March 2005

Faculty News

Dr. Jennifer L. Gillett recently joined IPM Florida in the Entomology and Nematology Department as our new Assistant IPM Coordinator. Jennifer is already a colleague, mentor or friend to many of you, since she has served as a technical assistant and molecular biologist at USDA-ARS CMAVE, an instructor in the Plant Pathology Department, and a part-time employee at IPM Florida. She earned her Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in Plant Pathology at the University of Florida. Her knowledge, talents and experience will enable IPM Florida to further balance our efforts among the IFAS units and better serve the Extension community. In previous positions, Jennifer has contributed significantly to the success of distance education in plant pathology and has received several awards, including the North American Colleges & Teachers of Agriculture Graduate Student Teaching Award of Merit, the UF Graduate School Graduate Student Teaching Award 2002-2003, and the CALS Jack L. Fry Graduate Teaching Award in 2003. Jennifer also served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Morocco where she worked in rural agricultural extension. She enjoys golf, gardening, cooking and mushroom hunting. Jennifer is very professional and personable, and already has become a valuable member of our team. Please welcome Jennifer as she assumes her new full time duties with us. - N. Leppla

Drs. Oscar Liburd and Eileen Buss were elected into Gamma Sigma Delta, the honor society of agriculture, based on their achievements and nominations by thoughtful colleagues.

Dr. Oscar Liburd was one of the 26 faculty selected by the IFAS Administrative Council to participate in a series of workshop entitled: Leadership Enhancement and Administrative Development (LEAD). The first workshop will be held 15-17 March in Haines City, Florida.

On 23-25 February, Dr. Rudi Scheffrahn, of the UF/IFAS Ft. Lauderdale REC, was invited to attend and speak at a workshop on "Decontamination, Cleanup, and Associated Issues for Sites Contaminated with Chemical, Biological, or Radiological Materials." The meeting, held in Washington DC, was sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security and the USEPA. Scheffrahn discussed his research on the efficacy of methyl bromide as a whole-structure decontaminant of bacterial spores, including Bacillus anthracis, the spore that causes anthrax.

Dr. Oscar Liburd's Fruit and Vegetable IPM Web site highlights his research, teaching and extension programs, and also provides profiles of his staff and students. See

Departmental Review

The department will experience a 10-year external review in February, 2006. Drs. Leppla and Tabachnick volunteered to co-chair the review process. We need additional volunteers to lead development of review material for each program area (IPM, Nematology, etc.) and department function (research, extension, teaching). The department will have a retreat to discuss our programs and plans for the future. Non-Gainesville faculty volunteers are needed to help with different aspects of the review and participate in the review process.

The key elements for development of each section are accomplishments, goals, strategies and constraints. Dr. Capinera is requesting nominations for the external review team members and suggestions for a protocol to include state faculty in this process. He also suggested that alumni be invited to talk to the review team about their experiences here. Groups that receive departmental services, such as trade associations and Florida government organizations (FDACS, etc.) might also wish to talk to the review team about their experiences with us.

Student News

Ph.D. student Rebecca Baldwin is the editor-in-chief of "Pest Press," a monthly School IPM newsletter for the Brevard County, Florida, IPM pilot program and future expansion project. The first issue became available last month. These newsletters can be downloaded as they are (PDF file) or pieces cut and pasted (from a DOC file) into school district newsletters. See the School IPM site at under "Latest Additions." Almost 36,000 copies of this type of file were downloaded form the School IPM Web site in 2004.

The State of Arizona recently authorized Rebecca Baldwin's Label Tutorial on Maxforce Bait for CEUs. Licensed pesticide applicators in that state can now use this computer-verified training tutorials, as well as a number of other UF/IFAS tutorials, to train themselves and their technicians.

Kathryn Barbara successfully defended her Ph.D. dissertation, entitled "Management of pest mole crickets using the insect parasitic nematode Steinernema scapterisci," on 24 February 2005.

Craig Roubos joined us in January as a new Ph.D. student in Dr. Liburd's lab. He plans to work on management of the blueberry gall midge in blueberries. Craig received his MS in entomology from Purdue University in December 2004.

Graduate student Seth Bybee, of Dr. Branham's Lab, won First Place in the "Microptics" macrophotography photo contest with his photo of damselfly wing venation taken under oblique illumination. This photograph will be included in Microptics 2006 calender. Microptics is a company that develops and distributes a "one shot" digital microphotography system. The contest was held on the WWW.

Graduate Research Assistant wanted: Ph.D. student with background or willingness to learn molecular genetic techniques toward the understanding of termite/nematode systematics and phylogeny. To begin summer/fall 2005. Contact Dr. Rudolf H. Scheffrahn ( or Dr. Robin Giblin-Davis ( Ft. Lauderdale Research and Education Center.

