December 2021-Entomology and Nematology News
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December 25, 2021

A micro photo white-footed ant, <em>Technomyrmex difficilis</em>, on a plant leaf.

ABOVE: White-footed ant, Technomyrmex difficilis. (Photo: Thomas Chouvenc)

The white-footed ant (WFA) does not bite or sting, nor has it been reported to cause any structural damage. Colony population estimates vary from 8,000 to 3 million individuals (Tsuji and Yamauchi 1994). WFAs are considered by homeowners to be a nuisance pest because they are frequently observed foraging in kitchens, bathrooms, and the exterior of buildings.

Note From the Interim Chair...

It’s hard to believe that we are in the middle of December and the end of the year is just around the corner! Where has this roller coaster of a year gone? Despite the emotional ups and downs of two major COVID surges in Florida this year, our Entomology & Nematology family has been largely spared by adopting community-minded safe behaviors and getting vaccinated. Because of this, we can start gathering again in larger groups (even with omicron on the horizon) to regain the community and connection that has been missing for almost two years. Many of us are enjoying Friday morning coffee hour, the occasional “meeting” at a brewery, and the end of the year potluck. Starting in spring, our seminar series will return to a hybrid option, so those of us in Gainesville can interact with people in three dimensions again! We are in the early stages of planning a hybrid meeting of the Florida Entomological Society for June 19-22, in Gainesville (more to come). It will be exciting to get back to talking about our science face-to-face, forging new collaborations, and renewing or making new connections.

Despite the tumult of 2021, our faculty, staff and students have been resilient and resourceful, finding innovative ways to offer their extension programs, teach our students, provide outreach to the community, and conduct their research. Their efforts have been recognized by numerous honors and awards from CALS, UF, the Friends of IPM (see below), the Entomological Society of America, the Society of Nematology, the International Organization for Biological Control, and other professional societies. Congratulations to everyone on their well-deserved recognition! Awardee or not, everyone merits approbation for persevering in unprecedented circumstances.

Finally, 2021 has also been a year of transitions. We regularly go through the cycles of welcome and bittersweet goodbyes as our students and postdoctoral scientists join us and then move on to their next career stage. Rarely, though, do we see such changes in our staff. This year we said goodbye to Suzy Rodriguez, Ruth Brumbaugh, and Pamela Gales, but we have welcomed Feenix Hartell, Randy Fernandez, and Melissa Chamblin. We have also had the pleasure of welcoming new faculty members Lary Reeves, Alexandra Revynthi, Ted Burgess, and Cameron Jack, and we bid farewell to Blair Siegfried, Gregg Nuessly, Jim Cuda, and Ron Cherry. Best wishes to everyone in their new pursuits!

In closing, I wish you and your families a restful, safe, and meaningful holiday season. I hope you can make time to relax and regroup so we can all enter the new year energized and refreshed! With my best wishes for a great end to 2021.

– Heather McAuslane.

Faculty and Staff News


The Southern IPM Center is pleased to announce that Dr. Adam Dale has been selected for the 2022 Friends of IPM “Bright Idea” award.

This award is in recognition of Dr. Dale’s research and collaborative efforts using warm season grass cultivars as an IPM tactic to increase turfgrass pest resilience to reduce pesticide inputs.  This work was in collaboration with the Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association as well as other regional state cooperators, which increased its overall impact. Congratulations Dr. Dale!

Dr. Xavier Martini has been selected for the 2022 Friends of IPM ‘Future Leader’ Award.

This award is in recognition of Dr. Martini’s IPM research and extension accomplishments as an early-career scientist. These accomplishments include the successful use of verbenone to control the redbay ambrosia beetle, Xyleborus glabratus, which vectors laurel wilt disease, the discovery that methyl salicylate repels multiple species of ambrosia beetles, inventing and deploying fake trees to attract a wide range of ambrosia beetle species, and management of tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLCV) and its whitefly vector, Bemisia tabaci, with kaolin clay and limonene. Congratulations Dr. Martini!

