Boffins cash in on honey traps

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Sex, drugs and violence are about to earn millions for Southampton University. Biologist Dr Philip Howse has invented an insect trap which lures the little beasties with sex stimulants and then cripples them.

The device goes on sale in California in the summer. Dr Howse, the brains behind the invention, was inspired by the carnivorous Venus fly-trap plant. He believes the devices, currently being tested in orchards in Mauritius where fruit flies are a great pest, could be used instead of pesticides.

"The beauty of the thing is it involves absolutely no toxins or chemicals and is completely environmentally friendly," he said.

"All insects have adhesive suction pads on their feet and the fine layer of powder simply stops them working." Dr Howse is now working on a trap to get rid of wasps and other flying pests. But mosquitoes have so far slipped the net during tests.

"They're proving tricky because they can fly vertically but I'll get there in the end," said Dr Howse.

Beef News 1: Butchers Hall is closing. Nothing to do with Mad Cow Disease, but the livery hall next to London's central meat market in Smithfield is closing down for a month - for renovation. The head of catering, Charles Boyd, assured us yesterday that the hall, opened in 975, would definitely reopen, with spanking new features such as air conditioning and secondary glazing.

Beef News 2: "The British people have been exposed to a new and unpleasant sickness: cash cow disease," thundered a note from Panmure Gordon economist Robin Aspinall yesterday. "Companies have recognised that the economy is mature and slow growing, so they are extracting cash, cutting investment to the minimum needed for maintenance and squeezing costs."

Moo if you agree, swish your tale if you don't.

Beef News 3: "Food from Britain's annual conference, `Blueprint for Export Success', takes place on Wednesday 27 March 1996 at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in London. Speakers from the Government, the City, the food industry and overseas markets will focus on how British food and drink companies can achieve long term business success on the international stage - and at the same time increase Britain's export earnings.... Keynote speakers will be Deputy Prime Minister, Michael Heseltine MP, and Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Douglas Hogg QC, MP." And the very best of British luck to you....

The Central Statistical Office is getting into Doc Martens and aerobics. The normally staid civil servants at the CSO have had a rush of blood to the head and are throwing the following things into the Retail Price Index basket: green peppers, a bread bin, a flower vase, a cigarette lighter, a steering lock device, private education fees and funeral costs as well as the Docs. They say they are doing this to stay "up to date", Daddy-o.