December 2005

Faculty News

Dr. Malcolm T. Sanford, retired extension beekeeping specialist, participated in the 41st Reunión Nacional de Investigación Pecuaria in Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico, where he presented keynote talks on survivor honey bees and their potential in modern apiculture and current status on the small hive beetle, Aethina tumida (see Here is Dr. Sanford's reflection on his trip:

"I last visited Cuernavaca, just an hour and a half south of Mexico City on Route 95, one of Mexico's premier toll roads, in 1981. At that time Apimondia, the world apicultural congress, had just concluded in Acapulco and an outfit by the name of Miel Carlota was top dog in honey production, with tens of thousands of colonies distributed across the state of Morelos. Given its reputation, Miel Carlota was a necessary stop on any post congress tour.

"Since then it has fallen on hard times and has been subsequently sold by its German founders and moved to Vera Cruz, where it apparently exists primarily as a brand name. It was a victim of two New World epidemics of exotic organisms, the African honey bee, followed by the Varroa bee mite in the 1990s. The offices once occupied by the largest honey producing outfit in the world now house the Morelos Ministry of Agriculture.

"The African bee and Varroa mite stories thus take on another chapter, bringing down perhaps the world's largest beekeeping enterprise, and changing irreversibly the apicultural conditions in the land of the acahual (wild sunflower). No longer can beekeepers manipulate colonies in shirt sleeves nor carry them on their backs as they once did. Beekeeping still exists in the region, but in a much different way."

Dr. Heather McAuslane reported on the Insect/Lepidoptera Conservation position currently open. Dr. Jaret Daniels will interview on 14 December, present a research seminar on the 19th and an extension seminar on the 20th.

Dr. John Capinera reported we received 12 applications for the Apiculture/Youth position. That committee will meet within the next few weeks to select the final candidates.

Staff News

Myrna Litchfield officially retired on 23 November after 35 years at UF, most of them in our department (graduate coordinator's office, Administrative Assistant to the Chair). At a reception in her honor on 15 November, Room 1031 (the large classroom) had standing room only as faculty, staff, students and alumni gathered to wish her well.

Dr. Ayyamperumal Jeyaprakash, known to most as "Dr. Jey," is on a month-long visit to India, where he is visiting family. He will return to the Department on December 19.

Student News

Ph.D. student Matt Tarver's Masters thesis, "Responses of cowpea bruchid, Callosobruchus maculatus, to natural and pyramided seed resistance," was nominated to represent Purdue University at the Midwestern Association of Graduate School Distinguished Thesis Award competition.

Ph.D. student James Dunford received the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) Jack L. Fry Award which recognizes excellence in teaching by a graduate student. Jim received the award at the CALS Scholarship and Leadership Convocation on 7 December.

The Fort Lauderdale REC is graduating its first Ph.D. in entomology this semester. Newly minted Dr. John Warner, who runs a pest control business full time, was also the first person to obtain a M.S. at Fort Lauderdale. The days are gone when UF/IFAS students could attend classes only on the Gainesville campus. Many now attend classes on RECs across the state where research and extension faculty in various disciplines also hold teaching appointments. At some RECs there are faculty with100% teaching responsibilities.

Dr. Warner also developed a bait for the white-footed ant that UF holds the patent on and is seeking a commercial distributor for. For details on the white-footed ant see the Featured Creatures article at, authored by Drs. Warner, Rudi Scheffrahn and Brian Cabrera.

Our Graduate Coordinators Office reports that 15 graduate students are finishing their degrees this month: 10 are receiving a M.S.: Samuel Breaux, Sandra Garrett, Laura Hunnicutt, Crystal Kelts, Matt Lehnert, David Melius, Jerry Mozoruk, Justin Saunders, Rachel Seman-Varner and Frank Wesels; and five are receiving a Ph.D.: Rebecca Baldwin, Jon Hamill, James Pence, Rui Pereiram and John Warner.

Graduate student Matt Lehnert is continuing on for a Ph.D. and will be the T.A. coordinator for the Principles of Entomology laboratory for the next four years.

LIFE in the Department

The November 11th issue features information on School IPM, Entomology and Nematology scholarship winners, the Firefly Honors course, and an update on the February 2006 departmental review.

The November 25th issue features IPM in Florida, Dr. Howard Frank's Tropical Entomology course field trip to Venezuela, insect collecting techniques for Dr. Jim Lloyd's Firefly class, and Dr. Bill Howard's report on hurricane Wilma's effects on palms and the insects that prey on them.

Mike Sanford edits this photographic journal of our department, located at


Bläske-Lietze V-U, Boucias DG. 2005. Pathogenesis of Helicosporidium sp. (Chlorophyta: Trebouxiophyceae) in susceptible noctuid larvae. J. Invertebr. Pathol. 90: 161-168.

Nearns EH, Branham MA. (2005) A new species of Plectromerus Haldeman (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae) from Dominican amber with notes on the fossil Plectromerus tertiarius Vitali. Zootaxa 1088: 17-24. (

Crow WT, Lowe T, Lickfeldt DW. 2005. Effects of fall overseeding and nematicide applications on populations of sting nematode. USGA Green Section Record 43: 8-11.

Goodisman MAD, Hahn DA. 2005. Breeding system, colony structure, and genetic differentiation in the Camponotus festinatus species complex of carpenter ants. Evolution 59: 2185-2199.

Medal J, Norambuena H, Gandolfo D. (eds.). 2005. Proceedings of the Second Latin American Workshop on Biological Control of Weeds (In Spanish), June 7-10/2004, Montelimar, Nicaragua. University of Florida-IFAS. Gainesville, FL. 118 p.

