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 […]

How Flashy Wings, UV Light, and Seasons All Play a Role in One Butterfly Species’ Mating Rituals

Bicyclus anynana butterflies mating

By Edward Ricciuti   Males of an African butterfly, with the improbable nickname of “squinting bush brown,” are the Lepidopteran version of chick magnets—if their generation of caterpillars chills out while it grows up. Caterpillars of this butterfly (Bicyclus anynana) that develop during the cool dry season flip traditional sex roles as adults when ready to mate […]

UV Light Best for Luring Cigarette and Drugstore Beetles

cigarette beetle

By Edward Ricciuti Their common names—cigarette beetle and drugstore beetle—only hint at the amazingly eclectic and destructive diet of two related insects, which can wreak havoc on products stored in home pantries, warehouses, businesses, and even museums and libraries. New research by scientists at Hamamatsu University and Okayama University in Japan documents that LED ultraviolet […]

Researchers Develop Improved Lab-Testing System for Mosquito Repellents

A&K bioassay system mosquito repellent testing

By Edward Ricciuti Among the processes by which researchers gauge the effectiveness of a mosquito repellent is one that depends on convincing a volunteer to shove an arm treated with the compound into a box and let the little bloodsuckers have a go at it. The system works well enough but, like all such assays, […]

Unique Relationship Between Joshua Tree and Moth Documented for First Time

yucca moth oviposition

By Edward Ricciuti Rubbing elbows with UFO buffs snooping about the perimeter of nearby Area 51, scientists have set up shop in the Nevada desert near the town of Rachel, “UFO Capital of the World,” seeking to solve a mystery surrounding life right here on Earth: How did it become so incredibly diverse? Camped out […]