home about

February 14th, 2014

Lovebugs Lyle and Eileen

ABOVE: Lyle Buss and his wife Eileen Buss recreate a traditional marriage proposal with an ox beetle, from Eileen's personal collection, in a cinch bug rearing room at her lab Wednesday, February 12, 2014. Happy Valentine's Day!

Photo by: Doug Finger/The Gainesville Sun

Faculty and Staff News

New(ish) Faculty

Welcome to Dr. Nathan D. Burkett-Cadena. Dr. Burkett-Cadena received his M.S. (2005) and Ph.D. (2010) from Auburn University, Department of Entomology and Nematology, focusing on ecology of vectors of West Nile virus and Eastern equine encephalitis in the southeastern United States. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of South Florida (2013), developing novel surveillance tools for the transmission of Onchocerca volvulus (river blindness) in Africa and Mexico.

Dr. Burkett-Cadena joined the faculty at the Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory (Entomology and Nematology Department) of University of Florida in October of 2013. His new book, Mosquitoes of the Southeastern United States (University of Alabama Press), was released in March 2013.

Welcome Visiting Scholars

The Kaufman and Bloomquist labs welcome Dr. Jeff Scott from Cornell University. Dr. Scott's research interests include insecticide resistance, evolutionary biology, insect genetics and the insecticide target site determination. Dr. Scott will be visiting our department during his sabbatical until May 2014.

The Kaufman lab welcomes Dr. Chunxiao (Tracey) Li, an Associate Professor at the Beijing Institute of Microbiology and Epidemiology, as a visiting scientist. Dr. Li will be working in the Kaufman lab until September 2014. Her research interests are in the management of Aedes albopictus and in characterizing the mechanisms of insecticide resistance in mosquitoes.

Dr. Larry Duncan and Dr. Jennifer Gillett-Kaufman are the new members of the Entomology and Nematology Graduate Committee, replacing outgoing members Dr. Billy Crow and Dr. Catharine Mannion. Please take time to thank Dr. Crow and Dr. Mannion for their service to the department.

Dr. James P. Cuda participated in the "Writing Successful Grants" workshop held at the Straughn Extension Center, December 9th, 2013. The one-day workshop was sponsored by the UF Office of Research.

Dr. James P. Cuda participated in a UF online Canvas training workshop held at the HUB, December 10th, 2013.  The focus of the workshop was to help faculty teaching online courses gain familiarity with the new Canvas teaching platform.   

Dr. James P. Cuda attended the UF Biodiversity Initiative Discussion held at Emerson Hall, January 14th, 2014. 

Student and Alumni News

return to top

Congratulations to Eva Buckner! Ph.D. student Eva Buckner was an award recipient in the student paper competition at the 2014 American Mosquito Control Association annual meeting. The award is associated with a $750 prize. Title of presentation: "Effects of larval temperature and nutrition on dengue-1 virus vertical transmission by Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes." Eva is co-chaired by Dr. Phil Lounibos and Dr. Barry Alto.

Yao (Juliana) Xu, a Ph.D. student in the Buss lab, presented a poster at the Keystone Symposium:

Xu Y, Buss EA, Boucias DG. 2014. Investigations on the gut symbiont in Blissus insularis. Keystone Symposia Conference: Mechanisms and Consequences of Invertebrate-Microbe Interactions. Tahoe City, CA.

Hydrilla IPM Program at the Florida State Fair

ABOVE: Ms. Julie Baniszewski, an undergraduate student working with Dr. Emma Weeks and Dr. Jim Cuda, helped deliver information on the Hydrilla IPM program at the Florida State Fair.

Ms. Julie Baniszewski, presented a poster at the 18th Annual Southwest Florida CISMA (Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area) Invasive Species Workshop on January 23rd in  Fort Myers, FL. The title of her poster was "Hydrilla biocontrol agent, the hydrilla midge tip miner" with co-authors Emma N.I. Weeks, and Jim P. Cuda. About 250 workshop participants viewed the poster.

Congratulations to Our Students on the Dean’s List!

Listed below are 12 students who are in our program and who made the CALS Dean’s List for Fall 2013. Overall, over 800 of CALS students made the fall Dean’s List.

Congratulations to our students: Deanna Bott, James Fleming, Keith Gerber, Abigail Griffin, Stefani Harrison, Zachary Kaplan, Christopher Konowal, Christopher Lewis, Casey Parker, Samuel Pass, Anthony Riggio, and Sigal Szejner.

From the DPM Blog: DPM Program Booth at CALS Career Expo!

For the second consecutive year, the DPM Program hosted a booth at the University of Florida CALS Career Expo in the Reitz Union on February 5th, 2014.

The event was a success due to the volunteer work of the following DPM students: Rebecca Barocco, Carla Burkle, Nicole Casuso, Lisbeth Espinoza, Tamika Garrick, Eric LeVeen, Tatiana Sanchez, and Kayla Thomason.

