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.

  • Disrupted gut microbiome makes children more susceptible to amoebic dysentery
    on August 17, 2017 at 6:18 pm

    Children with lower diversity of microbial species in their intestines are more susceptible to severe infection with the Entamoeba histolytica parasite, according to a new study. […]

  • Viruses and aphids that help crops? Scientists think it may be possible
    on August 17, 2017 at 5:59 pm

    Scientists are making an effort to help corn stand up to stress brought on by drought and disease by using viruses and aphids to activate desirable traits. It’s speculative research that could yield new insight into how viruses, insects and plants interact. […]

  • Can previous exposure to West Nile alter the course of Zika?
    on August 16, 2017 at 1:03 pm

    West Nile virus is no stranger to the U.S.-Mexico border; thousands of people in the region have contracted the mosquito-borne virus in the past. But could this previous exposure affect how intensely Zika sickens someone now? […]

  • The irresistible fragrance of dying vinegar flies
    on August 16, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    Vinegar flies should normally try to avoid their sick conspecifics to prevent becoming infected themselves. Nevertheless they are irresistibly attracted to the smell given off by sick flies. A dramatic increase in the production of the sex pheromones responsible for the attractive odor of the infected flies is caused by pathogens: this perfidious strategy is used by the deadly germs to enable them to infect healthy flies and spread even further. […]

  • Frogs that adapt to pesticides are more vulnerable to parasites
    on August 15, 2017 at 6:17 pm

    Amphibians can evolve increased tolerance to pesticides, but the adaptation can make them more susceptible to parasites, according to a team of scientists. […]

  • Compounds in desert creosote bush could treat giardia, 'brain-eating' amoeba infections
    on August 15, 2017 at 5:50 pm

    Researchers have found that compounds produced by the creosote bush, a desert plant common to the Southwestern United States, exhibit potent anti-parasitic activity against the protozoa responsible for giardia infections and an amoeba that causes an often-lethal form of encephalitis. […]

  • Adding silicon to soil to strengthen plant defenses
    on August 15, 2017 at 4:14 pm

    Researchers have examined the addition of silicon to the soil in which plants are grown to help strengthen plants against potential predators. […]

  • Parasites, snails may factor in Adirondack moose decline
    on August 10, 2017 at 12:24 pm

    The apparent declining moose population in New York ’s Adirondack Mountains may be caused partly by tiny parasite-transmitting snails eaten by moose as they forage vegetation, according to new research. […]

  • Spying on malaria parasites at -196 Celsius
    on August 9, 2017 at 6:02 pm

    By combining two advanced microscope techniques scientists have managed to obtain new information about the ravaging mode of operation applied by malaria parasites when attacking their victims. This information can be utilized when designing new medication to more effectively fight malaria -- a disease claiming over 400,000 lives each year, a majority of whom are infants. […]

  • Novel poxvirus threatens juvenile squirrels
    on August 9, 2017 at 11:40 am

    A previously unknown poxvirus causes severe disease in European red squirrels from Germany. Molecular genetic investigations revealed a new virus species in the family of Poxviridae. […]

  • Scientists develop improved, potentially safer Zika vaccine
    on August 9, 2017 at 11:32 am

    Researchers have developed the world's first plant-based Zika vaccine that could be more potent, safer and cheaper to produce than any other efforts to date. […]

  • Mangroves vital for environmental decontamination
    on August 3, 2017 at 7:58 pm

    Mangrove trees, particularly their leaf litter, filter copper out of soil and water in Indonesia. […]

  • Cracking the code of megapests
    on August 3, 2017 at 1:19 pm

    For the first time, researchers have mapped the complete genome of two closely related megapests potentially saving the international agricultural community billions of dollars a year. […]

  • Cockroach gardeners: Spreading plant seeds across the forest floor
    on August 3, 2017 at 1:19 pm

    Researchers have discovered that cockroaches can disperse seeds like birds and mammals. A variety of seed dispersing animals had been identified, including birds, monkeys, ants, and even slugs, but no cockroaches. This unexpected discovery was made during a study of the seed dispersal mechanism of Monotropastrum humile, a small herb that thrives in the same temperate forests of Japan that the Blattella nipponica cockroach inhabits. […]

  • Light pollution as a new threat to pollination
    on August 2, 2017 at 7:39 pm

    Artificial light disrupts nocturnal pollination and leads to a reduced number of fruits produced by the plant. This loss of night time pollination cannot be compensated by diurnal pollinators. The negative impact of artificial light at night on nocturnal pollinators might even propagate further to the diurnal community, as ecologists were able to show. […]

