Monthly Archives: January 2017

Monarch Milkweed Math

John Pleasants* estimates the numbers of milkweed plants lost to changes in agricultural practices and the extent of the conservation effort required to replace them. Almost 900 million milkweed plants have been lost from corn and soybean fields (mostly) and … Continue reading

Posted in by jjneal, Endangered Species, Environment, Policy | 1 Comment

Living In California

The Monarch Grove Sanctuary in Pacific Grove, California is a gathering site where Monarch Butterflies congregate to spend the winter. ┬áThe Monarchs are protected from harassment by humans. ┬áCongregating is a defense against predation by birds who find the monarchs … Continue reading

Posted in by jjneal, Environment, Invasive Species | 1 Comment

Living With Museum Gags

With a display featuring insect biodiversity, the effect of hundreds of pinned specimens of insects can be overwhelming. Dedicated fans spend hours delighting in the details of each specimen. Some people will pass on after a short glance. Museum curators … Continue reading

Posted in Art, by jjneal, jokes | 2 Comments

A Painful Mixture

Bee venom is complex with at least 10 polypeptides present. I posted last time about the pain inducing effects of melittin. What do the other peptides do? Like melittin, apamin, mast-cell degranulating peptide, and a PLA2-related peptide caused inflammatory responses … Continue reading

Posted in Biomaterials, by jjneal, Health | Leave a comment

Why Bee Stings Cause Pain

Worker honey bees will sting to defend their hive. Honey bee venom is a cocktail of chemical agents with many pharmacological effects. Much of the pain from a sting may be due to melittin, a polypeptide that comprises 40-60% of … Continue reading

Posted in Biomaterials, by jjneal | 3 Comments

Plague Update

Bubonic plague has been present in the United States since the beginning of the 20th century but is confined to arid areas in states west of the Mississippi. After an uptick in plague cases (over a dozen) in California in … Continue reading

Posted in by jjneal, Health, News | Leave a comment

Living With Isopods

Ants have nests that they defend and use for storage of food. Other animals, (inquilines) can associate with ant nests and find protection. Inquilines must avoid attack by ants, either by chemical defense or by mimicry of the nest odor … Continue reading

Posted in by jjneal, Environment | 1 Comment