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By Seth Borenstein The Associated Press

Bye bye bugs? Scientists fear non-pest insects are declining

OXFORD, Pa. — A staple of summer ‚Äî swarms of bugs ‚Äî seems to be a thing of the past. And that’s got scientists worried.

Pesky mosquitoes, disease-carrying ticks, crop-munching aphids and cockroaches are doing just fine. But the more beneficial flying insects of summer — native bees, moths, butterflies, ladybugs, lovebugs, mayflies and fireflies — appear to be less abundant.

Word detectives: Close look at word choice could ID writer

WASHINGTON — Language detectives say the key clues to who wrote the anonymous New York Times opinion piece slamming President Donald Trump may not be the odd and glimmering “lodestar,” but the itty-bitty words that people usually read right over: “I,” “of” and “but.”

And lodestar? That could be a red herring meant to throw sleuths off track, some experts say.

Bat signal: Fireflies’ glow alerts bats they taste awful

WASHINGTON — A new study finds that fireflies flash not just for survival, not just sex.

Scientists already know that lightning bugs used their signature blinking glow to find a mate, but they suspected something else was going on. Boise State University researchers found it also keeps them from being eaten by bats.

They published a study in Wednesday’s Science Advances.

Science Says: Hotter weather turbocharges US West wildfires

As temperatures rise in the U.S. West, so do the flames.

The years with the most acres burned by wildfires have some of the hottest temperatures, an Associated Press analysis of fire and weather data found. As human-caused climate change has warmed the world over the past 35 years, the land consumed by flames has more than doubled.

The heat is back on high: May smashes US temperature records

WASHINGTON — Record heat returned to the United States with a vengeance in May.

May warmed to a record average 65.4 degrees in the Lower 48 states, breaking the high of 64.7 set in 1934, according to federal weather figures released Wednesday. May was 5.2 degrees above the 20th century’s average for the month.

Science Says: Hawaii volcano has oozed hot lava for decades

WASHINGTON — Hawaii’s Kilauea is not your typical blow-the-top-off kind of volcano.

It’s been simmering and bubbling for about 35 years, sending superhot hot lava spewing up through cracks in the ground. This month’s eruptions are more of the same, except the lava is destroying houses miles from the summit.

Wood frogs’ No. 1 option: Hold in pee all winter to survive

WASHINGTON — If you’ve ever been unable to find a bathroom in a moment of need, you know the gotta-go feeling. That’s nothing compared to the wood frog, which doesn’t urinate all winter.

In Alaska, wood frogs go eight months without peeing. And scientists have now figured out how they do it, or more accurately, how they survive without doing it.

America’s air isn’t getting cleaner as fast as it used to

DENVER — For decades America’s air was getting cleaner as levels of a key smog ingredient steadily dropped. That changed about seven years ago when pollution reductions levelled off, a new study found.

This means when tighter federal air quality standards go into effect later this year, many more cities may find themselves on the dirty air list.