Some Wasps Developed Better Vision to Recognize other Wasps’ Faces

polistes-alex

In 2011, Elizabeth Tibbetts and Michael Sheehan published a study in the journal Science on how some paper wasps learn and recognize the colorful facial patterns of other wasps in the colony, just as humans recognize others people’s faces. Now they have published new research in the journal Biology Letters that shows that some paper […]

Oklahoma is More than OK for Burying Beetles

bug-chicks-feature

By Kristie Reddick and Jessica Honaker (The Bug Chicks) Last September, we drove across America filming arthropods for our new web series, The Bug Chicks: Sofa Safari. We visited ten locations across the country, spanning a wide range in habitats, ecosystems, and climates. Before we left, we predicted which stops would have the best filming […]

Plant Breeders Release Alfalfa that’s Resistant to Snout Beetles

alfalfa-snout-beetle

The alfalfa snout beetle (Otiorhynchus ligustici) has been ravaging alfalfa fields in nine northern New York counties and across the St. Lawrence River in Canada, and the pesky beetle has been spreading. The snout beetle’s larvae feed on and damage the alfalfa plant’s roots, limiting yields for this major livestock feed. To combat the pest, […]

Scientists have Produced the First Complete Genome Sequence of the Tsetse Fly

The tsetse fly is a strange and fascinating creature in the insect world. It feeds exclusively on the blood of humans and animals, and instead of laying eggs, it gives birth to live young and provides nutrition to them through lactation — something that is normally associated with mammals, not insects. However, the fly is […]

Black Widow Spider Males Prefer Well-fed Virgin Females

Latrodectus-Hesperus

New research published in the journal Animal Behaviour shows that male black widow spiders prefer their female mates to be well-fed virgins — a rare example of mate preference by male spiders. The study, authored by Emily MacLeod, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Toronto Scarborough, and Maydianne Andrade, a professor in UTSC’s Department […]

100-Million-Year-Old Assassin Fly Found in Ancient Amber

assassin-fly

Torsten Dikow, a research scientist at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, has discovered a new species of assassin fly in amber that is 100 million years old. The new fly, Burmapogon bruckschi, is described in an article in the journal American Museum Novitates. “The transparency of these amber fossils gives researchers a […]

X-rays Can be Used to Sterilize Mosquitoes

CDC-Aedes-albopictus

Since the 1950s, scientists have used radiation to sterilize insects, which are then released into the wild to mate, but no offspring are produced. Known as the sterile insect technique (SIT), this insect-control method has traditionally relied on gamma rays to sterilize the insects. However, due to concerns about terrorism, gamma-ray irradiators have become increasingly […]

New Device Detects Malaria Cheaply and Accurately

mosquito-device

Malaria researchers at Case Western University have developed a portable malaria detector called the Rapid Assessment of Malaria device, or “RAM” for short, that uses lasers and magnets to detect malaria. Malaria parasites release iron into the blood. When a blood sample is inserted into the device, the lasers and magnets can show whether iron […]

Stink Bug Rearing Technique Could Lead to Control Strategies

bmsb1-eggs-nymphs

Researchers at North Carolina A&T State University have found a successful rearing method for brown marmorated stink bugs (Halyomorpha halys), which could be used to develop a reliable supply of the bugs for research. Drs. Beatrice Dingha and Louis Jackai have developed a laboratory rearing method that has successfully produced five generations of brown marmorated […]

New Zealand Farmers use Moths and Beetles to Fight Weeds

ragwort

The Horizons Regional Council, a government agency in New Zealand, has recently described a successful example of biological control, which involves the reduction of a pest by using a natural enemy instead of pesticides. A weed called ragwort (Senecio jacobaeae) competes with plants in pastures and contains alkaloids that are toxic to livestock. In order […]