Insects

The comb is made of ivory and inscribed with the sentence: "May this tusk root out the lice of the hair and the beard."

Scientists Translate the Oldest Sentence Written in the First Alphabet

Inscribed on a Canaanite comb, the words reveal a struggle with head lice

An Anopheles stephensi mosquito feeds on a human. 

Invasive Mosquito Tied to Malaria Outbreak in Ethiopia

The species can survive the dry season and infect residents of urban areas

While swarming, western honeybees can produce an atmospheric electric charge density that's greater than a thunderstorm's.

Honeybee Swarms Can Produce as Much Electric Charge as a Storm Cloud

Denser swarms create more atmospheric electricity, new research suggests

A mosquito larva launches its head to capture prey dangled in front of it.

Mosquito Larvae Launch Their Heads to Capture Prey

Advances in technology allowed researchers to film these cannibalistic insects hunting for the first time

Ants have several key roles in keeping their environments in balance, including aerating the soil, dispersing seeds, decomposing organic material and serving as a food source. 

An Estimated 20 Quadrillion Ants Live on Earth

The weight of the world’s ants exceeds that of all wild birds and mammals combined

Researchers tracked one moth for just under 56 miles, marking the longest distance an insect has been continuously tracked.

How Migrating Death's-Head Hawkmoths Fly Along a Straight Path

No prior study had continuously monitored wild, nocturnal migrating insects

A homeowner spotted the moth on the wall of his garage in early July.

First U.S. Sighting of Massive Atlas Moth Confirmed

The insect may have escaped from an illegal cocoon-selling operation

A female Aedes aegypti mosquito

How Can Mosquitoes Find Humans So Easily?

A sophisticated sense of smell makes the Earth’s deadliest animal hard-wired to hunt us

An adult spotted lanternfly

People are ‘Hunting’ Invasive Spotted Lanternflies—And You Should, Too

Officials urge the public to squish the bugs, which are damaging crops and trees in the eastern U.S.

A tick runs over a human hand.

Large Lyme Disease Vaccine Clinical Trial Begins in U.S. and Europe

If approved, it would be the first new shot to combat the misunderstood disease in the U.S. in 20 years

A teabag contains traces of DNA from insects and other animals that interacted with the plants before they were harvested and packaged.

The DNA of Hundreds of Insect Species Is in Your Tea

Minute remnants preserved among dried leaves might help scientists track pests and monitor population declines

In Blaine, Washington, after the 2020 appearance of the two-inch long invasive species Vespa mandarinia (above: Washington State entomologist Chris Looney holds a native bald-faced hornet to compare it with the huge size of the invader), scientists worked to eradicate it.

Giant 'Murder' Hornet Has Landed at the Natural History Museum

After scientists studied the invasive insect, visitors are getting a first look at the fierce creature that could wreak havoc on U.S. agriculture

In the midst of fire- and drought-ravaged savanna in southeastern Madagascar, a curiously lush green forest is home to myriad unexpected life-forms, including a species of mouse lemur.

Into the Forbidden Forest

Famed American biologist Patricia Wright explores an astonishing breadth of biodiversity in the wilderness of Madagascar

One reader wonders: Since purple dye was scarce, why didn’t people just combine blue and red?

Why Was Purple the Color of Royalty? And More Questions From Our Readers

You've got questions. We've got experts.

The yellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti, spreads dengue fever, Zika, chikungunya and other viruses that infect humans.

Dengue Fever and Zika Virus Make Humans More Attractive to Mosquitoes

Scientists conducted human and mouse studies to find the skin bacteria responsible for the draw

Scientists assessed changes in the gut microbiome of superworms (Zophobas morio) in a new study.

Innovation for Good

Polystyrene-Eating 'Superworms' May Provide Clues for Better Recycling

Scientists find enzymes in the gut microbiome of beetle larvae that can degrade one of the most widely used plastics

A cat chews up and rolls around in the leaves of the silver vine plant.

When Cats Chew Catnip, It Works as a Bug Spray

Plant leaves that repel mosquitoes release a more effective repellant after being crushed up by felines

Salma brachyscopalis Hampson

U.S. Customs Agents Find Rare Moth Last Spotted in 1912

Larvae and pupae found in seed pods at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport last fall hatched into <em>Salma brachyscopalis Hampson</em> moths

One reader wonders why men&rsquo;s bicycles have crossbars but not women&rsquo;s.


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Why Do Only Men's Bicycles Have Crossbars? And More Questions From Our Readers

You've got questions. We've got experts.

A new&nbsp;book, coedited by Smithsonian entomologist Ted Schultz, explores and the fascinating ways in which human and nonhuman farmers compare, and asks what we might learn from other agricultural species.

Could Ants, Termites and Fishes Make Humans Better Farmers?

Scientists are now revealing the agricultural expertise that other species have cultivated for tens of millions of years

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