May 2022-Entomology and Nematology News
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May 2022

ABOVE: Coptotermes formosanus, the Formosan subterranean termite (Photo: Thomas Chouvenc)

Formosan subterranean termite (Coptotermes formosanus) colonies contain millions of individual termites that can forage for food up to 300 ft deep into the soil.


Dr. Eduardo Calixto is on the left side with a huge smile and on the left is Jasleen Kaur, also with a huge smile, pointing at the screen of the feeze dryer that separtes both herself and Eduardo.

Jasleen Kaur and Dr. Eduardo Calixto, from Dr. Phil Hahn’s lab, resuscitated the Labconoco freeze dryer in the shared equipment room.

The UF Honey Bee Research and Extension Laboratory (HBREL) accepted submissions in response to the 2022 American Beekeeping Federation Foundation 4-H competition call for entries. The 2022 Essay Topic was “Transportation: Minimizing Stress on Bees While Getting Them Where They Need to Be.” Ella Morey, a 13-year-old 8th grader from Martin County submitted her essay, which is now in review at the national level. Congratulations, and good luck Ella! For yearly information about the 4-H Essay Contests, sign up for the UF HBREL listserv by visiting

Student News

Left to right: Yuexun Tian, Octavio Menocal, and Emilie Demard.

Congratulations to some of our Spring graduates, Yuexun Tian, Octavio Menocal, and Emilie Demard. Our new entomologists attended the doctoral university-wide commencement and led the parade for the CALS team!

Rowda Altamimi from Dr. Xavier Martini's lab successfully completed a master's degree and will join Ben McGraw lab at Penn State for her PhD.

Left to right: Brett Labella, Dr. Anthony Auletta, Dr. Rebecca Baldwin, and Jordyn Ranfone.Left to right, Brett Labella, Dr. Antony Auletta, Dr. Rebecca Baldwin, Jordyn Ranfone.

Brett Labella, an Entomology undergraduate student, was awarded the CALS Alumni and Friends Leadership awards for his leadership, scholastic achievement, and citizenship in agricultural science. Another Entomology undergraduate, Jordyn Ranfone, was recognized as a CALS top 10 senior.

Connor Goodwin, a CALS Honors student employed at the Florida Museum of Natural History won the UF Best Paper Award in STEM's 23rd Annual Undergraduate Research competition. His paper was entitled: Black Soldier Fly Larva (Hermetia illucens) Frass vs. Red Wiggler (Eisenia fetida) Castings on (Capsicum annum) “Early Jalapeno” Seedling Growth. His research is mentored by Dr. Mirian M. Hay-Roe, alumna of the Entomology and Nematology Department, and Research Associate of the McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity, Florida Museum of Natural History.

Make It Count

UF Entomology and Nematology is launching Make It Count, a mentorship program for students in the department. The program is a student led initiative designed for REC and Gainesville campus students. Our mission is to build professional networks amongst students and to support students navigating early careers in entomology.

We are currently recruiting 2nd year master's and 3rd to 5th year PhD students to mentor undergraduates and first-year graduate students in the department. We are seeking people who are interested in gaining mentorship experience or are already mentoring/supervising other students but looking for a way to formalize that experience.

Mentors will have the opportunity to build their professional networks and gain mentorship experience that is valuable in both academic and industrial job markets. Each year, our program will highlight outstanding mentors with an annual award given to recognize excellence and commitment in mentorship.

If you are interested in joining Make It Count as a mentor, please visit our website at to sign-up. If you have questions, reach out to our program chair, Sarah Anderson Weaver to learn more about the program.

