March 2022-Entomology and Nematology News
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April 2022

image of Neotermes castaneus on dampwood

ABOVE: Neotermes castaneus, the Florida dampwood termite (Photo: Thomas Chouvenc)

Neotermes is a diverse genus of nearly 100 species that live mostly in tropical areas of the world. Species of Neotermes are found only in Florida and are the largest termites in the eastern United States. Unlike colonies of structure-infesting drywood termites (e.g. Cryptotermes and Incisitermes), Neotermes colonies require higher humidity and regular contact with free water, and unlike subterranean termites, they do not forage in the soil.

Faculty and Staff News

Please welcome

Portrait of Cheryl Johns

Cheryl Johns has come to the Entomology and Nematology Department with over 16 years of administrative experience. Before joining the department, she worked with UF Business Services and UF Housing and Residence Life. She looks forward to providing excellent customer service and support for all our faculty, staff, and students. She enjoy chit-chat, so when you stop by ask her about her after-work passions, vegetable farming and canning.


Left to right: Judy Brown the APS-CD President, Dr. Amanda Hodges and Dr. Daniel Carillo. Photo courtesy of Dr. Bryony Bonning.

Congratulations to Dr. Daniel Carrillo, who received the Southeastern Branch ESA Excellence in Horticultural Entomology award, and to Dr. Andrea Lucky, who received the Southeastern Branch ESA Teaching Excellence Award!

Amy Vu was the state winner for the Florida Association of County Agricultural Agents for her audio recording and learning module/notebook entry. The audio recording was a segment from “Two Bees in a Podcast” hosted by Amy Vu and Dr. Jamie Ellis. The learning module/notebook was the “Welcome to the Hive! Honey Bee 4-H Project Book” written by Megan Hammond, Amy Vu, Mary Bammer, Emily Helton, Karen Henry, Jessica Sullivan, and Dr. Jamie Ellis. The projects will now move forward to regionals.

Lab News

Dr. Johan Desaeger

Dr. Daniel Carrillo

Dr. Billy Crow’s Field Plant Nematology (NEM 6708) class went on field trips around the state of Florida and visited: Dr. Zane Grabau’s research in Hastings; Dr. Billy Crow’s research at the Plant Science Unit; Dr. Larry Duncan’s research at CREC; Dr. Johan Desaeger’s research at GCREC; Sakata Seeds in Ft. Myers; South FL sugarcane production with Extension Agent Stewart Swanson; research at TREC with Dr. Daniel Carrillo, Dr. Alexandra Revynthi, and Dr. Romina Gazis; Duda Farms and EREC in Belle Glade with Extension Agents Anna Meszaros, Matt VanWeelden, and Dr. Julien Beuzelin; and Syngenta Crop Protection in Vero Beach.

 Front row, left to right: Dr. Nathan Burkett-Cadena, TJ Fedirko, Riley Tedrow, John Muller, Anne Askew, Taylor Taylor, Simmoy Noble, Daniel Tuzzolino, Ruwan Chaminda, Jason Stuck. Back row (left to right): Jose Colón, Anna Wanek, Bridie McClusky, Chan Bhosale, Krisangel López, Dr. Tolulope Morawo, Dr. Derrick Mathias, Dr. Sheila Blackman, Hannah Atsma, Dr. Simone Sandiford, Daniel Perez, Ana Romero, Kristin Sloyer. Photo by James Newman, FMEL.

The 21st annual offering of the FMEL Advanced Mosquito Identification and Certification Course was taught March 7-18, 2022 at the FMEL in Vero Beach, FL. Course instructors are Dr. Nathan Burkett-Cadena, Dr. Derrick Mathias and with the support of both Kristin Sloyer (UF graduate student), and Jason Stuck (Pinellas County Mosquito Control District). Twenty trainees successfully completed the course, including UF graduate students, military entomologists, researchers from other institutions, and mosquito control personnel.

Student News

Left to right: Lucia Navia with graduate student Clebson Tavares.

