Many of us slather ourselves in DEET each summer in hopes of avoiding mosquito bites, and it generally works rather well. Now, researchers reporting in the journal Current Biology on April 25 have made the surprising discovery that part of the reason for DEET's success can be found in the mosquito's legs, not their biting mouthparts.
For scores of wild bee species, females and males visit very different flowers for food -- a discovery that could be important for conservation efforts, according to Rutgers-led research. Indeed, the diets of female and male bees of the same species could be as different as the diets of different bee species, according to a study in the journal PLOS ONE.
While many scientists are focused on the decline of honey bees, relatively few study bumble bees. The good news is that a new study provides an estimate on bumble bee population and distributions across Michigan in the past century. The bad news is that these results are dramatically low, and they mirror what's happening across the Americas, Europe and Asia, too.
The insecticide clothianidin affects different species of bees in different ways. While it has no demonstrably negative effect on honeybees, it disrupts the growth of bumblebees and threatens the survival of entire colonies. However, the insecticide does not make either species more susceptible to diseases and pathogens, as a massive field study in Sweden shows. The latest findings were published in the renowned journal "Nature Communications".
Researchers in Australia at Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute have found that the dengue fever mosquito common to north and central Queensland poses the greatest danger of spreading the Zika virus in Australia. The researchers showed that not only was the dengue mosquito effective at transmitting Zika, the virus was also in the mosquitoes' reproductive organs. This finding suggests that Zika could persist in mosquito populations by females passing it to their offspring.
A University of Guelph study is the first to uncover the impact of neonicotinoid pesticides on honey bees' ability to groom and rid themselves of deadly mites.
A simple change in the choice of grass varieties for lawns of St. Augustinegrass could be a key tool for fending off fall armyworm infestations, according to new research. While no single St. Augustinegrass cultivar rises above the rest in resisting infestation, mixing varieties may confer some benefits, as fall armyworms clearly preferred single-cultivar plantings in a series of lab tests.
Weak honey bee colonies may fail after being exposed to cold temperature changes that happen during truck shipping.
Gaming and virtual reality could bridge the gap between urban societies and nature, thereby paving the way to insect conservation by the means of education and participation. This is what an interdisciplinary team at Florida International University strive to achieve by developing a virtual reality game (desktop version also available) dedicated to insect and plant species. Focused on imperiled butterflies, their innovative idea: Butterfly World 1.0, is described in the open-access journal Rethinking Ecology.
A research group led by a scientist of the RIKEN Center for Biosystems Dynamics Research (BDR) has gained important insights into how the nanopores that allow the fruit fly to detect chemicals in the air, and has identified the gene responsible for their development.