Vampire Moths Suck the Blood of Vertebrates, Including Humans


By Kevin Fitzgerald Vampirism — piercing or cutting animal skin to suck or lap up blood — is known throughout the animal kingdom. Mosquitoes come to mind, plus ticks, mites, vampire bats, and the vampire finch of the Galapagos Islands. But … vampire moths? Yes indeed, there are moths that feed on the blood of […]

Study Compares “Natural” Mosquito Repellents to DEET


By Josh Lancette Every summer while preparing for long weekends at our family cabin in the north woods of Minnesota, we’d face the same dilemmas. What food should we bring? Is SPF 50 sunscreen enough protection? And, most importantly, which mosquito repellent should we buy? If we picked the wrong kind, we’d be opening ourselves […]

New Technique May Help Farmers Identify the European Corn Borer


By Ed Ricciuti Farmers who need to control the destructive European corn borer (Ostrinia nubilalis) may soon be able to distinguish it from look-alike species by simply scanning an image of its wing into a computer and pecking a few keys. A technique developed by Polish scientists marks the first time that measurements of key […]

Male Mosquitoes Lured to Traps by Sounds of Female Wing-beats


By Ed Ricciuti Like mariners lured on to the rocks by the siren songs of legend, male mosquitoes have been found to zero in on inexpensive traps that broadcast sound that is similar in frequency to the sound that is produced by the wing-beats of female mosquitoes — a discovery that may lead to better […]

Natural Born Stink Bug Killer Found in Washington State


Since 2007, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has been directing studies of a tiny Asian wasp called Trissolcus japonicus. These wasps are parasitoids of the brown marmorated stink bug (Halyomorpha halys), which has caused millions of dollars in damage to fruit orchards since it was discovered in the U.S. less than two decades ago. Researchers […]

Help Entomologists Digitize Data from Your Own Home


For centuries, scientists exploring and documenting the natural world have sent billions of specimens to museums, universities and field stations. Now, UC Berkeley and other institutions across the globe want to make that information available to the public. From October 22-25, members of the public are invited to participate in the digital data blitz, one […]

Entomologist Phil Torres Makes a Child’s Wish Come True


At the 2014 Annual Meeting of the Entomological Society of America in Portland, there was a special visitor: Bradon Coy, a nine-year-old boy with a rare genetic condition known as Duchenne muscular dystrophy. This condition qualified him to make a wish with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, an organization that grants the wishes of children with life-threatening […]

A Few Genes Allow Some Ants and Bees to Switch Castes


Two insect species from Latin America, the dinosaur ant and the red paper wasp, have been used to uncover the molecular mechanisms underpinning queen and worker roles in social insects. The research by an international team of scientists brings us closer to understanding how genomes are used to generate castes in social evolution. Researchers from […]

Teach a Man to Fish (and some entomology) and You’ll Feed Him for a Lifetime


By Leslie Mertz On a cold August afternoon, Jay Buchner leads three novice fly fishermen — two men and a woman — through a mountain-ringed meadow and to the quickly flowing Granite Creek near Jackson, Wyoming. He studies the rushing water and sees fish rising to the surface in a slightly calmer section on the […]

Caffeine Makes Bees More Likely to Do the Waggle Dance


Researchers have reported that honey bees seem to like caffeine. As a result, plants may be lacing their nectar with caffeine as a way to pass off cheaper goods. “The effect of caffeine is akin to drugging, where the honey bees are tricked into valuing the forage as a higher quality than it really is,” […]