Category Archives: Research

Why is spider silk so strong? Can we scale it up?

Written by Joe Ballenger Hi, I’m on a Lego League team with my school and we are wanting to know more about spiders for our research project. Some questions I hope you can help us with are, what makes a … Continue reading

Posted in Chemistry, Culture, Ecology, Economics, Physiology, Research, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Interacting With Ekbom’s sufferers: Guidelines from the dermatology literature.

Infestations can be very difficult to handle in online science outreach projects. We do our best to give the best possible advice, but ultimately it’s an issue where you need boots on the ground. During our infestation post, we mentioned … Continue reading

Posted in Behavior, Education, News, Pest Management, Research | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

There’s a lot of misinformation about spider bites on the internet…and some of it comes from academic websites.

Written by Joe Ballenger October is an important time for spiders. Spiders sleep through the winter, and right about now is when they’re looking for places to hunker down. Consequently, we get a lot of pictures of spiders in people’s … Continue reading

Posted in News, Research | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Microcephaly, Zika, correlation, and causation: the science behind CDC’s confirmation of Zika and microcephaly

Written by Joe Ballenger I’m still following the Zika/Microcephaly literature. I’m not writing about every paper which comes out, but I am writing about the ones I feel are pretty important. The most recent ‘big paper’ came out in the … Continue reading

Posted in News, Pest Management, Physiology, Research | Leave a comment

Questions about head lice.

Written by Joe Ballenger We get a lot of questions about lice, and these are really important. On Biofortified, I wrote an article about head louse treatments that was relatively depressing. There are a lot of companies which market louse … Continue reading

Posted in Education, Pest Management, Physiology, Research | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Why is Oxitec using tetracycline for a genetic switch? Why not something else?

Written by Joe Ballenger Here’s where we get to the meat of the question our follower asked…why use the antibiotic tetracycline as a switch? Why not something else? Last week, we discussed a system which could potentially work for this … Continue reading

Posted in Chemistry, Pest Management, Physiology, Research | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

So let’s talk about another type of GMO for a minute…

We’ve gotten this question, and it’s a really good question, but I didn’t initially understand what the person was asking. I knew what they were getting at-why is Oxitec using a tetracycline dependent system-but I wanted to wait for them … Continue reading

Posted in Chemistry, Education, Evolution, Insect Rearing, Pest Management, Physiology, Research | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

What have we learned about science communication over the past year of answering your questions?

Written by Joe Ballenger and Nancy Miorelli Entomology outreach through blogging with @SciBugs & @Stylopidae and their @BugQuestions project #entsoc15 pic.twitter.com/qAFEwyQ1MM — Morgan Jackson (@BioInFocus) November 17, 2015 We recently got back from the Entomological Society of America’s annual meeting, … Continue reading

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Do wasps bite, and does their saliva have any defensive properties?

Today’s question comes to us from a friend of mine, through a conversation on FB instant messenger. Wasps are a huge group, and at least 150,000 types of bees, wasps and ants have been described by scientists. Despite the fact … Continue reading

Posted in Behavior, Chemistry, Ecology, Evolution, Physiology, Pollination, Research, Taxonomy | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

What makes a good model organism? How are models different from one another?

Post written by Joe Ballenger This question started out as a conversation with Enlightened Bugs on Twitter. They sent us a picture of a deformed wasp, and asked what could have caused her wings to appear like this: There’s a … Continue reading

Posted in Physiology, Research | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments