New Wasp Species Discovered Parasitizing Pests of Pine Trees

Baryscapus dioryctriae is a new species of wasp that parasitizes two moths of the genus Dioryctria, a pest of pine trees in China. (Photo credit: Li-Wen Song, et al)

By Josh Lancette A new parasitoid wasp species, named Baryscapus dioryctriae, has been discovered in China. The new species is known to parasitize larvae of two species of Dioryctria, which are serious pests of pine trees, and was found during a survey looking for natural enemies of Dioryctria pryeri and D. abietella. This finding, published […]

You’ve Got Ants: New 10-Minute Test Kit Detects Red Imported Fire Ants

red imported fire ant

The red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) is an invasive species from South America that is damaging to agriculture and wildlife and known for its painful, venomous sting. That venom, however, is now a promising tool for entomological researchers in fighting back against S. invicta and limiting its spread. Throughout the southeastern United States, shipments […]

Could a Large-Scale Zika Outbreak Occur in the United States?

water storage tanks

By Josh Lancette While recent news cycles in the United States largely have been dominated by election coverage, the threat of Zika remains a concern both locally and globally, with a recent outbreak in Brownsville, Texas, a study finding more than half of Brazilian women are avoiding pregnancy because of Zika, and the CDC sending […]

Wild Plants Might Not Work as Refuges for Stem Borers in African Bt Crops

Eldana saccharina stem borer

By Josh Lancette When using Bt crops, a constant concern is preventing insect pests from becoming resistant. According to a paper published in the Journal of Economic Entomology that contains new analysis of previous studies, a common tactic to prevent resistance in Africa might not be working as hoped. Bt crops are plants that have […]

Beetle Fossil Nearly Doubles the Age of Known Parasites of Social Insects

Mesosymbion compactus

When ancient insects first evolved eusocial behavior and began forming colonies, it didn’t take long, paleontologically speaking, for parasites of those resource-rich colonies to evolve, as well. A newly discovered ancient species of beetle found preserved in amber dates this apparent parasitic behavior to at least 98.8 million years ago. In a paper published in […]

Teaching An Old Parasitoid Wasp New Tricks

Trichogramma wasps from one Manduca egg

By Josh Lancette You may not be able to teach an old dog new tricks, but it turns out you can teach an old parasitoid wasp new tricks—and only the old ones. A new study in the Journal of Insect Science reports that Trichogramma wasps are able to learn as adults the olfactory cues to […]

How Fast Does Emerald Ash Borer Kill Trees in Our Forests?

Ash forest affected by emerald ash borer

By Laurel Haavik Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire, a shiny green beetle from Asia commonly known as the emerald ash borer (EAB), has taken North America by storm. Assisted mostly by people, but also by its own wings, EAB is rapidly spreading across urban and forested areas alike. EAB-killed ash trees in urban areas are noticeable and […]

Kiss and Tell: How Ants Communicate Mouth-to-Mouth

Ants may do more than exchange food via trophallaxis.

Children are often admonished to not talk with food in their mouths. Ants, on the other hand, may be doing it regularly. Mouth-to-mouth food sharing, known as trophallaxis, is common among social insects like ants. A new study from the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, suggests ants also “talk” and influence colony development via trophallaxis by […]

Judas Beetles: How Coconut Rhinoceros Beetles Are Betraying Each Other’s Secrets

tagged coconut rhinoceros beetle

  By Josh Lancette It starts with the search for a mate. It ends with betrayal. And death. And a toppled crime empire. How? Someone is wearing a wire from the feds. Specifically, that someone is a coconut rhinoceros beetle, Oryctes rhinoceros. Its empire? An army of its kind aiming to destroy palm trees in […]

Scientists Suggest Re-Thinking Which Flea-Borne Bacterium Causes Fevers in Humans

Female Ctenocephalides felis

By Josh Lancette In Southern California over the past five years, there have been nearly 500 cases of flea-borne rickettsioses, more commonly known as flea-borne typhus. Rickettsia felis has become the presumed bacterium causing the fevers, but scientists from the California Department of Public Health think the presumption might be unfounded. Instead, in an article […]