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September 15th, 2015

scorpion with babies

ABOVE: Babies! The Outreach scorpion is a mom! Stop by her tank to check out the new additions to the Outreach Bug Zoo.


Faculty and Staff News

Welcome note from Dr. Siegfried

Some of you may have seen me wandering around the halls the last few weeks looking lost, but I think I can now find my way to just about everyone’s office and lab and most importantly, to the ENSO snacks. My wife Sidney and I are both very happy to be back in Gainesville amongst friends and family. Everyone has been extremely welcoming, and I am especially grateful to Dr. Heather McAuslane, Dr. John Capinera, Ms. Glinda Burnett, and all our staff for their guidance and advice during this transition. 

I am excited to finally be here permanently and am looking forward to meeting and getting to know the people that make this place a great environment to learn, to discover and to serve the citizens of Florida. I also recognize that our Department is much bigger than just the Gainesville campus and look forward to visiting the REC facilities and other affiliated agencies and organizations to meet people and become familiar with their programs. I want to continue the traditions that have made our Department a leader and start some new ones that will allow us to grow and be successful. My office door is always open so stop by to introduce yourself if we have yet to meet, or simply say hello whenever it is convenient.

~Dr. Blair Siegfried

Dr. Greg Nuessly has been named director of UF’s Everglades Research and Education Center. He has worked with the center for 26 years, and was the interim director for the past two years. He continues to be involved in graduate student activities, the ESA, and FES. Read more here.

Saturday, August 22nd, was National Honey Bee Day, and the mayor of Alachua read a proclamation declaring National Honey Bee Day for Alachua. Dr. Jamie Ellis taught local beekeepers at Santa Fe High School about honey bee biology. fun with bees

ABOVE: The future Local Florida Honey Queens and UF students, WinDi Sanchez and Johnalyn Gordon, had lunch with Susan Harris of the Gainesville Area Beekeeping Association. They then accompanied Susan to work bees at the Gainesville Organic Gardens. The three, along with Dr. Rebecca Baldwin (above right) pose at the North Central Florida Beekeepers Association sign on National Honey Bee Day in Alachua.

Dr. Philip Koehler, who has worked with UF/IFAS for 40 years, will be inducted into the Pest Management Professional Hall of Fame on October 19, 2015. The induction committee made their decision based on Dr. Koehler’s impressive research contributions and student mentoring skills.

Dr. Jennifer Gillett-Kaufman was awarded the Florida Association of County Agriculture Agents State Extension Specialist of the Year Award. She received the award in on September 1st at the Extension Professionals Associations of Florida annual meeting in Naples, Florida.

Dr. Jonathan Day and fellow UF entomology professors are preparing for the possibility of a West Nile virus outbreak. By examining mosquito and chicken blood samples, they can determine the risk potential. The peak season for the virus ends next month, and Dr. Day and his colleagues have determined there will not be an epidemic here this year. Read more here.

The documentary film Brilliant Darkness – Hotaru in the Night, about the fireflies of Japan and the United States as well as the necessity to preserve their nocturnal signaling environments, was recently The Staff Pick at the 2015 Wild and Scenic Film Festival in Nevada City, CA. Dr. Marc Branham and Dr. James Lloyd were featured in the 2013 film directed by Emily Driscoll of BonSi Films.

Since its release, the film has had screenings in Australia, the Czech Republic, South Korea, and Switzerland, as well as numerous screenings in both the United States and Japan. The film has received numerous other awards including a J-Wave Award for Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia 2015 and was selected as a finalist at the New York WILD Film Festival 2015.

Student and Alumni News

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Craig Bateman, an ENY graduate student, and Dr. Jiri Hulcr, Assistant Professor in Forest Entomology, were awarded 1st place in the Long Publication category of the Florida Association of Natural Resource Extension Professionals awards. The award was for an EDIS publication, "A guide to Florida’s common bark and ambrosia beetles," that helps various users understand the diversity of bark and ambrosia beetles, and identify the most important and most common species.