A special thanks to DPM student Carla Burkle for coordinating the booth. Also, thanks and appreciation to Entomology and Nematology Program Assistant Ruth Brumbaugh for attending the event. Ruth provided information to graduate students regarding M.S./Ph.D. options in the Entomology and Nematology Department and cross-promoted the DPM program.

DPM students had the opportunity to meet Dr. Clay Pederson, DPM Alumnus 2008 during the CALS Career Expo.  Dr. Pederson is currently the farm manager at Black Gold Farms in Live Oak, Florida.  Connect with Dr. Pederson professionally via LinkedIn. Post by Dr. Amanda Hodges.

      For more DPM updates, visit the Doctor of Plant Medicine blog!

Lab News

return to top

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.

One of the January samples was from a silver date palm, Phoenix sylvestris.  The sample contained some very large cocoons and an adult of the palmetto weevil, which is a common pest of various palms in Florida.  It also contained a few silky cane weevils.  Besides palms, silky cane weevils attack bananas and sugarcane. They don’t usually kill palms, but their feeding damage can attract palmetto weevils, which generally prefer damaged or dying palms rather than healthy ones.  

Palm weevils

ABOVE: Silky cane weevils (right) are rather large, up to about 14 mm long, but they are still dwarfed by the palmetto weevil (left).

Lyle Buss is the 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.

The Nematode Assay Lab is now back up and running following our closure due to construction. We have processed all of the samples received and stored during January and late December, and we can now process new samples as soon as they come in to the lab. As always, feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns.

For more information on the Nematode Assay Laboratory, please contact the lab manager Dr. Tesfa Mengistu.


return to top

Addesso KM, Short KA, Moore AJ, Miller CW. 2014. Context-dependent female male preferences in leaf-footed cactus bugs. Behaviour 151: 479-492.

Avery PB, Kumar V, Xiao Y, Powell CA, McKenzie CL, Osborne LS. 2014. Selecting an ornamental pepper banker plant for Amblyseius swirskii in floriculture crops. Arthropod-Plant Interactions 8: 49-56. DOI:10.1007/s11829-013-9283-y

Crow WT.  2013.  Relative susceptibility of turfgrasses to nematodes.  Clippings, Winter 2013: 4.

Gillett-Kaufman JL. 2014. Find the information you need on the UF/IFAS Featured Creatures website. Pest Pro Magazine, February: 14-18.

Miller CW, Somjee U. 2014. Male-male competition. In Oxford Bibliographies in Evolutionary Biology. Ed. Jonathan Losos. New York: Oxford University Press.

Powell THQ, Forbes AA, Hood GR, Feder JL. 2014. Ecological adaptation and reproductive isolation in sympatry: genetic and phenotypic evidence for native host races of Rhagoletis pomonella. Molecular Ecology 23: 688-704.

Rhodes EM, Benda ND, Liburd OE. 2014. Field distribution of Dasineura oxycoccana (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae) adults, larvae, pupae and parasitoids and evaluation of monitoring trap designs in Florida. Journal of Economic Entomology 107: 310-318.

Smith JJ, Powell THQ, Teixeira L, Armstrong WO, McClowry RJ, Isaacs R, Hood GR, Feder JL, Gut L. 2014. Genetic structure of cherry fruit fly (Rhagoletis cingulata) populations across managed, unmanaged, and natural habitats. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 150: 157-165.

New on Featured Creatures:

Hydrilla leafcutter moth, Parapoynx diminutalis Snellen. Authors: Julie Baniszewski, Emma N. I. Weeks, and James P. Cuda, University of Florida.

Corn wireworm, Melanotus communis Gyllenhal. Authors: Harsimran K. Gill; Gurminder Chahil, Dalhousie University, NS, Canada; Gaurav Goyal, Jennifer L. Gillett-Kaufman, and Ronald Cherry, University of Florida.

Erythrina leafminer, Leucoptera erythrinella Busck. Author: Andrei Sourakov, University of Florida, Florida Museum of Natural History.

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

Meetings and Presentations

return to top

Dr. Verena Lietze gave an invited presentation at the 18th Annual Southwest Florida CISMA (Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area) Invasive Species Workshop on January 23rd in Fort Myers, FL. The title of her presentation was "Integrating biocontrol agents into hydrilla management plans in Florida" with co-authors Joan P. Bradshaw, James P. Cuda, Jennifer L. Gillett-Kaufman, Ken Gioeli, Raymond L. Hix, Verena-Ulrike Lietze, William A. Overholt, Judy F. Shearer, and Emma N.I. Weeks. About 250 workshop participants attended the presentation.

Dr. Christine Miller gave an invited talk at the 36th annual Winter Animal Behavior Conference in Steamboat Springs, CO on January 19th. The title of her talk was "Bringing authentic research into the classroom."