The Southern IPM Center is pleased to announce that the Mosquito BEACONS initiative has been selected for the 2022 Friends of IPM ‘Pulling Together’ Award

This multidisciplinary regional working group has been tasked with implementing IPM tactics to manage invasive mosquito species in the Southern region. In less than a year, under the leadership of its Board of Directors this working group improved stakeholder engagement, deployed stakeholder surveys, and produced publications based on theresults. The BEACONS Board of Directors includes: Dr. Bryan Giordano (BEACONS Project Director), Dr. Lindsay Campbell, Dr. Yoosook Lee, UF ENT Graduate Student Michael Riles, and mosquito control industry stakeholders Daniel Killingsworth (Environmental Security Pest and Lawn) and Dr. Benjamin Allen (City of Jacksonville Mosquito Control Department).

The Southern IPM Center announced that Dr. Pasco Avery has been selected for induction into the 2022 Friends of IPM ‘IPM Hall of Fame’. The work that Dr. Avery has accomplished in his career focused on the use of entomopathogenic fungi for integrated pest management. He has spearheaded research for the use of Beauveria bassiana for the control of ambrosia beetles that spread laurel wilt disease, and as a direct result of his work, more than 80% of growers in Miami-Dade County, FL use this fungus to control ambrosia beetles in their fields. His work has impacted the adoption of entomopathogenic fungi for IPM both nationally and internationally. Congratulations Dr. Avery!

Postdoctoral Research Associate, Dr. Rahul Banerjee, left the Bonning lab to work at Corteva Agriscience in Johnston, Iowa. 

termite and eggs.

Above:termite and eggs.

A recent study from the UF termite lab (Thomas Chouvenc and Sang-Bin Lee) on how subterranean termite baits affect egg laying ability of queens was highlighted in Entomology Today.

Fume School November 2021

Image of Fume School Presentation in front of a house cover in an fumigated tank.

Above: Fume School November 2021: Paul Mitola from FDACS describing the fumigation state inspection process.

The University of Florida’s 37th School of Structural Fumigation resumed at the Ft. Lauderdale R.E.C. November 15-19, 2021, after a year hiatus due to the pandemic. 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 in 1989, 1,615 students have attended the Fume School . It is the only school of its kind in the world.

The latest class included 59 students from Florida, California, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Maryland, Indiana, Virginia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, The Bahamas, and Puerto Rico. The school prepared students who opted to take the Florida State Certification Exams in fumigation. The school is coordinated by Dr. Thomas Chouvenc, Dr. Rudi Scheffrahn, Dr. Bill Kern, and Renny Perez and delivers expert instruction from manufacturers (Bayer, Douglas, Ensystex), suppliers (Cardinal, Univar), fumigators (Captain Termite, Fumeout, Emory Brantley & Sons), regulators (FLDACS), the FL Dept. of Transportation, the Broward Fire Academy, the USDA, and the Certified Pest Control Operators of Florida.

A welcoming portrait of Meilissa Chamblin



A welcoming portrait of Michael Scharf

Dr. Johan Desaeger is an editor for a new Open Access eBook on nematodes!

Click this link to view the eBook.

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Portrait of Benjamin Waldo

Above: Portrait of Benjamin Waldo

Dr. Benjamin Waldo (M.S. and D.P.M. with Dr. Crow 2019) is the new USDA ARS Research Plant Pathologist at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center in Beltsville, Maryland. Benjamin will conduct research on nematode identification and systematics.

Congratulations to PhD student, Kelly Carruthers, in Dr. Carey Minteer’s lab, on winning second place in the BioControl- General 2 section of the student competition at the Entomological Society of America’s annual meeting. Kelly’s paper was titled, “Assessing emigration of the biocontrol agent, Pseudophilothrips ichini, from herbicide-treated Brazilian peppertree.”

Emilie Demard won second place in the BioControl - Predators section of the student competition at the Entomological Society of America’s annual meeting in Denver.


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 – 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 at to learn more about the program.

Top row from left to right: Decyo McDuffie (IDEA board representative), Sarah Anderson (committee chair), and James Brown (membership coordinator). Bottom left from top to bottom: Brett LaBella (Bug Club board representative), Andrea Lucky (faculty representative). Bottom right: James Pinkney (ENSO board representative)

Pictured above are the 2021 members of the Mentor Matching Program Committee. Top row from left to right: Decyo McDuffie (IDEA board representative), Sarah Anderson (committee chair), and James Brown (membership coordinator). Bottom left from top to bottom: Brett LaBella (Bug Club board representative), Andrea Lucky (faculty representative). Bottom right: James Pinkney (ENSO board representative).

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.