Graduate Research Symposium

The 5th Annual IFAS Graduate Research Symposium is scheduled for Friday, March 11, in the Reitz Union, 8:30 am to 2:00 pm. Each academic program (through its Graduate Coordinator) was asked to select two graduate students to each present a 15-minute oral presentation and three graduate students to present posters.

Oral presentations are 15 minutes in length and given during concurrent sessions in rooms 284, 285, 286, 287 of the Reitz Union at 9:00 and 10:20 am. Posters are available for viewing during the breaks and presented during the official poster session from 1:00-2:00 pm.

Students representing our department are: oral presenters - Barry Alto and Murugesan Rangasamy; poster presenters - Julie Cara Congdon, Jason Meyer, and Leslie Rios.

Staff News

Andy Koehler, who worked for Tom Fasulo the summer after his junior high school year (for free yet) and continuously (paid) since his graduation from high school, became a UF graduate student in January. Andy is a M.S. student in the Engineering College and chose Electrical Engineering as his major because, as he said, it requires the fewest courses in chemistry.

Alumni News

The State of Arizona also authorized Dr. Hanife Genc's Label Tutorial on Gentrol IGR for CEUs, developed while she was a student here. Dr. Genc now teaches at a university in Turkey. For more on these tutorials see the UF/IFAS Buggy Software Web site at

Road Trips!

Dr. James Maruniak went to Guatemala from February 26 to March 6 (Spring break week) taking 11 students from the University of Florida Society for Virological Studies. They went to the Center of Disease Control (CDC) where they heard presentations on Chagas, malaria, dengue, HIV, and other CDC programs in Guatemala and Central America. They saw insect vectors of Chagas, malaria and dengue. They also visited the Pan American Health Organization where they heard more about the diseases and the international approach to diagnosis and treatment of the diseases of Central America. They learned that many immigrants from Central America who go to Florida and other states have diseases that are atypical and initially not diagnosed properly by American physicians. They also went to CARE International (an NGO), where they learned about maternal- infant health issues including nutrition, diseases and income generation. This is Dr. Maruniak's third consecutive year traveling overseas with the Virology students to promote awareness of viral, bacterial and protozoal diseases and control measurements in Central America and the Caribbean region. Dr. Allen Burns, Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs, provided partial funding for the trip and welcomed Dr. Maruniak and the students upon their return at 11:30 pm, March 6. - A. Maruniak

In mid-February, Dr. Marc Branham and graduate students Gino Nearns, Jennifer Zaspel and Emily Heffernan spent a week in Cuba doing collections-based research and meeting Cuban entomologists. They traveled on a U.S. State Department License that allows UF staff and students to visit Cuba to conduct research.


Scharf ME, Ratliff CR, Scharf DW, Zhou X, Pittendrigh BR, Bennett GW. 2005. Effects of juvenile hormone III on Reticulitermes flavipes: changes in hemolymph protein composition and gene expression. Insect Biochemestry and Molecular Biology 35: 207-215.

Scharf ME, Scharf DW, Zhou X, Pittendrigh BR, Bennett GW. 2005. Gene expression profiles among immature and adult reproductive castes of the termite R. flavipes. Insect Molecular Biology 14: 31-44.

Dunford JC, Barbara KA. (March 2005). Tetrio sphinx, Pseudosphinx tetrio (Linnaeus). UF/IFAS Featured Creatures. EENY-344.

White JC, Liburd OE. 2005. Effects of soil moisture and temperature on reproduction and development of twospotted spider mite (Acari: Tetranychidae) in strawberries. Journal of Economic Entomology 98:154-158.


Graduate student Christian Salcedo received the following grants: a IFAS travel grant for $200, an Entomology Department travel grant for $200, and a Graduate Student Council travel grant for $250. This assistance will allow Salcedo to present a talk at the Meeting on Neotropical Lepidoptera, 17-22 April, in Campinas, Brasil.

Graduate student Murugesan Rangasamy received a Graduate Student Council travel grant for $250 and an IFAS travel grant for $200 to attend the SEB-ESA meeting at Tunica, Mississippi, 6-9 March. Rangasamy also received a Graduate Student Council research grant (under the Mentoring Opportunity Program) for $300 to do research electronic monitoring of southern chinch bug feeding behavior on St. Augustinegrass.

Dr. Oscar Liburd and graduate student Scott Weihman received a $7,500 grant from the Florida Grape Growers Association to continue evaluating reduced-risk tactics for controlling grape root borer in Florida vineyards.

