December 21, 2010 |
An insect known to carry a disease that has been devastating to Florida's citrus industry has been found in a bug trap in a citrus grove in Ventura County. The Asian citrus psyllid, which is the size of a fruit fly, feeds on the leaves of lemon and orange trees. It is also known to carry citrus greening disease, also called Huanglongbing or HLB, that ruins the taste of citrus fruit and juice and then kills the trees. The disease does not affect humans. This is the first time an Asian citrus psyllid has been found in Ventura County, a key producer of California citrus.
October 25, 2010 |
Bedbugs combine all of the bloodsucking annoyance of mosquitoes with the survival instinct of cockroaches. No bigger than apple seeds, the adult bugs hide in ingenious places ? inside electrical outlets, behind baseboards, deep in carpet fibers ? during the day and attack their victims during the night. You may never know that you have a bedbug problem until bites start showing up on your skin. Bedbugs don't spread any illnesses, but still. Ick. The bugs are tough, they're devious and they're gaining new ground in homes and hotel rooms across the country, says Susan Jones, an entomologist at Ohio State University in Columbus.
October 7, 2010 |
Planting genetically modified, pest-resistant corn can provide a halo effect ? offering protection from insects to nearby corn plants that have not been engineered to kill bugs, scientists said Thursday. Since its introduction in 1996, Bt corn ? so called because it has been engineered to produce insecticidal proteins from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis ? has effectively suppressed the European corn borer, a widespread pest in the U.S., according to new research published in the journal Science.
September 22, 2010 |
Abbott Laboratories Inc said it is voluntarily recalling millions of containers of its top-selling Similac powdered infant formulas after beetles were found in the products and in a Michigan plant where they are made. Abbott said on Wednesday that the recall, which could result in $100 million of lost revenue, comes after reports by two consumers of contamination, and its inspection of an area of the plant in Sturgis, Mich., where beetles or their larvae were found. "The decision to recall the products was made in advance of the two consumer reports, which are being investigated," said Abbott spokeswoman Melissa Brotz.
September 4, 2010 |
Ecologists have discovered the secret weapon used by certain acacia trees to defend themselves against ravenous elephants: ants. The finding could one day help conservationists protect vulnerable plants from elephants and other large herbivores, said University of Florida biologist Todd Palmer, who reported the discovery online Thursday in the journal Current Biology. Elephants can have a devastating impact on the trees of the African savannas, Palmer said. A hungry pachyderm can easily demolish a tree, wrapping its prehensile trunk around thick branches and ripping them off. A herd of them can lay waste to an area — a problem for people trying to protect wild lands or cropland.
July 17, 2010 |
Malaria kills nearly 1 million people a year, but it has a weakness — to infect humans, it needs mosquitoes. In a potential step toward eradicating the disease, researchers report that they have developed a genetically engineered breed of mosquito that cannot be infected by the malaria-causing parasite. Genetically-modified mosquitoes are far from ready for use in the field, but the researchers achieved an unprecedented 100% blockage of the Plasmodium parasite, highlighting the promise of this approach, according to their study.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 17, 2010 |
A 55-year-old man died Wednesday after suffering hundreds of bee stings while working outdoors in the northern San Diego County city of Encinitas, the Sheriff's Department said. The man, described as a landscaper, was operating a backhoe in a brushy area near the San Elijo Lagoon when the equipment apparently disturbed a colony of bees. As he was being stung repeatedly, the man — whose name was not released — fled to an outhouse about 200 yards away. He was found there moments later by authorities responding to an emergency call.
June 8, 2010 |
Israel is referred to repeatedly in the Bible — 17 times, in fact — as the "land of milk and honey," but until three years ago, archaeologists had discovered little firm evidence that beekeeping was ever practiced there. Many scholars, in fact, assumed "honey" referred to a nectar from dates or other fruits. Then, three years ago, researchers found a 3,000-year-old apiary in the Iron Age city of Tel Rehov in the Jordan Valley, the oldest known commercial beekeeping facility in the world, suggesting that the word "honey" likely referred to the real thing.
May 29, 2010 |
Serfdom, war and dying for the tribe: It reads like a page out of a Russian novel. In fact, we're talking about ant life. Mark Moffett, an ecologist and a research associate at the Smithsonian Institution, has observed all of these behaviors in ants — and much more. Known for his detailed photographs of insects and other small creatures, the author of books about the rain forest canopy and frogs has now written "Adventures Among Ants: A Global Safari with a Cast of Trillions."
May 28, 2010 |
If "Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo" sounds like some retro Japanese creature feature, guess again. This is, in fact, a gentle docu-tribute to Japan's age-old connection to the insect world, a meditative piece that is by turns hypnotically beautiful and painfully slow. It's the kind of film perhaps best appreciated in smaller doses, in the same way bench rest can help sustain a tiring museum visit. Written and directed by American filmmaker-botanist Jessica Oreck, "Beetle Queen" follows no firm structure as it mixes fascinating shots of Japan's most popular insects — dragonflies, fireflies, crickets, butterflies and, of course, beetles — with related (or not)