If you spend most of your time in dung piles and garbage heaps, you better have robust immune genes. Scientists sequenced the genome of the house fly for the first time and found an expanded number of immune response and defense genes.
Scientists have sequenced the entire genome of the common housefly and say their findings should help uncover new cures for human diseases. The fly can carry some 100 illnesses, including one that can blind.
Scientists have sequenced the house fly genome for the first time, revealing robust immune genes, as one might expect from an insect that thrives in pathogen-rich dung piles and garbage heaps. The research, published Oct. 13 in the journal Genome Biology, will increase understanding of house fly genetics and biology and of how flies quickly adapt to resist insecticides, which could lead to novel control methods.
Despite a recent abundance of research on honeybees, bumblebees and the diseases and circumstances that are threatening the world's vital pollinators, there is remarkably little research on the flowers that act as hubs for fungal, bacterial and viral diseases that are transmitted to bees, according to a new study.
Most people bitten by dengue fever-transmitting mosquitoes in four northwestern Thai villages weren’t residents but visitors, a finding that provides new clues about the spread of the dengue virus. According to a new study, larger people and adults are bitten significantly more often than smaller people and children.
Monarch butterflies were hibernating in record low numbers in Mexico over the winter, but Cornell Ecologist Anurag Agrawal tells host Steve Curwood that he thinks the numbers breeding in Texas suggest the butterfly making a recovery.
Old-fashioned fly swatters may be the most foolproof housefly killer, but for dairy farms, insecticides are the practical choice. Flies spread disease and a host of pathogens that cost farms hundreds of millions of dollars in annual losses. Unfortunately, with the repeated use of the same insecticides, flies develop resistance through genetic mutations that make these products less effective.
Better understanding of mosquito seminal fluid proteins – transferred from males to females during mating – may hold keys to controlling the Asian tiger mosquito, the world’s fastest-spreading invasive species, found in the U.S. and elsewhere. This mosquito is an important vector for dengue and chikungunya fevers as well as dog heartworm.
Most farmers fight a constant battle against damaging insects. In a plant science version of “keep your friends close but your enemies closer,” Cornell researchers are working with a common potato pest to see if they can activate the natural defenses of potato plants by managing the bugs, rather than eradicating them.
Published by Kathryn E. Boes, José M. C. Ribeiro, Alex Wong, Laura C. Harrington, Mariana F. Wolfner and Laura K. Sirot in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
The Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) is an important vector for pathogens that affect human health, including the viruses that cause dengue and Chikungunya fevers. It is also one of the world's fastest-spreading invasive species. For these reasons, it is crucial to identify strategies for controlling the reproduction and spread of this mosquito.
Novel barriers to prevent dogwood borer (Lepidoptera: Sesiidae) and rodent damage in apple plantings.
Jun 6, 2014
Check out the new research paper just published by joint authors in the department: “We evaluated a combination of noninsecticidal alternatives to control trunk-damaging dogwood borer, Synanthedon scitula (Harris), consisting of novel barrier technologies, used alone or in combination with mating disruption.”
Agnello, Arthur M., David P. Kain, Jeffrey Gardner, Paul D. Curtis, Michael L. Ashdown, and Michael P. Hoffmann. 2014. Novel barriers to prevent dogwood borer (Lepidoptera: Sesiidae) and rodent damage in apple plantings. J. Econ. Entomol. 107: 1179-1186.
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection transmitted by deer ticks, which are also known as black-footed ticks. And growing tick populations in Monroe County and other parts of the state are the likely culprit behind the increase in Lyme cases, says Laura Harrington, chair of Cornell University's Entomology Department.
"Even more than organic production, IPM strives to use the best scientific practices to ensure safe and sustainable agricultural systems. To do this, IPM incorporates practices from conventional and organic production methods, and even biotechnology, a method that has been turned into a bogeyman, but in reality is safer for humans and the environment. IPM has been a national policy for the United States since 1993 and its implementation has resulted in dramatic decreases in the use of harmful pesticides. Much of this decrease has been due to the use of crops produced through biotechnology. As an entomologist whose goal is to develop insect management programs that protect the crop and the environment, I routinely test organic, conventional and biotech practices. "
Read this article about the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program (NNTADP) which is a large part of Elson Sheilds' research here at Cornell University. "The projects serve the diverse interests of the agricultural industry of Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties."
Graduate student Margarita Lopez Uribe recently had a paper published in Molecular Ecology
Mar 18, 2014
Climate, Physiological Tolerance and Sex-Biased Dispersal Shape Genetic Structure of Neotropical Orchid Bees
Margarita M. Lopez-Uribe, Kelly R. Zamudio, Carolina F. Cardoso and Bryan N. Danforth.