New Publications

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  • Kosinski KJ, Lee Y, Romero-Weaver AL, Chen T-Y, Collier TC, Wang X, Mathias DK, Buckner EA. 2022. Two Novel SNPs in Voltage-Gated Sodium Channel Gene Identified in Aedes Aegypti Mosquitoes from Florida. Journal of Florida Mosquito Control Associations 69: 21-28.
  • Palmer JB, Hahn PG, Metcalf EC, Maron JL. 2022. Seed Size of co-occurring Forb Species Predicts Rates of Predispersal Seed Loss from Insects. Ecosphere 13:e4032.
  • Antolinez CA, Martini X, Stelinski LL, Rivera MJ. 2022. Wind Speed and Direction Drive Assisted Dispersal of Asian Citrus Psyllid. Environmental Entomology 51: 305-312.
  • Pérez-Ramos DW, Ramos MM, Payne KC, Giordano BV, Caragata EP. 2022. Collection Time, Location, and Mosquito Species have Distinct Impacts on the Mosquito Microbiota. Frontiers in Tropical Diseases 3 :896289.
  • Yoo In-Seong, Frank JH, Jung Jong-Kuen, Ahn Kee-Jeong. 2022. Integrative Taxonomy of Coastal Cafius bistriatus (Erichson) Species Complex (Coleoptera, Staphylinidae). ZooKeys 1100: 57-70.
  • Frank JH. 2022. Weevil Research: Where it has Been and Where it Must Go. A report to FCBS, February 26, 2022. Florida Council of Bromeliad Societies Newsletter 42(2): 7-13.
  • Calixto ES, Hahn PG. 2022. Plant-Herbivorous Insect Interactions in Forest Ecosystems: Overview and Perspectives to Mitigate Losses. In: Kumar M, Dhyani S, Kalra N (eds), Forest Dynamics and Conservation. Springer, Singapore.
  • Martini X, Malfa K, Stockton D, Rivera MJ. 2022. Cold Acclimation Increases Asian Citrus Psyllid Diaphorina Citri (Hemiptera: Liviidae) Survival During Exposure to Freezing Temperatures. Insect Science 29: 531-538.
  • Alomar A, Alto BW. 2022. Temperature-Mediated Effects on Mayaro Virus Vector Competency of Florida Aedes aegypti Mosquito Vectors. Viruses 14: 880.
  • Lee SB, Chouvenc T, Mizumoto N, Mullins A, Su NY. 2022. Age-based Spatial Distribution of Workers is Resilient to Worker loss in a Subterranean Termite. Scientific Reports 12: e7837.

New on Featured Creatures:

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.

 Adult female Southern black widow, Latrodectus mactans (Fabricius). The red Hour glass is clearly seen in it's abdomen.ABOVE: Adult female Southern black widow spider, Latrodectus mactans (fabricius). photograph by James L. Castner.

Black widow spiders, Latrodectus mactans, are known for their potentially dangerous bite. Equipped with potent venom and strong silk webbing, the black widow is a formidable predator that preys upon red imported fire ants and harvester ants. Interestingly, when harvester ants are preyed upon by the black widow spider, their foraging habits decrease, which reduces the population of the colony.

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

Entomology & Nematology Education and Outreach

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Left to right: Ellen Humbel, Kayla Stalcup, and Laurel Lietzenmayer

Dr. Taylor Lab's students, Ellen Humbel, Kayla Stalcup, and Laurel Lietzenmayer show off the lab’s collection of spider paraphernalia while kids watch peacock spider videos to inspire their own colorful creations.

The Taylor Lab has been on the road with their traveling exhibit of 3D printed, hand-painted spiders, live spiders, and coloring activities for kids! They were featured at First Magnitude's Pints and Predators, as well as a jumping-spider-themed Museum in the Parks Event with the Florida Museum of Natural History and WCJB-TV. They've also partnered with Creekside Environmental Education for Kids, CrEEK, to spread the love of spiders to 4th graders at the Little Orange Creek Nature Center in Hawthorne. Next up is Nature Day at the Little Orange Creek Nature Center on May 7th!

Beauty in Natural History and Science Art Show hosted by the Florida Museum Student Association. Photo by Aditi Jayarajan

Amely Bauer, passing a large roach to a childAmely Bauer displaying and sharing a cockroach.

Faculty and graduate students from the Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory (FMEL) participated in the Indian River County STEAM Fest, an event that gives K-12th graders an opportunity to explore science, technology, engineering, art, and math. FMEL was given a booth that allowed K-12th grade students to examine insects and make models of insects using colorful pipe cleaners.

List of participants:

  • Dr. Derrick Mathias
  • Dr. Lindsay Campbell
  • Dr. Yoosook Lee
  • Yuexun Tian
  • Xiaodi Wang
  • Kristin Sloyer
  • Yasmin Tavares
  • Amely Bauer
  • Theodore Black
  • Abdullah Allomar
  • Sangwoo Seok
  • Dr. Chelsea Smart with a disposable face mask presenting mosquito biology, wearing a blue pople with UF/IFAs logo.Dr. Chelsea Smartt presenting information on mosquito biology.

    FMEL's graduate students, staff, and three faculty provided hands-on experience in mosquito biology to third and fourth grade students at the Gifford Youth Achievement Center (GYAC), Vero Beach, FL. GYAC is based in Gifford, which has a 42% black population compared to the 16% Florida state average and they have been serving mostly black students in the Gifford community since 1998. This organization provides quality programs for children of all ages intended to help them develop self-esteem, build character, and encourage them to fulfill their potential. Dr. Chelsea Smartt haas been involved with this hands-on event for K-12 students at GYAC for the last ten years. This year, additional faculty and students happily joined Dr. Smartt.

