Forest Pest Invasions Can—And Should—Be Studied Before They Happen

Xyleborus glabratus and Euwallacea fornicatus

By Jiri Hulcr, Ph.D. Ambrosia beetles include some of the scariest invasive bugs. These tiny relatives of bark beetles travel the globe in wooden packaging used on commercial ships. They take their food with them: Instead of eating the wooden crates, ambrosia beetles grow symbiotic fungi inside the timber just like little farmers. As a […]

Beetle Farmers 2.0: A Super-symbiont Fungus Supports a Complex Beetle Society

By Jiri Hulcr and Matt Kasson Eating wood is really tough. Many insects are pretty good at chewing wood with their mandibles, but they can’t produce the right concoction of enzymes to digest the chains of cellulose and lignin. That’s what fungi are good at, and that’s why most wood on this planet is not […]

Can Genetically Modified Trees Save American Forests?

By Richard Levine Yesterday I attended the sixth North American Forest Insect Work Conference, a meeting that has been held every five years since 1991. This one is taking place in Washington, DC and ends on Friday, June 3, 2016. The meeting brings together regional forestry groups, including many from the USDA Forest Service, whom […]

Research on Fungus-farming Beetles Reveals a New Wood-decaying Fungus

By Jiri Hulcr Who was the first farmer on Earth, over 60 million years ago? Which insect group includes the most invasive and deadly vectors of tree diseases? And which fungi have foregone sex and independence only to become a garden crop that smells like ripe fruit? Welcome to the diverse and bizarre world of […]

Study Confirms Effectiveness of Cheap, Simple Traps for Citizen Science Project

By Kaine Korzekwa By asking members of the public to capture and send beetles in for research, scientists at the University of Florida are using “citizen science” to get a better idea of the distribution of invasive beetle species in the southeastern United States. “It’s actually very hard for scientists to do a large-scale project […]