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February 13th, 2015

tick picture from smartphone

ABOVE: Can you believe this was taken by one of our students with their phone! Read more below about our smartphone to digital microscope converter workshop.

Faculty and Staff News

Dr. Blair Siegfried will come on board September 1st to replace Dr. John Capinera, who is stepping down at the end of this month after 28 years as chair of the department. Dr. Heather McAuslane will serve as interim chair in the meantime.

The Entomology and Nematology department is home to two 2014-2015 CALS Teaching/Advising/Mentoring Award Winners. Dr. Rebecca Baldwin was awarded the 2014-2015 CALS Undergraduate Advising Award and is the CALS nominee for a university-level award. Dr. Andrea Lucky was awarded the 2014-2015 CALS Undergraduate Teaching Award. Awardees will be recognized at the 2015 CALS Leadership and Awards Banquet on Thursday April 16th, at the Paramount Plaza Hotel.

Student and Alumni News

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Alumni in the news:

CALS Dean’s List

Listed below are the students in Entomology and Nematology who made the CALS Dean’s List for Fall 2014. Overall, more than 750 CALS students made the fall Dean’s List.

Our congratulations go out to: Keith Gerber, Abigail Griffin, Stefani Harrison, Mary Karcher, Samuel Hunter Pass, Gabriella Steele, Derek Lin Yan and Lauren Hintenlang.    

outreach booth

ABOVE: Mary Karcher and Andre Szejner pose behind our table at the Rawlings Elementary School STEM Night event.

The Entomology and Nematology Student Organization (ENSO) hosted a workshop on January 23rd, 2015 to build stages that use smartphones as digital microscopes with up to 175x magnification. The workshop was attended by over 45 students, staff, faculty, and even local science teachers. The stages were assembled during the workshop and used to take some nice pictures of slide mounted specimens. The whole stage only costs $10 to build. Building plans are available online. ENSO is planning to repeat the workshop at local high schools to provide this cheap, easy to build tool for science classrooms.

smartphone workshop

ABOVE: Participants hard at work during the smartphone to digital microscope converter workshop.

Lab News

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Need to name that bug? A host of experts are available to help Floridians identify any insect or related arthropod. If a mystery creature has six or more legs, the UF Insect ID Lab is the place to call.

love bugs

ABOVE: Happy Valentines Day from some insects who are dressed for the occasion. Top left the scarlet-bodied wasp moth, bottom left the bella moth, right the air potato leaf beetle.

In honor of Valentine's Day, Lyle was thinking about insects that might fit the theme.  No one enjoys thinking about the obvious one - lovebugs - right now. We will be seeing them in a couple of months. And there are not very many heart-shaped insects, but there are some that are striking in appearance because of their red or pink coloration. Two day-flying moths, the scarlet-bodied wasp moth and the bella moth, use their aposematic coloration to warn predators that they are toxic. The bright red elytra of the air potato leaf beetle make it easily recognizable. It is a recent addition to Florida's biocontrol fauna. Learn more about these insects by reading their Featured Creatures profiles linked below the photo.

Lyle Buss is the Insect ID Lab manager.

Think it might be a nematode problem? The Nematode Assay Laboratory serves Florida and other states by providing nematode assays and expert advice regarding nematode management.

For more information on the Nematode Assay Laboratory, please contact the lab manager Dr. Tesfa Mengistu.


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Campbell BE, Miller DM. 2015. Insecticide resistance in eggs and first instars of the bed bug, Cimex lectularius (Hemiptera: Cimicidae). Insects 6: 122-132. doi: 10.3390/insects6010122.

Crow WT. 2014. Effects of a commercial formulation of Bacillus firmus I-1582 on golf course bermudagrass infested with Belonolaimus longicaudatus. Journal of Nematology 46: 331-335.

Seraydar KR, Kaufman PE. 2015. Does behavior play a role in house fly resistance to imidacloprid-containing baits? Medical and Veterinary Entomology 29: 60-67. doi: 10.1111/mve.12095.

Young RM, Burkett-Cadena ND, McGaha TW Jr, Rodriguez-Perez MA, Toé LD. 2015. Identification of human semiochemicals attractive to the major vectors of onchocerciasis. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 9(1): e3450.
doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0003450.

New on Featured Creatures:

Asian honey bee, Apis cerana Fabricius. Authors: Ashley A. Egelie, Ashley N. Mortensen, Jennifer L. Gillett-Kaufman, and James D. Ellis, Entomology and Nematology Department, University of Florida.

Coastal plain hesperapis, Hesperapis oraria Snelling and Stage. Authors: Bridget A. Lyons, Ashley N. Mortensen, Jamie D. Ellis, Entomology and Nematology Department, University of Florida.

