The Weekly Buzz: Rio Fight, Electric Bees, Texas Invaders

Welcome back to the Weekly Buzz. In this short-week edition, we have the eradication of an invasive ant species, a new chapter in the debate over Zika’s impact on the upcoming games in Rio, bees sensing electrical fields and more.

 

Rio Debate Intensifies:

The World Health Organization said recently that there is no reason to delay or relocate the games scheduled to be held in Rio this summer because of the Zika virus. The WHO was responding to a group of over 200 doctors and professors sent a letter to the director of the WHO calling for the delay or relocation of the games to avoid spreading Zika. They said mosquito-borne disease has actually increased in Rio despite mosquito control efforts. Flooding the city with athletes and spectators from around the globe and then sending those people home will only help to spread Zika, the letter said. (WHO)
 

Goodbye To All Ants:

Scientists in New Zealand have managed to eradicate the invasive Argentine ant species from a small island northeast of Auckland. Their dogged (literally) pursuit of the invaders took over a decade to become the latest example of the successful eradication of an invasive species. (NatGeo)
 

What a Bore:

In other invasive species news, the emerald ash borer, which has killed tens of millions of ash trees in the U.S., was recently discovered in Texas. Authorities had been expecting the arrival of the tree-killing pest and have been monitoring traps for four years. Early detection of the emerald ash borer should help state and federal agencies protect ash trees in Texas, which is home to seven of the 16 species of ash susceptible to attack by the pests. (Texas A&M Forest Service)
 

Flower Power:

A fresh study points out that bumblebees can use the small hairs that cover their bodies to sense the faint electrical fields generated by flowers.  It’s hard to know if bees in the wild use this sense to find flowers, differentiate between types of flowers, or for some other purpose, but it's a pretty neat trick. (NPR)

 

Learn Pests