Beetles that pee themselves to death could be tomorrow’s pest control
Various beetle species have eaten through grain stores and since ancient times have weakened food production worldwide since ancient times. The research team at the University of Copenhagen have discovered an even more effective way of targeting these teeny pests. Instead of using toxic pesticides which can damage biodiversity, the environment and human health. The researchers are seeking to use their greatest strength against them – their precisely regulated mechanism of balancing fluids.
Up to 25 percent of global food production is lost annually due to insects, primary beetles infesting foodstuffs. For the past 500 million years, beetles have successfully spread and adapted to life around the globe and now account for 1 in 5 of every animal species earth. Yet as far back as Ancient Egypt, these tough little bugs have invaded granaries and vexed humans by destroying crops.
As a result, food production and an abundant use of pesticides go hand in hand, however as previously stated this has caused detrimental factors to the environment and human health. As various pesticides are being phased out, new solutions are required to eradicate these pests without the harmful side effects.
Researchers have discovered which hormones regulate urine formation within the kidneys of the beetles. “Knowing which hormones regulate urine formation opens up the development of compounds similar to beetle hormones that, for example, can cause beetles to form so much urine that they die of dehydration,” explains Associate Professor Kenneth Veland Halberg of the University of Copenhagen’s Department of Biology. He adds: “While it may seem a slightly vicious, there’s nothing new in us trying to vanquish pests that destroy food production. We’re simply trying to do it in a smarter, more targeted manner that takes the surrounding environment into greater account than traditional pesticides.”