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E. Wasp Venom: Nature's Own Pesticide

Narrator: This is Science Today. The age of chemical pesticides is slowly come to a close in the United States, thanks to increasing costs, public intolerance of pollution and tightening regulations. Plus, they don't work as well anymore.

Beckage: So we need to search for new biologically-based pesticides which are specific to insects and have no detrimental effects upon people or the environment.

Narrator: Entomologist Nancy Beckage of the University of California, Riverside is looking for a new way to kill caterpillars and other agricultural pests using nature's own formula -- wasp venom.

Beckage: There are many wasps which kill insect prey. They are not stinging people, they are stinging insect prey such as other wasps, spiders, tarantulas...

Narrator: Researchers in Beckage's lab are trying to isolate the active ingredients in wasp venom in hopes of turning them into a new class of natural pesticides.

Beckage: These would not harm people, these would he specific to insects, and we're hoping that some of them may in fact prove to be effective natural bio-pesticides.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Steve Tokar