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September 2012

Gators in Greece

ABOVE: Casey Parker, entomology undergraduate student, interviewing American Farm School students about their experiences. The students were harvesting chickpeas in a field in Thessaloniki, Greece.

Faculty News

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Dr. Eileen Buss was interviewed for a television feature on tropical sod webworms. The story was broadcast on August 17th.  

At this year’s International Congress of Entomology (Aug 19-25) meeting held in Daegu, Korea, two faculty members of SWFREC/IFAS attended. Dr. Phil Stansly gave an invited talk for a symposium entitled: Recent Issues on Exotic Insects Traveling Through the Continents, “Asian Citrus Psyllid and Huanglongbing in the New World: Impact and Management”, and Dr. Jawwad Qureshi gave an invited talk for a symposium entitled: Fruit Tree IPM, “Biologically Based Management of Asian Citrus Psyllid (ACP) Diaphorina citri to Reduce Spread of Huanglongbing in Florida”. Dr. Qureshi also received a travel grant from ICI to attend the Congress.

Faculty at the GC REC will be offering a Vegetable Pest, Disease and Nutrient Workshop on October 2nd.  The workshop will be taught by Drs. Gary Vallad, Hugh Smith and Bielinski Santos. 

Dr. James P. Cuda hosted two visitors from Nepal on 23 August. Dr. Ram Rabu Paneru is a senior scientist from the Nepal Agricultural Research Council (NARC) and Dr. Yagya Prasad Giri is the Director of Crops and Horticulture Research for the NARC. The two visiting scientists were interested in developing collaborative research programs with UF.

Dr. James P. Cuda hosted Dr. João Vicente Neto who visited UF’s campus on 13 August. Dr. Neto is Dean for Extension of the Federal Institute for Education, Science, and Technology for the State of Mato Grosso, Brazil. The purpose of Dr. Neto’s visit to UF was to sign a Reciprocal Exchange agreement with the university to promote academic exchanges of students and postdocs as part of Brazil’s Science without Border Program. 

Dr. James P. Cuda was selected by the FAES to succeed Dr. Howard Frank as the Florida representative to the S-1034 Regional Project on Biological Control of Arthropod Pests and Weeds. Dr. Frank retired from the Department in June.  

Student News

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Awards and Scholarships

Anthony Riggio received the Orange County Farm Bureau Scholarship for the 2012-2013 academic year.

Paula Cohen received the Coca-Cola Scholarship for the 2012-2013 academic year.

Christopher Lewis received the Kenneth R. and Waynell Tefertiller Scholarship for the 2012-2013 academic year.

Sabrina White received the Orange County Farm Bureau Scholarship for the 2012-2013 academic year.

Nicholas Sekora, 2nd Place in the Best Student Paper competition at the 2012 Society of Nematologists meeting in Savannah, GA.

Billy and Nick

ABOVE: Award winner Nicholas Sekora (right), with the Society of Nematologists Honors and Awards Committee Chairman Dr. Billy Crow (left).

Dawn Calibeo, Ph.D. candidate working under the direction of Dr. Faith Oi, is the recipient of the 2012 Shripat Kamble Urban Entomology Graduate Student Award for Innovative Research. The award will be presented at the ESA Annual Meeting in Knoxville, TN in November.

Dawn Calibeo, Ph.D. candidate working under the direction of Dr. Faith Oi, was invited to present CEU training at the Florida Pest Management Association Region 16 Meeting on August 22. The two-hour class was entitled, "Management of the Caribbean Crazy Ant in Florida."

Ms. Alissa Berro, a Ph.D. student in Dr. James P. Cuda’s program, travelled to Santa Catarina, Brazil, 12-21 August. The purpose of the overseas trip was to collect samples of the Brazilian peppertree leaflet galling psyllid Calophya terebinthifolii for her dissertation research.

Dr. James P. Cuda is hosting two students in his laboratory during the Fall Semester. Mr. Eutychus Kariuki, a Ph.D. student from FAMU, is enrolled in a special topics course (ENY 6932) that will focus on mass rearing the hydrilla miner Cricotopus lebetis. Ms. Nga Vuong is an undergraduate student enrolled in a problems course (ENY 4905) that involves rearing the hydrilla miner and also the Brazilian peppertree stem-boring weevil Apocnemidopnorus pipitzi.