Alto BW, Griswold MW, Lounibos LP. 2005. Habitat and sex-dependent predation of mosquito larvae in containers. Oecologia 146: 300-310

Conklin T, Bläske-Lietze V-U, Becnel JJ, Boucias DG. 2005. Infectivity of two isolates of Helicosporidium spp. (Chlorophyta: Trebouxiophyceae) in heterologous host insects. Florida Entomologist 88: 431-439.

Lim UT, Zappala L, Hoy MA. 2006. Pre-release evaluation of Semielacher petiolatus (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae) in quarantine for the control of citrus leafminer: host discrimination, relative humidity tolerance and alternative hosts. Biological Control 36: 65-73.

Liburd OE, Arevalo HA. (2005). Integrated strategies for controlling flower thrips in highbush blueberries. EDIS. IMP-140.

Bybee S. (December 2005). Libellule et demoiselle. UF/IFAS Featured Creatures. EENY-362.

Gyeltshen J, Hodges AC. (December 2005). Twobanded Japanese weevil, Pseudocneorhinus bifasciatus (Roelofs). UF/IFAS Featured Creatures. EENY-361.

Meetings and Presentations

Check the Entomological Society of America Web site at for updates on the annual meeting, which, thanks to Hurricane Wilma, is now rescheduled for 15-18 December at Fort Lauderdale. While there, don't forget to eat at The Rustic Inn, in nearby Hollywood, for the best garlic crabs on the coast.

Dr. Julio Medal was invited to coordinate a "discussion table" and give a talk on "Biological Control of Invasive Plants in Latin America" at the XVII Latin American Weed Science Congress held in Varadero, Cuba, 8-11 November. During his stay in the Carribean island, Medal also did field explorations searching for natural enemies (insects) of invasive plants in Florida.

Dr. Julio Medal attended an intensive training course (14-16 November 2005) on Biological Control in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, which was organized by the Mexican Biological Control Society.

Dr. Marc Branham and graduate students Kyle Beucke, Seth Bybee, Jim Dunford, Gino Nearns, and Jennifer Zaspel attended the 1st annual Phylogenetics Symposium and Workshop held by The Ohio State University Systematics Group. The two day workshop was held 3-4 December on The Ohio State University campus in Columbus, Ohio. An international roster of today's most prominent scientists working on phylogenetics and evolutionary theory spoke on current topics in cladistic analysis and provided demonstrations of their software.

Fumigation School 2005

The UF/IFAS School of Structural Fumigation completed its second term at the Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center. A record forty-seven students, with 26 attending from outside Florida from as far away as California, Hawaii, New York, Bahamas, Canada, Japan, Puerto Rico and Trinidad. Each paid $475 to enroll in the week-long program, the only one of its kind in the world. FLREC director Dr. Van Waddill welcomed the 2005 class of students into the UF-IFAS community.

During the school, held 14-18 November, students attended lectures, participated in group workshops and demonstrations, and observed the workings of an actual fumigation conducted by UF graduate Jeff Edwards. Renny Perez, a pest management professional from Miami and the school's director since 1994 and FLREC faculty Drs. Brian Cabrera, Bill Kern, Rudi Scheffrahn, and Nan-Yao Su revised the program to include an on-campus fumigation site, updated notebooks and exams, and an extensive "target organisms" lab.

Fourteen additional instructors including school co-founders Ellen Thoms and Rudy Subieta (Dow AgroSciences), and various other industry professionals from FLDACS, USDA, and DOT volunteered to share their expertise on this technically demanding category of pest control. Students each received a copy of the latest IFAS extension publication, The Florida Fumigation Manual by Scheffrahn, Cabrera, and Kern (available through the UF/IFAS Bookstore), which made its debut at the 2004 school. Proceeds from the fumigation school go into a scholarship fund for graduate studies in entomology at FLREC.


Crow WT. Biological control of root-knot nematodes on woody ornamentals. $5000 from Florida Nursery Growers and Landscape Association.

Drs. Julio Medal and James Cuda were awarded a three year grant for $25,000 per year from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to work on biological control of wetland nightshade, Solanum tampicense. This non-native weed is originally from southern Mexico, Carribean, and Central America. Dr. Medal just returned from a three week trip searching for natural enemies of this plant in Nicaragua, Cuba, and southern Mexico. Researcher collaborators of the Colegio de la Frontera Sur in Tapachula, Chiapas, will conduct additional field explorations for natural enemies in Mexico, preliminary host-specificity testing, and study the biology of several potential biocontrol candidates for wetland nightshade in Florida.

Dr. Oscar Liburd and Jay Cee Turner received a $4,000.00 gift from Valent to conduct evaluation of reduced risk insecticides on blackberry pests.

Gary England (Sumter County CES) and Dr. Oscar Liburd received a grant for $5,800 from the UF IFAS/IPM program to work on the development of an economic threshold level for thrips in southern highbush blueberries. This project is funded for one year.

Journal Titles

Do you know the complete spelling of Entomol. Nachr. Ber.? How about Monogr. Ned. Entomol. Ver.? If not, then a quick check of the Journal Titles and Abbreviations file will provide you with it. Dr. Skip Choate, Webmaster of our department's site, created this file listing hundreds of journal titles with their accepted abbreviations. You can find it on our site under Online Publications or at

Bug Quote

In 1936, the not-quite-so-famous poet Robert Frost wrote "Departmental," an entertaining poem about ants and how they dispose of their dead. Too lengthy to reprint here, it is available at A not-quite-so-valuable prize to the first student who reports to me the very obvious entomological mistake.

Newsletter Minutia

Thomas Fasulo is the newsletter editor. Send submissions to him at Issues are published the middle of each month. Submit items for an issue by the 7th of that month.

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During the last twelve months, the newsletter Web site recorded 38,214 distinct visitors and 69,783 page views.

December 2005.