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Agriculture

Agricultural fungicide attracts honey bees, study finds

When given the choice, honey bee foragers prefer to collect sugar syrup laced with the fungicide chlorothalonil over sugar syrup alone, researchers report in the journal Scientific Reports.

Many Midwestern retailers sell mislabeled invasive vines

Gardeners hoping to celebrate the beauty of American bittersweet – a native vine that produces orange berries in the fall and is used for wreaths – may be unwittingly buying an invasive bittersweet instead. That’s because many Midwestern retailers are selling oriental bittersweet with labels misidentifying it as the native plant, researchers report. These sales are occurring in stores and online.

Genomic study explores evolution of gentle ‘killer bees’ in Puerto Rico

A genomic study of Puerto Rico’s Africanized honey bees – which are more docile than other so-called “killer bees” – reveals that they retain most of the genetic traits of their African honey bee ancestors, but that a few regions of their DNA have become more like those of European honey bees. According to the researchers, these changes likely contributed to the bees’ rapid evolution toward gentleness in Puerto Rico, a change that occurred within 30 years.

Scientists: Expanding Brazilian sugarcane could dent global CO2 emissions

Vastly expanding sugarcane production in Brazil for conversion to ethanol could reduce current global carbon dioxide emissions by as much as 5.6 percent, researchers report in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Illinois sportfish recovery a result of 1972 Clean Water Act, scientists report

Populations of largemouth bass, bluegill, catfish and other sportfish are at the highest levels recorded in more than a century in the Illinois River, according to a new report. Their dramatic recovery, from populations close to zero near Chicago throughout much of the 20th century, began just after implementation of the Clean Water Act, the researchers say.

Some plants grow bigger – and meaner – when clipped, study finds

Some plants behave like the mythical monster Hydra: Cut off their heads and they grow back, bigger and better than before. A new study finds that these “overcompensators,” as they are called, also augment their defensive chemistry – think plant venom – when they are clipped.

Is our flood insurance model broken?

Craig Lemoine, the director of the Financial Planning Program at the College of ACES, discusses the flood insurance market in light of Hurricane Harvey losses.

Should states be in the lottery business?

A major downside to record-breaking lottery jackpots is that money flows from poorer communities into the hands of one incredibly lucky person, said Craig Lemoine, the director of the Financial Planning Program at the College of ACES.

Study links fish stress hormones to whether they take the bait

Take a fish out of water and its stress hormones will go up. Adrenaline and noradrenaline, the “fight or flight” hormones, peak first, followed more gradually by cortisol. A new study finds that largemouth bass whose cortisol levels rise most after a brief bout of stress are inherently harder to catch by angling.

Study finds parallels between unresponsive honey bees, autism in humans

Honey bees that consistently fail to respond to obvious social cues share something fundamental with autistic humans, researchers report in a new study. Genes most closely associated with autism spectrum disorders in humans are regulated differently in unresponsive honey bees than in their more responsive nest mates, the study found.

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