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News

Using bed bug skins to combat the pest

Researchers at the University of California, Riverside have discovered the shed skins of bed begs retain the "obnoxious sweetness" smell often associated with the pests, a finding that could potentially be used to combat infestations of the insects.  bed-bug-on-an-exuvia

Bed begs shed their skins, known as exuviae, as they grow. Four pheromone compounds known as aldehydes are consistently found in the shed skins.

The UC Riverside researchers found that the shed skins retain those compounds in the glands and gradually dispense them over time. They also found that living bed bugs are likely to settle down in the vicinity of the shed skins by sensing these compounds.

The findings could have significant implications for pest management industries, which can use some of the chemical / mechanical characteristics of the bed bugs' shed skin to develop small, inexpensive monitor traps to catch living bed bugs at their early stages of infestation.

"This could be a key development in the search to find new methods to detect bed bugs," said Dong-Hwan Choe, an assistant professor of entomology and an assistant cooperative extension specialist.

Read more: Using bed bug skins to combat the pest

Rediscovering a Wasp After 101 years

Researchers find wasp that could be an important natural enemy of a beetle that destroys black locust trees

 close up photo of Oobius depressus wasp
 

The Oobius depressus wasp was recently found for the first time in 101 years .PHOTO CREDIT: SERGUEI TRIAPITSYN

 

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu) — A species of wasp that is a natural enemy of a wood-boring beetle that kills black locust trees has been rediscovered, more than 100 years after the last wasp of this species was found.

The discovery is significant because the wood-boring beetle, known as the locust borer, is considered a serious pest that has discouraged planting of black locusts, whichplayed an important role in American history. The trees, whose wood is strong, hard and extremely durable, helped build the Jamestown settlement and were featured prominently at George Washington’s Mount Vernon.

The only previous known specimens of the wasp (Oobius depressus) date back to 1914 and were found in Morristown, Illinois. The problem with those specimens is that they were missing their heads and antennae, making them difficult to identify even by specialists of that wasp family, Encyrtidae.

Read more: Rediscovering a Wasp After 101 years

Exploiting Male Killing Bacteria to Control Insects

 

 Spiroplasma infected embryo
 A Spiroplasma-infected male embryo exhibiting male-killing phenotypes. Blue labels are DNA, red labels are Spiroplasma, green labels are neurons.

Scientists have discovered a key mechanism that drives a bacteria that kills male insects, a development that could help control insect pest species in the future.

 

By onMay 5, 2016

 

  A team of scientists have discovered a key mechanism that drives a bacteria that kills male insects, a development that could potentially be exploited to control insect pest species in the future.

 

Numerous insects, including beetles, wasps and butterflies, harbor types of bacteria that are transmitted by females and induce the preferential death of males. This sex-specific lethality benefits the bacteria because males are “dead ends,” meaning they don’t transmit the bacteria, and their absence may result in additional resources for their female siblings who can more successfully transmit the bacteria.

 

Although these symbiotic relationships disrupt a range of developmental processes, the underlying cellular mechanisms are largely unknown.

 

A team of scientists, including Omar Akbari, an assistant professor of entomology at the University of California, Riverside, and his colleague Patrick Ferree, an assistant professor of biology at the W.M. Keck Science Department at Claremont McKenna, Pitzer and Scripps Colleges, are beginning to change that.

 

Read more: Exploiting Male Killing Bacteria to Control Insects

Scientists Unlock Genetic Secret that Could Help Fight Malaria

UC Riverside assistant professor is among researchers that isolated the gene believed to determine whether a mosquito is male

By  on March 29, 2016

 close up of Anopheles Mosquito - Photo credit: James Gathany, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Public Health Image Library

   Researchers have unlocked a genetic mystery surrounding the Anopheles gambiae mosquito species.

 

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu) — A group of scientists, including one from the University of California, Riverside, have discovered a long-hypothesized male determining gene in the mosquito species that carries malaria, laying the groundwork for the development of strategies that could help control the disease.

In many species, including mosquitoes, Y chromosomes control essential male functions, including sex determination and fertility. However, knowledge of Y chromosome genetic sequences is limited to a few organisms.

 

  The discovery of the putative male-determining gene, which was outlined in a paper published online Monday (March 28) in the journal Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences, provides researchers with a long-awaited foundation for studying male mosquito biology.

 

Read more: Scientists Unlock Genetic Secret that Could Help Fight Malaria

New Method to Stop Argentine Ants

New Method to Stop Argentine Ants

 

Researchers add Argentine ant pheromone to bait and find 74 percent reduction in ant activity

By on March 1, 2016

 UC Riverside researchers found that adding ant phermones to bait reduces Argentine ant populations. Photo credit: Dong-Hwan Choe

UC Riverside researchers found that adding ant

phermones to bait reduces Argentine ant populations.

Photo credit: Dong-Hwan Choe 



RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu) — University of California, Riverside researchers may have found a better, more environmentally friendly way to stop the procession of Argentine ants, which have been spreading across the United States for the past few decades, despite pest control efforts.

The Argentine ant is an invasive species that has become a major nuisance in California and southern states, including Georgia, South Carolina. Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Florida, Tennessee and North Carolina. In fact, a 2007 survey found that 85 percent of all urban pest control services in California were focused on the Argentine ant.

A common weapon for managing the Argentine ant has been residual insecticide sprays, insecticides that remain effective for a length of time after being sprayed on a surface. However, the downside of this tactic is that the insecticides can find their way into water systems and harm some aquatic species.

Read more: New Method to Stop Argentine Ants