Insects

5:00am

Tue August 19, 2014
Climate Change

What 13,000 Dead Grasshoppers Can Tell Us About Climate Change

Cesar Nufio shows red mites on a grasshopper found at one of his research sites. Nufio has surveyed and collected grasshoppers at these sites for nine years, replicating the work of Gordon Alexander.
Stephanie Paige Ogburn KUNC

Cesar Nufio is holding a box of dead grasshoppers. The insects, precisely pinned, with miniscule labels affixed beneath them, march down the box in neat, dark lines.

The grasshoppers are just a sampling of a 50-year-old set of 13,000 grasshoppers that Nufio, an entomologist at the University of Colorado, is using to learn about climate change. Until the scientist happened upon them about a decade ago, this collection was nearly forgotten – stored in 250 wooden boxes atop a shelf. Ever since finding the collection, Nufio has been piecing together the story of the lost grasshoppers, and is using them to understand how the change in the area's climate is affecting the insects.

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1:25am

Thu August 7, 2014
The Salt

Will Americans Buy Bug Snacks? Maybe ... If They're Funny And Cute

Originally published on Wed August 13, 2014 1:50 pm

Packages of edible insects lie on a display table at the Denver County Fair.
Luke Runyon/KUNC

Insects can be a great source of protein, and in many parts of the world, people gobble them up.

But here in the U.S., a certain "ick factor" has kept consumers from eating crickets, locusts and mealworms. To combat the ickiness and convert skeptical consumers, bug-food advocates are trying a specific marketing tactic: be clever and cute.

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5:00am

Mon July 28, 2014
Health

Emerging Virus Chikungunya Under Scrutiny By Fort Collins CDC Lab

A CDC scientist examines mosquitoes using a stereoscopic microscope to identify the species while working in a BSL-3 lab in Fort Collins, Colorado
Centers for Disease Control Division of Vector Borne Diseases

While most Americans probably haven't heard of Chikungunya, Ann Powers, a research microbiologist at the Centers for Disease Control, has been studying the virus for 15 years.

The mosquito-carried virus made the news recently when the first locally-transmitted case of it appeared in Florida, July 17. Now, the public and medical researchers are wondering if it may spread further into the United States, and how serious it might be.

The research that Powers does at the CDC's Division of Vector Borne Diseases in Fort Collins may help answer some of those questions.

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1:47pm

Tue June 17, 2014

6:00am

Sat June 14, 2014
The Garden Report

To Repel Insect Pests, Consider These Plants

Studies show that catnip rivals Deet as a mosquito repellent.
Credit Claudia Daggett / Flickr - Creative Commons

Anywhere there is standing water, mosquitoes will thrive. While chemical repellents are big business, there is a natural alternative. The scent of several plant species help to keep mosquitoes away. 

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