May 18, 2013 |
The harlequin ladybird was once a stalwart ally of greenhouse growers around the world. Native to Japan, Korea and other parts of eastern Asia, the bright red ladybugs were prized for their aphid-eating abilities - until they caused serious declines in other ladybug populations. Now researchers have discovered the harlequin ladybird's secret weapon: a deadly parasite that lives harmlessly in its body but kills other species with abandon. The findings, published this week in the journal Science, demonstrate how things can go awry when a foreign creature is introduced into an ecosystem, even when done with the best intentions.
May 3, 2013 |
A new federal report has found that the nation's honeybee decline, which threatens up to $30 billion worth of agriculture production, is being caused by several factors, including disease, parasites and poor genetics. After colony collapse disorder began spreading in 2006, federal officials convened a group of researchers to study the phenomenon. Thursday's report by the Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency found several causes for the honeybee decline.
May 2, 2013 |
Although honeybee loss slowed last year, it remains at dangerously high levels, according to a new federal report that concluded there was no single remedy for the colony collapse that has hit America's hard-working crop pollinators. The report, released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency, attributed the colony decline to a number of factors, including pesticide exposure, parasites and poor nutrition. Since 2006, when colony collapse disorder emerged, an estimated 10 million bee hives, worth about $2 billion, have been lost.
April 16, 2013 |
Scientists are harnessing the power of a parasitic worm to design a microneedle device that's more than three times as powerful as conventional surgical staples -- without the risks and side effects. The technology, described online Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications, could be used for delicate procedures such as skin grafts for burn victims and face transplants. They could even be used to deliver drugs into the body. Current post-op techniques come with major drawbacks.
March 28, 2013 |
"Twilight's" creator Stephenie Meyer clearly has a few obsessions she can't quite shake: interspecies romance, love triangles and color-coded eyes - red-rimmed if vampires are involved, silver for the sci-fi aliens of "The Host. " All those elements appear in writer-director Andrew Niccol's adaptation of the bestselling author's bid to move beyond fogged-in Forks and vampire love. But if you were hoping for some simmering passion à la Bella-Edward-Jacob from "the souls" - the parasitic invaders taking over earthling bodies - pick up the book.
March 13, 2013 |
Tapeworms are among humanity's oldest parasites, and were even studied by the ancient Greeks, yet a safe, effective cure to "bladder-worm" infection remains elusive. Part of the difficulty, scientists say, is that an adult tapeworm can live relatively harmlessly in a host's gut, but its larvae will spread through the host's body, like cancer, forming cysts in organs and other tissue. In some hosts, which include dogs, pigs and sheep, infection can lead to blindness, epilepsy or death.