Have a mosquito problem? Look for them close to home, says expert

You’re settling down in your patio chair, ready to enjoy a book, a pitcher of lemonade, and the sun-warmed breeze, when a mosquito settles down on your arm. And another lands on your leg, while another buzzes right by your ear. Virginia Tech entomologist Eric Day says that when it comes to controlling mosquitoes, there aren’t easy short cuts.

Expert says fireflies aren’t going extinct, but their numbers are dwindling

For many people, fireflies lighting up backyards is a sign of summertime. The thrill of catching them in a jar and releasing them back into the wild is a childhood pastime. But if you have noticed a decline in fireflies over the years, you’re not alone. Virginia Tech entomologist Eric Day explains why climate and urban development are playing a big role in the decreasing numbers.

Combining math and entomology to predict, mitigate soybean aphid outbreaks

Iowa State researchers are developing mathematical models to simulate soybean aphid population dynamics over a growing season with a wide array of stressors, including droughts and floods. The project received a USDA grant earlier this year and is in collaboration with entomologists at Ohio State University.

Expert offers tips for combating the invasive spotted lanternfly

Virginia’s most infamous hitchhiker is on the move again: the spotted lanternfly. These insects colonize quickly, disrupt native ecosystems, and potentially cause problems to human health and agriculture. The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the Department of Entomology at Virginia Tech and the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services have partnered to empower the citizens of the commonwealth to take action themselves on these most unwelcome visitors.

Protecting gardens and crops from insects using the ‘smell of fear’

Herbivorous insects are a threat to gardeners’ hard work, and are increasingly resistant to pesticides. Today, scientists report they have bottled the “smell of fear” from predators to repel destructive insects without the need for harsh substances. They will present their results at ACS Fall 2021.

Mosquito-resistant clothing prevents bites in trials

North Carolina State University researchers have created insecticide-free, mosquito-resistant clothing using textile materials they confirmed to be bite-proof in experiments with live mosquitoes. They developed the materials using a computational model of their own design, which describes the biting behavior…

Seeking a treatment for IBS pain in tarantula venom

For patients who have inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBS), the condition is literally a pain in the gut. Chronic — or long-term — abdominal pain is common, and there are currently no effective treatment options for this debilitating symptom. In a…

New beetle species discovered and named after iconic sci-fi heroines

The original Star Trek television series took place in a future when space is the final frontier, but humanity hasn’t reached that point quite yet. As researchers like Michigan State University entomologists Sarah Smith and Anthony Cognato are reminding us, there’s still plenty to discover right here on Earth.
Working in Central and South America, the duo discovered more than three dozen species of ambrosia beetles — beetles that eat ambrosia fungus — previously unknown to science. Smith and Cognato described these new species on June 16 in the journal ZooKeys.

First Report of Dorsal Navigation in a Flying Insect

People–who get lost easily in the extraordinary darkness of a tropical forest–have much to learn from a bee that can find its way home in conditions 10 times dimmer than starlight. Researchers at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute’s (STRI) research…

Honeybees’ hairy abdomens show how to save energy, reduce wear on materials

Watching honeybees buzz among flowers, it’s easy to see how the expression “busy as a bee” arose. One of many movements a bee’s body makes is the repetitive curving and straightening of its abdomen. Now, researchers reporting in ACS Applied…