From Turtle Shell to Poop Umbrella, This Is One Unusual Group of Beetles


By Leslie Mertz Tortoise beetles are a bizarre group. They look somewhat like tiny turtles with a colorful, or in some species translucent, carapace (the upper shell in turtles), and they engage in some unusual behaviors, including carrying an “umbrella” made of their feces. “I adore these beetles — everything they do is kind of […]

New Knowledge and a New Tool to Help Control Billbugs in Turfgrass


By Leslie Mertz Turfgrass covers three times more land area than any other irrigated crop in the United States, and brings in tens of billions of dollars in annual revenues. Yet one of the major pests of this crop still remains a mystery in many parts of the country, according to Madeleine Dupuy, lead author […]

A New Resource for Fighting the Mexican Rice Borer


By Leslie Mertz A moth caterpillar called the Mexican rice borer (Eoreuma loftini) that has already taken a heavy toll on sugar cane and rice crops in Texas has now moved into Louisiana and Florida, and continues to spread through the Gulf Coast region. A new article in the Journal of Integrated Pest Management provides […]

Nanopillars on Rat-tailed Maggots Reduce Bacterial Colonization


By Leslie Mertz If an insect ever needed a little love, it would be the immature stage of the drone fly (Eristalis tenax), which is known as a “rat-tailed maggot.” As it turns out, a biologist in London has taken this drone fly larva to heart and, in so doing, discovered never-before-seen structures that appear […]

JIPM Article on Masked Chafer Grubs in Turfgrass Explains Management Techniques


By Leslie Mertz Anyone who has tended a lawn is probably very familiar with white grubs. They are the fat, cream-colored, brown-headed larvae that can grow up to an inch long, and are usually discovered in the soil lying on their sides rather inertly and curled into a C-shape. Several species of scarab beetles have […]

JIPM Article on Mexican Bean Beetles Offers Tips on Controlling These Crop-Damaging Pests


By Leslie Mertz The Mexican bean beetle (Epilachna varivestis) has flown under the research radar too long, despite the fact that it has been ravaging U.S. crops for almost a century, according to Louis Nottingham, lead author of a newly published article in the Journal of Integrated Pest Management. The article shines a light on […]

Squash Bugs Still Making Growers Crazy After All These Years


By Leslie Mertz If there’s one word that describes the squash bug (Anasa tristis), it is frustrating, according to Hélène Doughty, the lead author of a new descriptive article that appears in the Journal of Integrated Pest Management. A noted problem insect in the United States for more than a century, the squash bug continues […]

Open-Access Article Takes a Closer Look at Crop-Damaging Greenbugs


By Leslie Mertz Aptly named for their bright lime color, greenbugs (Schizaphis graminum) have been a major vexation for growers of wheat and sorghum for more than half a century, especially in the Great Plains. As decades of research into the little aphids have accumulated, the time has come for an overview of the little […]

New Whirligig Beetle Showcases U.S. Biodiversity Hotspot


By Leslie Mertz Back in April, University of New Mexico Ph.D. candidate Grey Gustafson was on the hunt for a particular species of whirligig beetle in Alabama’s Conecuh National Forest, but something else caught his eye. He saw a few dozen other whirligig beetles making their spinning circles across the surface of a river, and […]

Teach a Man to Fish (and some entomology) and You’ll Feed Him for a Lifetime


By Leslie Mertz On a cold August afternoon, Jay Buchner leads three novice fly fishermen — two men and a woman — through a mountain-ringed meadow and to the quickly flowing Granite Creek near Jackson, Wyoming. He studies the rushing water and sees fish rising to the surface in a slightly calmer section on the […]