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December 5 2012

Cigarette butts help urban birds ward off mites


It's not just people that have a penchant for cigarettes. Birds living in urban environments often use cigarette butts to line their nests. Unlike in humans, the cigarettes seem to have a beneficial effect they cut the number of parasites in the nests.

Nicotine-based sprays are already used on some crops to repel insects. To see whether cigarette butts might have a similar effect in urban birds' nests, Constantino Macías Garcia from the National Autonomous University of Mexico in Mexico City and colleagues lured parasites to these nests.

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