Meeting and Presentations

Dr. Eileen Buss and graduate students Cara Congdon and Olga Kostromytska attended the 2005 National Turfgrass Entomologists' Meeting in Biloxi, Mississippi, on 20-21 February. Drs. Buss and David Held (Mississippi State University) co-organized the meeting and obtained a $20,000 grant from the USDA CSREES Southern Region Pest Management Center to reduce meeting costs. Attendees included university faculty, students, product manufacturers, and personnel from the USDA, IR-4, Golf Course Superintendents Association, and Golf Course Management Magazine. The purpose of the meeting was to identify research, teaching, and extension needs in turfgrass entomology in the United States and foster collaboration to meet those needs. - E. Buss

Our 'UFear Factor' Booth

"Courage is not the lack of fear but the ability to face it." - Lt. John B. Putnam, Jr. (1921-1944)

Booth visitors large and small faced their fear of creepy crawlies at the Florida State Fair in Tampa, 10-21 February. Volunteers from our department encouraged, informed and cajoled the crowds to great success: It's fair to say at least 5,000 conquered their entomophobia at our popular booth, in exchange for a colorful sticker that proclaimed "I touched a roach" - or scorpion or tarantula. The more faint of heart helped themselves to departmental giveaways such as EDIS publications, ruler/bookmarks, and four insect recipe cards known collectively as Entomology Digest.

Our celebrity creatures managed to survive their 12 days of fame. Indeed, it would appear the bugs have conquered their anthropophobia. And you'll no doubt be pleased to know the scorpion's stinger is growing back.

Esther Dunn, Jennifer Gillett, Sue Gruner, Heidi Hans-Petersen, Nick Hostettler, Norm Leppla, Richard Martyniak, Jane Medley and Gino Nearns helped plan and/or prep the exhibit. The following bug wranglers each kindly took a day to entertain and educate fairgoers: Eileen Buss, Lyle Buss, Seth Bybee, John Capinera, Marsha Capinera, Tracy Conklin, Cheryl Foltz, John Foltz, Jason Froeba, Nick Hostettler, Paul Kaiser, Kevin Kobylinski, Carol Leppla, Norm Leppla, Jee Cee Turner, Jane Medley, Levi Medley, Jason Meyer, Jennifer Meyer, Mike Miller, Corey Monteiro, Robyn Raban, Leslie Rios, Mike Sanford, Tom Sanford, Faith Oi, Susan Webb, and Frank Wessels. Props to all! - Jane Medley

Undergraduate Research

Faculty who wish to have an undergraduate in their lab for the fall semester to experience research, need to have their proposal to Dr. Carl Barfield, departmental undergraduate coordinator, no later than 1 April. He will try to match the student to the professor. The concept is to provide mentoring in research for these students.

Entomology Seminars

Graduate students Luis Matos, Sean McCann, Veronica Manrique and Murugesan Rangasamy are seminar coordinators. Seminars begin at 3:45 p.m. in room 1031, Entomology and Nematology (Bldg. 970). A listing of seminars is available in the January 2005 issue on the newsletter Web site at

The following seminars will be held in the McGuire Center Conference Room (12 noon-1:00 p.m). Lunch will be served.

Mar 15 - Emily Heffernan, " Expedition to Cuba (Cuba Part II)"

Mar 22 - Dr. Mirian Medina Hay-Roe, "Where Can Our Passion Take Us?," by Richard Vane-Wright

Apr 5 - Dr. Andrei Sourakov, "The Dominican Republic (Part I)"


The UF Faculty Senate requested that faculty vote on whether or not they wish the tenure process to be extended for a longer period of time, seven years as opposed to six. When faculty request tenure at six or seven years and are denied, they can be hired for an additional year and reapply at the end of that year. Tenured faculty were asked at the recent departmental faculty meeting to vote on a period of time recommended for requesting tenure (shorter period 6 years, or longer period (7 years). The tenured faculty voted overwhelmingly for the longer period. The result was forwarded to the Faculty Senate where the proposal will be discussed further.

Bug Quote

"Some men come by the name of genius in the same way as an insect comes by the name of centipede - not because it has a hundred feet, but because most people can't count above fourteen." - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg, German physics professor and scientist 1742-1799

Buggy Software

In 2004, the UF/IFAS Extension Bookstore sold 490 of Tom Fasulo's CD-ROMs, mostly the computer-verified training tutorials authorized for CEUs in four states and used for training in many more. Total monetary returns were $10,550. Seventy percent is returned to Tom and his cooperators to continue additional work in software development, hire OPS help and purchase computer equipment and hardware.

Featured Creatures

There are now 346 Featured Creatures publications online or undergoing review. During 2004, the Featured Creatures Web site recorded 1,389,090 distinct visitors and 2,796,086 page views. A distinct visitor is anyone who enters the site for any length of time, and who is only counted again if inactive (as in stepped out for lunch, took a nap at their desk, etc.) for 30 minutes. See

Newsletter Minutia

Thomas Fasulo is the newsletter editor. Send submissions to him at Issues are published the middle of each month. Submit items for an issue by the 7th of that month.

Printed copies are distributed only within Building 970. UF-Bugnews-l listserv subscribers receive notices when HTML and PDF copies are posted on the newsletter Web site at , which has instructions for subscribing and unsubscribing. Tom Fasulo coded this HTML version.

During the last twelve months, the newsletter Web site recorded 33,080 distinct visitors and 59,311 page views. The newsletter listserv has 225 subscribers.

March 2005.