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Pests


— Environment

Nanotech could rid cattle of ticks, with less collateral damage

By - August 31, 2015

If you've ever used tick medicine on your dog, then you're probably aware of how toxic the stuff is. Well, it's used on cows too, and it can end up in their meat, milk, or the surrounding environment. Fortunately, however, scientists at the National University of Mexico have developed a new type of tick treatment for cattle that is reportedly much less toxic than what's currently used.

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— Science

Scientists design a better bedbug trap

By - December 29, 2014 3 Pictures
Having any amount of bedbugs in your home is not a good thing. The sooner that you know they're there, however, the easier it will be to exterminate all of them. With that in mind, scientists from Canada's Simon Fraser University have developed a method of luring the li'l bloodsuckers into traps, and then keeping them there so that their presence can be duly noted and addressed. Read More
— Science

Genetically-modified fruit flies could control wild populations by producing only sons

By - August 13, 2014 2 Pictures
Mediterranean fruit flies are responsible for extensive damage to fruit and vegetable crops, not only in the Mediterranean region but also in Australia, North and South America. While existing methods of controlling them include the use of insecticides and sterilization, the University of East Anglia and biotech company Oxitec are pioneering what they claim is a greener and less expensive approach – they're genetically modifying male fruit flies to produce only male viable offspring. Read More
— Science

Effective, safe, and pleasant-smelling mosquito control could be on the way

By - December 6, 2013 4 Pictures
Methods for controlling mosquitoes usually take two tacks: luring the mosquitoes into a trap away from humans, or discouraging them from biting at the source. Both methods can be expensive, unhealthy, cumbersome, or disgusting (the smell of rancid butter, anyone?) and generally aren’t scalable for the countries that suffer the most from mosquito-borne disease. New research explores how a mosquito’s neurons actually detect humans, and presents a promising class of chemicals, screened for safety, cost, and an appealing scent, some of which attract mosquitoes and others of which mask the smell of tasty human skin. Read More
— Science

Scientists find key to more effective DEET alternatives

By - October 3, 2013
Nothing keeps the mosquitoes away quite as well as DEET, but it's not the most innocuous of substances – besides stinking, it also melts plastic and synthetic fabrics, plus it's even been linked to problems in users' central nervous systems. It can also be prohibitively expensive for use in developing nations. Thanks to research being conducted at the University of California, Riverside, however, a new generation of non-toxic but highly-effective repellants may be on its way. Read More
— Science

New surface coatings give insects the slip

By - September 27, 2013
Not having air conditioning in my house, here's something I didn't know: the inner surfaces of air conditioner ventilation pipes are often covered in cockroaches. Nice. In order to keep the roaches out of those pipes – along with keeping other insects out of other places – scientists from Germany's University of Freiburg have developed new bio-inspired surface coatings that even sticky-footed bugs can't cling to. Read More
— Robotics

Tick-terminator proves a drag for bloodsucking pests

By - July 23, 2013 2 Pictures
It's summertime in the Northern Hemisphere, and that means the bugs are out – specifically, ticks. In light of the ensuing infestation, otherwise known as the annual repopulation, three professors at the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) have crossed the business of pest control with the world of robotics by last month testing their robotic "tick rover" to determine its efficiency at removing the blood suckers from the yard. Read More
— Science

Genetically-engineered mosquitoes lose nose for humans

By - May 30, 2013
It has long been believed that detecting carbon dioxide was one of the ways that mosquitoes target their human prey. But the fact that mosquitoes tend to favor certain people over others indicates that some other odor also plays a part in the attraction. Researchers at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) have genetically engineered mosquitoes to alter their sense of smell, which could provide the understanding required to block the pesky pests' attraction to humans. Read More

Pump action Bug-A-Salt takes down insects in a hail of table salt

We recently took a look at the InaTrap insect trap that lures insects into its designer-inspired form to quietly and efficiently send them to an early grave. But if you’re looking for something slightly more badass that provides a greater sense of satisfaction when taking out those pesky bugs then it’s hard to go past the Bug-A-Salt. The brainchild of Santa Monica-based artist Lorenzo Maggiore, the Bug-A-Salt is a pump action gun that takes out pests in a blast of non-toxic table salt. Read More
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