Understanding the impact of past climatic events on the demographic history of extant species is critical for predicting species' responses to future climate change. Palaeoclimatic instability is a major mechanism of lineage diversification in taxa with low dispersal and small geographical ranges in tropical ecosystems. However, the impact of these climatic events remains questionable for the diversification of species with high levels of gene flow and large geographical distributions. In this study, we investigate the impact of Pleistocene climate change on three Neotropical orchid bee species (Eulaema bombiformis, E. meriana andE. cingulata) with transcontinental distributions and different physiological tolerances. We first generated ecological niche models to identify species-specific climatically stable areas during Pleistocene climatic oscillations. Read more here.
Larval Debris-Carrying In Green Lacewings: Patterns And Evolution
Mar 18, 2014
The March issue of the Annals of the Entomological Society of America contains a Forum article by three Cornellians (Catherine & Maurice Tauber and their former student - Gilberto Albuquerque, PhD '95). The article features an extensive review of the widely scattered literature on debris-carrying behavior by green lacewing larvae, as well as an analysis of the habit's evolution in lacewings.
C. A. Tauber, M. J. Tauber, and G. S. Albuquerque. 2014. Debris-carrying in larval Chrysopidae: Unraveling its evolutionary history. Ann. Entomol. Soc. Am. 107: 295-314.
"According to research conducted over the past five years in the lab of Bryan Danforth, professor of entomology, some species of New York’s native, wild bees may be more effective apple pollinators on a per-visit basis than honey bees."
Crops genetically modified with the bacterium Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) produce proteins that kill pest insects. Steady exposure has prompted concern that pests will develop resistance to these proteins, making Bt plants ineffective.
Cornell research shows that the combination of natural enemies, such as ladybeetles, with Bt crops delays a pest’s ability to evolve resistance to these insecticidal proteins.
“This is the first demonstrated example of a predator being able to delay the evolution of resistance in an insect pest to a Bt crop,” said Anthony Shelton
Cornell entomologist Anthony Shelton says Bt biotech may actually help rather than harm beneficial insects. Check it out on Food and Farm, brought to you by Feedstuffs Foodlink and Feedstuffs Foodlink-Connecting Farm to Fork, as heard on America's Web Radio.com.
"While the importation and release of foreign natural enemies in classical biological control programs can be cost-effective, the released control agent can have unintended effects, such as the displacement of native natural enemies."
Evan Hoki, current graduate student in John Losey’s lab, is about to have a paper published in Biological Control titled “Comparing the consumptive and non-consumptive effects of a native and introduced lady beetle on pea aphids (Acyrthosiphon pisum)” Congratulations to Evan and the Losey lab!
Some experts worry that it's only a matter of time before chikungunya fever spreads to the United States.
"We definitely should be concerned," said Laura Harrington, a professor of entomology at Cornell University who specializes in the spread of chikungunya and other tropical diseases.
The death rate from chikungunya is fairly low about 1 to 2 percent "but it does cause a lot of discomfort," Harrington told Live Science.
Meet The Predator That Becomes Blind When It Runs After Prey
Feb 4, 2014
"Cole Gilbert at Cornell University discovered the tiger beetles’ staccato hunting style in 1998. Now, together with Daniel Zurek, he has worked out how they cope with another problem: obstacles." Read here.
This article is based on a recent paper by both Cole Gibert and Daniel Zurich.
Zurek, D. B., & Gilbert, C. (2014). Static antennae act as locomotory guides that compensate for visual motion blur in a diurnal, keen-eyed predator. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B-Biological Sciences, 281(1779), 20133072–20133072. doi:10.1098/rspb.2013.3072
Experts are recommending a two-pronged approach to combating alfalfa snout beetles, both by introducing predator worms and by planting more resistant strains of alfalfa.
“We need to get the pressure down before we introduce resistant alfalfa,” Elson J. Shields, professor of entomology at Cornell University, Ithaca, told more than 50 area farmers during the inaugural Lowville Farmers Co-op winter forage forum Tuesday at the Lowville Elks Lodge.
“Controlling where pesticide droplets land allows for safer use of pesticides,” said agricultural engineer Andrew Landers, a senior extension associate at Cornell’s New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, N.Y. “The ideal is uniform deposition, but overshooting is a problem, particularly in early to midseason, when vineyard and orchard canopies are still growing.”
Billions of years of evolution and more than 1 million species of animal have created very weird world and some very bizarre body parts. From sex-crazed slugs to Kung Fu crustaceans, blood-firing lizards, and zombie snails, National Geographic has journeyed from the ocean depths to deserts and tropical rainforests as part of its “World’s Weirdest” series. The next episode, which airs January 31st at 10 p.m. ET, features Cornell entomologists and evolutionary ecologists Cole Gilbert, Kim Bostwick and Linda Rayor (pictured, above), discussing why some of the strangest, most shocking animal appendages on the planet may have evolutionary advantages.
