High Tunnels: Good for Crops, But Also Good for Pests?

high tunnel

High tunnels are a common sight in farm fields in temperate zones, where growers use them to lengthen the growing season of cold-sensitive crops. Also known as hoop houses, the large metal frames covered with plastic sheeting keep plants warmer as ambient temperatures begin to fall. Conventional wisdom holds that high tunnels shield plants from […]

In Enemy Garb: A New Explanation for Wasp Mimicry

wasp and moth mimics

By Michael Boppré, Ph.D. A yellow-black insect at the coffee table—”Help, a wasp!” But, often, it is just an innocent hover fly, unable to sting. It is hard for us to separate these very similar looking insects. In school we learn that many hover flies (and other insects) imitate wasps to be protected from predators […]

Faster ID of Mosquito Species Possible via CDC Improvements to DNA Testing Methods

Aedes aegypti or Aedes albopictus?

A crucial step in management of mosquito-borne diseases is knowing exactly what kind of mosquitoes are present in any given locale. Are they garden-variety species that aren’t carriers of human pathogens, or are they potentially dangerous vectors such as Aedes aegypti or Aedes albopictus? Identifying and discerning between those two species is important as well, […]

Can a Swarm of Locusts Really Block Out the Sun?

eclipse and locust

We know the moon can do it, but what about a swarm of locusts? On Monday, August 21, 2017, denizens of North America will look skyward to witness a solar eclipse—the first in which the path of totality will cross the contiguous United States since 1979. Those who have witnessed a full solar eclipse say […]

Could Repellents Be Useful in Protecting Crops From Spotted-Wing Drosophila?

spotted-wing drosophila on leaf

By Edward Ricciuti Cornell University scientists are tuning up the entomological version of psych war tactics that, instead of killing insect pests outright, manipulate their behavior so they avoid crops they might otherwise damage. Repellents that modify the behavior of insects might not stand alone as deterrents, but they could be deployed more extensively in […]