A swarm of locusts by Emil Schmidt

How the Soviet Union Turned a Plague into Propaganda

The fight against locust swarms allowed the Soviet Union to consolidate power over neighboring regions.
A chrysanthemum overlaid with the chemical formula for pyrethrins

What Do Pesticides and Chrysanthemums Have in Common?

They both contain insecticides called pyrethrins, used in ancient Persia. Today we use them in lice-killing shampoos.
Termites

Margaret S. Collins, Pioneering Black Entomologist

She was the first African American woman to earn a PhD in entomology as well as an activist for freedom in the Civil Rights Movement.
Tableau d'histoire naturelle Annelides, Crustaces, Arachnides, etc, 1834

Are Insects Capable of Moral Behavior?

Some 19th-century naturalists believed that bugs could think and should therefore definitely know that biting is out of line.
Design for Necklace with Brazilian Beetles, ca. 1900

Insect Jewelry of the Victorian Era

The wing-cases of gold-enameled weevils hung from necklaces; muslin gowns were embroidered with the iridescent green elytra of jewel beetles.
A man standing before a large ant hill

I Spent Three Hours Staring at an Anthill

And all I got were these fascinating observations of parasitic ants that kidnap other ants.
A bark scorpion in Arizona

How Does a Scorpion Decide When to Sting?

There are actually two decisions to make: whether to sting at all and whether to use prevenom or full venom.
A geometrid moth caterpillar

Camouflage Gets Weird

Some animals use chemical camouflage, even altering the way they smell in order to avoid predation.

Love, Sex, and Cyanide—The Private Life of a Toxic Butterfly

Heliconian butterflies choose mates with similar wing patterns. Their genes make them do it.
A contraption used to extract the silk from a spider

The Tangled History of Weaving with Spider Silk

Spider silk is as strong as steel and as light as a feather, but attempts to industrialize its production have gotten stuck, so to speak.