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May 13th, 2015

Enso cleaning garden

ABOVE: Thank you ENSO for adding new plants and cleaning up in the butterfly garden.



Faculty and Staff News

Dr. Christine W. Miller has provided multiple presentations across the UF campus on how to bring authentic research into the undergraduate classroom. In March she presented in a workshop for faculty sponsored by the Center for Undergraduate Research. In April she spoke to a large group of postdoctoral researchers from around the nation about how to boost their broader impacts for NSF proposals.

There will be a Program Symposium to honor Dr. Nan-Yao Su’s (UF/IFAS FLREC) contributions to science at the 2015 Entomological Society of America meeting. The symposium will consist of presentations by the six entomologists who have been recipients of the Nan-Yao Su award for Innovation and Creativity in Entomology. This award was created from a $250,000 endowment from Dr. Nan-Yao Su and recognizes creative entomologists who have demonstrated the ability to find alternative solutions to problems that significantly impact entomology. The award is administered by the Entomological Society of America.

Dr. John Capinera was featured in an online pest control guide for homeowners, this guide includes advice from more than 100 experts from across the country including many of our alumni!

Dr Gillett in Ghana

ABOVE: Dr. Jennifer Gillett-Kaufman was in Ghana from April 24th to May 9th working with ACDI/VOCA and the USAID Farmer-to-Farmer program. She worked with pineapple producers to diagnose an insect vectored viral disease that was reducing crop yields.

Dr. James P. Cuda was invited by President Fuchs to attend a reception to honor University of Florida’s Fulbright Scholars. The reception was held at the former UF President’s house on April 14th.

Dr. James P. Cuda was interviewed by WUFT on April 30th about the possible release in Florida of the leaflet galling psyllid Calophya latiforceps (Hemiptera: Calophyidae), a candidate biological control agent of Brazilian peppertree. 

Student and Alumni News

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Sedonia Steininger, a master's student in Dr. Andrea Lucky’s lab, was awarded this year’s Nan-Yao and Jill H. Su Scholarship ($1,000) for representing the science of Entomology to her peers and to the public. Sedonia’s research has focused on the development and implementation of a large scale monitoring program for bark and ambrosia beetles (Curculionidae: Scolytinae) through the use of citizen science.

Ms. Yao (Juliana) Xu, a doctoral student working in the labs of Dr. Eileen Buss and Dr. Drion Boucias, was awarded the 2015 Pauline O. Lawrence Scholarship in Physiology/Biochemistry/Toxicology ($1,500). Her projects focus on the bacterial symbiont Burkholderia associated with the southern chinch bug (Blissus insularis) and the potential association between symbionts and the insecticide resistance observed in the insect host.

Anita GSD

ABOVE: Congratulations to Anita Neal (doctoral student in Dr. Ron Cave's lab) who has recently been inducted into Gamma Sigma Delta.

Congratulations to our undergraduate student Gabriella Milanes for being selected to be a member of the CALS Ambassadors program!

The CALS Ambassadors are a select group of students in the University of Florida's College of Agricultural and Life Sciences who have demonstrated outstanding achievement in academics and student leadership. CALS Ambassadors support food, agriculture and natural resources throughout the state of Florida. Their objective is to create awareness of the academic programs and career opportunities in food, agriculture and natural resources among students, teachers, advisors and the general public in the state of Florida. They meet this objective by speaking to high schools, community colleges and civic organizations within the state of Florida, and at national events.

New members DSI

ABOVE: There were several Entomology & Nematology and DPM students (Natasha Agramonte, Mike Bentley, Eric Leveen, and Rebecca Zimler) inducted into the UF Chapter of the Delta Epsilon Iota Honor Society on April 16th.

Delta Epsilon Iota’s mission is to educate members about career development, encourage academic excellence, and promote the principles of Dedication, Enthusiasm, and Initiative in all aspects of campus life. Members are invited to join the Honor Society if they maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.30 on a 4.00 scale, have a minimum of 30 completed semester hours and have are in good academic standing at an accredited University.

