Enquiry Form

Name*

Email ID*

Number*

City*

Message (Optional)

captcha

Close

Tag Archive for: integrated pest management

Radiohead has newly discovered ants species named after it

Radiohead has newly discovered ants species named after it

A new species of ant, discovered in the Venezuelan Amazon, has been named after Radiohead in honour of their contributions to music and conservation efforts.

As noted by Phys.org, Ana Ješovnik and Ted R. Schultz — of Washington’s Smithsonian Institution’s Ant Lab — discovered three species of ants while collecting data for a study. One of those — the Sericomyrmex radioheadi — was named after the upcoming Glastonbury headliner.

“We wanted to honour their music,” Ješovnik, said. “But more importantly, we wanted to acknowledge the conservation efforts of the band members, especially in raising climate-change awareness.”

Sericomyrmex literally translates to ‘silky ants’, a fungus-farming species that are reportedly ‘less well-known relatives of the famous leaf-cutter ants’. The Radioheadi breed has a white, crystal-like layer covering their bodies.

Earlier this month, a species of shrimp were named after Pink Floyd; the Synalpheus Pinkfloydi have large pink claws capably of killing small fish.

Source:INDEPENDENT

Fly landing on your food could have serious health risks, according to pest control experts

Fly landing on your food could have serious health risks, according to pest control experts

They are one of the scourges of summer and have been ruining picnics since the dawn of time (probably).

Flies – harmless but incredibly annoying, most people think.

But it turns out the insects may be a lot more dangerous than we thought.

The average fly carries 200 different types of harmful bacteria, largely thanks to the various things they land on, such as rotting food and fecal matter.

Even if you swat one away as soon as it’s landed on your sandwich, the damage has already been done.

Thanks to thousands of tiny hairs on their arms and legs, the bacteria are quickly transferred to your food, which could pose a serious health risk according to a pest control expert.

“They only need to touch your food for a second for their legs or the tiny hairs all over their bodies to transfer germs from all those nasty things they eat onto what you are eating,” Ron Harrison, an entomologist and technical services director at Orkin pest control, told the Mail Online.

“And since flies can transfer serious, contagious diseases like cholera, dysentery and typhoid, it is probably best if you avoid eating things that a fly lands on.”

What’s more, flies nearly always vomit on any food upon which they land.

Unable to chew, the insects have to throw up digestive enzymes onto the food to dissolve it and allow them to slurp it up.

Of course, it’s hard to avoid any fly ever landing on your food again, so what can you do?

The best tactic is simply to cut off the part the fly has touched and throw it away. But you should be fine to continue eating the rest. Phew.

Source: INDEPENDENT

India unprepared for dengue, Chikungunya finds analysis.

India unprepared for dengue, Chikungunya finds analysis.

India and other countries in South Asia are unprepared to address emerging vector-borne viral infections such as dengue and chikungunya, an analysis released by Centre for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy (CDDEP) on Wednesday revealed.

After examining vulnerability to emerging and growing infectious disease threats and the capacity to respond to outbreaks, the analysis finds the level of preparedness is inadequate to protect public health across the region.

The main burden of vector-borne viral infections in the South Asia region are dengue and chikungunya, while zika virus is also likely to emerge. Of the 390 million dengue infections that are estimated to occur annually worldwide, over 70 per cent occur in South Asia, the analysis noted. The report cites that in India, almost 95 per cent of adults by the age 40 have been infected with dengue virus, while 41 per cent have been infected with chikungunya.

At the heels of the report, JP Nadda, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, held a high level meeting to review the preparedness of the Ministry and central government hospitals for prevention and control of dengue and chikungunya in the country.

South Asia’s battles against viral diseases
Countries in South Asia region — Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, is home to a significant proportion of the global burden of infectious disease. Of the 390 million dengue infections that occur annually worldwide, over 70 per cent occur in South Asia

Longstanding battles
Tuberculosis, HIV, malaria, dengue, chikungunya

Emerging infectious diseases
Zika, ebola, MERS-CoV, avian influenza, neuroleptospirosis and leptospirosis, anthrax.

Source:DNA

Ant choosiness reveals they all have different personalities

Ant choosiness reveals they all have different personalities

The power to imagine a better world has helped transform human societies, and it may be doing the same to ant societies.

Individual ants have differences in behaviour – something almost akin to a personality – that affect colony decisions. And some ants are so different in their personal preferences that they may act as the imagination of the colony, driving it on to a better future.

Rock ants (Temnothorax albipennis), found in coastal areas of the UK, make their homes in crevices. If a nest is wrecked, or if scouts find better digs, it often makes sense to relocate.