Lab News

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UF Researcher helps coffee farmers in Hawaii

Luis Aristizabal, a biological scientists based at the Mid-Florida Research and Education Center in Apopka, helped train Hawaiian coffee farmers to combat the coffee berry borer, the latest pest to arrive at their shores.


Before coming to UF, Luis spent 11 years at the National Coffee Research Center (Cenicaé) in Colombia working on the Integrated Pest Management of coffee berry borer and on participatory research with coffee growers.  Luis has published more than 30 articles on this topic in both Spanish and English.

The workshop ran from August 24-25 in Kona Hongwanji, Kealakekua.

Dr. Christine Miller presented a talk at the CALS Teaching Enhancement Symposium together with three members of her lab – Dr. Jennifer Hamel (postdoctoral researcher), Wendy Helmey-Hartman (Ph.D. candidate), and Katherine Holmes (undergraduate). They presented on a course they taught together in spring 2012 to bring research to the undergraduate classroom. The 25 undergraduate students in the class collected publishable data on insect morphometrics and actively engaged in weekly classroom discussions on the nature of science and how science fits within our society. Surveys and focus groups showed that students showed strong learning gains, improved critical thinking skills, and reported a much improved understanding of science.  

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 Buss, the Insect ID Lab manager, reported that the most interesting sample of the month was a moth sample from The Villages.  Small green caterpillars were feeding on the new foliage of privet (Ligustrum japonicum).  He reared out several adults that he tentatively identified as Palpita quadristigmalis.  He then gave samples to Jim Hayden at DPI, who identified them as Palpita persimilis, a new continental record!  After searching through the collection (FSCA), Jim realized this species has actually been in Florida since at least 1980 but was misidentified as one of Florida’s native species that are externally nearly identical.  If you see caterpillars on Ligustrum, please let Lyle know!

Think it might be a nematode problem? The Nematode Assay Laboratory serves Florida and other states by providing nematode assay 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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New on Featured Creatures:

Black-tailed mosquito, Culiseta melanura. By Eva Buckner, Angelique Showman, and C. Roxanne Connelly, University of Florida

Cactus moth, Cactoblastis cactorum. By D.H. Habeck (retired), F.D. Bennett (retired), and Christine Miller, University of Florida.

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

Meetings and Presentations

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2012 Society of Nematologists (SON) meeting in Savannah, GA.

The annual SON meeting this year was well represented by the UF Entomology and Nematology Department. 

Attendees from the Gainesville campus were: Dr. Tesfa Mengistu, Dr. Don Dickson, Dr. Bob McSorley, Dr. Billy Crow, Dr. Eric Luc, Nicholas Sekora, David Sekora, Richard Baidoo, Sudarshan Aryal, and Silvia Vao. 

From the RECs, Dr. Robin Giblin-Davis (Ft. Lauderdale REC), Dr. Raquel Campos-Herrera and Ekta Pathak (Citrus REC) attended.

2012 Society of Nematologists UF Invited Papers

  • Crow WT.  Prepare yourself for a job you love.
  • Dickson DW.  The root-knot nematode race concept: Has it worked in Florida agriculture?

2012 Society of Nematologists UF Contributed Papers

  • Campos Herrera R, El-Borai FE, Duncan LW.  Manipulating soil food webs in a Florida organic citrus orchard to enhance biocontrol by entomopathogenic nematodes.
  • Luc JE, Crow WT.  Efficacy of Multiguard Protect at increasing soil depths in turfgrass.
  • Crow WT.  Efficacy of MCW-2 as a nematicide for turf.
  • Pathak E, Campos-Herrera R, El-Borai FE, Stuart RJ, Graham JH, Duncan LW.  Environmental factors affecting community structure of nematophagus fungi and their prey in Florida citrus groves. 
  • Zhao ZQ, Davies KA, Brenton-Rule EC, Grangier J, Gruber MAM, Giblin-Davis RM, Lester PJ.  New Diploscapter sp. (Rhabditida: Diploscapteridae) from the native ant, Prolasius advenus, in New Zealand.
  • Giblin-Davis RM, Roda AL.  Real time internet invasive pest insect and/or nematode identification.
  • McSorley R.  An overview of organic amendment use for management of nematodes on Florida vegetable crops.
  • Sekora NS, Crow WT, Makete T.  A knife in the dark: Meloidogyne spp. of Florida’s golf courses.