    List of participants:

  • Dr. Chelsea Smartt
  • Dr. Yoosook Lee
  • Dr. Eric Caragata
  • Daniel Perez-Ramos
  • Valerie Nguyen
  • Natalie Kendziorski
  • Sara Ortiz
  • Left to right: Aswaj Punnath and Cole IcenhowerLeft to right: Aswaj Punnath and Cole Icenhower

    Dr. Lucky’s Lab hosted Invasive Ant Boot Camp this year from May 9th-11th. Participants enjoyed field trips, lab work, and lectures about invasive ants as well as how to prevent and manage them. Join us next year when the course will be offered here in Gainesville May 10th-12th, 2023!

    Dr. Barry Alto gave a talk at the 5th International Workshop on Aedes albopictus in Montpellier, France, on May 11-13, 2022.

    The SE Pest Management Conference was held on May 2-5, 2022, at the Physics Building on campus.

    The Southeast Pest Management Conference was held on May 2nd-5th, 2022, at the Physics Building on campus. The Conference was attended by about 300 urban pest management professionals. This was the first on-site meeting since 2019 and the theme this year was “We’re Back”. The Lawn and Ornamental part of the program was organized by Dr. Adam Dale and Erin Harlow (Horticulture Extension Agent, Columbia County). The meeting featured former students currently working in urban pest management.

    In the photo, from left to right are:

  • Dr. Phil Koehler, Emeritus Professor of Entomology, UF
  • Dr. Nancy Hinkle, Professor of Entomology, UGA
  • Dr. Karen Vail, Professor of Entomology, UTenn
  • Dr. Richard Kramer, pest management consultant
  • Dr. Dini Miller, Professor of Entomology, VaTech
  • Also, on the program were:

  • Tommy Powell, Technical Service, MGK
  • Cory Goeltzenleuchter, Technical Director, McCall Service
  • Dr. Ben Hottel, Technical Service, Rollins Inc
  • Don Foster, Technical Service, Terminix
  • Kristen Stevens, Technical Service Cooks Pest Control
  • Also featured in the program were UF faculty:

  • Dr. Mike Scharf
  • Dr. Thomas Chouvenc
  • Dr. Roberto Pereira
  • Dr. Lindsay Campbell, Dr. Lary Reeves, Dr. Nathan Burkett-Cadena, and Dr. Matthew Thomas spoke at the 4th Annual Collaborations in Biodiversity Research Symposium held in the Reitz Union on May 2nd, 2022. Dr. Campbell and Dr. Reeves spoke as Biodiversity Institute and Jumpstart Awardees. Dr. Burkett-Cadena spoke during the Invasion Science Session (mini-symposium). Dr. Matthew Thomas, an Entomology and Nematology incoming faculty member, and UF/ IFAS Professor and Director of the Nascent Invasion Science Center was keynote speaker of the Invasion Science Session. Dr. Dan Hahn was Session moderator.


    Bug Club: Entomology Education and Outreach News

    Remember the Entomology and Nematology Education and Outreach Program is available and will accommodate with both virtual presentations and in person presentations!

    Recent Outreach Events:

  • April 23rd – Wildflower and Wishes Trinity: Dr. Amanda Hodges brought live butterflies, the arthropod petting zoo, and all sorts of cool things for the event geared towards disabled youth.

  • April 29nd - 30th – BioBlitz, Learning Gate School (Lutz, FL): Dr. Lawrence Reeves, Cleveland Ivey, Allison Dehnel, Shiala Morales, and Jennifer Standley were insect ID specialists for this collecting and cataloguing of species event. Located on a 30-acre property, Dr. Reeves taught the participants all about mosquitoes for the night collecting and showed how he identifies what they feed on by examining their bloodmeals.

  • May 5th – Suwannee CARES, Live Oak: Alexandor McMillon and Jennifer Standley were celebrating with farmers for their environmental stewardship within the area and shared the arthropod petting zoo and their love on entomology with a tabled booth; over 500 families and community members attended.

  • May 9th – High Springs Elementary: Jennifer Standley gave a virtual presentation to four kindergarten classes reaching about 80 students. Hopefully, she instilled the love of insects with them; they really enjoyed the roaches!
  • Future Outreach Events. VOLUNTEERS NEEDED:

  • June 20th-24th – UF Bug Camp: The “MythBUGsters” theme will be a week-long event on campus for youth between the ages of 10 and 18. Campers will learn all about arthropods with ghostly names, meet a “Scientist of the Day,” and get started on an insect collection they can submit at the Florida 4-H Insectathon. If entomology students wish to volunteer as camp leaders, please speak with Dr. Baldwin to receive a Bug Camp Volunteer Guide and register for mandatory youth conference training.

