Pests and Parasites

Pests and Parasites News -- ScienceDaily Pest and Parasite Research News. Read today's research on pests and parasites and consider ways to deal with them.

  • 'Antelope perfume' keeps flies away from cows
    on October 20, 2017 at 2:16 pm

    In Africa, tsetse flies transfer the sleeping sickness also to cattle. The damage is estimated to be about 4.6 billion US dollars each year. Experts have developed an innovative way of preventing the disease. Tsetse flies avoid waterbucks, a widespread antelope species in Africa. The scientists imitated the smell of these antelopes. […]

  • DNA tests on albatross excrement reveal secret diet of top predator
    on October 18, 2017 at 3:35 pm

    A study that used DNA tests to analyse the scats of one of the world's most numerous albatrosses has revealed surprising results about the top predator's diet. DNA analysis of 1460 scats from breeding sites around the Southern Ocean has shown that the diet of black-browed albatrosses contains a much higher proportion of jellyfish than previously thought. […]

  • Tropical beetles face extinction threat
    on October 17, 2017 at 3:43 pm

    Climate change is putting many tropical high altitude beetles at risk of extinction, warn an international team of scientists. […]

  • Usutu virus is back: Not only in blackbirds but also in humans
    on October 13, 2017 at 2:33 pm

    Usutu virus, a flavivirus of African origin, was first detected in Austria in 2001, when it caused a severe bird die-off, mainly of blackbirds. The virus was active in the eastern part of Austria until 2005, killing many blackbirds, but also other songbirds. During 10 subsequent years no Usutu virus associated bird mortality was observed in Austria -- contrary to neighboring Hungary. Last year Usutu virus was identified again in two blackbirds -- and in 2017 already in sixteen songbirds. In another study Usutu virus was demonstrated in seven human blood donations from eastern Austria, suggesting that human infections seem to be more frequent than previously thought.&nbs […]

  • Combination of El Niño and 2016 Ecuador earthquake likely worsened Zika outbreak
    on October 13, 2017 at 12:02 am

    A Zika virus outbreak in coastal Ecuador in 2016 was likely worsened by a strong El Niño and a magnitude 7.8 earthquake that struck the region in April, according to a new study. […]

  • Leishmania: Immune reaction to sandfly saliva varies between individuals living in endemic areas
    on October 12, 2017 at 6:33 pm

    The Phlebotomus papatasi sandfly is responsible for spreading Leishmania throughout the tropics and subtropics. How individuals in areas endemic for Leishmania infection react to sandfly saliva depends on their long-term exposure to the flies. […]

  • New way to prevent genetically engineered and unaltered organisms from producing offspring
    on October 12, 2017 at 1:10 pm

    A major obstacle to applying genetic engineering to benefit humans and the environment is the risk that organisms whose genes have been altered might produce offspring with their natural counterparts, releasing the novel genes into the wild. Now, researchers have developed a promising way to prevent such interbreeding. The approach, called 'synthetic incompatibility,' effectively makes engineered organisms a separate species unable to produce viable offspring with their wild or domesticated relatives. […]

  • Some plants grow bigger -- and 'meaner' -- when clipped, study finds
    on October 11, 2017 at 4:03 pm

    Some plants behave like the mythical monster Hydra: Cut off their heads and they grow back, bigger and better than before. A new study finds that these 'overcompensators,' as they are called, also augment their defensive chemistry -- think plant venom -- when they are clipped. The discovery could lead to the development of new methods for boosting plant growth while reducing the need for insecticides, the researchers said. […]

  • Removing invasive plants can increase biodiversity in stream waters
    on October 11, 2017 at 1:17 pm

    Restoration projects to remove invasive plants can make a positive impact on native plant species. But a new study shows restoration has an additional benefit. Removal of invasive species growing alongside a stream or river can also improve the biodiversity of aquatic organisms. […]

  • Citrus fruit peel: Potential alternative to mosquito control discovered
    on October 11, 2017 at 12:01 am

    Natural essential oils extracted from the peel of a citrus fruit could be an effective new eco-friendly alternative in mosquitoes control programs, reports a new study. […]

  • Protein restricts sap uptake by aphids
    on October 10, 2017 at 5:02 pm

    Researchers have discovered how plants can defend themselves against aphids. They recorded aphid behavior on video, and identified a plant protein that keeps aphids from feeding. […]

  • Parasite study paves way for therapies to tackle deadly infections
    on October 10, 2017 at 3:46 pm

    New understanding of a parasite that causes a million cases of disease each year could point towards effective drug treatments. […]

  • Salt marsh research warns of pumpkin-colored 'zombies'
    on October 10, 2017 at 2:57 pm

    Salt marsh research shows that growing abundance of tiny shrimp infected by a microscopic parasite may portend future threats to humankind through disease. […]

  • Gene drives have the potential to suppress mosquito populations, but resistant mosquitoes crop up
    on October 10, 2017 at 2:57 pm

    Researchers successfully built a gene drive to reduce female fertility in the mosquito that spreads malaria, but mutations gradually arose that blocked the spread of the new genes. […]

