New Research Reveals How Flesh Flies Hear

Flies in the genus Emblemasoma.

By Ed Ricciuti Scientists have clocked many hours studying how females of various parasitoid flies home in on the calls of cicadas, grasshoppers, and other insects that are their hosts. Research into the mechanics and workings of the ears that are used to do it, however, is far less glitzy and has received scant attention, […]

Infrared Photography Shows Tsetse Fly Development from Pupa to Adult


By Ed Ricciuti Researchers employing near infrared still photographs and time-lapse video have peered into the pupa of the living tsetse fly and for the first time have watched its development unfold from its start as a larva to its completion and emergence as an adult. The research is described in the Journal of Insect […]

“Rare” Butterfly Feeds on Oak Galls and Other Non-Nectar Sources


By Ed Ricciuti In an era when reports proliferate about species careening towards extinction, field research by two University of Connecticut (UCONN) entomologists has turned up refreshing news: a subspecies of butterfly considered among the rarest in eastern North America may not be so scarce after all. The perceived rarity of the northern oak hairstreak […]

Parasitoid Flies Are Attracted to the Sounds of Their Cicada Hosts

Flies in the genus Emblemasoma.

By Ed Ricciuti Scientists have pondered why males of certain parasitoid fly species have ears that apparently function well enough but, as the Bible says, seemingly “do not hear,” while females with exactly the same auditory apparatus sonically locate cicadas, grasshoppers, crickets, and other hosts for their larvae. However, according to research published in the […]

Argentine Researchers Develop Artificial Attractant for Kissing Bugs


By Ed Ricciuti Despite its name, the pop-eyed insect known as the “kissing bug” is anything but affectionate, at least when it comes to people. Its name is derived from a nasty habit of dropping out of the darkness and biting sleepers, frequently on the face and often around the mouth. In the American tropics, […]

GAT Mosquito Traps Can Be Effective Even without Pesticides

A male Aedes aegypti mosquito crawled in Dr. Grayson Brown's lab at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Ky.  The males do not bite and are identified by a larger, bushier antennal flagellum on their heads.

By Ed Ricciuti With Zika, dengue, and chikungunya spreading, and yellow fever re-emerging, health workers are ramping up surveillance of the ubiquitous Aedes aegypti mosquito that carries these arboviral diseases. Several types of traps and killing agents are available for collecting the insects, but there is a catch: the gear now employed is often too […]

A New Parasitoid Wasp from Russia May Help the Fight Against Emerald Ash Borer


By Ed Ricciuti Scientists working on environmentally friendly ways to combat insect pests continually quest for biological control’s version of a better mousetrap: natural enemies of a harmful species that outperform those already employed against it. In the case of invasive pests, the hunt may take scientists far afield, even to remote corners of the […]

Citrus Growers and Plant Breeders Should Pay Attention to Citrus Flush to Fight Citrus Greening Disease


By Ed Ricciuti Scientists have found a more efficient way to infect experimental trees with citrus greening disease, boosting efforts to find citrus varieties that are able to resist the bacterium which causes the disease. At the same time, their research has produced an unexpected bonus: a new strategy that growers can use to protect […]

Be Prepared for the Invasive Spotted Lanternfly, Entomologists Warn


By Ed Ricciuti The Scout Motto is the best advice for pest managers who want to establish a first line of defense against problematic invasive insects even before they become established, according to Dr. Surendra Dara, an IPM and crop advisor at the University of California. “Be Prepared,” is what he and his co-authors suggest […]

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 […]