But not just any crevice will do. When looking for a new home, ants have a high-maintenance list of requirements, says Thomas O’Shea-Wheller at the Ant Lab of the University of Bristol, UK. They seek low light levels, an entrance gap of 1 to 1.5 millimetres, a ceiling height of roughly 2 millimetres and an internal area of about 20 square centimetres. To test how individuals’ opinions of potential nests affect a group decision to relocate, O’Shea-Wheller’s team showed artificial nests that were excellent, good or poor to 160 individual ants from 10 colonies.

In general, the better the nest, the more time the ants spent in it laying down pheromones. These pheromones make other ants more likely to join them.

But the team found a lot of variability between the amount of time individuals spent in a nest of a certain quality. “Some ants are picky, others are more liberal and will accept almost anything,” says O’Shea-Wheller. “Much like humans, not everyone wants to live in a mansion.”

And some ants never seem happy, however nice a nest is. They live there, but seem restless, and are more likely to scout. It means they are always searching for new things. “They are the imagination of the colony,” says O’Shea-Wheller.

“The ability of the colony to find new nest sites depends on there being some wanting to search,” says Anna Dornhaus at the University of Arizona in Tucson. “It’s useful to the colony to have some ants that are fussy.”

The team modelled this behaviour and found that if the colony was choosing between two poor nests, the ants with more extreme behaviour – in this case the ones that would settle for almost anything – helped make the collective decision-making process faster and more flexible (Proceedings of the Royal Society B, DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2016.2237).

“This adds to the evidence that individuality is important,” says Nathalie Stroeymeyt at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland.

However, we still don’t know what’s behind this individuality. “We’d like to know what drives personality differences, what the evolutionary benefits are,” says Dornhaus. “At least this gives us a suggestion about why personality differences could be useful – and could benefit a colony.”

Source: News Scientist

India begins outdoor caged trials of genetically modified mosquitoes

India begins outdoor caged trials of genetically modified mosquitoes

India launched a project aimed at suppressing the local Aedes aegypti mosquito population by introducing genetically modified mosquitoes, according to two companies involved in the plan.

A similar project was approved last year in Florida on the heels of the Zika virus outbreak, which has been driven primarily by A. aegypti mosquitoes. Both projects involve so-called self-limiting male mosquitoes — brand name Friendly (Oxitec) — that are genetically modified to produce offspring that do not survive to maturity.

Five open field trials of the mosquitoes in Brazil, Panama and the Cayman Islands each led to a more than 90% reduction of the wild A. aegypti populations, according to a news release from the British company Oxitec and Gangabishan Bhikulal Investment and Trading Limited (GBIT), an Indian company. Open field trials are also planned for India, pending regulatory approval, the companies said.

For now, the India project was launched on Jan. 23 with outdoor caged trials in Dawalwadi. In these trials, the genetically modified mosquitoes are released into cages to mate with wild-type A. aegypti mosquitoes, Matthew Warren, spokesman for Oxitec, explained to Infectious Disease News. The results are then compared with cages where the mosquitoes were not released, Warren said.

In November, officials in Florida authorized a plan to use Oxitec’s modified mosquitoes in a field trial in Monroe County. The decision by the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District (FKMCD) came after residents, apparently reluctant about the method at first, voted to approve the idea.

An earlier survey showed that residents did not support the use of genetically modified mosquitoes as insect control, but the survey was conducted before the Zika outbreak became headline news and prior to an FDA report that said the mosquitoes would have no significant impact on human health, animal health or the environment.

Oxitec is currently deploying the mosquitoes in the Cayman Islands and Piracicaba, Brazil, but Warren said the trial in the Florida Keys is not yet underway.

“We are working with the FKMCD to identify a new site for the trial, and are gathering and submitting additional information to the FDA,” Warren said. “At this stage I don’t have a timeline, but we’re working to ensure that it is held in the most rigorous way possible and launched as promptly as the regulatory process will allow.”

While India is not among the 76 countries that have reported evidence of mosquito-borne Zika virus transmission since 2007, WHO has said that any country with a population of Aedes mosquitoes is at risk for transmission.

The primary aim of the project in India seems to be decreasing cases of dengue and chikungunya, which also can be spread by A. aegypti mosquitoes. According to estimates published in 2014, dengue infects an average of 5.8 million people each year in India at a cost of more than $1.1 billion. The country also has seen outbreaks of chikungunya, including some last year, according to the news release.

