2H5-O-C2H5), written in chemists' shorthand Et-O-Et. Tetrahydrofuran Vs. Diethyl Ether Although THF is essentially diethyl ether gone cyclic, its physical properties differ somewhat. A prime example of that relates to hydrogen bonding. Although both molecules possess an electron-rich oxygen atom, in THF, the oxygen is openly exposed. The ring can twist, but that's about it. The hydrocarbon portions of ethyl ether¹ have much greater freedom of motion. They can sweep around, making hydrogen bonding easier to…
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Organic Ozonides – How They Form, How They React

Chemistry
As you might guess, organic ozonides are derived from ozone. So let's first consider the nature of ozone. The ozone molecule is bent and unstable. It is thus polarized and quick to react with unsaturated molecules, notably alkenes. The image illustrates the result. What, however, is the mechanism producing the result in a typical case?¹ Initially, all three oxygen molecules add to the alkene on the same side of what was previously a double bond. This structure, however, is a transient intermediate, which rearranges to form the ozonide structure. Ozonides are relatively stable. However, they can be readily split to yield a pair of carbonyl compounds. Organic Ozonides in Synthesis Some ozonides are explosive, so they are seldom isolated. However, ozonides can be made to undergo a number of useful…
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Perfluorooctanesulfonates – Beneficial, Yet Pervasive, Problematic

Health, Technology
Perflurooctanesulfonates or PFOs are simple compounds, not found in nature. They are derivatives of perfluorooctanesulfonic acid. Their chemical structure includes atoms of carbon, fluorine, sulfur, and oxygen. Various ways of writing the acid's formula are seen in the illustration, top to bottom – the simplest to the most complex, followed by a ball-and-stick model. Commercial Sales Search for the acid online, and you will find it. It can be purchased as the free acid. However, it is also sold in compound form, such as the tetramethylammonium or tetraethylammonium salts. Useful? There's no question these substances are useful. Consider this... The structure of this acid is not unlike the chemical structure of Teflon®. Teflon is slippery stuff. Teflon, however, is a solid. What if a similar, only soluble, substance could be…
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