  • A dolphin diet
    on August 2, 2017 at 7:25 pm

    The health of dolphin populations worldwide depends on sustained access to robust food sources. Marine biologists have now studied the diets of dolphin species to understand the animals' foraging habits and how they share ocean resources. […]

  • Ebola detected in semen of survivors two years after infection
    on August 2, 2017 at 7:25 pm

    Researchers have found Ebola RNA in the semen of survivors two years after infection. They are calling on the World Health Organization to update its guidelines on sexual transmission. […]

  • Anthrax: A hidden threat to wildlife in the tropics
    on August 2, 2017 at 5:47 pm

    Anthrax, a disease so far not associated with tropical rain forests, is common in the Ivory Coast's Taï National Park and is posing a serious threat to wildlife there. The bacterium could soon even cause the extinction of local chimpanzee populations. […]

  • Europe's most dangerous pathogens: Climate change increasing risks
    on August 2, 2017 at 12:29 pm

    The impact of climate change on the emergence and spread of infectious diseases could be greater than previously thought, according to new researc […]

  • Coral disease outbreaks fluctuate with El Niño years, new research finds
    on July 31, 2017 at 5:41 pm

    Disease outbreaks in corals have followed El Niño-fueled coral bleaching events in the past, leading to speculation about the connection between the diseases and the El Niño cycles. This new study confirms the speculation. […]

  • Can Florida mosquitoes transmit new strains of painful chikungunya virus?
    on July 28, 2017 at 2:20 am

    Researchers used a baseline comparison of infection and transmission rates of Florida mosquitoes to those from the Dominican Republic, a region associated with numerous human cases. Experts measured mosquito infection and transmission of the emergent strains of chikungunya -- Asian and Indian Ocean – in Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes. […]

  • Corpse flower set for first outdoor bloom
    on July 27, 2017 at 2:53 pm

    How does a giant, foul-smelling plant from the tropics fare in an outdoor garden in New York? We will soon find out. […]

  • Crops that kill pests by shutting off their genes
    on July 27, 2017 at 2:45 pm

    Plants are among many eukaryotes that can 'turn off' one or more of their genes by using a process called RNA interference to block protein translation. Researchers are now weaponizing this by engineering crops to produce specific RNA fragments that, upon ingestion by insects, initiate RNA interference to shut down a target gene essential for life or reproduction, killing or sterilizing the insects. […]

  • Best first aid treatment of jellyfish stings
    on July 27, 2017 at 2:30 pm

    New research has identified the best way to treat a sting from the lions mane jellyfish (Cyanea capillata). […]

  • Anyone for crispy jellyfish?
    on July 27, 2017 at 2:30 pm

    The world needs new foods, and we are gradually getting used to the idea of having to eat seaweed and insects. So jellyfish on our plates would not put us off. Right? […]

  • Global health lessons from Thailand's successful liver fluke elimination campaign
    on July 25, 2017 at 4:21 pm

    Outreach and education efforts can play an outsize role in disease elimination programs, researchers suggest . As a case study, they consider recent public health efforts in Thailand, using everything from village-wide presentations to children's comics, to elaborate traditional song-and-dance routines to try to stamp out infections caused by the parasitic liver fluke. […]

  • Dodder: A parasite involved in the plant alarm system
    on July 25, 2017 at 2:06 pm

    Parasitic plants of the genus Cuscuta (dodder) not only deplete nutrients from their host plants, but also function as important 'information brokers' among neighboring plants, when insects feed on host plants, a team of scientists has discovered. […]

  • Biological pest management: Infected insects cause a stink
    on July 24, 2017 at 6:20 pm

    Researchers have shown how nematodes use smell to seek out uninfected insects, which they then enter and kill. The findings support the group's long-term goal of improving how gardeners and the agricultural industry use nematodes in biological pest management. […]

  • Raccoon roundworm: Hidden human parasite?
    on July 24, 2017 at 6:20 pm

    The raccoon that topples your trashcan and pillages your garden may leave more than just a mess. More likely than not, it also contaminates your yard with parasites -- most notably, raccoon roundworms (Baylisascaris procyonis). […]

  • Corn gene conferring resistance to multiple plant leaf diseases
    on July 24, 2017 at 3:36 pm

    Researchers have found a specific gene in corn that appears to be associated with resistance to two and possibly three different plant leaf diseases. […]