Mite-Resistant Russian Honey Bees Might Not Prevent Varroa Infestations

honey bee with varroa mite

By Meredith Swett Walker Imagine a parasite about the size of a grapefruit, and it’s latched onto your back where you just can’t reach it. Now imagine that parasite is sucking your blood and that its cronies are reproducing rapidly in your home and attacking your family. This horrifying scenario is essentially what the mite […]

The Mechanism Matters: How Leaf Removal Kills a Common Grape Pest

pinot gris grapes

By Meredith Swett Walker Humans have been growing grapes for 6,000 to 8,000 years, and along the way we have learned some tricks. The refreshing citrus and mineral notes in your glass of chilled pinot grigio are a product of that accumulated knowledge. In pursuit of the ideal grape, we have learned how to reduce […]

Researchers Discover Four New Mite Species Living Inside Ibis and Spoonbill Feathers

By Meredith Swett Walker If you were to page through a field guide to birds searching for species that look as if they were dreamed up by Dr. Seuss, you’d probably choose some from the family Threskiornithidae, which includes ibises and spoonbills. For instance, the Eurasian spoonbill, a leggy bird that looks like it has […]

Dust Baths and Longer Beaks Can Make Cage-free Chickens into Mite-free Chickens

By Meredith Swett Walker Life is improving for America’s chickens. Due to consumers’ increasing interest in animal welfare, large portions of the poultry industry are shifting towards less restrictive housing. Many poultry farmers are replacing the conventional conjoined small wire cages, called “battery cages,” with cage-free housing in large open poultry houses. Cage-free housing gives […]

Researchers Raise Maggots on Chicken Blood to Save Darwin’s Finches

By Meredith Swett Walker In 1676, the great scientist Isaac Newton (of gravity fame) wrote a letter to another scientific titan, Robert Hooke (who had coined the biological term “cell”), in which he humbly stated, “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.” Even in using that line he was […]