The 3rd Annual Entomology Symposium
Jan 14, 2014
JUGATAE CLUB PRESENTS: The 3rd Annual Entomology Symposium. The symposium will be held Friday, January 17th from 9:30AM to 3:30PM in the Morrison Room of Corson-Mudd Hall. Be sure to see some of the great talks including invited faculty speak Dr. Kyle Wickings and Jugatae Keynote speaker Dr. David Grimaldi.
View more detail here--Program/Proceedings
Extreme cold is a fortuitous management tool. But with a warming climate, it is one that scientists cannot count on. “The weather will give them a temporary setback, but as soon as the weather warms up, they will take off again,” said Jan Nyrop, a professor of entomology and senior associate dean of Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
The largest and most comprehensive of the 40-plus books produced in the popular "APS Press Compendium of Plant Disease Series", this revision features the addition of a new section covering 90 species of insects and mites along with 160 color images that should make this a cross-disciplinary reference and scouting guide for researchers, extension professionals, and growers of these crops for years to come. The authors of the arthropod chapters represent 9 countries, and include three members of our Department (Agnello, Reissig, and Jentsch).
Peter Jentsch, a senior extension associate in entomology, has been named superintendent of the Hudson Valley Laboratory. Jentsch joined Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) in 1990. His focus is on the monitoring and management of newly invasive agricultural insect pests, advances of newly developed pest management tools, application timing of insecticides with unique modes of action, and reduced risk alternative technologies such as mating disruption, organic insect pest management and biological control conservation.
Climate change has the potential to alter the phenological synchrony between interacting mutualists, such as plants and their pollinators. However, high levels of biodiversity might buffer the negative effects of species-specific phenological shifts and maintain synchrony at the community level, as predicted by the biodiversity insurance hypothesis. Here, we explore how biodiversity might enhance and stabilise phenological synchrony between a valuable crop, apple and its native pollinators.
The Sirex Symposium is primarily about Sirex noctilio, an invasive species that was first collected in New York State in 2004. It has now spread and occurs in 7 northeastern states and in Ontario but this invasive has a long history as a pest in pine plantations in the Southern Hemisphere.
This is an international meeting with researchers coming from Canada and South Africa, as well as the U.S.
It’s being organized in part with funding from the Forest Service and the organizers are myself, Dr. Fred Stephen (Dept. Entomology, University of Arkansas) and Dr. Mark Whitmore (Dept. Natural Resources, Cornell).
Lyme disease infection in Tompkins County and surrounding areas is on the rise. Complicating this public health issue are disputes within the medical community over specific characteristics of the disease and the best way to diagnose infection. The blacklegged tick—also known as the deer tick—common to this area can transmit several infections, including Lyme disease.
Two negatives – cow manure and flies – can make a positive. Cornell animal scientists, entomologists and a business professor will examine the environmental impact and commercial potential of quickly processing dairy cow manure with fly larvae. And then using the dried larvae to feed other farm animals.
The Cornell University Insect Collection is a world-class research and training collection that includes more than 7 million insect specimens representing about 200,000 species, or roughly 20 percent of the world's described insect fauna.
"Most arthropods have the ability to super-cool themselves in order to survive extreme cold winters in the ranges they’ve become adapted to. However, if unusually cold temperatures strike, it could be below their threshold of tolerance," Cornell University's Laura Harrington explained via email to NBC News.
Emily Bick ’13, entomology, eagerly jumped into a research job her first semester at Cornell. Now, three years later, she’s still studying Trichinella spiralis, a nematode (roundworm) commonly found in uncooked meat.
Riding in straight rows on his Yamaha ATV, Carthage dairy farmer Gary D. Sullivan sprayed millions of small, microscopic ringworms out of a 50-gallon plastic tank across his alfalfa field for about two hours Monday evening.
Professors Drew Harvell and Laura Harrington discuss how climate change affects human health globally and in NYC, including serious disease that could spread this summer from Kennedy Airport if conditions are right.
Once a sporadic problem in Africa and Asia, the viral disease chikungunya has been expanding its range since 2004, even spreading within Italy. And, with some help from global warming, New York City could be next, Laura Harrington, a medical entomologist at Cornell University warned on Tuesday here at Cornell.
The second season of Monster Bug Wars premieres on the Science Channel Tuesday, Jan. 24 at 10 p.m. EST. The show’s human stars, Linda Rayor, Department of Entomology senior research associate and senior lecturer, and Bryan Grieg Fry of the University of Queensland, discuss the biology and behavioral strategies of the combatants.