  • June 28th – Branford Library, Branford, FL: A few volunteers are needed to teach a summer youth reading group about entomology and the department.
  • Entomology on the Go –

    What’s better than a live show and tell with some really cool arthropods?! Our live petting zoo consists of tarantulas, scorpions, vinegaroons, bess beetles, Madagascar hissing cockroaches, and native insects, when in season. With a short training program, they are available for you to check out should you be leading an outreach event, even if it is virtual. The critters are always popular with both youth and adults and are used as a tool to expose the public to STEM disciplines. We have large wood and Plexiglas cages for viewing our native orb weaving spiders. There is one travel cage and one larger static cage. We also have activity kits and lesson plans that are available as well. Please be sure to contact us and review the protocol on transportation and handling of the animals. If you lead an outreach event, be sure to fill out a documentation form so your event can be included in the newsletter and we can log all outreach events. Also note that volunteering to assist with outreach events will count as departmental service for ENSO travel grants. (Please note that some venues require background checks or additional screening.)

    If you have any questions or would like to volunteer, please email us.


    Jennifer Standley, Outreach Coordinator

    Outreach Information

    BioBlitz at Learning Gate School. The insect ID specialists from left to right: Shiala Morales, Allison Dehnel, Cleveland Ivey, Jennifer Standley, and Dr. Lawrence Reeves.

    BioBlitz, Learning Gate School. All the participants getting ready to go collecting!

    Suwannee Cares Event had over 500 attendees. From left to right is Alexandor McMillon, the Friendly Beaver, and Jennifer Standley.


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    • Dr. Yoosook Lee received a grant for $40,000 from the Southern Integrated Pest Management Center for her ongoing IPM Working Group: "Mosquito BEACONS - Biodiversity Enhancement and Control of Non-native Species."

    • Dr. Phil Hahn was awarded a Research Collaborative Network grant from the National Science Foundation as a co-PI with collaborators from Michigan State University (PI: Will Wetzel), Virginia Tech (co-PI: Susan Whitehead), and Florida State University (co-PIs: Brian Inouye and Nora Underwood). The award of $555,281 will allow the investigators to launch the Herbivory Variability Network (“HerbVar”), which will bring together biologists from across fields and career stages with the common goal of understanding the causes and consequences of interaction variability. For more information on HerbVar, including how to become a member, please visit their website:

    • Dr. Bryony Bonning received a grant for $240,971 in April from Genective S.A. The research agreement with Genective is the topic of Mechanisms for plant-based control of insect pests.

    • Dr. Bryony Bonning received a supplemental award for $48,000 from NSF Phase II IUCRC at the University of Florida: Center for Arthropod Management Technologies.

    • Dr. Xavier Martini and Dr. Carey Minteer received a $74,286 grant from the USDA - Forest Service Int the Biological Control of Invasive Forest Pests program. Title: Improving the Biological Control of the Invasive Forest Pest, Air Potato, Through Development of Lures.

    • Dr. Dorota Porazinska received a grant for $98,926 for the NSF Collaborative Research: Role of Nutrient Limitation and Viral Interactions on Antarctic Microbial Community Assembly: A Cryoconite Microcosm Study.

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


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    The International Termite Course will take place on June 23-30, 2022 in Ft Lauderdale.

    Summer Bee College will be held in the Florida Panhandle August 12-13, 2022.

    Dear students, staff, post-docs, and faculty members, 

    As many of you prepare applications to pursue the next steps in your careers or apply for recognition of your academic achievements, you will be tasked with writing a compelling and convincing diversity statement. Just like strong research or teaching statements, diversity statements should be well-crafted to communicate your experiences, approaches, and plans in an accessible and appropriate manner.

    The Entomology and Nematology Department Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee is willing to provide critical feedback on draft diversity statements for any interested department members. We ask that you please reach out to us at least three weeks in advance of submission and send us a polished, complete draft. Within two weeks of receiving your draft, two or three committee members will review the document and provide feedback on how it can be improved. 

    Some resources that may help you craft your diversity statement are listed below:

  • American Entomologist article by Dr. Margarita Lopez-Uribe
  • University of California system guide
  • Brown University 
  • Best regards,

    ENY DEI Committee

    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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    Randy Fernandez is the newsletter editor and does the HTML coding. Newsletters usually are published around mid-month. Submit items for an issue by the seventh of the month.

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    Special thanks to James Brown, & Pam Howell for reviewing the newsletter for errors, and to Jane Medley and Don Wasik for webpage build and design.

    Give Back
    Want to support the UF Entomology & Nematology Department? Consider making an online gift today! Questions can be directed to Cody Helmer at (352) 392-1975 or