ABOVE: Vespula squamosa, Yellow Jacket

The southern yellowjacket, Vespula squamosa, has been the subject of several inquiries to the Insect ID Lab lately. This is the time of year when colonies are producing males and queens, which are now leaving the nest. After mating, the males die, and the queens seek shelter for the winter in places like rotten logs. In the spring, the queens will emerge and start new colonies. Andrei Sourakov took these photos of workers guarding their nest.

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.

visiting scientist Abraão Almeida Santos

Above: visiting scientist Abraão Almeida Santos

Dr. Paula-Moraes is happy to welcome visiting scientist Abraão Almeida Santos from Brazil. He has a PhD in Plant Protection and specializes in the use of artificial and computational intelligence to study insect ecology and toxicology.

New Publications

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• Habteweld A, Bania C, Crow WT. 2021. Morphological and molecular characterization of a population of Pratylenchus hippeastri (Nematoda-pratylenchidae) parasitizing muscadine grape in Florida. Nematropica 51:56-66

• Haghighi, SR, Hosseininaveh V, Talebi K, Maali-Amiri R, Stelinski LL. 2021. Salicylic acid induced resistance in drought-stressed pistachio seedlings influences physiological performance of Agonoscena pistaciae (Hemiptera: Aphalaridae).  Journal of Economic Entomology. 114: 2172-2188.

Hussain M, Avery PB, Zhu W, Pitino M, Arthurs SP, Wang L, Qiu D, Mao R. 2021. Pathogenicity of Cordyceps javanica (Hypocreales: Cordycipitaceae) to Diaphorina citri (Hemiptera: Liviidae) adults, with ultrastructural observations on the fungal infection process. Agronomy 11, 2476.

• Chen, X.-D, Kaur N, Horton DR, Cooper WR, Qureshi JA, Stelinski LL. 2021. Crude extracts and alkaloids derived from Ipomoea-periglandula symbiotic association cause mortality of Asian citrus psyllid, Diaphorina citri Kuwayama (Hemiptera: Psyllidae). Insects. 12, 929.

• Jones CM, Ciubotariu II, Muleba M, Lupiya J, Mbewe D, Simubali L, Mudenda T, Gebhardt M, Carpi G, Malcolm AN, Kosinski KJ, Romero-Weaver AL, Stevenson JC, Lee Y*, Norris DE*. Multiple novel clades of anopheline mosquitoes caught outdoors in northern Zambia. Frontiers in Tropical Disease. *** In press *** (note Malcolm AN – UF undergrad student, Kosinski KJ – UF ENY master student, Lee Y and Norris DE contributed equally and share senior authorship).

• Shelton, D S, Delgado, M M, Greenway, E V, Hobson, E A , Lackey, A C R, Medina-García, A, Reinke, B A, Trillo, P A, Wells, C P Horner-Devine, M C 2021 Expanding the landscape of opportunity: Professional societies support early-career researchers through community programming and peer coaching. Journal of Comparative Psychology, 135(4): 439–449. https//

• Chouvenc T, Lee SB. 2021. Queen egg laying and egg hatching abilities are hindered in subterranean termite colonies when exposed to a chitin synthesis inhibitor bait formulation, Journal of Economic Entomology, 114:2 466–2472

• Corcoran J, Goodman CL, Saathoff S, Ringbauer JA, Guo Y, Bonning BC, Stanley D. 2021. Cell lines derived from the small hive beetle, Aethina tumida, express insecticide targets. In Vitro Cellular & Developmental Biology – Animal 57(9):849-855. doi: 10.1007/s11626-021-00633-y.

• Liu S, Zhang SM, Buddenborg SK, Loker ES, Bonning BC. 2021. Virus-derived sequences from the transcriptomes of two snail vectors of schistosomiasis, Biomphalaria pfeifferi and Bulinus globosus from Kenya. PeerJ 9:e12290. doi: 10.7717/peerj.12290 .

• Schnepp KE, Anderson RS. 2021. Phaenomerus foveipennis (Morimoto) (Coleoptera: Curculionidae: Conoderinae) in the southeastern USA. The Coleopterists Bulletin 75(2): 310–312.

• Sutherland LN, Schnepp KE, Powell GS, Bybee SM. 2021. Phylogenetic placement of the Plesioclytini (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae: Cerambycinae). Diversity 597: 1–8.

