Detecting the presence of the invasive spotted-wing drosophila could soon get easier with a new molecular test for analyzing DNA in bulk trapping samples—sensitive enough to sniff out just one target fruit fly in a sample of 2,000. And the best liquid for preserving trapped flies' DNA comes from the dental-care shelf.
When an invasive insect appears, responders must quickly set monitoring traps in the area to determine the extent of the pest outbreak. A collaboration between USDA-APHIS and USDA-ARS is working to improve such delimitation trapping survey designs and will publish new guidelines after field experiments are completed later this year.
Separate studies on bumble bees and mason bees exposed to imidacloprid add to the body of evidence that wild bees may be particularly vulnerable to neonicotinoid insecticides.
Researchers have split the medically important American dog tick into two species: the existing Dermacentor variabilis in eastern states and the newly described Dermacentor similis west of the Rocky Mountains.