Bison Grazing Increases Arthropod Diversity and Abundance in Tallgrass Prairie


American bison are big. They can weigh as much as 2,000 pounds and they eat a lot — so much in fact that they can change the ecosystems where they graze. Dr. Matthew D. Moran, a professor at Hendrix College, decided to find out how bison grazing affects insects and other arthropods at the Tallgrass […]

NEXRAD Radar Can Track Insect Pest Migrations


A couple of weeks ago, the U.S. National Weather Service posted satellite photos of large clouds of monarch butterflies to their Facebook page. Now scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture are also using radar, but this time they’re employing it to track the spread of bollworms (Helicoverpa zea), which cost cotton producers $200 million […]

Add Sunspots to the List of Possible Causes of Honey Bee Colony Collapse Disorder


In 2006 a phenomenon called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) emerged. Beekeepers and scientists noticed that large numbers of adult honey bees were leaving their hives and failing to return, which had large implications for farmers and growers who use honey bees as pollinators. To this day, scientists are unable to identify any single cause for […]

National Weather Service Predicts Strong Chances of Monarch Butterflies


Last week the U.S. National Weather Service posted satellite photos to their Facebook page of large clouds over the St. Louis area, which they identified as monarch butterflies. “High differential reflectivity values as well as low correlation coefficient values indicate these are most likely biological targets,” they wrote about the clouds. “High differential reflectivity indicates […]

Entomovectoring Uses Bees to Fight Fungus with Fungus


A disease called brown rot, which is caused by a fungus, costs the Australian cherry industry $150 million per year. To combat the disease, University of Adelaide researchers are trying a method called “entomovectoring,” which uses bees to deliver spores of a parasitic fungus to prevent the fungus that causes the brown rot from colonizing […]

Fear Factor May Offset Insect Growth Caused by Climate Change


Previous studies have shown that warming temperatures make insects eat more and grow faster. In fact, scientists often measure the effects of temperature on insect growth to predict how climate change will affect their distribution and abundance. However, a new study from Dartmouth College indicates that other factors — in this case, fear — play […]

Plant Compounds that Smell like Cut Grass Attract Parasitic Wasps for Protection


The smell of cut grass in recent years has been identified as the plant’s way of signalling distress, but the aroma also summons beneficial insects to the rescue. “When there is need for protection, the plant signals the environment via the emission of volatile organic compounds, which are recognized as a feeding queue for parasitic […]

New Species of “Gargoyle Beetle” Named for LSU Professor Dorothy Prowell


Entomologists from Louisiana State University have described two new species of staphylinid beetles in the genus Batrisodes, bringing the total diversity of the genus in North America to 88 species. The first, Batrisodes dorothae, was found in the Feliciana Preserve in Lousiana. The second, Batrisodes spretoides, was found in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park […]

Desert-Dwelling Entomologists Visit the Rainforest in Belize


By Helen Vessels and Danielle Lara The chance to explore the vast biodiversity of a tropical rainforest is a rare opportunity for New Mexico State University students in the desert Southwest. This spring, the much anticipated Tropical Insect Ecology course, taught by Professor Scott Bundy, became available for a select group of students. A 10-day […]

Hollywood is for the Bugs

Actor Taran Killam psyching himself up to be covered in flies while making the movie Brothers in Law.

Sometimes as The Bug Chicks, we get asked to help film producers deal with live insects on shoots. We’ve helped kids handle insects for an Intel commercial, and last week we were on the set of an upcoming Hollywood movie with some cast members from Saturday Night Live. The experience was wonderful and unexpectedly bug-tastic. […]