2012 Society of Nematologists UF Contributed Posters
  • Baidoo R, Mengistu TM, Brito JA, Crow WT.  Molecular diagnostics of root-knot nematodes on Pittosporum tobira in Florida.
  • Aryal SA, Crow WT, McSorley R, Giblin-Davis RM, Kenworthy KE.  Establishment of tolerant bermudagrass germplasm in a field infested with Belonolaimus longicaudatus.
  • Mendes ML, Dickson DW.  A technique to evaluate the efficacy of chemical compounds on plant nematodes.
  • Kanzaki N, Tanaka R, Giblin-Davis RM, Ragsdale EJ, Nguyen CN, Li H-F, Lan Y-C.  A preliminary survey of fig-associated nematodes in the Asian subtropics.
  • Han H, Brito JA, Dickson DW.  Differentiation of Meloidogyne floridensis from  other root-knot nematodes using mtDNA-RFLP.
  • Sekora D, Huffaker A, Crow WT, Kaplan F, Alborn HT, Mekete T. The effect of transgenic endogenous defense elicitors in Arabidopsis on root-knot nematodes (Meloidogyne spp.).

Dr. James P. Cuda participated in the 2012 Extension Professionals Association of Florida, Professional Improvement Meeting held in Lake Buena Vista, FL,  27- 30 August. Cuda was a co-author on an oral presentation titled “Implementing an Educational Campaign: New IPM Strategies for Hydrilla Management. The presentation was co-authored by Dr. Joan Bradshaw, Ken Gioeli (presenter) and Dr. Jennifer Gillett-Kaufman.  


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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.
 UF Miami-Dade Extension Whiteflies Workshop

Over 70 participants attended a workshop presented by Dr. Catherine Mannion, Dr. Lance Osborne and UF Miami-Dade Extension faculty Ms. Vanessa Campoverde. They discussed several topics, including- identification of the current whiteflies species affecting Miami-Dade ornamental plants; chemical management; resistance due to wrong identification; and the UF new online tool- The UF/IFAS Extension Whitefly Website.

Dr. James P. Cuda participated in the 2012  UF/IFAS CEU Day held via polycom on 21 August. This 1-day training session, which included 39 locations statewide, focused on invasive plant management and was co-presented by nine state extension specialists. Cuda gave a presentation titled “Integrating biological control and herbicides.”

There has been one departmental outreach so far in September.  It was held on September 10 and consisted of 21 kids (ages ranging from 4 to 13) and several adults.  The kids experienced an insect scavenger hunt in the natural area, close encounters with the critters, and a departmental tour.  Thanks go to Dale Halbritter and Lary Reeves for taking the kids on the scavenger hunt and to Dr. Ellis’s lab (Jeanette Klopchin and Ashley Mortensen), Dr. Kaufman’s lab (Chris Holderman), and Dr. Capinera’s lab (Stephen McLean) for their excellent lab tours.

There are several outreach events that are in the process of being finalized for October so I will be looking for volunteers.  Also, Ocali Country Days is a big event that occurs from November 6 to 11.  I will need at least two volunteers for each of those days.

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 so that we can log all outreach events.

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. I look forward to working with all of you over the next four years.

Stephanie Stocks, Outreach Coordinator 
- Office number  352-273-3958


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Dr. James P. Cuda was a co-recipient of a $37,950 research grant awarded by the FWC Invasive Plant Management Program. The funds will be used to conduct surveys in East Africa for potential biological control agents of cogongrass, Imperata cylindrica.


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Spread the word

Assistant Professor of Medical Entomology position now available in the Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, at the University of Florida. The position and description are posted online.

Trivia Time

Do you know the entomological significance of this vehicle?  

Do you know the entomological significance of this vehicle

This photo was taken by Dr. John Capinera at the Owls Head Transportation Museum in Owls Head Village, Maine. Be sure to read the October newsletter for the answer!

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 would 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 Dr. Verena Lietze and Nancy Sanders who reviewed the newsletter for errors and to Jane Medley who built the web page.