How do Varroa Mites Know when to Leave Honey Bee Hives? It’s all in the Bees’ Wax

Although they are really tiny, the Varroa mite has the potential to bring large parts of western agriculture to its knees by infesting and destroying honey bee hives. Varroa mites are the “single most detrimental pest of honey bees,” according to the USDA National Honey Bee Health Stakeholder Conference Steering Committee. In addition to attaching […]

Invasive Grass Species is Good for Wolf Spiders, but Bad for Toads

An invasive grass species frequently found in forests has created a thriving habitat for wolf spiders, who then feed on American toads, a new University of Georgia study has found. Japanese stiltgrass, which was accidentally introduced to the U.S. in the early 1900s, is one of the most pervasive invasive species and has spread to […]

Museum Specimens Show How Scale Insects Will Respond To Climate Change

A few months ago, leaders of the Systematics, Evolution, and Biodiversity Section of the Entomological Society of America issued a statement in support of museum collections that house whole biological specimens, as opposed to ones that only feature high-resolution photographs and audio recordings, as some had recommended. Now researchers from North Carolina State University have […]

Photo Slices Provide Detailed Images of Tiny Wasps for Biocontrol Efforts

Using specialized digital photography methods, USDA scientists are producing high-resolution images of members of the wasp superfamily Platygastroidea. According to Elijah Talamas, a postdoctoral scientist with the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS), the photographic process begins with positioning a wasp specimen under a specialized camera with a single-column lens attached to a vertical joist, and […]

Study Finds Honey Bees Originated from Asia, not Africa

In a study published in Nature Genetics, researchers from Uppsala University present the first global analysis of genome variation in honey bees. The findings show a surprisingly high level of genetic diversity in honey bees, and indicate that the species most probably originates from Asia, and not from Africa as previously thought. “The evolutionary tree […]