Dr. Billy Crow spoke to the Everglades Golf Course Superintendents in Ft. Myers about nematode management on golf courses on January 9th, 2014.

Dr. Billy Crow spoke about nematode management in Florida landscapes at regional seminars of the Florida turfgrass association in Plantation (January 28th), Lake Worth (January 29th), and Ft. Pierce (January 30th).

Dr. Emma N.I. Weeks attended the 80th Annual Meeting of the American Mosquito Control Association held in Seattle, WA, 2-6 February. Dr. Weeks gave an oral presentation titled "Evaluation of methionine, an essential amino acid, as a mosquito larvicide," which was co-authored by Sandra A. Allan, Julie Baniszewski, Alissa Marie Berro, Bruce R. Stevens and James P. Cuda.

Dr. James P. Cuda was invited to present a poster at the 29th Annual Everglades Coalition Conference held in Naples, FL, 9-11 January. The poster, which was titled "Gall-forming psyllids (Hemiptera: Calophyidae): new biological control agents for Brazilian peppertree?”, was co-authored by Drs. Rodrigo Diaz, Veronica Manrique, Marcelo Vitorino, William Overholt, and Ms. Alissa Berro and Ms. Patricia Prade. 

Dr. James P. Cuda was invited by Florida Industrial and Phosphate Research Institute, Bartow, Florida, to give a presentation on his Brazilian peppertree biological control project to the Board of Directors, 31 January.  The purpose of the presentation titled, "Update: screening of a new candidate biocontrol agent of Brazilian peppertree, Schinus terebinthifolia," was to obtain the Board’s approval to continue funding the project.  

Dr. James P. Cuda was an invited speaker for Tropilunch on February 4th. Tropilunch, a weekly seminar run by graduate students from the UF Tropical Conservation and Development (TCD) Program, provides a forum for a range of discussions and presentations related to TCD work and research.  Dr. Cuda’s presentation was titled, "Screening of New Candidate Biological Control Agents for Brazilian Peppertree."


return to top

From the Outreach Coordinator

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.

Come check out Insect Encounters from February 6th to the 17th at the Agriculture Hall of Fame at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa.

Bugology booth at the Florida State Fair

ABOVE: Our exhibit is Bugology: Fact or Fiction where entomology volunteers will bust myths about arthropods and host an arthropod petting zoo.

The exhibit also has an area where research labs will rotate each day to promote research happening at the University of Florida Entomology and Nematology Department. A poster at the site contains QR codes with which visitors can quickly visit the lab websites for more information.

Over the course of the event, nearly 70,000 people including more than 1000 school children will see the exhibit . Other exhibitors at Insect Encounters include the USDA CMAVE, USDA APHIS PPQ, FDACS DPI and FDACS Apiary. 

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.

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

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.


return to top

Virni Mattson, our grants specialist, reports that from January 1st to January 31st, 2014, we have had 6 new grants or contracts awarded (and one reduction) for a total of $356,155.89 in external funding for all Entomology & Nematology faculty (in Gainesville and at RECs).

Dr. James P. Cuda was awarded a research grant in the amount of $64,320 by the FIPR Institute Board of Directors for the period March 5, 2014, through March 4, 2015. The grant will fund the 2nd year of the project titled "Screening of a new candidate biological control agent of Brazilian peppertree." 


return to top

From the Doctor of Plant Medicine Blog

Please share this post by Dr. Amanda Hodges: The University of Florida’s Doctor of Plant Medicine (DPM) program is currently accepting applications for Fall Semester 2014 and Spring Semester 2015 First Year Assistantships. The DPM program is a professional doctorate degree for plant health practitioners. DPM students receive comprehensive training within the core discipline areas of entomology, agronomy, nematology, plant pathology, horticulture, and soil science.

To be considered for the DPM Program First Year Assistantship, the following qualifications are preferred:

1. M.S. degree from one of the DPM discipline departments,

2. A strong letter of interest related to the DPM program, and

3. Letters of recommendation indicating the applicant’s interest in the DPM program.

DPM-specific application questions can be directed to Program Assistant Elena Alyanaya or Program Director Dr. Amanda Hodges.

For full consideration, please submit your application prior to April 1, 2014.

For more DPM updates visit the Doctor of Plant Medicine Blog!

Pest Management University (PMU) wants you to “like” them on Facebook, “follow” them on Twitter, and “invite” them on LinkedIn!

LinkedIn iconLinkedIn

Want to hear short updates from PMU and see pictures from recent courses? “Like” them on Facebook and “follow” them on Twitter!

