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March 20th, 2020

Our Florida State Fair display is an outreach project done every year. More news on the State Fair under the Outreach section!

ABOVE: Our Florida State Fair display is an outreach project done every year. More news on the State Fair under the Outreach section!

Faculty and Staff News

A note from Dr. Siegfried

It was only last week that we were actively planning for summer meetings and departmental events, and I had written something for the newsletter to help promote some of these activities. But things have changed dramatically in a very short time as has my message for this newsletter. In light of the recent events related to the corona virus, I want to assure everyone that we remain committed to serving the needs of our students and stakeholders and to continue the critical ongoing research that is addressing the needs of agriculture, natural resources and basic science. It has been a trying time for all us given the recent travel restrictions, recommendations to work from home and social distancing. However, I have been gratified by the understanding and commitment of our department to make things work as best we can. We are fortunate to have technology that permits us to continue to exchange information, to teach our classes and to maintain our research programs. While the physical space of our building is much quieter than it was last week, we are still working hard to process grants, to answer questions, and to keep our plants, insects, and nematodes alive so that our research programs can continue.

As we continue to deal with an ever-changing set of recommendations and guidelines, we are doing our best to maintain essential activities with as few disruptions as possible. However, it is impossible to ignore the severity of this crisis and we should adhere to the general recommendations of social distancing, handwashing and all the other important actions that will help us remain safe and minimize the disease spread. Essential activities should continue, but take precautions and use temporal isolation so that these activities occur with limited personal interactions. Hold meetings using Zoom and work from home as much as possible.

For what it’s worth, I recommend that we take this opportunity to catch our collective breath, to enjoy the opportunity to work from home and to catch up on all those things we have been putting off for the more urgent and pressing issues that occupy our days. It is my sincere hope that we will continue to serve our students and the needs of our state, but I know there will be challenges and I urge your patience and understanding over the next weeks and months. For now, there is nothing more urgent than staying safe and in good health. Please feel free to contact me if you have questions, consult the UF and IFAS COVID-19 websites https://ifas.ufl.edu/covid19-updates and http://www.ufl.edu/health-updates for updates, and stay in touch with and supportive of each other, even if we have to do it from a distance.

~Dr. Blair Siegfried

Dr. Nan-Yao Su and Dr. Thomas Chouvenc attended the 13th Pacific Rim Termite Research Group meeting on February 12th to the 13th in Taipei, Taiwan. The meeting was organized by UF alumni Dr. Hou-Feng Li, now professor at the National Chung Hsing University, Taichung. Dr. Su gave the opening keynote speech and Dr. Chouvenc gave one of the three Kunio Tsunoda memorial lectures. Graduate Student Sang-Bin Lee, from the FLREC, also attended the meeting. After the meeting Dr. Chouvenc took the opportunity to visit Dr. Li’s laboratory and field station to discuss about collaborative research on urban termite pests.

ABOVE: Dr. Thomas Chouvenc and Dr. Hou-Feng Li, re-united again at the PRTRG13 in Taiwan on February 13th. The two shared an office as graduate students at the UF/IFAS FLREC (2004–2009)

Dr. Bryony Bonning gave the 2020 Karl Maramorosch lecture at Rutgers University department of Entomology, on Peptide-mediated protection of the honey bee against virus infection.

ABOVE: The student Linnaean team played faculty in a match on February 27th. Faculty won 100-60. From left to right, Jason Williams, Keiran Hyte, Dillan Tussey, Jessica Awad, Balwinder Kaur, Dr. Phil Koehler, Dr. Anthony Auletta, Dr. Amanda Hodges, Dr. Rebecca Baldwin, and Dr. Blair Siegfried.

Dr. Andrei Sourakov, Collections Coordinator for the McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity at the Florida Museum of Natural History, led a group of 28 people to see the Monarch Migration in Mexico. This was the fourth tour that he has led. The next trip will be in February 2021.

Dr. Andrei Sourakov was a guest on “In Defense of Plants” podcast talking about bella moth biology and his research. Listen to the podcast Ep. 251 - A Florida Moth Keeping Invasive Species in Check.

Student and Alumni News

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ABOVE: Morgan Pinkerton won the Kirby L. Hays Memorial Award for 2020. Casey Parker, Ph.D. student working with Dr. Roxanne Connelly and Dr. Blair Siegfried, has been selected as the Southeastern Branch ESA winner of the John Henry Comstock Award for 2020. Congratulations Morgan and Casey!

Octavio Menocal, Ph.D. student working with Dr. Daniel Carrillo, at the UF/IFAS/Tropical Research and Education Center was the recipient of the 2020 William H. Krome Memorial Fellowship for his work titled “Effect of canopy management on ambrosia beetle abundance in avocado orchards.” This fellowship is given to students working on problems related to the tropical fruit crop industry in Miami-Dade County. Congratulations Octavio!