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.

squash vine borer

ABOVE: Lyle found this moth flying around a squash plant in a vegetable garden in Gainesville. Home gardeners are familiar with its larva, the squash vine borer, whose tunneling can be very damaging to squash and pumpkin vines. Learn more about this pest by reading our Featured Creatures article.

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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Coy M, Stelinski LL. 2015. Great variability in the infection rate of ‘Candidatus’ Liberibacter asiaticus in field populations of Diaphorina citri (Hemiptera: Liviidae) in Florida. Florida Entomologist. 98: 356-357.

Cunan E, Powell THQ, Weis AE. 2015. Evidence for plant mediated competition between defoliating and gall-forming specialists attacking Solidago altissima. American Midland Naturalist. 173: 208-217.

Dickey AM, Kumar V, Hoddle MS, Funderburk JE, Morgan JK, Trease AJ, Shatters RG, Osborne LS, McKenzie CL. 2015. The Scirtothrips dorsalis species complex: endemism and invasion in a global pest. PLoS ONE. 10(4): e0123747.  doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0123747.

Gill HK, Garg H, Gill AK, Gillett-Kaufman JL, Nault BA. 2015. Onion thrips (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) biology, ecology, and management in onion production systems. Journal of Integrated Pest Management. 6(1): 6. DOI: 10.1093/jipm/pmv006.

Prior KM, Powell THQ, Joeseph A, Hellmann JJ. 2015. Insights from community ecology into the role of enemy release in causing invasion success: The importance of native enemy effects. Biological Invasions. 17: 1283-1297.

Thetford M, Gillett-Kaufman JL, Mulvaney MJ. 2015. Olives for your Florida landscape. University of Florida EDIS- Electronic Data Information Source. Extension Publication No. EP 515.  

Willett DS, Stelinski LL, Lapointe SL. 2015. Using response surface methods to explore and optimize mating disruption of the leafminer Phyllocnistis citrella (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. 3: 30. doi: 10.3389/fevo.2015.00030.

Meetings and Presentations

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2015 Southeast Pest Management Conference

We just had our  2015 Southeast Pest Management Conference, here at the University of Florida in Gainesville. This was the 20th edition of our favorite meeting. We had an impressive line-up of speakers all of whom were UF alunmi, and more specifically from the UF/IFAS Urban Entomology Lab! Videos of most presentations are available online. Scroll down to the SEPMC 2015 entry on the left menu.


ABOVE: On Saturday, April 11th over 500 people made their way through the Entomology and Nematology department to experience BugFest. This year marked the 6th annual anniversary for the event and for the first time, it was open to the public. The jungle themed occasion was intended to inform people about the importance of Entomology with hopes to ignite university and public interest.

This was the first year that informative talks from professors and students within our department were provided. The event also displayed our insect collections in the “Jungle Museum”, had activities like cricket spitting and cockroach racing, provided a photo-booth for guests to enjoy, allowed attendees to suit up for bee hive demonstrations, had representatives from each undergraduate specialization available for information about our majors, and even provided bug grub in the “Buggie Buffet” for folks to try. Thank you to everyone who donated their time to help make this year’s BugFest a great accomplishment. Also, a special thanks to HomeTeam Pest Defense and BugOut Services for their generous donations to make it all possible.

bark workshop attendees

ABOVE: On April 28th in Gainesville the Hulcr lab organized a bark and ambrosia beetle field sampling workshop for UF students and staff, and for specialists at the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS).

Participants learned:

  • where to find bark and ambrosia beetles (they are everywhere, just look in the right places!)
  • which tools are best for efficient and careful extraction from wood (everyone had a chance to test an electric chainsaw)
  • the “Paul Kendra method” – white sheet on the ground with a lure in the middle at dusk is a perfect method to collect a pile of crepuscular beetles
  • light trap: mercury vapor lamp attracts not only moths, but also scolytine beetles (they are just really tiny, ethanol sprinkled on the sheet helps)

Dr. James P. Cuda attended the Annual Symposium of the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council held in Melbourne, FL, April 8th to the 10th.  Cuda gave a presentation, which was co-authored by Dr. William Overholt, titled “Will biological control agents of Brazilian peppertree impact poisonwood?”  He also was a co-author on a student presentation titled, “Damage by Calophya latiforceps (Hemiptera: Calophyidae) results in reduction in photosynthesis, chlorophyll and growth of Brazilian peppertree.”