“Increasing cases of dengue and chikungunya have been reported in recent years,” Shirish Barwale, member of the board of directors at GBIT, said in the release. “Presently available methods have not been effective against these public health hazards. We are very optimistic that this pioneering technology from Oxitec will help us to control the mosquito responsible for spreading these diseases.” – by Gerard Gallagher

Source: Healio

What a mosquito’s immune system can tell us about fighting malaria

What a mosquito’s immune system can tell us about fighting malaria

Immune cells in a malaria-transmitting mosquito sense the invading parasites and deploy an army of tiny messengers in response. These couriers help turn on a mosquito’s defenses, killing off the parasites, a new study suggests.

This more detailed understanding of the mosquito immune system, published January 20 in Science Immunology, might help scientists design new ways to combat malaria, which infects more than 200 million people per year.

“If we understand how the mosquito reduces the parasite to begin with, we hope we can boost these mechanisms to completely eliminate these parasites [in mosquitoes],” says Kristin Michel, an insect immunologist at Kansas State University in Manhattan who wasn’t part of the study.

Different parasites in the Plasmodium genus cause malaria. The disease is spread by certain Anopheles mosquitoes. These mosquitoes have natural defenses against Plasmodium that keep them from being overrun with the parasites when feeding on an infected person’s blood. But malaria transmission still occurs, because some Plasmodium species are particularly skilled at evading mosquito immune systems.

Previous research has shown that hemocytes, the insect equivalent of white blood cells, help mosquitoes fight off pathogens. Carolina Barillas-Mury and her colleagues at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Rockville, Md., injected Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes — a primary spreader of malaria in sub-Saharan Africa — with a dye that stained their hemocytes. Those mosquitoes snacked on mice infected with a rodent version of malaria. Then the scientists watched the dyed hemocytes’ response.
Parasite’s problem

Sensing the presence of a malaria-causing parasite, mosquito immune cells (teal) kill themselves and release microvesicles (red) that activate cellular machinery that fights off the parasites, a new study finds.

Hemocytes that detected certain chemical fingerprints left by the parasites began to self-destruct. These dying hemocytes released plumes of tiny vesicles that then activated the mosquito’s defenses against the parasite, the researchers found. The vesicles triggered a protein called TEP1 to take down the parasite. Scientists already knew that TEP1 is an important part of mosquitoes’ immune response against Plasmodium parasites, but it wasn’t clear how the protein was called into action. Without the vesicles, TEP1 didn’t target the parasites.

Barillas-Mury and colleagues don’t know exactly what the microvesicles contain. But she suspects they carry messenger molecules that jump-start TEP1 and other proteins involved in this immune response.

This type of response “is a very powerful defense system because it can make holes in the parasite and kill it,” says Barillas-Mury. “You want it to be active, but in the right place and at the right time.” Plasmodium parasites set up shop in different places in the mosquito gut depending on their life stage. Microvesicles, much smaller than the hemocytes, can more easily move through different gut compartments to trigger a localized immune response right where the parasite is.

The researchers eventually hope to use their understanding of the mosquito immune response to develop new ways to stop malaria. They’re interested in creating a vaccine that prevents mosquitoes that bite an infected person from passing along the parasite. Such a vaccine could be used in combination with others under development that would prevent people infected with the parasite from becoming sick, Barillas-Mury says.

Source: Sciencenews.org

Ants communicate by mouth-to-mouth fluid exchange

Ants communicate by mouth-to-mouth fluid exchange

The study from the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, suggests Florida carpenter ants can collectively influence their communities by shifting the cocktail of proteins, hormones and other small molecules that they pass mouth-to-mouth to one another and their young through a process called trophallaxis.

“Food is passed to every adult and developing ant by trophallaxis. This creates a network of interactions linking every member of the colony,” says senior author Laurent Keller, Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolution.

“A lot of researchers consider trophallaxis only as a means of food-sharing,” adds Professor Richard Benton of the Center for Integrative Genomics, also a senior author of the study. “But trophallaxis occurs in other contexts, such as when an ant is reunited with a nest-mate after isolation. We therefore wanted to see if the fluid exchanged by trophallaxis contains molecules that allow ants to pass other chemical messages to each other, and not just food.”

To answer this question, the team, led by first author and postdoctoral researcher Dr Adria LeBoeuf, analysed fluid from pairs of ants engaged in trophallaxis. Surprisingly, they identified a large number of proteins that appear to be involved in regulating the growth of ants, along with high levels of juvenile hormone, an important regulator of insect development, reproduction, and behaviour.

To see what effect this hormone has on the growth of larvae fed by trophallaxis, the scientists added it to the food of larvae-rearing ants and discovered that the hormone made it twice as likely that the larvae would survive to reach adulthood.

“This indicates that juvenile hormone and other molecules transferred mouth-to-mouth over this social network could be used by the ants to collectively decide how their colony develops,” says LeBoeuf. “So, when the ants feed their larvae, they aren’t just feeding them food, they are casting quantitative ballots for their colony, administering different amounts of growth-promoting components to influence the next generation.

