Intense Lawn Mowing Lowers Biodiversity, Favors Pests Biodiversity Ecology 

Intense Lawn Mowing Lowers Biodiversity, Favors Pests

By Neha Jain @lifesciexplore  Looks can be deceiving: a uniformly well-mowed lawn might look good, but ecologically, it is not desirable. According to a recent study that analyzed the results of many studies on lawn mowing, more intensely mowed lawns showed lower plant and insect diversity and a greater abundance of pests.  According to the researchers, adopting low-intensity lawn management would bring about a host of environmental benefits including cutting down on greenhouse gas emissions, lowering the prevalence of pests, increasing pollinators and plant diversity, and saving costs.  Less is…

Read More
Caterpillars Count Animals Citizen Science SciStarter Blog 

Caterpillars Count

From big to small, we all count. Even caterpillars.  Caterpillars are important Caterpillars are familiar to us. When a butterfly flutters past you, you know that it was once a caterpillar. Now it’s time to count the caterpillars and arthropods (creatures, like insects, with segmented bodies) that you see to help scientists understand how their populations are changing. You can get started today with the Caterpillars Count! project. Even though this project doesn’t just focus on caterpillars, who can resist a good alliteration?  In 2015, Dr. Allen Hurlbert of North…

Read More
Gardening Alternatives to Pesticides Animals Botany Environment 

Gardening Alternatives to Pesticides

By Steven Spence @TheStevenSpence Gardens are a delight Sadly, it’s not just gardeners, bees, butterflies, and birds that enjoy gardens. Gardens inevitably also attract insect pests, as I know firsthand from working on my little plot with flowers and fruit trees. In my first year of gardening, I didn’t know what to do to get rid of an aphid infestation, so I went to a local garden supply store and was advised to buy some spray-on pesticides, which I reluctantly used. After that experience, I began to talk with other…

Read More
Life Cycle of a Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly Animals Biology Nature Photography 

Life Cycle of a Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly

By Yvi San Google+ The pipevine swallowtail butterfly, Battus philenor, is a relatively small black swallowtail with gorgeous, iridescent blue scaling. It measures approximately 7–10 cm (2.75–4 in) from tip of wing to tip of wing. It is commonly found in the Deep South, but during the summer you can find it in the Southwest, including parts of California, and from Kansas to New York. Last year I planted woolly Dutchman’s pipevine, Aristolochia tomentosa, to attract this butterfly to my garden. I was rewarded at the beginning of summer with…

Read More
fire ants Animals Biology 

Inside the World of Fire Ants

In this video, Dr. Joe Hanson and the It’s OK to Be Smart team deliver everything you didn’t realize you wanted to know about fire ants. Special appearance by ant-decapitating flies. Enjoy! GotScience.org translates complex research findings into accessible insights on science, nature, and technology. Help keep GotScience free: Donate or visit our gift shop. For more science news subscribe to our weekly digest.

Read More
Crane fly, or mosquito eater (Pinzo via Wikimedia Commons)) Animals Biology Environment 

Do mosquito eaters eat mosquitos?

Have you seen many of these leggy insects hovering around your windows and doors lately? It’s none other than the humble, light-loving crane fly, also known as the mosquito eater. Have you ever seen a mosquito eater actually eat a mosquito? No? Well, that’s because that particular nickname is deceptive. Despite their colloquial moniker, crane flies do not prey on mosquitoes. And, contrary to popular misconception, they do not bite humans. In fact, adult crane flies have a very limited diet, feeding on nectar, or not feeding at all. Once…

Read More
Declining bee populations: A honeybee drinking nectar, its reward for pollinating the flower Animals Environment Science and Art 

Declining Bee Populations Revisited

By Steven Spence Given mounting evidence of rapidly declining bee populations, what would be the impact if there were no more bees? As we have seen, there are many other pollinators, including bats and birds. Would these other pollinators be able to take over the job that bees do so well? Imagine A World Without Bees To a limited extent wind pollination (inefficient in most flowers) and other pollinators can compensate for a lack of bees. In other cases, bees are essential. For example, the commercial growth of almonds is almost…

Read More
Pollinators: Honeybee visiting wildflowers Animals Environment Science and Art 

Pollination: Meet the Pollinators

By Steven Spence Spring is well underway in the northern hemisphere and EH Science is delighted to feature these seasonal photos by contributor, Steven Spence. We’re sure you’ll enjoy them as much as we do! Pollination Currently there is significant concern about the decline in honeybee populations. There are various factors behind the decimation of the hives, but first some fundamental questions: Why do plants require pollination? How important are bees in pollination? Are there alternative pollinators to bees? Pollinators Smell Sex and Candy in the Air Spring is a…

Read More