Alumni news: The ESA announced the selection of its 2015 Honorary Members of the Society and our Dr. Jacqueline Y. Miller was chosen. Only five members are chosen, based on at least 20 years of active involvement in the ESA. Dr. Miller currently curates Lepidoptera at the McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity; teaches in the UF entomology and nematology and biology departments; and serves on the Local Arrangements Committee for the 2016 International Congress of Entomology. Read more here.

NATL Light Trap

The Entomology and Nematology Student Organization (ENSO) has donated equipment (mercury vapor light bulb, string, sheets, extension cord, etc.) for use with the light trap setup in NATL. All equipment is in a plastic bin in the front office and can be checked out from Nancy along with the key for the power outlet next to the setup.
Students or classes interested in checking out the equipment or the key need to contact the NATL committee for permission to use the light trap. Please contact Dr. Emma Weeks or Morgan Byron for details.

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.

bed bug

ABOVE: Everyone has heard in the news about bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) getting more common. Recently Lyle received a sample of the tropical bed bug, Cimex hemipterus, from a home in Brevard County, Florida. Its appearance is similar to the common bed bug, but its pronotum is a slightly different shape. As its name implies, it is found in tropical areas of the world where it may be the dominant species found around people. It is known to occur in Florida, but is rarely collected. 

Lyle Buss is the UF/IFAS 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 lab manager Dr. Tesfa Mengistu.


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Cabrera AR, Almanza MT, Cutler GC, Fischer DL, Hinarejos S, Lewis G, Nigro D, Olmstead A, Overmyer J, Potter DA, Raine NE, Stanley-Stahr C, Thompson H, van der Steen J. 2015. Initial recommendations for higher-tier risk assessment protocols for bumble bees, Bombus spp. (Hymenoptera: Apidae). Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management (online early). DOI: 10.1002/ieam.1765.

Lopez L, Smith HA, Hoy MA, Bloomquist JR. 2015. Acute toxicity and sublethal effects of fenpyroximate to Amblyseius swirskii (Acari: Phytoseiidae). Journal of Economic Entomology. 108: 1047-1053.

New on Featured Creatures:

a mosquito, Psorophora ferox (Humboldt). Authors: Chris Holderman and C. Roxanne Connelly, Entomology and Nematology Department, University of Florida

blue morpho butterfly, Morpho peleides Kolla. Authors: Haleigh A. Ray, Entomology and Nematology Department, University of Florida, Jacqueline Y. Miller, McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity, University of Florida

pillbug, Armadillidium vulgare (Latreille). Authors: Julie A. Franklin, Morgan A. Byron, and , Entomology and Nematology Department, University of Florida

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

Meetings and Presentations

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Are you a researcher or a student interested in bark and ambrosia beetles? Are you an extension agent, government insect identifier, or a forest manager? Do you need to know more about bark and ambrosia beetle identification, ecology, or damage?

The Forest Entomology Lab at the University of Florida is pleased to invite you to the second Bark & Ambrosia Beetle Academy. This comprehensive and fun workshop on the most intriguing forest pests will be held in Gainesville, FL, on May 2-6, 2016.

Learn from international experts through hands-on labs, field demonstration, lectures, and socializing. Choose one or both modules: Applied and Academic. Sign up soon! Last year all 30 seats were taken in a few weeks.

Dr. Christine W. Miller presented an invited symposium talk at the Behaviour 2015 conference in Cairns, Australia in August on the topic of reproductive interference in squash bugs.


