17 Stories

200K Mice Plagued the Islands. Amazingly, There Are Now None

A seeming victory for biodiversity on New Zealand's Antipodes Islands

(Newser) - A subantarctic archipelago is making "huge news": The New Zealand Herald reports there are officially no more mice on the country's Antipodes Islands, which once housed up to 200,000 of the rodents. They caused a big threat to the World Heritage Site by preying on native birds,... More »

Tiny Invader Threatens Food Staple in Africa

Fall armyworm is wiping out maize crops

(Newser) - Still reeling from a severe drought, Zimbabwe is now on the brink of going hungry as an invasive pest wreaks havoc on the staple crop maize. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization reports that seven of the country's eight provinces have been hit by the fall armyworm, and as... More »

NZ Plans to Kill Every Rat, Feral Cat, and Possum

In the world's 'most ambitious conservation project'

(Newser) - New Zealand could soon be the envy of New York. The country has announced a "world-first" project to exterminate all non-native pests, including possums, stoats, feral cats, and rats by 2050, reports the Guardian . Why? Well, the pests, which the government says cost $2.3 billion per year, also... More »

Wisconsin's New Scourge: 'Crazy Worms'?

Invasive species has done what locals hoped it wouldn't—survive winter

(Newser) - With 5,000 or so species of earthworms wriggling about the planet, a few are bound to be nastier than the rest. So is the case with Amynthas agrestis, aka the "Asian crazy worm" or "Alabama jumper," an invasive pest found in Japan, Korea, and—for five... More »

What Makes You Tasty to Mosquitoes?

Pregnancy, blood type, even the clothes on your back

(Newser) - Whether you're one of those people who gets eaten alive by mosquitoes depends on some pretty tangible factors, and Smithsonian Magazine runs down the reasons that make an estimated 20% of us especially delectable to those buzzing little bloodsuckers. Without ado:
  • How much booze you drink: Turns out beer
... More »

USDA: Time for 'Sea Change' in Fighting Pests

Officials release list of top 15 threats

(Newser) - Pests are causing billions of dollars of agricultural damage—the Asian citrus psyllid alone has cost Florida growers $4.5 billion—and it's time for a "sea change" in how we deal with them. Today, the USDA is releasing its list of the top 15 pest threats, USA ... More »

30M Locusts Swarm Egypt

Gov't says it has most of outbreak near Cairo under control

(Newser) - Cue the locusts: Some 30 million of the insects descended on Egypt over the weekend, in a development that had the country's agricultural ministry scrambling to deploy insecticide-spraying helicopters to contain the outbreak. The main swarm appears to be centered around Giza, near southern Cairo, where Ynet reports that... More »

Experts Swarm Bedbug Summit

Leaders in battle against bloodsuckers meet in Chicago

(Newser) - These are boom times in the bedbug control business and dozens of scientists, exterminators, and inventors have flocked to a summit this week on dealing with the resurgent pest. At the first-ever North American Bedbug Summit, being held in a suburban Chicago hotel, dozens of vendors displayed ways to trap,... More »

Bedbug Dogs Sniff Out Bloodsuckers

Trained hounds in high demand as infestations rise

(Newser) - The resurgence of an old pest has created new jobs for dogs. Bedbug infestations have soared in American cities over the last four years, creating boom times for exterminators, especially those using canny canines trained to detect the tiny suckers. Handlers say the dogs can expertly sniff out infestations and... More »

Super Fly No Match for Obama Death Slap

Lightning-fast prez pulverizes persistent fly during White House interview

(Newser) - A fly that invaded a CNBC White House interview yesterday was no match for the leader of the free world, the Christian Science Monitor reports. After repeatedly warning the fly to get out of there and let him discuss financial regulation in peace, President Obama delivered a surgical strike, dispatching... More »

12 Museums of Odd Things

(Newser) - Trying to awake from the nightmare of history? Mental Floss' list of 12 "oddly specific" American museums may only give you bad dreams:
  • The SPAM Museum: Complete with a wall of 5,000 SPAM tins and a scale plant where visitors can suit up in white coats and
... More »

Pesticide-Busting Brit Super Rats Spark Health Concerns

(Newser) - Britain's surging rat population is becoming immune to common poisons, spurring public heath concerns and calls for stronger pesticides, reports the Guardian. Rodents in at least two towns are impervious to normal control methods. In addition, years of mild winters and wet summers have boosted vermin populations by 66% in... More »

Scientists Master Fly-Swatting

To defeat a 100 milliseconds reaction time, stealthy swatting is crucial

(Newser) - Scientists using high-speed cameras have figured out why it is so difficult to swat pesky houseflies, the Independent reports. A fly's tiny brain can detect a threat, adjust flight course, and take evasive action in 100-thousandths of a second. The researchers, writing in the journal Current Biology, recommend thinking one... More »

'Super Termite' Found in Fla.

Fast-eating bug known to cause panic among homeowners

(Newser) - One of the world's most feared termites has been caught gnawing on a Florida Gulfport home. Exterminators say they have saved the house, but admit that the "super termites"—or Formosan subterraneans—included winged swarmers, which indicates that that colony has existed for more than 5 years. "... More »

Crazy Ants Munch Through Houston

Shocking new ants species chewing up electrical equipment

(Newser) - Houston, you have an ant problem. Billions of ravenous ants have invaded the city and are chomping their way through the city's electrical equipment, causing shorts and failure, AP reports. The previously unknown species—dubbed "crazy raspberry ants"—apparently arrived in Texas on a cargo ship. The invading... More »

Bedbugs' Itch Breeding New Ways to Scratch

Freeze 'em, bake 'em, call in the dogs—pests can't bite if they're dead

(Newser) - No one’s sure why bedbugs are back, but US companies think they know how to kill them, the Wall Street Journal reports. Startups are using everything from dogs to cold blasts to hair-dryer-like devices to sniff out, freeze or bake the pests. “We don’t have an easy... More »

Vacuuming Sucks Fleas to Doom

Professor finds fleas' journey into cleaner is a one-way trip

(Newser) - Does vacuuming kill fleas? The answer is yes, according to a retired Ohio professor, the Columbus Dispatch reports. In a study he did years ago for an appliance company, Fred Hink sucked up 100 fleas at a time with a vacuum cleaner and was surprised to find very few of... More »

17 Stories