  • Pest resistance to biotech crops surging
    on October 10, 2017 at 2:51 pm

    Pest resistance to genetically engineered crops Bt crops is evolving faster now than before, researchers show in the most comprehensive study to date. But as expected from evolutionary theory, resistance can be delayed if farmers comply with recommendations to make use of abundant refuges. […]

  • Amazon farmers discovered the secret of domesticating wild rice 4,000 years ago
    on October 9, 2017 at 7:47 pm

    Amazonian farmers discovered how to manipulate wild rice so the plants could provide more food 4,000 years ago, long before Europeans colonized America, archaeologists have discovered. […]

  • Disease-carrying mosquitoes abound in deforested lands
    on October 9, 2017 at 1:32 pm

    UF scientists synthesized and examined data from prior studies that had looked at how many pathogen-carrying mosquito species made their homes in forested lands vs. non-forested lands in 12 countries worldwide, including the United States. […]

  • US Olympians at 2016 Rio Games were infected with West Nile virus, not Zika
    on October 7, 2017 at 9:29 pm

    US Olympic and Paralympic athletes and staff who traveled to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for the 2016 Summer Games did not become infected with Zika virus but did test positive for other tropical, mosquito-borne viral infections, including West Nile Virus, Dengue Fever and Chikungunya. […]

  • Cost-effectiveness of guinea worm disease eradication
    on October 5, 2017 at 6:18 pm

    Eradication of guinea worm disease (dracunculiaisis), targeted by the World Health Organization (WHO) for the year 2015, is finally within reach, with only 25 reported human transmissions in 2016. Now, researchers have re-asserted the cost-effectiveness of the global Guinea Worm Eradication Programme (GWEP), some 30 years after it started. […]

  • Burmese python’s hungry escapades may have consequences for human health
    on October 4, 2017 at 2:12 pm

    As the large, invasive Burmese python eats its way through south Florida's mammals, the mosquitoes in the area have fewer types of animals to bite. Now, more mosquitoes are drawing blood from a rat that carries a virus dangerous to humans. […]

  • Plants become more tolerant when living in symbiosis with fungi
    on October 3, 2017 at 3:18 pm

    By developing a symbiotic relationship with fungi, plants not only become more tolerant to diseases but can also help contribute to more sustainable agricultural practices, report scientists. […]

  • Tropical diversity takes root in relationships between fungi and seeds
    on October 2, 2017 at 8:12 pm

    Scientists in Panama exposed a key to understanding tropical tree diversity by studying how fungi interact with seeds that linger in the ground. Despite a smorgasbord of species available to choose from, tropical fungi and seeds are picky about associating with one another. Early pairings with a particular fungus may influence whether a seed survives and also may help explain how tropical forests remain so diverse. […]

  • The very hungry caterpillar
    on October 2, 2017 at 6:56 pm

    Caterpillars (Spodoptera litura) can eat anything thanks to the expansion of genes involved in taste and detoxification, new insect research shows. […]

  • Disease resistance successfully spread from modified to wild mosquitoes
    on September 28, 2017 at 6:54 pm

    Using genetically modified mosquitoes to reduce or prevent the spread of disease is a rapidly expanding field of investigation. One challenge is ensuring that GM mosquitoes can mate with their wild counterparts so the desired modification is spread in the wild population. Investigators have engineered mosquitoes with an altered microbiota that suppresses human malaria-causing parasites. These GM mosquitoes preferred to mate with wild mosquitoes and passed the desired protection to offspring. […]

  • Continental controls needed to maintain fightback against tree diseases
    on September 28, 2017 at 6:21 pm

    Tighter controls on timber and plant movements into Europe are necessary to prevent further disastrous effects of plant diseases, a new study of the ash-dieback pathogen advises. […]

  • Central America 'kissing bug' carries two main subtypes of Chagas disease parasite
    on September 28, 2017 at 6:20 pm

    Trypanosoma cruzi, the parasite that causes Chagas disease, is divided into six strains, each of which differs in where they are found and in how important they are in human infections. Now, researchers have found that most T. cruzi parasites in Central America belong to just two of those strains. […]

  • Breakthrough in rapid, mass screening for the Ebola virus
    on September 28, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    A new, faster and safer way of diagnosing the Ebola virus has been developed. […]

  • Earliest evidence for a native African cultigen discovered in Eastern Sudan
    on September 27, 2017 at 8:20 pm

    Archaeologists examining plant impressions within broken pottery have discovered the earliest evidence for domesticated sorghum in Africa. […]

  • Purple plant is on the defensive
    on September 27, 2017 at 1:33 pm

    While lavender has long been known for its strong scent and soothing oils, a researcher is exploring the plant's ability to create natural pesticides. […]

  • Scientists unlock mysteries of how Ebola uses people's immune defenses to cause infection
    on September 26, 2017 at 4:51 pm

    Scientists have gained new insight into how the Ebola virus uses the body's natural defenses to speed the rate of infection and unleash its lethal disease, according to a new report. […]