Reducing your chances of getting bitten by ticks

Most people know about wearing insect repellent and long pants to prevent getting bitten by ticks, but there are also ways to reduce tick populations in your yards. For instance, making sure that loose leaves are kept to a minimum, treating heavily wooded areas with pesticides meant to kill ticks and mites, and treating some of the animal hosts for ticks are other ways to reduce tick numbers in your yard.

Read Entomology Today to see the detailed suggestions for how to protect yourself from ticks.

Viewpoints on how to save monarch butterflies are varied

Pollinator gardens, which can include plants attractive to bees and butterflies, have become quite popular these days. Most public gardens and arboretums have a featured pollinator garden, and people around the country concerned about dwindling populations of bees and butterflies because of stories in the news are seeking advice on how to help raise pollinator numbers. But just like many other stories about how to help endangered species, the bee and butterfly issue is fraught with controversy.

Because science is something that evolves over time, and living things–whether human, animal or plant–are complicated, scientific understanding of how to control or restore populations often changes with time. In the case of the monarch butterfly, research done by some experts is now colliding with research done by others. Depending on which publications or blogs you subscribe to, you may see one opinion or another. However, your colleague or friend might see another, and when the two of you talk, you might wonder if you’re doing the right thing, and if not, what you should do. I have presented three schools of thought currently being generated in blogs and online newsletters or magazines so that you will know much of what is being discussed with regard to saving the monarch butterfly. Continue reading

Entomology Today, Oxford University Press provide resources on Zika and its vector

News of the Zika virus—even though infected mosquitoes have not yet been found in the U.S.—has put the spotlight on the Aedes aegypti mosquito. The Entomological Society of America’s blog, Entomology Today, highlights a research team in Argentina that has found a possible control method for the mosquito, and Oxford University Press has a web page that incorporates research articles on Aedes aegypti and Zika virus, blog posts about the mosquito or the virus and podcasts about Zika. Continue reading

How to check your trees for emerald ash borer

In Entomology Today

by Anand Persad, PhD

Urban treescapes are under attack. Seven billion ash trees, the dominant species of urban American canopies, are at risk of being destroyed by the invasive emerald ash borer (EAB) if not treated.

Since its first detection in Michigan in 2002, EAB has spread to 25 states and killed more than 50 million trees. Already, entire cityscapes have been destroyed. In a review published last year, scientists called it “the most destructive and economically costly forest insect to ever invade North America.” Continue reading

CDC researcher finds that blacklegged tick range has increase by nearly half

A researcher at the Centers for Disease Control has found that the blacklegged tick—the tick that transmits Lyme disease—is in 44.7 percent more counties than it was in 1998. A post in the Entomology Today blog reported on the findings on January 18. The research was published in the Journal of Medical Entomology.

Over the last twenty years, the number of Lyme disease cases has tripled, infecting at least 300,000 people per year. Over that time disease reports have spread from the Northeast and upper Midwest regions to other areas of the U.S. Continue reading

Pests can develop resistance to non-chemical control methods

By Richard Levine

Agricultural pests, such as insects and weeds, can be incredibly adept at developing resistance to control methods. When you mention the word “resistance,” most people probably think of pests becoming resistant to certain chemicals — weeds becoming herbicide resistant, or insects becoming resistant to insecticides, for example.

However, there are many other types of resistance. Dr. Alison Van Eenennaam, the 2014 recipient of the Borlaug CAST Communication Award, recently explained that weeds can become resistant to mechanical control methods — such as mowing or tilling.

See the rest of the story at Entomology Today.

New, more effective bed bug trap may be coming this year

Traps with a new blend of bed bug attractant may be on the market sometime this year. Better yet, the total chemical cost may make them affordable.

Just last month, researchers at Simon Fraser University announced that they had discovered a new blend of chemicals to attract bed bugs to a trap. For years scientists have been searching for a blend of pheromones to use in a bed bug trap to help control bed bugs. Pheromones are chemicals that animals release to communicate with other members of the same species; they are used mainly to find and attract mates.

Continue reading

Invasive species reduce native species populations, but sometimes not by themselves

The effect of invasive species on native species is so commonly researched primarily because it doesn’t have a simple answer. Early explanations of the interaction between invasive and native species consisted of the theory of displacement; invasive species moved in, multiplied at a much faster rate than native species because they have no competition, consuming sunlight and other resources needed for growth of the native species, or predating on them.

Continue reading

Scale insects more abundant at higher temperatures

A study by two researchers at North Carolina State University concludes that damaging scale insects are more abundant in urban heat islands.


New virus transmitted by ticks

A new virus that has infected people in Missouri and Tennessee has been identified as Heartland virus. Because it’s a virus, it cannot be cured with antibiotics. The best cure for this virus is prevention. All but one person infected by the virus has recovered; one died due to additional risk factors.

The virus is transmitted by the Lone Star tick. To see a picture of the Lone Star tick, visit our Pinterest page.

See both the Entomology Today blog post and the CDC webpage on Heartland virus.