What Puts the Blister Into Blister Beetles?

Epicauta chinensis blister beetle

By John P. Roche Blister beetles produce cantharidin, a 10-carbon isoprenoid molecule that is highly bitter and is toxic to most animals. Because cantharidin is so bitter, it discourages predators, and its production may have been selected for in blister beetles because of this bitterness. The molecule is found in only two insect groups: blister […]

Beauveria Endophytes Can Curb Grasshopper Pests

Beauveria bassiana effect on insects

By Andrew Porterfield Grasshopper species, including Dichroplus maculipennis, are common insect pests. They have been known to cause widespread damage to crops such as corn, soybeans, and wheat, by devouring the leaves and stems of targeted plants. The only means of controlling D. maculipennis so far is with chemical pesticides, which can have environmental consequences. […]

Finally! A Peek at Mysterious Bees in the Rain Forest Treetops

Megalopta nocturnal bee, Soberania N.P., Panama

By Leslie Mertz Adam Smith, Ph.D., has been studying a certain group of very unusual bees in Panama for 15 years, but he had never actually been able to witness a key part of their behavior: their foraging forays. That’s because the bees get their pollen and nectar from flowers that not only bloom at […]

Rearranging Nest Boxes Keeps More Blue Orchard Bees Around

blue orchard bee

Orchard growers looking for alternatives to honey bees for managed pollination services have new reason to be optimistic about the potential of one honey bee cousin, the blue orchard bee. A recent research experiment has shown blue orchard bees can be a sustainable option in tart cherry orchards, and a simple change to the distribution […]

Mosquito Repellents: DEET and PMD Sprays Most Effective, While Wearable Devices Disappoint, Study Finds

Aedes aegypti mosquito

A search for “mosquito repellent” on Amazon.com delivers more than 28,000 product results. For a regular consumer, it can be difficult to find the ones that truly work among a sea of products that make bold claims. Researchers at the Molecular Vector Physiology Laboratory at New Mexico State University are working to make the search […]