ABOVE: Dr. Elijah Talamas (FDACS-DPI) led a stink bug egg parasitoid identification workshop at Steinmetz Hall on March 3rd to the 4th. The workshop was attended by students, faculty, and technicians from around the U.S., and was facilitated by Dr. Amanda Hodges. Dr. Lorena Lopez, a post-doc in the Liburd lab, and Jessica Awad, a master's student in the Hodges lab, were among the attendees.

Two undergraduates from the Miller Lab headed south to Florida Gulf Coast University on February 21st to present their research at the annual Florida Undergraduate Research Conference. Emily Angelis presented on the impacts of autotomy on mating behavior whilst Kayli Sieber presented a poster titled “Social feeding and its impacts on mouthpart development."

Entomology students and faculty participated in the "Girls Do Science" event at the Florida Museum of Natural History on February 15th. Sarah Steele Cabrera, Ana Paula Carvalho, and Jessica Awad worked at the McGuire Center booth, and the UF Entomology booth was staffed by Rachel Atchison, Dr. Andrea Lucky, VR Seagal, Marielle de Mores Berto, and Purity Muthomi.

ABOVE: (Left to Right) VR Seagal, Purity Muthomi, Marielle de Mores Berto, Dr. Andrea Lucky, and Rachel Atchison at the "Girls Do Science" event at the Florida Museum of Natural History on February 15th.

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.

Lyle commonly finds this leaf gall in early spring in Gainesville. It forms on bluff oak, Quercus austrina, which you often see planted in parking lots. These galls form quickly on brand new leaves, and adult wasps are already enclosing in March and April. The galls may deform some of the leaves and cause aesthetic damage, but really are just a minor pest. Dr. Miles Zhang, a postdoc in Dr. Lucky’s lab, identified the gall makers as a Neuroterus sp., possibly N. quercusirregularis (family Cynipidae).

Bot fly adults aren’t seen too often, but Caitlin Taylor caught this female horse bot fly, Gasterophilus intestinalis, near her horses.  The fly lays her eggs on the lower front legs of a horse.  The 1st instars are ingested and burrow into tissues of the mouth.  The 2nd and 3rd instars develop in the horse’s stomach.  After being passed out in the feces, the mature larvae pupate in the soil.  Check out the Featured Creatures article on this fascinating insect at  http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/livestock/horse_bot_fly.htm
ABOVE: Gall on bluff oak, Quercus austrina. Gall wasps, Neuroterus sp.

If you need insect images for a publication or presentation for your UF/IFAS Extension or teaching work, you can go to this direct link, pictures are copyrighted material and intended for official UF use only. Log onto the website using your Gatorlink credentials.

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 the lab manager Dr. Billy Crow.


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Canton PE, Bonning BC. 2020. Transcription and activity of digestive enzymes of Nezara viridula maintained on different plant diets. Frontiers in Physiology – Invertebrate Physiology 10: 1553. doi:10.3389/fphys.2019.01553.

Chouvenc, T. 2020. Limited survival strategy in starving subterranean termite colonies. Insectes Sociaux 67: 71-82.

Conover D, Dubeux J, Martini X. 2019. Phenology, distribution, and diversity of dung beetles (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) in north Florida’s pastures and forests. Environmental Entomology. 48: 847-855.

Florio J, Verú L, Dao A, Yaro AS, Diallo M, Sanogo ZL, Samaké D, Huestis DL, Yossi O, Talamas E, Chomorro L, Frank JH, Biondi M, Morkel C, Bartlett C, Linton YM, Strobach E , Chapman JW, Reynolds DR, Faiman R, Krajacich BJ, Smith CS, Lehmann T. 2020. Massive windborne migration of Sahelian insects: Diversity, seasonality, altitude, and direction. bioRxiv preprint. doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.02.28.960195.

Guo Y, Goodman CL, Stanley D, Bonning BC. 2020. Cell lines for honeybee virus research. Viruses 12 pii: E236. doi: 10.3390/v12020236.

Johnston N, Martini X. 2020. The influence of visual and olfactory cues in host selection for Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius) in the presence or absence of tomato. Insects 11: 115.

Keller O, Schnepp KE, Ashman KL, Turnbow RH, Skelley PE. 2020. An annotated catalogue of the type material of Adephaga and Myxophaga (Coleoptera) deposited in the Florida State Collection of Arthropods in Gainesville, FL, USA. Zootaxa 4744: 1-118. https://doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.4744.1.1.

Martini X, Sobel L, Conover D, Mafra-Neto A, Smith J. 2020. Verbenone reduces landing of the redbay ambrosia beetle, vector of the laurel wilt pathogen, on live standing redbay trees. Agricultural and Forest Entomology 22: 83-91.

Rivera M, Martini X, Conover D, Mafra-Neto A, Stelinski LL. 2020. Evaluation of semiochemical based push-pull strategy for population suppression of ambrosia beetle pathogen vectors in avocado. Scientific Reports 10: 1-12.