“The effects of juvenile hormone that we see are consistent with previous studies in other ants and in bees where larvae treated with an analogue of this hormone tend to develop into larger workers and even queens.”

Along with growth proteins and juvenile hormone, the team also identified small molecules and chemical signals in the carpenter ants’ trophallactic liquid that help them recognize their nest-mates. They demonstrated for the first time the presence of chemical cues in the fluid that are known to be important in providing ants with a colony-specific odour that allows them to distinguish family from non-family members.

“Overall, we show that liquid transmitted among ants contains much more than food and digestive enzymes,” adds LeBoeuf. “Our findings suggest that trophallaxis underlies a private communication channel that ants use to direct the development of their young, similar to milk in mammals.”

“More generally, this opens the possibility that the oral exchange of fluids, such as saliva, in other animals might also serve previously unsuspected roles.”

Source : ScienceDaily

Common insecticides are riskier than thought to predatory insects

Common insecticides are riskier than thought to predatory insects

Neonicotinoids — the most widely used class of insecticides — significantly reduce populations of predatory insects when used as seed coatings, according to researchers at Penn State. The team’s research challenges the previously held belief that neonicotinoid seed coatings have little to no effect on predatory insect populations. In fact, the work suggests that neonicotinoids reduce populations of insect predators as much as broadcast applications of commonly used pyrethroid insecticides.

“Predatory insects contribute billions of dollars a year to agriculture through the elimination of crop pest insects,” said Margaret Douglas, postdoctoral researcher in entomology, Penn State. “We have found that neonicotinoid seed coatings reduce populations of these natural enemies 10 to 20 percent.”

According to John Tooker, associate professor of entomology, Penn State, the use of neonicotinoids has risen dramatically in recent years, especially for large-acreage crop species like corn, soybeans and cotton. The insecticide is most often applied to seeds as a prophylactic coating. When the seeds are planted, the insecticide enters the soil where some of it is taken up by plant roots. The chemical then runs systemically through the plant, protecting young seedlings from insect pests.

“Applying insecticides to seeds rather than broadcasting them across a field was thought to reduce unwanted effects on natural enemies,” said Douglas. “But we found that seeds treated with neonicotinoid insecticides reduced populations of natural enemies by 10 to 20 percent in North American and European farming systems. Surprisingly, this effect was about the same as that associated with broadcast applications of pyrethroids.”

The team’s research appeared in the online journal PeerJ.

The team used a statistical method, called meta-analysis, to combine the results of more than 1,000 observations from 20 field studies across North America and Europe that tested the effects of seed-applied neonicotinoids on predatory insects. “Unfortunately, the available literature is difficult to interpret,” said Tooker. “Some studies show little influence of neonicotinoids presented as seed treatments on arthropod predators that are common in crop fields, whereas others show a strong influence of these seed treatments. By using a meta-analysis approach, we were able to combine the results of many studies to quantitatively reveal the overall influence of neonicotinoids on predator populations.”

Not only did the researchers find that neonicotinoid seed coatings significantly reduced natural enemy populations, they also found that the insecticide acted more strongly on insect predators than on spiders. In other words, spiders appeared to be less susceptible to neonicotinoids than insects, which is consistent with previous research.

“This result suggests that neonicotinoids are reducing populations of natural enemies at least partly through their toxic effects rather than simply by reducing the availability of their crop pest foods,” said Douglas. “After all, insects are more susceptible to these toxins than spiders, whereas the two groups should be similarly affected by a lack of food.” The researchers note that their results may help farmers and pest management professionals better weigh the costs and benefits of neonicotinoid seed treatments versus alternatives.

“Several governments have restricted the use of neonicotinoids out of concern for their possible effects on pollinators,” said Douglas. “But this raises the questions, ‘What will farmers do without these products? If they switch to broadcast applications of pyrethroids, will those products be better or worse for predatory insects?’ While our results do not speak to the pollinator issue, they do suggest that predatory insects are affected similarly by seed-applied neonicotinoids and broadcast pyrethroids.”

The answer to the problem, noted Tooker, lies in the application of integrated pest management (IPM), a strategy that uses a combination of techniques — which may or may not include the targeted use of insecticides — to control pests, rather than universally deploying prophylactic tactics like insecticidal seed coatings.

“Substantial research exists supporting the value of IPM for pest control,” he said. “It is the best chance we have of conserving beneficial insect species while maintaining productivity in our agricultural systems.”

Source: Science Daily

Name*

Email*

Contact Number*

City*

Coupon Code [If Any]

Message*

Enter The Verification Code*
captcha

false

false