Do you have a favorite creature? Learn how to make it into a Featured Creature!

Meetings and Presentations

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Dr. James P. Cuda was an invited speaker for the 19th Annual Invasive Species Workshop held at Gulf Coast University, Ft. Myers, Florida on January 23rd.  Dr. Cuda gave a presentation titled “Is poisonwood vulnerable to attack by biological control agents of Brazilian peppertree?"  The presentation was co-authored by Dr. William Overholt

Dr. Phil Kaufman delivered a presentation entitled “Fleas and Ticks” to 160 people attending the Structural Pest Management Association of Ontario. The meeting was held on January 22nd outside of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

On January 13th and 14th Dr. Billy Crow Presented "Nematode management on golf course turf" at regional seminars of the Florida Turfgrass Association in Tampa and Ocala, respectively.

Spreader calibration

ABOVE: Spreader calibration at Pest Management University during its first GHP Foundations course of the year, February 3rd to 5th at UF/IFAS MREC. Our attendees were particularly thankful for the beautiful weather we had since they came from others parts of the U.S. experiencing record snow fall and temperatures in the single digits! Scott’s Lawn Service filled our course with attendees from Atlanta, Chicago, Lexington and Louisville, Windsor and Danbury (CT), Dayton (VA), and Prince Frederick (MD).


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From the Outreach Coordinator

A big thank you to the students and faculty who volunteered at our January outreach events.

13 January- Littlewood Elementary School STEM Night. Participants: Dr. Rebecca Baldwin, Stefani Harrison, Erin Powell.
22 January- Rawlings Elementary School STEM Night. Participants: Andre Szejner, Mary Karcher, Erin Powell.
24 January- Buc Tuocs Boy Scout Camp. Participants: Chris Crockett, Matt Moore, Stefani Harrison, Erin Powell.

Upcoming events:

  • 26 February- Glen Springs Elementary School STEM Night
  • 27 February- Homeschool Group
  • 11 March- Micanopy Area Cooperative School
  • 27 March- Mica Homeschool Group

The live critters are always a hit with children and adults alike. The critters are available for you to check out should you be leading an outreach event. We have doubles of our most popular critters, as well as various native insect species depending on the time of year. We have large wood and Plexiglas cages for viewing our native orb weaving spiders. There is one travel cage and one larger static cage. Please be sure to contact us and review the protocol on transporting and handling the critters if you are not already familiar with it. If you lead an outreach, be sure to fill out a documentation form so your event can be included in the newsletter and we can log all outreach events.

If you have any questions please email me.

Thank you — Erin Powell, Outreach Coordinator.

If you would like to schedule an event or have any outreach questions, go to the Outreach pages on our Bug Club Website and contact us.

Getting social!

We have several social media sites for the Entomology & Nematology Department. To make them easily searchable, all three (YouTube, Facebook and Twitter) have the same page name: UFEntomology. Please share these links with past students or colleagues who may have an interest in departmental activities.


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Virni Mattson, our grants specialist, is so busy with grants she will provide numbers for the next newsletter!

Dr. Nathan Burkett-Cadena with Co-PI Dr. Barry Alto were awarded $54,327.00 from FDACS for their project- Autodissemination of IGR's to suppress Dengue and Chikungunya virus vectors.


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The “Amazing Pests” Award

The annual student award for the “Appreciation for the Biology of Insect Pests” has its winners for the year 2014! The award, administered by the Forest Entomology Lab at the University of Florida (Dr. Jiri Hulcr) and sponsored by the TREE foundation in Sarasota, FL, encourages students to transcend the border between fundamental and applied entomology. Each year, peer reviewed papers authored by students are scored by a committee from across three universities. The papers are judged by their originality, out-of-the-box thinking, and a coolness factor. The author of the winning publication receives an award of $500. Learn about this year’s winners – two, so we had a tie! We highly encourage our students to apply for the award in the next year with their own innovative, cool papers on the amazing insect pests!

About this Newsletter

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Dr. Jennifer Gillett-Kaufman is the newsletter editor and does the HTML coding. Issues usually are published by mid-month. Submit items for an issue by the 7th of that month.

We like to share news when it happens using our social media outlets: Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Follow us on these sites for daily updates! When you send news, we will post it on one or more of these sites and again in the monthly newsletter. Please be sure you have permission from people in photographs you submit for publication.

UF-Bugnews-L listserv subscribers receive notices when issues are posted. Our home page has instructions for subscribing and unsubscribing.

Special thanks to Haleigh Ray and Nancy Sanders, who reviewed the newsletter for errors, and to Jane Medley and Don Wasik, who built the web page design.