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From the Outreach Coordinator

A big thank you to the students and faculty who volunteered at our July and August outreach events.
July/August Outreach:

  • 7 July- CROP tour of department- Dr. Baldwin
  • 16 July- Hawthorne Library- Paul Joseph and Casey Parker
  • 16 July- CPET teacher training- Dr. Baldwin and Dr. Koehler
  • 27 July- Junior Chinese student department tour- Erin Powell, Oliver Keller, Johnalyn Gordon, Megan Bernier
  • 13 August- United Church of Gainesville Summer Program- Ashley Egelie and Erin Powell
  • 20 August- Master Gardener training

Upcoming events:

  • 18 September- Micah Homeschool tours
  • 19 September- Butterfly Fest
  • 26 September- Bug Zoo at TailGator

2015 InStar Wars Bug Camp
From June 22nd to the 26th, thirty-four 10 to 15-year-old students joined us in the department for a week long summer camp filled with insects. Many of the children who attended live around Gainesville, but we had families travel from New York, Tennessee, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

Throughout the week, the kids day-collected in NATL and the Santa Fe River, night collected at Austin-Cary forest, built cell-phone microscopes, visited the Apiary, experienced entomophagy, curated a collection, listened to guest lectures, and completed all of the activities in the Level III 4-H Entomology workbook, earning them a medal and certificate of completion. At the end of camp, the children had the option of taking home their very own pet tarantula spiderling. Our Bug Camp was featured on the front page of the Alligator and the news made it all the way into southwest Florida newspapers! It was a great success and we’re looking forward to next year’s bug camp. See the photo album from camp!

campers at bug camp

ABOVE: 2015 InStar Wars Bug Camp held from June 22nd to the 26th was a great success.

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 our grant reporting system is changing! She will report on external funding for all Entomology & Nematology faculty (in Gainesville and at RECs) in the newsletter next month!

Ms. Lorena Lopez (Liburd Lab) was awarded a $10,121 grant from the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SSARE) and its Graduate Student Grants program to support her Ph.D. project titled Sustainable management strategies for management of key insect and nematode pests in squash cropping systems. 

Dr. Oscar Liburd was awarded a $126,456 grant from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) and its Specialty Crop Block Grant program to support his IPM studies in cucurbits production.


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New Seminar Series

There have been some important changes! Hopefully the new schedule will make it easier for everyone to attend.
-          The seminars are now on Friday!
-          Each seminar starts at 10:30, and usually ends between 11:15 and 11:30.
-          Afterward we have time and space for more questions for the speaker and for socializing! Please stay, enjoy the snacks, and catch up with colleagues.

Heather Erskine is the new student seminar coordinator. Matt Moore is also donating his time and effort whenever needed. They help with advertisements, coordinating the student pizza lunches and snacks, and doing many other things behind the scenes that we may not see, but that assure our seminars are smooth and enjoyable.

This semester we have a lineup of spectacular speakers:
9/18 - Jennifer Gillett-Kaufman (UF, our own expert on African agriculture)
9/25 - Rajee Rajakumar (UF, the cutting edge of developmental biology)
10/2 - Spencer Behmer (Texas A&M University, insect physiology and nutrition)
10/9 - Bill Cooper (NSF officer and a butterfly enthusiast)
10/16 - Al Wysocki (IFAS-CALS, Associate Dean: distance education)

New Pest Alert from DPI

The taro planthopper, Tarophagus colocasiae (Matsumura), a new delphacid planthopper in Florida

By Dr. Susan E. Halbert, Susan.Halbert@FreshFromFlorida.com, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Plant Industry and Dr. Charles R. Bartlett, University of Delaware.

Courtesy Faculty News

Dr. John B. Heppner, curator of the McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity is in Vietnam again this August and September on his 10th Vietnam expedition, mainly for moths. He already has numerous new species and new records for Vietnam. We now have ~ 80,000 Vietnamese Lepidoptera specimens at the McGuire Center from his expeditions, and maybe 500,000 or more various other insects from Vietnam (and Cambodia) in alcohol deposited at FSCA/DPI, although many of the beetles have been processed and pinned already by Mike Thomas.

Dr. Robert K. Vander Meer won The USDA-Agricultural Research Service, Senior Scientist of the Year award for the Southeast Area. ARS recognized all of the award winners at the ARS Annual Awards Ceremony at the ARS Headquarters in Beltsville, MD, September 15, 2015.

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 Shari Linn and Nancy Sanders, who reviewed the newsletter for errors, and to Jane Medley and Don Wasik, who built the web page design.