UF/IFAS Master Beekeeper Program

The UF/IFAS Master Beekeeper Program will be holding its biannual training and exams on Thursday, March 6th, at the Whitney Lab in Marineland, Florida.The Master Beekeeper Program (MBP) is a beekeeper training and certification program and boasts nearly 300 active members. This collection of registered beekeepers performs public service credits as a part of program advancement. To date, they have collectively reached nearly three million people in the state of Florida and beyond. They serve as bee ambassadors to beginning beekeepers, the public, and our community by teaching and serving as an extension of UF/HBREL

The MBP trains and educates beekeepers on new techniques, potential problems, tips and tricks to improve their beekeeping skills. Perhaps most importantly, it keeps beekeepers around the state and country connected and furthermore, connected to their communities. Beekeepers must have owned at least one hive of bees for at least one year to register, and entry to the MBP is attained by passing the apprentice examinations on exam day. Further into the program, students choose a major and attain major and core credits. To graduate as a Master Craftsman beekeeper, the final level in the program, one must complete a research project or Extension program.

The University of Florida Bee College

The University of Florida Bee College is the  most extensive educational honey bee event in the state of Florida and  is back for its seventh year! Everyone is welcome to attend Bee College: beekeepers, naturalists, farmers, gardeners, county agents, and anyone interested in honey bees! It’s not too late to register, as you might know, we fill up pretty fast but there is still time! Registration is open until Tuesday March 4th.

Bee College is the best time you could have learning about honey bees and beekeeping, the full schedule is available on the website. There are topics for beginners, advanced,  hands-on demonstrations, workshops on everything from Honey Extraction, Varroa Biology, Grafting, Queen Rearing and IPM approaches! The  keynote speakers this year are Dr. Dewey Caron, (U. Delaware) and Dr. Jim and Maryann Frazier of Penn State. As always, we will have the Florida apiary Inspection Team, the HBREL team, and a host of other great speakers. Bee College has enough beekeeping knowledge to last you all year! You’ll receive a stunning Bee College pin, a goody bag, a program binder with lecture material, tickets for snacks, lunch, a banquet dinner, awards ceremony and a raffle where you can win great prizes!

Coupled with the UF Bee College is the Annual Bee College Honey Show. Our honey show is the largest in the state, and winners can proudly claim the title of “Best Honey in Florida”! The Bee College Honey Show provides a wonderful opportunity to showcase all of your (and your bees!) hard work. The show will be judged using the Welsh Honey Judge methods by certified professional Honey Judges and Stewards, and winners will be announced during the awards ceremony Friday evening. If you want to exhibit in the show, all you have to do is register for the Bee College, check out the exhibit classes, and send your entry form in early. You can enter items such as extracted honey, candles, frames for extraction, artwork, and more. Exhibit classes and the entry form are posted on the honey show page linked above.

Register today! For general questions email Jeanette Klopchin.

For registration questions, please email Glinda Burnett.

Honey Bee Research and Extension Laboratory invites you to follow them on Twitter to find out about upcoming events and interesting stories about honey bees @UFHoneybeelab.

Call for Symposium/Workshop Organizers for the 97th Annual Meeting of the Florida Entomological Society.

Do not miss your opportunity to submit a symposium or workshop idea for consideration for the 97th Annual Meeting of the Florida Entomological Society (August 3rd to the 6th, 2014 at the Jupiter Beach Resort and Spa in Jupiter, Florida). 
Any FES member who would like to organize a symposium or workshop for the annual meeting should e-mail (preferable), phone, or fax, their suggestions to the Program Chair, Dr. Cindy McKenzie by March 1, 2014.

Symposia/workshop organizers are expected to arrange for speakers and moderate their sessions. Speakers should be requested to provide their details (addresses, etc.), title of presentation, and abstract in BOTH English and Spanish. Symposium Chairs will organize and send a finished file of abstracts, etc. to Program Chair. A form will be provided. The Program Committee will assist organizers with equipment needs (projectors, laptops, etc.). However, it is preferable if the organizers arrange for their own equipment needs.

Symposium or Workshop?

A symposium is a session organized around a common theme and is for researchers to inform others of what they are doing.

A workshop is designed to train participants about a specific subject.  Workshops are fee-based and participants can earn credits or CEUs.  Those who do not register and pay for the workshop are NOT supposed to attend.  Workshops have traditionally been on the last day of the meeting because many participants only want to attend that day, and just that workshop.

Exhibitors/Vendors are welcome, and for a fee can set up a booth for all 3 days of the meeting. Two lunch tickets are included.

Cindy McKenzie, Ph.D., Research Entomologist, US Horticultural Research Laboratory / ARS-USDA, 2001 South Rock Road, Fort Pierce, FL 34945
772.462.5917 office
772.462.5911 lab
772.462.5986 fax

About this Newsletter

return to top
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 Dr. Verena Lietze and Nancy Sanders, who reviewed the newsletter for errors, and to Jane Medley and Don Wasik, who built the web page design.