Dye death

 
Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

A red dye normally used in lipsticks will kill fruit flies if they eat it and are then exposed to ultraviolet light. The Agricultural Research Service of the US department of agriculture has found a novel way to induce these flies to eat the dye, by mixing it with a combination of sugars, proteins and some enigmatic "other ingredients". Beneficial insects such as bees ignore the mixture. In tests conducted so far in Texas and Hawaii, the dye killed almost all the fruit flies preying on citrus, mango and other fruit crops ( New Scientist , Vol 157, No 2126).

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