In an era of human-driven ecological change, crucial interactions between and among insect species and plants can disappear before their participating species do. A new special collection in Annals of the Entomological Society of America looks at how insect ecologists are studying these rare interactions and what they mean for our efforts to conserve even the rarest links in the rich web of interactions all around us.
The mosquito species Toxorhynchites rutilus is harmless to humans but is a voracious predator of other mosquitoes. Researchers in Houston, Texas, are hoping the "mosquito assassin" could be put into action as a tool for controlling mosquitoes that carry human pathogens—if they can find an efficient way to raise the predator mosquitoes in the lab.
Use of an insecticide can be counterproductive if it also harms natural enemies of a target pest. A new study puts several insecticides currently in use to manage spotted-wing drosophila to the test to see how they do or don't affect parasitoids of the invasive fruit fly.
Famous for their flashy colors, peacock spiders also emit vibrational signals during their mating dance. But why both kinds of courtship cues? And which kind matters more? Researchers have been studying peacock spiders to find out.
Pest management is more than just matching pests with control methods. A tangled web of societal influences also play a role in growers' decisions and their uptake of integrated pest management, and researchers say the science of "social ecological systems" can inform efforts to increase IPM adoption.
The successful eradication of the European grapevine moth (Lobesia botrana) in northern California after it was found there in 2009 offers important lessons for invasive species response. Researchers are studying the dynamics of the invasion and eradication effort to prepare future response plans for other potential invasive species both in California and beyond.
Yellow mealworms (Tenebrio molitor) have long been produced as fish bait and pet food, but their use as animal feed and even food for people is growing. Researchers are working to fine-tune methods to improve the quantity and quality of mass-reared mealworms.
New Zealand is working hard to keep the invasive brown marmorated stink bug from reaching its shores, and researchers there are working with colleagues at the U.S. Department of Agriculture to understand the dynamics of the pest's ocean voyage aboard cargo ships bound for the island nation, in hopes of finding new ways to detect and prevent its arrival.
A new study illustrates how ventral forewing patterns in Bicyclus anynana butterflies are used in sexual communication. Though the patterns are often hidden by hindwings when at rest, the study found the white, UV-reflecting eyespots to be a signal used by females to attract males.
Some researchers willing to question conventional wisdom, some crafty experimentation, and some high-tech microscopic imagery all add up to a discovery about the Varroa destructor mite that upends years of understanding about how it parasitizes honey bees.
When pesticides show up in the pollen that honey bees collect, can the source plant be pinpointed? A new study is the first to successfully combine chemical analysis of pollen and the keen eye of a palynologist—an expert in identifying pollen microscopically—to track pesticide in bee-collected pollen to a source plant genus.
If a structure has a gap or entrance large enough for brown marmorated stink bugs to fit through, they will find it. But a new study shows that slits less than 3 millimeters wide and holes less than 7 millimeters wide should successfully exclude the vast majority of the bugs. A related study examines how overwintering stink bugs react to corpses of their fellow bugs remaining from previous winters.
Bumble bee nests can be hard to find and study, so researchers hope they can create artificial nest boxes for them to use and be observed more easily. But will bumble bees use such boxes? New research offers some clues about optimal design and placement of bumble bee "domiciles."
A new profile in the Journal of Integrated Pest Management takes an in-depth look at the hemlock woolly adelgid, a pernicious pest of hemlocks in eastern North America, and the latest guidance on managing it.
Hunting cicadas and lugging them back to a nest is hard work for a cicada-killer wasp. But sometimes all that hard work goes to waste, when a fellow wasp swoops in and lays her egg on the other wasp's prey. And that's if the cicada isn't stolen by a bird first.
New research on bacterial endosymbionts in insects suggests that such bacteria may infect a wide variety of insect species but a low proportion of individuals within those species.
The fat lower legs that dangle below flying wasps in the family Gasteruptiidae turn out to be filled with insect fat body, and they may play key roles in flight dynamics, detecting vibrations from prey, and even detoxification.