insects

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There's a Dead Body Hiding in 1889 Van Gogh

It belongs to an unlucky grasshopper

(Newser) - Painting outdoors allowed Vincent Van Gogh a firsthand look at the landscapes that would become the subjects of his masterpieces. But the routine wasn't without, well, pests. As part of a study of 104 paintings from France, conservator Mary Schafer at Kansas City's Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art recently... More »

Researchers See 'Horrific Decline' in Insect Numbers

Scientist warns of 'ecological Armageddon'

(Newser) - If it seems like there are fewer squished bugs on your windshield after long journeys than in years past, you're not imagining things: Researchers say there appears to have been a steep and extremely worrying decline in insect populations in recent decades. In a study published in the journal... More »

Reports of Land Lobster's Death Are Greatly Exaggerated

Australian stick insect not extinct after all

(Newser) - Nice try rats, but this 6-inch-long Australian stick insect is still here, Science Magazine reports. According to the Conversation , Dryococelus australis—also known as the "land lobster"—was happily living on Lord Howe Island between Australia and New Zealand when a British ship ran aground a century ago.... More »

Girl Mocked Over Her Love of Bugs Gets Last Laugh

Sophia Spencer co-authors research paper

(Newser) - Its insights into the use of social media to promote entomology is just one reason a new scientific paper is making headlines. The other is that its co-author is an 8-year-old girl. Sophia Spencer of Canada has long loved creepy-crawlies, especially carrying them around on her shoulder, but her venture... More »

Cops in the West Issue Warning on Oddly Moving Roads

Swarms of Mormon crickets are plaguing a bunch of states

(Newser) - Farmers in the US West face a creepy scourge every eight years or so: swarms of ravenous insects that can decimate crops and cause slippery, bug-slick car crashes as they march across highways and roads. Per the AP , experts say this year could be a banner one for Mormon crickets—... More »

Tick Linked to Unusual Malady Appears to Be Spreading

Bite from lone star tick can give you an allergy to meat

(Newser) - Ticks are out in force this year, and there's one species in particular you should watch out for if you'd ever like to eat meat again. Experts say the lone star tick appears to be spreading from its home base in the southeastern US. Whereas other ticks can... More »

London Overrun With Mystery Bug Swarm

The flying insects descended on Greenwich

(Newser) - Social media users in London are buzzing about an apparent swarm of flying insects that has descended on one part of the city. Videos posted to Twitter Tuesday show people ducking as the insects descend on Greenwich in southeast London, reports the AP . It's not clear what the bugs... More »

Mosquitoes, Ticks Are Coming for Us All This Summer

Warm winter means a pest-heavy summer is likely

(Newser) - America is about to be hit with a major infestation of ticks and mosquitoes, with the National Pest Management Association's chief entomologist predicting a "pretty buggy spring and summer." Popular Science reports this year's unusually warm winter—the sixth warmest ever recorded in the US—means... More »

Couple Donates Massive Bug Collection Worth $10M

Charles and Lois O'Brien spent 60 years amassing their collection

(Newser) - Lois O'Brien tells the Guardian she and husband Charles have had "sort of an Indiana Jones life." But instead of ancient artifacts, the O'Briens spent 60 years collecting insects across 70 countries and seven continents. Those bugs—approximately 1.25 million of them—now fill more... More »

Spiders Eat More Meat Than All the Planet's Humans Do

As much as 800M tons, compared to 400M

(Newser) - When it comes to eating meat, spiders do their share—and then some. Zoologists at the University of Basel in Switzerland and Lund University in Sweden report in the journal the Science of Nature that, according to their calculations, spiders kill between 400 million and 800 million tons of prey... More »

New Species Looks Like Ant, Bee Had a Baby

9 new species of desert bee revealed in Zootaxa study

(Newser) - If an ant and a bee had a baby, it would probably look a lot like the male Perdita prodigiosa, one of nine new species of desert bee mesmerizing researchers. All of the newly discovered bees come from the Perdita group of more than 700 species and subspecies of bees... More »

There’s a Staggering Number of Insects Above Us

Those that fly over the UK each year have the mass of 20K reindeer

(Newser) - Step outside and imagine there's a blanket of billions of insects overhead—because there probably is. Researchers who spent a decade tracking insects 500 to 4,000 feet above the ground in south-central England using radar beams and nets found about 3.5 trillion bugs and butterflies migrate across... More »

For 60 Years, This Bedbug Fell Off the Fla. Map. Now It's Back

Tropical bedbug has potential to wreak more havoc than regular variety

(Newser) - The last time a tropical bedbug was confirmed in Florida, the average price of a new home was less than $10,000 , and Perry Como topped the charts. But USA Today reports this jacked-up cousin of the regular bedbug has now apparently made a reappearance in the Sunshine State, after... More »

Bumble Bees Learn Trick, Surprise Researchers

Most figured out how to pull string for reward after seeing how it's done

(Newser) - Ever wondered how tiny a bumble bee's brain is? Imagine a sesame seed clinging to a burger bun, reports the Washington Post —in other words, it's about 0.0002% the volume of a human brain, as calculated by Science . But that doesn't mean you can't... More »

Anyone Who Eats Food Should Be Worried About This Bee

It's the first proposed for endangered species list

(Newser) - The rusty patched bumblebee has gone from a widespread and well-known pollinator to the edge of extinction in just 20 years. Reuters reports that the species, which got its name from the reddish patch on its abdomen, has been proposed for the endangered species list by the US Fish and... More »

Meet Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Insect Doppelganger

Praying mantis species named after SC justice

(Newser) - Ruth Bader Ginsburg: booze-swilling Supreme Court justice, part-time actress , and … new namesake of a praying mantis. Scientists from the Cleveland Museum of Natural History were examining 30 praying mantis specimens when they discovered that species—typically classified using a male specimen—could be differentiated simply by looking at female... More »

World's Longest-Distance Flier Is Identified

Tiny dragonfly covers 4.4K miles between continents

(Newser) - The world's longest-distance flier is a fly—a dragonfly to be exact. That's what scientists at Rutgers University-Newark claim in a new genetic study of Pantala flavescens, also known as the wandering glider, per Discovery News . Populations of the dragonfly, which is only 1.5 inches long, have... More »

100 Species of Bugs Live in Your Home

Don't fret: Most are harmless, say scientists

(Newser) - You thought Asian camel crickets were bad. A new report in journal Peer J finds hundreds of bugs likely lurk in your home, including spiders, beetles, ants, and book lice. Scientists got down on their hands and knees and combed 50 houses in the suburbs of Raleigh, NC, picking up... More »

What the Dust in Your House Says About You

Our dust contains, on average, 9K unique species of microbes

(Newser) - Last year, volunteers mailed in dust samples taken from above interior and exterior door frames in 1,200 homes across the US as part of a citizen science project called Wild Life of Our Homes . Now, scientists are reporting in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B that our... More »

This Herb May Rival DEET in Repelling Mosquitoes

Native Americans used to turn to this sweet-smelling herb

(Newser) - Native North Americans have long used the fragrant herb sweetgrass to ward off biting insects like mosquitoes, and new research shows how the traditional repellent works chemically. About to share their findings with the American Chemical Society, researchers at the US Department of Agriculture, the University of Guelph, and the... More »

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