New on Featured Creatures:

Citrus rust mite, Phyllocoptruta oleivora (Ashmead). Authors: Emily Demard and Jawwad A. Qureshi.

Foliar nematode, Aphelenchoides spp. Authors: Lindsay Wheeler and William T. Crow.

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

Meetings and Presentations

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The University of Florida’s 36th School of Structural Fumigation was held at the Ft. Lauderdale R.E.C. on February 24th to the 28th. The semiannual "Fume School" provides classroom, laboratory, and field training for pest control professionals who wish to supervise or conduct fumigations of buildings and goods against various pest infestations. Since its inception, the Fume School has been attended by 1,549 students. This remains the only school of its kind in the world. This latest class included 49 students from Florida, Maryland, Texas, New York, Indiana, North Carolina, Jamaica, and Trinidad & Tobago. The school prepared students to take the Florida State certification exams in fumigation. Dr. Thomas Chouvenc, Dr. Rudolf Scheffrahn, Dr. Bill Kern, and Renny Perez coordinated the school which brings expert instruction from manufacturers (Bayer, Douglas, Ensystex), suppliers (Cardinal, Univar), fumigators (Captain Termite, Emory Brantley & Sons), regulators (Florida Department of Agriculture and consumer services), Florida Department of Transportation, USDA, and Certified Pest Control Operators of Florida.

Dr. Lawrence Reeves gives presentation to audience at Cypress and Grove

ABOVE: The University of Florida’s 36th School of Structural Fumigation class photo on February 27th.

Eleanor Phillips, M.S. student, was invited to give a talk on Advanced Insect ID and Control Techniques on February 29th, at the Hernando County Extension event titled “Homeowner Vegetable Gardening 201- Beyond The Basics”. The meeting had 27 attendees.

The 20th Annual Advanced Mosquito Identification and Certification Course was held at the Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory March 2nd to the 13th. The course is taught by Dr. Nathan Burkett-Cadena and Dr. Derrick Mathias. Kristin Sloyer, Dr. George O'Meara, and Mr. Jason Stuck assisted in the course. Students this year have come from Ecuador, Barbados, the US Virgin Islands, New Mexico, Texas, Iowa, and numerous locations in Florida.

ABOVE: Dr. Nathan Burkett-Cadena (lower left), Dr. Derrick Mathias (lower right). Kristin Sloyer (Teaching Assistant, upper right) Dr. George O'Meara (past instructor, lower row yellow shirt) and Mr. Jason Stuck (lower row, third from right) stand with their Advanced Mosquito Identification and Certification Course students.


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From the Outreach Coordinator

February Outreach Events:

February 6th to the 17th- FLORIDA STATE FAIR! Dr. Desaeger Lab, Dr. Wong Lab, Dr. Crow Lab, Dr. Stelinski Lab, Dr. Hahn Lab, Dr. Porazinska Lab, Dr. Dale Lab, Dr. Kaufman Lab, Dr. Dickson Lab, Dr. Rebecca Baldwin, Keiran Hyte, Rebeca Sandoval, Diana Liu, Tarolyn Plumley, Purity Muthomi, Lindsay Wheeler, Jason Williams, Genhsy Monzon, Vilheim Piwowarek, Daniel Min, Jessica Awad, and Clayton Bania.

February 21st to the 22nd : IDIGITRIO presentation and table event- Dr. Rebecca Baldwin, Clayton Bania, and Brett Lebella.

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 —Clayton Bania, 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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Dr. Xavier Martini, from the North Florida Research and Education Center, was awarded a $311,118 Research & Education Southern SARE grant titled “Enhancing hedgerow systems in fruit tree production to improve beneficial insect diversity and abundance”. Co-PI’s include department faculty Dr. Lauren Diepenbrock and Dr. Rachel Mallinger.

Dr. Martini was awarded a $60,000 grant from the Citrus Research Board to work on cold adaptation of the Asian citrus psyllid.

Nicholas Johnston, working with Dr. Martini, was awarded a $9,500 Southern SARE Graduate Student Grant to study chemical and cultural strategies to control whiteflies in vegetables.

Want grant writing tips? Check out the UF Libraries Grants Management Program!


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Registration for the 5th annual LepCamp at the Florida Museum started March 1st for museum members; for non-members, it will start on March 15th. https://www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/mcguire/outreach/lepcamp/

Registration for the Termite Course for Professionals is open https://conference.ifas.ufl.edu/termitepro/

Want to stay up to date? Check out our website home page for a link to our Google calendar.

About this Newsletter

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Suzy Rodriguez is the newsletter editor and does the HTML coding. Issues usually are published by mid-month. Submit items for an issue by the seventh 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 Eleanor Phillips and Nancy Sanders, and who reviewed the newsletter for errors, and to Jane Medley and Don Wasik, who built the web page design.

Give Back
Want to support the UF Entomology & Nematology Department? Consider making an online gift today! Questions can be directed to Christy Chiarelli at (352) 392-1975 or ccw@ufl.edu.