A Good Dose of Spider Poison: Tarantula Venom at Home and on the Farm

Tarantula venom may be the key to your pest problems. Image by jdurham

Tarantula venom could fight the pesky insects of farms and homes – a new study from Australia finds spider poison is effective as an edible poison for bugs.

Shoo Fly, Don’t Bother Bee!!!

Adult_female_Apocephalus_borealis

In my previous article on Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) in honeybees, I summarized recent advances in our understanding of this malady which has arisen in recent years, leading to major declines in honeybee colonies throughout North America. The current consensus is that CCD is caused by a synergistic combination of internal (diseases, parasites) and extrinsic […]

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Parasite Gene Makes Caterpillars Do its Bidding

Gypsy moth catepiller on leaf

The first solid genetic proof of an extended phenotype, a concept postulated by Richard Dawkins in 1982, has just been reported by Kelli Hoover and colleagues at Pennsylvania State University (PSU) in University Park, as well as from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service in Delaware, Ohio. These researchers have identified a viral gene that induces […]

Cry Havoc and Let Slip the Bugs of War

assassin bug

Throughout history, insects have frequently played a direct role in human events, especially during times of war.  The Egyptian general Horembeb of the XII Egyptian Dynasty was almost bested in his battles with the Hittites because of a plague that was so severe that the battle ceased and his troops fled into the mountains and […]

It Takes Two to Tango… or Does It? The Curious Courtship of Collembola (Springtails)

Globular Springtail: Image by Goshzilla

Collembola, also known as springtails, are tiny terrestrial hexapods once considered primitive, wingless insects (based on the fact that they too have six legs, just like insects), but are now known to be distinct from true insects.  Most species live in loose surface soil and leaf litter where they feed on decaying organic material.  Despite […]