Entomologists Discuss Discovery’s “Mosquito” Documentary: A Live-Tweet Recap

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The old adage “bad press is better than no press” has a long history, and it surely applies to coverage of insects broadly and insects that are harmful to humans, more specifically. If you missed the Discovery channel program Mosquito that aired last Thursday night, July 6, then you missed a chance to see some of […]

West Nile Virus Infections Can Be Estimated by Observing Rainfall and Temperatures

Culex pipiens

By Alan Bolds A study by researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) found that mosquito infection rates (MIR) for West Nile virus can be estimated with statistical models based on rainfall and temperature. The study, “Predicting West Nile Virus Infection Risk From the Synergistic Effects of Rainfall and Temperature,” was published in the […]

Mowing Grass in Water-Detention Basins Increases Mosquito Populations

Mowing grass and weeds is a useful way of managing some pests. For example, clearing yards and fields is one way of managing ticks without using insecticides because mowing discourages rodents — on which some ticks feed on. However, for other situations it may have the opposite effect. A study of the West Nile virus […]

West Nile Virus Enhanced by Wolbachia in Culex tarsalis Mosquito

Wolbachia, a genus of bacteria that infects insects and other arthropods, has been used in the past to control mosquitoes and to hinder their ability to spread diseases such as dengue virus. However, researchers who wanted to know whether the bacteria could be used as a tool against West Nile virus have found that Wolbachia […]

X-rays Can be Used to Sterilize Mosquitoes

Since the 1950s, scientists have used radiation to sterilize insects, which are then released into the wild to mate, but no offspring are produced. Known as the sterile insect technique (SIT), this insect-control method has traditionally relied on gamma rays to sterilize the insects. However, due to concerns about terrorism, gamma-ray irradiators have become increasingly […]