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.

  • Cities as study proxies for climate change
    on July 18, 2018 at 9:03 pm

    Cities can serve as useful proxies to study and predict the effects of climate change, according to a research review that tracks urbanization's effects on plant and insect species. […]

  • Sap-sucking bugs manipulate their host plants' metabolism for their own benefit
    on July 17, 2018 at 6:25 pm

    Researchers have shown for the first time that free-living, sap-sucking bugs can manipulate the metabolism of their host plants to create stable, nutritious feeding sites. […]

  • Target for novel malaria vaccine identified
    on July 13, 2018 at 1:35 pm

    Researchers have created a vaccine that protects against malaria infection in mouse models, paving the way for the development of a human vaccine that works by targeting the specific protein that parasites use to evade the immune system. […]

  • Antioxidant benefits of sleep
    on July 12, 2018 at 6:17 pm

    Scientists found that short-sleeping fruit fly mutants shared the common defect of sensitivity to acute oxidative stress, and thus that sleep supports antioxidant processes. […]

  • Finding a weak link in the frightful parasite Schistosoma
    on July 10, 2018 at 11:20 am

    Researchers have shed light on the complex life cycle of Schistosoma, a parasite responsible for sickening hundreds of millions of people in the developing world. […]

  • Rising carbon dioxide levels pose a previously unrecognized threat to monarch butterflies
    on July 10, 2018 at 11:19 am

    A new study reveals a previously unrecognized threat to monarch butterflies: Mounting levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide reduce the medicinal properties of milkweed plants that protect the iconic insects from disease. […]

  • New insights on mosquitoes that spread disease
    on July 9, 2018 at 4:01 pm

    The Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) is a highly invasive species and a vector of multiple pathogens including various viruses, such as chikungunya, dengue, and Zika. A new Medical and Veterinary Entomology study that evaluated the relationship between the mosquito's presence and habitat variables at a small scale provides important information for planning effective prevention and control campaigns. […]

  • Jumping genes: Cross species transfer of genes has driven evolution
    on July 9, 2018 at 2:12 pm

    Far from just being the product of our parents, scientists have now shown that widespread transfer of genes between species has radically changed the genomes of today's mammals, and been an important driver of evolution. […]

  • Birds eat 400 to 500 million tons of insects annually
    on July 9, 2018 at 2:08 pm

    Birds around the world eat 400 to 500 million metric tons of beetles, flies, ants, moths, aphids, grasshoppers, crickets and other anthropods per year. The research highlights the important role birds play in keeping plant-eating insect populations under control. […]

  • Natural lipid acts as potent anti-inflammatory
    on July 6, 2018 at 8:06 pm

    Researchers have identified a naturally occurring lipid -- a waxy, fatty acid -- used by a disease-causing bacterium to impair the host immune response and increase the chance of infection. Inadvertently, they also may have found a potent inflammation therapy against bacterial and viral diseases. […]

  • Stopping a tiny -- and deadly -- fly in its tracks
    on July 5, 2018 at 6:38 pm

    New research presents a technique that could help treat African sleeping sickness, which impacts millions in sub-Saharan Africa and -- in its late stages -- can be fatal. […]

  • Potential new drug for two life-threatening diseases
    on July 5, 2018 at 3:56 pm

    Researchers have successfully created a drug compound, from the goji berry plant, that is active against the parasites that cause schistosomiasis and fascioliasis. […]

  • Self-healing seed pods
    on July 3, 2018 at 3:28 pm

    An international team of researchers has discovered a self-sealing mechanism in the seed pods of Banksia plants: special waxes in the junction zone between the two pod valves melt at elevated environmental temperatures and thereby seal small fissures. […]

  • Promising new tool to measure antibodies against malaria
    on July 3, 2018 at 2:59 pm

    Antibodies against multiple Plasmodium falciparum proteins (or antigens) can be measured using a simple, accurate and reproducible assay that requires very small amounts of blood. Researchers report the development and optimization of several 'quantitative suspension array' assays (qSAT) that could help assess natural and vaccine-induced responses to malaria and other parasites. […]

  • Host plants tell insects when to grow longer wings and migrate
    on July 2, 2018 at 7:47 pm

    Scientists have discovered that the quality of the host rice plant determines whether the brown planthopper, a major pest on rice in Asia, grows short wings or long wings. […]

  • A well-known animal health drug could stop outbreaks of malaria and Zika virus
    on July 2, 2018 at 7:47 pm

    Medicines given to household pets to kill fleas and ticks might be effective for preventing outbreaks of malaria, Zika fever and other dangerous insect-borne diseases. […]

