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.

  • Engineered Chinese shrub produces high levels of antimalarial compound
    on April 24, 2018 at 5:36 pm

    Artemisinin is a potent antimalarial compound produced naturally in low amounts by the Chinese shrub Artemisia annua, commonly known as sweet wormwood. Researchers in China now report a high-quality draft genome sequence of A. annua and their use of this information along with gene expression data to metabolically engineer plant lines that produce high levels of artemisinin. […]

  • Just one more ash dieback spore could push European ash trees to the brink
    on April 23, 2018 at 4:50 pm

    Europe's ash dieback epidemic could well have been caused by just one or two mushroom-like fruiting bodies of a fungal pathogen from Asia, according to a comprehensive genome sequencing effort. This leaves even the most resistant ash trees at threat from the introduction of just one more spore from East Asia. […]

  • Why freeloader baby-eating ants are welcomed to the colony
    on April 23, 2018 at 12:54 pm

    It might seem surprising that a colony of ants would tolerate the type of guests that gobble both their grub and their babies. But new research shows there's likely a useful tradeoff to calmly accepting these parasite ants into the fold: They have weaponry that's effective against their host ants and a more menacing intruder ant. […]

  • West Nile virus reemerged and spread to new areas in Greece in 2017
    on April 21, 2018 at 12:57 pm

    West Nile virus (WNV), which is transmitted via mosquito bites, reemerged and spread to new territories of Greece in 2017 following a two-year hiatus in reported human cases, according to new findings. Greece provides the appropriate ecological and climatic conditions for WNV circulation. The virus has been established in Greece and disease transmission may continue in the future. […]

  • Insecticide resistance in a major malaria vector
    on April 20, 2018 at 4:28 pm

    Researchers have shown the rapid selection of a novel P450 enzyme leading to insecticide resistance in a major malaria vector. […]

  • Unique protein is a vulnerability in the malaria parasite
    on April 18, 2018 at 3:16 pm

    The malaria parasite is highly dependent on a unique protein for infecting new mosquitoes. This protein could be a target for the development of new drugs. […]

  • Malaria: Mosquitoes reveal fatal attraction
    on April 16, 2018 at 10:56 pm

    Malaria causes the bodies of its human hosts to emit specific odors from the skin that make the hosts even more attractive to mosquitoes, which invites further bites and risks infection of more mosquitoes and wider transmission of the disease. It's a vicious circle but one that has enabled researchers to identify the odors as organic hydrocarbons whose discovery could bring relief to a disease that claimed nearly half a million lives in 2016. […]

  • A new hope: One of North America's rarest bees has its known range greatly expanded
    on April 16, 2018 at 12:59 pm

    The Macropis cuckoo bee is one of the rarest bees in North America, partly because of its specialized ecological associations. It is a nest parasite of oil-collecting bees of the genus Macropis which, in turn, are dependent on oil-producing flowers of the genus Lysimachia. However, new data greatly expands the known range of the cuckoo, and has implications for its conservation status. […]

  • Predicting which trees are at greatest risk of beetle invasion
    on April 16, 2018 at 12:57 pm

    This study shows that the composition of forests is more important than other factors when predicting where the destructive pest will strike next. […]

  • Temperature affects insecticide efficacy against malaria vectors
    on April 13, 2018 at 5:36 pm

    Ambient temperature has a marked effect on the toxicity of the most commonly used insecticides for malaria control, according to a new study. The results underline the need to evaluate the efficacy of these chemicals under real field conditions. […]

  • How highly contagious norovirus infection gets its start
    on April 12, 2018 at 6:10 pm

    Researchers have shown, in mice, that norovirus infects a rare type of intestinal cell called a tuft cell. Noroviruses tucked inside tuft cells are effectively hidden from the immune system, which could explain why some people continue to shed virus long after they are no longer sick. These 'healthy carriers' are thought to be the source of norovirus outbreaks, so understanding how the virus evades detection in such people could lead to better ways to prevent outbreaks. […]

  • Ebola: Overestimated mutation rate
    on April 12, 2018 at 5:08 pm

    At the start of the epidemic in West Africa, the Ebola virus did not change as rapidly as thought at the time. Researchers explain why scientists misjudged it at the time. […]

  • Emerging diseases: Is MERS-CoV a threat for Africa?
    on April 12, 2018 at 12:57 pm

    The main MERS-CoV reservoir species is the dromedary, which is found in large numbers in many African countries. Why is it that they have never transmitted the virus to humans, as they have in parts of the Middle East? […]

  • Droughts mean fewer flowers for bees
    on April 12, 2018 at 2:08 am

    Bees could be at risk from climate change because more frequent droughts could cause plants to produce fewer flowers, new research shows. […]

  • Birds migrate away from diseases
    on April 10, 2018 at 2:35 pm

    In a unique study, researchers have mapped the origins of migratory birds. They used the results to investigate and discover major differences in the immune systems of sedentary and migratory birds. The researchers conclude that migratory species benefit from leaving tropical areas when it is time to raise their young -- as moving away from diseases in the tropics enables them to survive with a less costly immune system. […]

