insects

Bumblebees Carry Heavy Loads in Economy Mode

February 05, 2020
Bumblebees are the big lifters of the insect world, able to fly back to the hive with almost their own body weight in nectar on board. A study published Feb. 5 in Science Advances shows how they do it — and that bees can show more flexibility in behavior than you might expect from a bumbling insect.

About That Butterfly Contest: ‘It’s Complicated’

January 30, 2020
Professor Art Shapiro predicted it: The cabbage white butterfly would be out this week, alerting his “posse” to their opportunity to win his annual Beer for a Butterfly contest — the prize going to the person who catches the first cabbage white of the new year.

DEET Beats Clove-based Mosquito Repellent on Performance and Price

November 07, 2019
Kaiming Tan, an undergraduate working with Professor Walter Leal at the UC Davis Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, recently put a home-brewed clove repellent to the test against DEET. Their paper was just published in PLOS One.

A Chemical Lure That Sticks: New Trapping Methods for Citrus Greening Pest

September 09, 2019
The Asian citrus psyllid is the bogeyman of the citrus industry. Its appearance in fields is a dark harbinger for farmers, for carried within this insect is the bacteria Candidatus Liberibacter, the cause of citrus greening disease. In a study published in Scientific Reports, UC Davis researchers report that an acetic acid-based, slow-release trap is capable of capturing Asian citrus psyllids even when the insect populations are low.

Ancient Splices of Biology: Tracing the Evolution of Insect Sexual Development

September 04, 2019
Sexual determination and differentiation work in myriad ways across the animal kingdom. In vertebrates, like mammals and fish, sexual determination leads to the development of either ovaries or testis. These organs then secrete hormones that go on to govern the sexual development of the rest of the organism’s body. Insects are a completely different beast.

The Repellence Cocktail: Mosquito Sense of Smell Reveals More Mysteries

August 01, 2019
While we know certain plant-derived compounds act as insect repellents, much of the molecular science behind insect olfaction remains a mystery. In a study published in iScience, UC Davis researchers exposed further layers of complexity in the mosquito olfactory system.