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Category: Research News

Recent entomological research from ESA journals and ESA members

blacklegged tick - Ixodes scapularis

Soil Ecology: Critical But Understudied in the Fight Against Ticks

In many tick species, more than three-quarters of their lives are spent off-host in the soil or among the leaf litter. A research team at Cornell University highlights an important opportunity for tick researchers and soil ecologists to collaborate to better understand what happens when the ticks aren't in contact with hosts.

tracking tagged mice

Bad Roommates: Study Tracks Mice to Nests, Finds Ticks Aplenty

In the first field study of its kind, researchers confirmed Peromyscus mouse nests as understudied habitats for ticks, including blacklegged ticks and American dog ticks. Researchers are hoping to better understand the role of mouse-tick interactions within nests in the spread of tick-borne disease.

Mexican fruit fly - Anastrepha ludens

For Mass-Rearing Sterile Fruit Flies, Fewer Males Means More Efficient Mating

Sometimes, less is more. Case in point: the mass-rearing program that produces millions of sterile Mexican fruit flies (Anastrepha ludens) for managing wild populations. Scientists refining the effort find that a lower ratio of males to females in mating cages leads to higher fecundity and fertility in the females—and higher cost-effectiveness for the operation.

Heriades bee on Erigeron speciosus

Wildflower Strips Bring Farmers Extra Money While Helping Native Bees

Planting strips of wildflowers next to crops is a boon for native bees, but few farms adopt the practice. A new study, however, shows farmers can turn an immediate profit by selling wildflower seeds retail, while the long-term benefits of increased pollination and crop yields materialize over time.

western conifer-seed bug - Leptoglossus occidentalis

Not a Kissing Bug: Invasive Western Conifer-Seed Bug Causes Undue Alarm

As the western conifer-seed bug has arrived in South America, its resemblance to kissing bugs has caused a stir, as members of the public have readily mistaken the two. Researchers in Chile recommend accessible identification keys and educational materials to better inform both health professionals and the public.

Hetaerina americana damselfly

As a Watershed is Urbanized, Damselflies Show Declines

A study along a river in Central Mexico finds Hetaerina americana damselflies in reduced numbers after a decline in vegetation the addition of wastewater outlets. Researchers say the decline illustrates the impact of human land use on natural ecosystems.

pink bollworm - Pectinophora gossypiella

Pink Bollworm Versus Bt Cotton: Three Countries, Three Results

A new article in the Journal of Economic Entomology examines varying levels of resistance to Bt toxins developed by the pink bollworm in the United States, China, and India over the last 20 years, illustrating the importance of incorporating refuge crops in Bt systems. 

dusky antechinus examined for ticks

Counting Ticks on Animals is More Complicated Than It Sounds

Simply counting the number of ticks on a host animal seems like a straightforward task, but an analysis of published tick research finds no single, standard method among scientists. A group of researchers says tick-counting methods should be as rigorous as any other scientific procedure and described clearly enough to allow their use in other studies.

Spathius galinae

A Promising New Parasitoid Drills Down on Emerald Ash Borers

In a recent study, the wasp Spathius galinae successfully established wild populations and outperformed other parasitoids in attacking invasive emerald ash borers in three northeastern states in the U.S. Researchers say it could become a useful biological control agent to protect native ash trees.

Buprestid larva.

When Forest Fires Flare, Woodboring Beetles Rush In

Woodboring beetles make good food for woodpeckers, and researchers studying how forest fires affect bird populations have studied the patterns of woodboring-beetle colonization of forests after fires. Their findings offer clues and raise new questions about the impact of fires on forest ecosystems, in a time of increased fire activity and longer fire seasons.

European earwigs

European Earwig: Fruit Pest, Potential Ally, or Both?

A new profile in the Journal of Integrated Pest Management busts some myths about the European earwig (Forficula auricularia). Though perceived as a pest, it is actually an underappreciated biological control agent and likely a beneficial insect in most apple orchards.

African fig fly - Zaprionus indianus

Drosophilid Melting Pot: African Fig Fly Meets Spotted-Wing Drosophila in the U.S.

The African fig fly (Zaprionus indianus) is an invasive fruit fly in North America that has been found commingling with its cousin spotted-wing drosophila (Drosophila suzukii), sometimes even using the latter's egg-laying sites for its own. A new profile in the Journal of Integrated Pest Management highlights the African fig fly's biology and range and offers options for management.