An Alfalfa Leafcutting Bee’s First Meal is a Big Deal

Megachile rotundata

By Meredith Swett Walker Parents often worry about what they feed their kids and how it might affect their future. But, barring genuine malnutrition, no diet or food is likely to radically change your kid’s life—unless you are an alfalfa leafcutting bee. For such bees, diet early in life can be truly life-altering. Alfalfa leafcutting […]

Search Continues for Methods to Control Fungus-Farming Beetle in SoCal Trees

polyphagous shot hole borer side view

By Meredith Swett Walker A spate of tree deaths in California has arborists, park managers, and home owners alarmed. Keen-eyed tree caretakers might notice a cluster of tiny holes in the bark of affected trees—almost as if the tree had been shot with a Lilliputian shotgun. But the culprit is not a tiny tree hitman […]

Neighborhood Watch: How Asian Tiger Mosquito Habitat Varies From Block to Block in an Urban Setting

Aedes albopictus

By Meredith Swett Walker A neighborhood watch generally keeps an eye out for potential burglars and vandals, reporting them to local law enforcement when spotted. But if you want to improve safety and health in your neighborhood, it may be wise to keep an eye out for small pockets of water that collect in objects […]

Could Catnip or Chrysanthemum Bring Cows Relief From Biting Flies?

horn flies

By Meredith Swett Walker We generally don’t associate cows with pleasant aromas, but in the future you may catch a whiff of mint, lemongrass, or chrysanthemum when visiting a barn or feedlot. It turns out that extracts and oils from these and other plants show promise as repellents and insecticides for use on cows. In […]

American Sweetgum Picks Up a Beetle Pest in China

Acanthotomicus sp. adult

By Meredith Swett Walker If you’ve ever traveled overseas, you may have had the unfortunate experience of picking up a foreign microbe that made you ill. Humans, though, aren’t alone in their susceptibility to disease or injury when they stray outside their familiar milieu of microbes and hazards. Even trees suffer traveler’s illness—for instance, the […]