  • How spiders can harm and help flowering plants
    on April 10, 2018 at 2:09 pm

    The enemy of my enemy is my friend. Now researchers show that this principle also holds for crab spiders and flowering plants. While it's true that the spiders do eat or drive away useful pollinators such as bees, they're also attracted by floral scent signals to come and help if the plant is attacked by insects intent on eating it. […]

  • Rats, cats, and people trade-off as main course for mosquitoes in Baltimore, Md.
    on April 10, 2018 at 12:42 pm

    Understanding how neighborhood dynamics regulate mosquito bites is key to managing diseases like West Nile virus and Zika virus. Today in Parasites & Vectors, researchers report that in Baltimore, Md., socioeconomic differences between neighborhoods influence bite risk, with rats being a primary blood meal source in lower income neighborhoods. […]

  • Why some beetles like alcohol
    on April 9, 2018 at 10:53 pm

    Alcohol used as a 'weed killer' optimizes the harvest of ambrosia beetles. […]

  • 20-year-old mystery of malaria vaccine target solved
    on April 9, 2018 at 8:13 pm

    The human piece of a malaria infection puzzle has been revealed for the first time, solving a long-standing mystery. A protein displayed on the surface of malaria parasites called 'TRAP' is a high-priority vaccine target, but how it interacts with human host cells has remained a puzzle. Scientists have discovered a receptor protein on the surface of human cells that the TRAP protein interacts with as it navigates through the body. […]

  • Hybrid swarm in global mega-pest
    on April 6, 2018 at 2:05 pm

    Scientists have confirmed the hybridization of two of the world's major pest species, into a new and improved mega-pest. […]

  • A vaccine for edible plants? A new plant protection method on the horizon
    on April 5, 2018 at 2:01 pm

    Novel technologies are being sought to replace the traditional pesticides used to protect plants, particularly edible plants such as cereals. A new project is shedding light on the efficacy of environmentally friendly RNA-based vaccines that protect plants from diseases and pests. […]

  • Lizards, mice, bats and other vertebrates are important pollinators, too
    on April 4, 2018 at 10:25 pm

    Although less familiar as flower visitors than insect pollinators, vertebrate pollinators are more likely to have coevolved tight relationships of high value to the plants they service, supplying essential reproductive aid for which few or no other species may substitute. […]

  • First land plants were parasitized by microbes
    on April 4, 2018 at 3:47 pm

    Sainsbury Laboratory researchers have found that the relationship between plants and filamentous microbes not only dates back millions of years, but that modern plants have maintained this ancient mechanism to accommodate and respond to microbial invaders. […]

  • Protein derived from parasite has potential to alleviate debilitating disease
    on April 3, 2018 at 6:04 pm

    Medical researchers have turned the tables on Schistosoma haematobium, a parasitic worm that freeloads in humans, by using a protein derived from the parasite as a therapeutic molecule to reduce bleeding and pain associated with chemotherapy-induced hemorrhagic cystitis. […]

  • Global warming can turn monarch butterflies' favorite food into poison
    on April 3, 2018 at 4:00 pm

    Researchers have discovered a new relationship between climate change, monarch butterflies and milkweed plants. It turns out that warming temperatures don't just affect the monarch, Danaus plexippus, directly, but also affect this butterfly by potentially turning its favorite plant food into a poison. […]

  • How a protein helps bacteria outsmart the human immune system
    on April 2, 2018 at 9:10 pm

    New research has uncovered a mechanism by which the bacteria that cause Lyme disease fight innate immune responses, and observed a never-before-seen phenomena demonstrating the bacteria can spring back in the body weeks later. Understanding this type of bacteria, one of only a few pathogens that can actually persist in the body for long periods of time, has major implications for treatment of tick-borne diseases like Lyme disease. […]

  • Study may help explain why iron can worsen malaria infection
    on March 29, 2018 at 6:10 pm

    Researchers have a possible explanation for why iron can sometimes worsen malaria infection. By studying mice and samples from malaria patients, the researchers found that extra iron interferes with ferroportin, a protein that prevents a toxic buildup of iron in red blood cells and helps protect these cells against malaria infection. They also found that a mutant form of ferroportin that occurs in African populations appears to protect against malaria. […]

  • What stops mass extinctions? Lessons from amphibian die-off in Panama
    on March 29, 2018 at 6:10 pm

    What slows or stops a disease epidemic if the pathogen is still present? It appears that wild frogs are becoming increasingly resistant to the chytrid fungal disease that has decimated amphibian populations around the world. […]

  • Chemical compound inhibits Ebola virus replication
    on March 28, 2018 at 10:24 pm

    An organic chemical compound shows effective antiviral activity against Ebola virus and several other viruses, according to a new study. […]

  • Drug that kills mosquitoes could be used to fight malaria
    on March 28, 2018 at 2:37 pm

    Researchers have shown the large potential impact of a completely new type of antimalarial drug that kills mosquitoes, as opposed to existing drugs that target the parasite, to reduce the spread of malaria. […]