Dr. James P. Cuda organized a symposium on contributions of biological weed control to Everglades Restoration for the 2015 Greater Everglades Ecosystem Restoration Conference “Science in Support of Everglades Restoration” held in Coral Springs, FL, April 21st to the 23rd. Cuda moderated the session and gave a presentation titled “Recent advances in biological control of Brazilian peppertree, Schinus terebinthifolia.”  He also was a co-author on two other weed biological control presentations: tropical soda apple, Solanum viarum, and cogongrass, Imperata cylindrica.

An in-service training session organised by Dr. Catharine Mannion titled “Implementing biological control of ornamental pests” (IST 30969)”, was held at Mid-Florida REC in Apopka, FL. Dr. James P. Cuda contributed to this IST by providing the extension agents with CDs and links to two Image Galleries on predators and parasitoids  produced by the department.


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From the Outreach Coordinator

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

  • 3 April- Talbot Elementary ESE Pre-K- Erin Powell

  • 9 April- High Springs Elementary Kindergarten- Evan Waite and Erin Powell

  • 11 April- Gator Encounters- Dr. Rebecca Baldwin, Andre Szejner, Stefani Harrison, Teddy Cogley

  • 13 April- Romeo Elementary Afterschool- Erin Powell

  • 17 April- Queen of Peace Academy 1st grade- Erin Powell

  • 17 April- Archer Elementary Carnival- Johnalyn Gordon and Erin Powell

  • 25 April- Girl Scouts Troop- Dr. Jennifer Weeks, Evan Waite, Gabriella Steele, Andre Szejner, Jennifer Serviss, Erin Powell
  • 25 April- Girl Scouts Camp-In event. Museum of Discovery and Science in Ft. Lauderdale- Sarah Bernard and Lucas P. Carnohan

  • 28 April- Girls Excelling in Math and Science (GEMS) at the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium in West Palm Beach- Sarah Bernard

  • 29 April- Cornerstone Academy Pre-K/K department visit- Andre Szejner, Evan Waite, Erin Powell

Upcoming events:

  • 13 May- Newberry Elementary
  • 15 May- Alachua Elementary

  • 16 May- Sweet Dreams Touch-A-Truck

  • 19 May- Norton Elementary

  • 28 May- The Village

We have many upcoming events and need volunteers to make these possible! Please contact Erin if you are available to volunteer.

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, reports that she is so busy posting grants our update next month will include funds generated in April! Stay tuned to learn about external funding for all Entomology & Nematology faculty (in Gainesville and at RECs).

Dr. James P. Cuda was awarded a $3,360 grant from the Dean for Research office to support an undergraduate student in his lab as part of the 2015 Summer Research Internship Program.


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FES Honors and Awards 2015

The Florida Entomological Society Honors and Awards Committee are requesting nominations for 2015 in the following categories:

  • Entomologist of the year.
  • Annual Achievement Award for Research.
  • Annual Achievement Award for Extension.
  • Annual Achievement Award for Industry.
  • Annual Achievement Award for Teaching.
  • Annual Achievement Award for Regulatory Entomology.
  • Achievement Award for a Collaborative Research Team.

Winners will be announced at the 2015 Annual Meeting. Each nomination should be accompanied with a justification narrative that will be read at the awards luncheon. View previous winners.

Nomination deadline is July 1, 2015.

Nominations should be emailed to: Dr. Jawwad Qureshi
Chair, Honors and Awards Committee
University of Florida-IFAS-SWFREC
Phone: 239-658-3451

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.