Drought Map for March 28th 2017


Food Sweetener Doubles As Ant Poison

Anyone else find it interesting that a food sweetener, erythritol, also works as an ant poison?


By Josh Lancette

Researchers from China have discovered that some sweeteners can be lethal to the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta), a devastating pest found South America, the United States, Australia, Asia, and on many Caribbean islands. In a test, ants that were fed erythritol, aspartame, and saccharin had a mortality rate higher than 80 percent. This finding could lead to the use of baits formulated out of sweeteners, which could be an environmentally friendly alternative to using insecticides to control the ant.

In their report, published in March in the Journal of Economic Entomology, the researchers suggest that erythritol, in particular, shows potential, as it fulfilled an important requirement of baits.

“Erythritol exhibited slow toxicity in the fire ants, which is helpful for achieving transmission among an entire colony,” said Yijuan Xu, one of the researchers.

In other words, it takes a while for the ants to die, meaning the ants that pick it up can bring it back to the colony for other ants to feed on, thus increasing the reach of the poison. This finding is important because baits can be tricky to perfect. They need to be palatable to the ant, they can’t be repellent, they need to be able to be moved by the ant, they need to be slow-acting so that the ant has time to bring the bait back to the colony, and they need to be lethal to the ant and ideally inaccessible to other insects. If any of those criteria aren’t met, the bait likely will be ineffective. Meeting the slow-acting requirement is a necessary first step for a product to be formulated into a bait.

Utah – Remains of mysterious creature discovered at Bear Lake

We’ve got a small population of these kayakosaurs in the upper Mississippi, especially Lake Pepin. Been around, man, like forever – they’re mentioned in Radisson’s Journal c. 1660 as notable predators on sturgeon. And the occasional Nadouessioux traveling in small canoes made of willow and buffalo skins, i.e., as we would call them now, kayaks. Radisson’s brother-in-law, Medard des Groseilliers, who traveled with him, mentioned how their Indian companions would fish for the beasts using the ribs of buffalo as bait; once they fastened on their prey they were so loath to release it from their jaws they could be dragged to shore and clubbed to death, whereupon a great feast would be declared for several days since it took that long for 50 or 60 men to devour a single kayakosaur.
Garden City, Utah| The remains of a large unidentified creature resembling a dinosaur, were found this morning on the western shore of Bear Lake, giving rise to many rumors concerning the legendary monster associated with the site.

The decomposed remains were found by a couple of locals who were walking on the lake’s shore. James and Christina Wilson noticed a foul smell while they were still hundreds of yards away and decided to investigate, leading to the discovery 25-foot (8 m) long carcass.

We walk here almost every day, but we have never seen anything like this,” says Ms. Wilson. “We could smell the stench from almost a mile away, and we knew that there was something wrong. When we finally found the corpse, we couldn’t believe our eyes. It’s really huge and it almost looks like a rotting dinosaur. That’s not a kind of creature that I ever expected to find in Utah!”


Henry’s wife…

Death, by Chicken…

There’s a good chance Urinary Tract Infections [UTIs] come from food – especially chicken – and they’re increasingly antibiotic resistant strains, i.e. the next one you catch might kill you…

“… Today comes a new Applied and Environmental Microbiology study addressing another important aspect of UTIs: the association of foodborne resistant bacteria and resistant UTIs…The study follows a long line of research linking chicken meat products to the spread of drug-resistant E. coli strains capable of causing disease. Genetic similarities between extraintestinal pathogenic E. coli (ExPEC) and retail meat products have shifted the understanding within the biomedical community of UTI transmission and infection. … [in] chicken products collected in 2013. 205 (65%) of 316 samples tested were culture-positive for E. coli, and 25 were ExPEC (extraintestinal pathogenic E. coli )


Drought May Mar. 21st 2017


How Whales Change Climate

When whales were at their historic populations, before their numbers were reduced, it seems that whales might have been responsible for removing tens of millions of tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere every year.

Raccoons Save A Baby By Linking Bodies To Extend Their Reach