Want pollinators? Lower the temperature

Researchers at NC State University recently published a paper about wild bee abundance in relationship to urban warming.

The paper challenges the idea that planting more flowers will attract more pollinators. Although the number of larger bees do increase as flower populations increase, populations of small bees tend to decline at some of the hottest sites. Continue reading

Invasive insects turn forests into wasteland

by Michael Casey and Patrick Whittle, Associated Press

In a towering forest of centuries-old eastern hemlocks, it’s easy to miss one of the tree’s nemeses. No larger than a speck of pepper, the Hemlock woolly adelgid spends its life on the underside of needles sucking sap, eventually killing the tree.

The bug is one in an expanding army of insects draining the life out of forests from New England to the West Coast. Aided by global trade, a warming climate and drought-weakened trees, the invaders have become one of the greatest threats to biodiversity in the United States. Continue reading

Global warming may affect effectiveness of permethrin, study shows

From the Entomological Society of America

The effectiveness of an important mosquito-fighting insecticide may be impaired by global warming, according to a recent study in the Journal of Medical Entomology. Two researchers from Montana State University, graduate student Shavonn Whiten and Dr. Robert Peterson, have shown that permethrin becomes less effective at killing the yellowfever mosquito (Aedes aegypti) as temperatures increase.

These mosquitoes, which are found in the tropics and the subtropics, can transmit viruses that lead to dengue, chikungunya, yellow fever, and other diseases. Continue reading

Warmer NC waters invite lionfish, a tropical troublemaker

From the News & Observer

by Reid Creager

Rising water temperatures off the North Carolina coast are good news for the expansion of tropical fish and for divers. But they may also add to an underwater menace that could ultimately threaten reefs in the Atlantic.

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Study finds urban warming increases scale insect populations and reduces tree health

A study published this past March revealed that urban warming increases the abundance of some tree pests, while decreasing tree health.

North Carolina State University researchers Adam Dale and Steven Frank tested the hypothesis that warm temperatures stimulates the reproduction of herbivorous pests such as armored scale insects (Melanaspis tenebricosa), while also increasing water stress and decreasing tree health. They studied several populations of red maple (Acer rubrum) trees in the city of Raleigh, NC.

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Dung beetles reduce climate change, study shows

Scientists in Europe have published a study that shows how dung beetles reduce methane emissions into the atmosphere, simply by doing what they do best–eating cattle dung.

Read more about the study in today’s Entomology Today post, which has links to the paper in PLoS ONE.

Here today, gone tomorrow: the case of a disappearing invasive ant species in New Zealand

Although the cost of invasive species has not sparked nearly as much debate as has the possibility of global warming, the combination of the two has bred some interesting research. In New Zealand, for example, a group of scientists recently examined what effect warming temperatures would have on the invasive Argentine ant, and whether native ant populations could recover if invasive ant colonies disappeared.

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