Bugs

Asian paper wasp nests take on a new verdant glow under ultraviolet light.

Wasp Nest Glows Green Under UV Light

Silk fibers give the nest its radiant a neon hue

The fuzz of the fingernail-sized rosy maple moth may remind you of a teddy bear.

These Moths Are So Gorgeous They 'Put Butterflies to Shame'

To celebrate National Moth Week, bask in the beautiful variety of these oft-overlooked insects

Scientists reconstructed a new beetle species in 3-D thanks to X-ray scans of fossilized poop.

New Species of Beetle Found in 230-Million-Year-Old Feces

The insect is older than any amber-encased specimen, and may inspire scientists to look for more insects in fossilized dung

Fire ant swarms form tentacles when they float on water.

Floating Fire Ant Rafts Form Mesmerizing Amoeba-Like Shapes

Researchers say the morphing colonies help ants feel for solid land in a flooded environment—and might inspire swarming robots one day

Billions of cicadas have emerged across 14 states and Washington, D.C.

As Brood X Numbers Grow, Cicadas Interfere With Cars, Planes and Radar

Lawnmower-like singing isn’t the only way that these bugs have made themselves known

Carle wrote and illustrated dozens of books over six decades.

Eric Carle, Author and Illustrator of 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar,' Dies at 91

The beloved story of a ravenous insect has sold 40 million copies and been translated into 60 languages

When male cicadas are infected with Massospora, they exhibit both male and female mating behavior: singing to attract females and flicking their wings to attract males.

Cicadas Fall Prey to a Psychedelic-Producing Fungus That Makes Their Butts Fall Off

This 'zombie' fungus isn't going after the bugs' brains—it’s after their genitals

A statue of Benjamin Bannecker on view at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture, as seen in 2020

History of Now

Meet Benjamin Banneker, the Black Scientist Who Documented Brood X Cicadas in the Late 1700s

A prominent intellectual and naturalist, the Maryland native wrote extensively on natural phenomena and anti-slavery causes

The periodical cicada species, Magicicada septendecim, will erupt from the ground this spring in the mid-Atlantic region. The last time the species from Brood X appeared for their cyclical mating cycle was in 2004.

Smithsonian Voices

What to Expect When the Cicadas Emerge This Spring

A trillion cicadas expected to invade the Washington metropolitan region when the ground warms to 64 degrees

As many commercial operators and homeowners are shifting to LEDs, which tend to fall somewhere in the blue-white spectrum, the new results may have important implications beyond tropical rainforests.

Using Amber-Filtered Bulbs Instead of White Light Attracts Fewer Bugs

In a tropical rainforest study, 60 percent fewer insects visited traps illuminated in a golden glow. Researchers say the results may be widely applicable

The insect, which is barely visible to the naked eye, was probably dead by the time it landed on van Gogh's canvas.

Cool Finds

How Did This Grasshopper End Up Trapped in a Vincent van Gogh Painting?

New research offers insights on "Olive Trees" (1889), including the story of the hapless insect trapped on its thickly painted surface

Blickling Hall is listed in Britain’s earliest public record, the Domesday Book, which was written in the 11th century. The house was at one point the home of Geoffrey Boleyn, grandfather of Anne Boleyn, who may have been born there around 1507.

Historic British Mansion Fights Moths With Tiny Parasitic Wasps

The moths eat wool and silk, putting historic artifacts—like a tapestry gifted to the house by Catherine the Great—at risk

Bogong moths were traditionally ground into pastes or cakes. Pictured here are a single moth (left) and thousands of moths resting on a rock (right).

Cool Finds

Aboriginal Australians Dined on Moths 2,000 Years Ago

The discovery of an ancient grindstone containing traces of the insect confirms long-held Indigenous oral tradition

Tangle-web spiders can catch prey up to 50 times their size thanks to their pulley system-like hunting strategy.

New Research

Small Spiders With Big Appetites Use a Pulley System to Catch Large Prey

New research and videos show how spiders in the Theridiidae family hoist up prey 50 times their size

Catnip and a plant called silver vine, Actinidia polygama, are not closely related, but both make cats go wild.

Felines May Use Catnip for More Than Just Euphoria

The plant may keep pesky mosquitos away

Pets consume an estimated 26.6 million metric tons of pet food each year, contributing 64 million tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere annually.

Kibbles and Bugs? Purina Just Launched Pet Food Made of Fly Larvae

The move is meant to diversify how the company obtains protein for its products

Rattlesnakes can bite after death.

14 Fun Facts About Frightening Animals

From snakes that eat their prey alive to primates that inject their peers with flesh-rotting venom, these are the scariest deeds committed by critters

The ogre-faced spider earns its name from its large eyes and mandibles.

How Ultra-Sensitive Hearing Allows Spiders to Cast a Net on Unsuspecting Prey

Sounds trigger the ogre-faced spider to backflip and shoot a silk trap on other insects

A diabolical ironclad beetle can withstand the crushing force of 39,000 times its own body weight.

New Research

The Secrets of the Diabolical Ironclad Beetle's Almost Unsquishable Strength

Researchers hopped in a Toyota Camry and drove over the beetle twice...for science—and it survived

Agricultural officials in Washington state said Friday, Oct. 2, 2020 they are trying to find and destroy a nest of Asian giant hornets believed to be near the small town amid concerns the hornets could kill honey bees crucial for pollinating raspberry and blueberry crops.

First Live ‘Murder Hornet’ Captured in the U.S.

Scientists aim to eradicate Asian giant hornet nests in the next few weeks so that the insects do not establish a population on the West Coast

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