  • A new twist on how parasites invade host cells
    on July 2, 2018 at 3:11 pm

    Researchers have decoded the mechanisms used by the parasite Toxoplasma gondii to enter the cells of a host. Using high-resolution, high-speed imaging, they identified a unique process by which the parasite closes the 'entry door' it creates in order to enter and inhabit a host cell. […]

  • Two proteins involved in schistosome epigenetics play key roles in parasite's biology
    on June 28, 2018 at 5:11 pm

    Two proteins that recognize and translate DNA methylation marks in Schistosoma mansoni are required for growth of adult stem cells in the parasitic flatworm, as well as production of eggs, according to new research. […]

  • First malaria-human contact mapped with Nobel Prize-winning technology
    on June 27, 2018 at 8:05 pm

    Scientists have taken a significant step toward developing a new vaccine for malaria, revealing for the first time an 'atomic-scale' blueprint of how the parasite invades human cells. Using the Nobel Prize-winning technology cryo-EM (cryo-electron microscopy), the researchers mapped the previously hidden first contact between Plasmodium vivax malaria parasites and young red blood cells they invade to begin the parasites' spread throughout the body. […]

  • Newly discovered Xenomorph wasp has Alien-like lifecycle
    on June 27, 2018 at 8:04 pm

    A student has discovered a new species of wasp, named Xenomorph because of its gruesome parasitic lifecycle that echoes the predatory behavior of the Alien movie franchise monster. […]

  • New tool to study Cryptosporidium in healthy tissues
    on June 26, 2018 at 3:33 pm

    Researchers have developed a new approach for studying Cryptosporidium, a waterborne gastrointestinal parasite now recognized as one of the leading causes of potentially life-threatening diarrheal disease in young children worldwide. […]

  • Zika in high resolution
    on June 26, 2018 at 3:33 pm

    The highest-resolution image yet of the Zika virus, or any enveloped virus thus far. The scientists used the latest electron microscopy techniques to see the atomic details of the Zika virus structure. They took advantage of Zika virus stability compared to its flavivirus cousins, allowing for a particularly accurate three-dimensional atomic model. […]

  • Mosquito-borne diseases in Europe: Containment strategy depends on when the alarm sets off
    on June 22, 2018 at 2:47 pm

    New research based on the Italian experience with outbreaks of Chikungunya, a disease borne by the tiger mosquito, in 2007 and 2017, shows that different vector control strategies are needed, depending on the time when the first cases are notified, 'thus providing useful indications supporting urgent decision-making of public health authorities in response to emerging mosquito-borne epidemics', one of the researchers says. […]

  • Not junk: 'Jumping gene' is critical for early embryo
    on June 21, 2018 at 6:10 pm

    A so-called 'jumping gene' that researchers long considered either genetic junk or a pernicious parasite is actually a critical regulator of the first stages of embryonic development, according to a new study. […]

  • California Aedes mosquitoes capable of spreading Zika
    on June 21, 2018 at 6:10 pm

    Over the last five years, Zika virus has emerged as a significant global human health threat following outbreaks in South and Central America. Now, researchers have shown that invasive mosquitoes in California -- where cases of Zika in travelers have been a regular occurrence in recent years -- are capable of transmitting Zika. […]

  • Sticklebacks infected with parasites influence behavior of healthy fish
    on June 21, 2018 at 2:13 pm

    Certain types of tapeworm make sticklebacks behave carelessly and thus become easier prey for birds. A team of biologists have now demonstrated for the first time that the tapeworm not only influences the behavior of the infected fish -- indirectly, it can also induce risky behavior in other fish in the group. […]

  • Rewiring plant defense genes to reduce crop waste
    on June 20, 2018 at 8:24 pm

    Plants could be genetically rewired to better resist disease, helping safeguard crop yields worldwide according to new research. Defensive feedback control system developed enables plants to strengthen their defenses to withstand attack by re-wiring existing gene connections. The system uses same approach as aircraft autopilots use to counteract turbulence. […]

  • Compound made inside human body stops viruses from replicating
    on June 20, 2018 at 7:01 pm

    A team of researchers has identified the mode of action of viperin, a naturally occurring enzyme in humans and other mammals that is known to have antiviral effects on viruses such as West Nile, hepatitis C, rabies, and HIV. This discovery could allow researchers to develop a drug that could act as a broad-spectrum therapy for a range of viruses, including Zika. […]

  • Dry landscapes can increase disease transmission
    on June 20, 2018 at 5:00 pm

    In water-limited landscapes sick animals can have increased contact with healthy individuals, which can facilitate disease transmission. […]

  • Lyme disease cases among children are on the rise in western Pennsylvania
    on June 20, 2018 at 1:49 pm

    Doctors found that cases of Lyme disease in children have increased exponentially in western Pennsylvania. […]