Meetings and Presentations

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On November 3rd, Dr. Billy Crow presented “Root-knot and Lance Nematodes on Golf Course Bermudagrass” at the Deep South Turf Expo in Biloxi, Mississippi.

On December 3rd, Thomas Chouvenc presented at a seminar series organized by Broward College for a class of undergraduate students in Environmental Sciences in Davie, FL where he discussed parental care in insect societies.

Entomology Education and Outreach News

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Don’t forget the Entomology and Nematology Education and Outreach Program is available and will accommodate with both virtual presentations and in person presentations!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS to you all and hope it’s Bug-tas-tic!!!

Recent Outreach events:

• November 12th - Classical Conversation Home School Tour: Dr. Phil Koehler gave another great demonstration of “Who’s the Most Attractive” with mosquitoes and the roach tractor pulls. James Brown gave a fun, informative tour of NATL, and Jennifer Standley gave a tour of the Honey Bee Lab.

• November 14th -Trout Lake Nature Center “Bugs and Butterflies” Booth: Alexandor McMillan, Xiaodi Wang, and Jennifer Standley set up a table with fun things about entomology and the petting zoo.

• November 18th Suwannee CARES Event Booth -Alexandor McMillan, Christian Kammerer, Michele Himadi, and Jennifer Standley provided education about the department and showed off the petting zoo to the local area farmers.

Future Outreach Event **VOLUNTEERS NEEDED***

• February 10th to February 21st 2022 - Florida State Fair, Hillsborough, FL. Save the date and volunteer! You won’t want to miss this totally rad event. This is the largest fair in FL! What’s better than hanging with fellow students, eating fair food, riding rides, looking at farm/exotic animals, and so much more. Volunteers are needed and this is a perfect opportunity to earn your Outreach volunteer hours to be eligible to apply for scholarships.

Entomology on the Go  

What’s better than a live show and tell of 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.

Cheers! - Jennifer Standley, Outreach Coordinator.

Classical Conversation Home School Tour at NATL (pictured far right Jennifer Standley and James Brown).

ABOVE: Classical Conversation Home School Tour at NATL (pictured far right Jennifer Standley and James Brown).

Left to right: Alexandor McMillan, Jennifer Standley, and Xiaodi Wang at the Trout Lake Nature Center “Bugs and Butterflies

ABOVE: Left to right: Alexandor McMillan, Jennifer Standley, and Xiaodi Wang at the Trout Lake Nature Center “Bugs and Butterflies" booth.

Left to right: Christian Kammerer, Alexandor McMillan, and Michele Himadi at the Suwannee CARES booth.

ABOVE: Left to right: Christian Kammerer, Alexandor McMillan, and Michele Himadi at the Suwannee CARES booth.

Getting social!

Use #UFBugs so our department can find and share your social posts easily!

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. Lauren Diepenbrock (PI) and collaborators from the departments of Plant Pathology, Horticulture, and Soil and Water Sciences have been awarded a USDA-ECDRE grant for $750,000 entitled “SP: Regional Management Strategies for Asian Citrus Psyllid and HLB Prevention in Commercial Groves and Residential Plantings.”

Drs. Yoosook Lee (PI), Co-PIs – Barry Alto, Eva Buckner, Nathan Burkett-Cadena, Eric Caragata, Derrick Mathias, Chelsea Smartt, and Panpim Thongsripong have been granted a UF/IFAS Equipment Grant for $47,000.

Rachel Mallinger received a SARE grant ($16,493) for her project titled, “What’s the Buzz? Assessing Efficacy, Synergisms, and Sustainability of Buzz Pollinators in Southern Highbush Blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum)”

Jeffrey Bloomquist received a subaward from a NIH grant ($127,507) for a project titled, “Developing Resistance-breaking Insecticide at Mosquito Muscarinic Scetylcholine Receptors to Reduce Malaria Transmission”.

Edwin “Ted” Burgess received a Bio-Gene Technology Grant ($8,008) for a project titled, “Synergistic Effects of Qcide and Flavocide Against Pyrethroid-resistant and Susceptible House Flies (Musca domestica [Diptera: Muscidae])”

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


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The Fume School 38th will take place on February 21-25th, 2022.

The Termite Course for Professionals will take place on March 23-25th, 2022.

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.

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 James Brown, and Nancy Sanders 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