Very quietly, and without any formal announcement, the Common Names Committee of the Entomological Society of America has decided to list termites in the same category as cockroaches. It seem weird to lump the two together, but it’s a move that scientists have been considering for nearly a century.
Bed bugs—the blood-sucking, chitinous nightmares which serve as the clearest proof that if there is a divine creator behind the universe, it hates us—were once nearly eradicated from the U.S. But in recent years they’ve come back worse than ever, beefed up from decades of exposure to insecticides and helped along by…
Do you have hobbies? Maybe cycling or carpentry or something low key? Well, this guy has a cooler hobby than you.
A tick sucks some monkey blood. A monkey’s grooming partner picks the tick off. The tick lands in some sap. The whole thing fossilizes. Scientists discover the cells inside the tick in the amber. They turn the blood cells into monkey clones and you’ve essentially got some sort of Jurassic Park in real life.
While it can sometimes feel like we’ve turned over every last stone on this planet, it’s a fact that the natural world can still surprise us. Need some proof? Just feast your eyes on these badass new dragon ants, discovered deep in the tropical rainforest of New Guinea.
The strikingly beautiful Saharan silver ant is capable of withstanding some of the most extreme temperatures on the planet. New research shows that their silver sheen serves as a heat-repellent system, reflecting incoming sunlight like a prism.
Bed bugs are among the most dreaded pests we have to deal with, and they’re proving to be a formidable foe. New research suggests that bed bugs are able to ward off insecticides by developing thicker skins.
Ticks—those unbreakable, blood-lusting arthropods that haunt your summer camp memories—have some fascinating genetic secrets. The tick genome tells a tale of weaponized spit, expandable armor, and how to drink 100 times one’s body weight in blood. Strangest of all, it’s utterly enormous.
Science, isn’t it great? Especially when it’s bringing us fascinating insights like this one: there could be up to 500 species of arthropods—insects, spiders, mites, and centipedes—living right alongside you in your home. Apparently, the war on bugs was always a lost cause.
The Sunburst Diving Beetle has great eyesight, in part due to a bifocal lens. The larvae of the beetle go through multiple molting periods in their trek to adulthood—which means it reshapes its own eyes.
It’s official: Parasitic wasps are the slave drivers of the insect kingdom. But if you’re thinking whips and chains, you’re not giving evolution nearly enough credit. Wasps enslave with biological warfare, genetically programming caterpillars to be the perfect hosts.
Yesterday, Burning Man organizers revealed the truth: the annual desert arts festival is infested with bugs. Swarms of them. Piles of them. What are they? Why has nobody ever seen them before, in over two decades of building mega-party spaces in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert? We found out.
A phalloblaster is a must-have for entomologists. It’s a sort of alcohol squirt-gun that can be used to inflate the genitals of a dead insect. Here you can see it at work. And after this, you can never un-see it.
A senior reserves officer was walking through England’s Northamptonshire’s Pitsford Water Nature Reserve when she spotted what appeared to be a plastic bag caught in some tree branches. But on closer inspection it was bee hive — but without its typical external casing.
I’m sorry, did you not hear me? I said THIS INSECT FARTS ON ITS PREY.
KQED’s excellent science series Deep Look (previously here, here, and here—can you tell we’re fans?) just kicked off a new run of videos with an episode about how ants use leaves to harvest fungus. Which, sure, fungus harvesting is fascinating in its own right, but wait until you find out what the ants are harvesting…
An international team of scientists have isolated a gene within the Aedes aegypti mosquito that partially transforms females into males. Since only females spread diseases by feasting on human blood, the discovery could lead to powerful population control strategies.
Scientists have shown that body-flinging escape jumps by trap-jaw ants are more than just a neat insectoid party trick.
“Eating bugs is a great idea!” shout future-minded gourmets, the kinds of people who eat waxworm tacos willingly and feed bug cookies to their coworkers. But are insects like crickets and grasshoppers really the solution to our environmental and food-security woes? Well... maybe not. Not entirely, at least.