Undergraduate students Lucia Navia, Xinyue (Serena) Wang, Vanessa Gonzalez and Ciara Magee in the Bonning lab presented posters during the 23rd annual University of Florida Spring Undergraduate Research Symposium on April 7, 2022.

Left to right: Bhuvaneshwari (Bhu) Venkataramana, Priya Larson, and Drake Kavanaugh.

Undergraduate researchers in the DiGennaro Lab presented their work on the mosquito larval parasitic nematode Romanomermis culcivorax at the UF Undergraduate Research Symposium. Bhu is a participant of the University Scholars Program.

National Graduate Student Appreciation Week

Earlier this month, we celebrated National Graduate Student Appreciation Week with ice cream and games on the Steinmetz Hall lawn! Students, staff, and faculty were invited to take a well-earned break to build their own sundaes and try their hand at cornhole, badminton, bocce ball, and more!

We are truly lucky to have so many amazing graduate students here in the UF/IFAS Entomology and Nematology Department, who contribute in countless ways to the research, teaching, and outreach/extension efforts in our department! Indeed, we are one of the largest entomology and nematology graduate programs in the country; we have over 100 grad students on the Gainesville campus and RECs, as well as over 70 students across the globe in our online master’s program. We are very thankful for all that they do and are glad that we were able to host this event to show our appreciation. We had a great turnout, with over 70 people joining us on the Steinmetz lawn for an afternoon of fun and frozen treats!

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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  • Panneerselvam S, Mishra R, Berry C, Crickmore N, Bonning BC. 2022. BPPRC database: A Web-based Tool to Access and Analyze Bacterial Pesticidal Proteins. Database (Oxford) baac022.
  • Schnepp KE, Brattain RM, Powell GS. 2021. A Survey of the Beetles (Insecta: Coleoptera) in Several Natural Areas Across Indiana, U.S.A. The Great Lakes Entomologist 54(3&4): 143–187.
  • Habteweld A, Kravchenko AN, Grewal PS, Melakeberhan H. 2022. A Community-based Integrated Productivity Efficiency (IPE) Model that Identifies Sustainable Soil Health Outcomes: A Case of Compost Application in Carrot Production. Soil Systems 6 (2): 35.
  • Mishra S, Salichs O, DiGennaro P. 2022. Temporally Regulated Plant-Nematode Gene Networks Implicate Metabolic Pathways. Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions.
  • Sloyer KE, Burkett-Cadena ND, Campbell LP. 2022. Predicting the Potential Distribution of Culex (Melanoconion) cedecei in Florida and the Caribbean Using Ecological Niche Models. Journal of Vector Ecology 47(1): 88–98.
  • Sloyer KE, Santos M, Rivera E, Reeves L, Carrera JP, Vittor AY, Velderrama A, Burkett-Cadena ND. 2022. Evaluating Sampling Strategies for Enzootic Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis Virus Vectors in Florida and Panama. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases. 10.1371/journal.pntd.0010329

Andrei Sourakov and Rachel Warren Chadd. 2022. The Lives of Moths: A Natural History of Our Planet's Moth Life. Princeton University Press. 288 p.

The book can be ordered from the Amazon, Princeton University Press, or purchased at the giftshop of the Florida Museum of Natural History.

Meetings and Presentations

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Dr. Thomas Chouvenc presented two seminars to the Florida Master Gardener Program in collaboration with the UF-IFAS Broward county extension on March 2 and March 9, 2022. Dr. Thomas Chouvenc discussed the spread of Coptotermes gestroi and Coptotermes formosanus in the county and showed the importance of inspecting trees for termite activity for early detection.

On January 17, 2022 Dr. Billy Crow presented “Understanding and Managing Nematodes on Golf Turf in Nevada” to the Southern Nevada Golf Course Superintendents chapter in Las Vegas, NV.

On February 22, 2022  Dr. Billy Crow presented “Defense Against Nematodes on Golf Course Bermudagrass” to the Ridge Golf Course Superintendents chapter in Lakeland, FL.

On March 31, 2022  Dr. Billy Crow and his MS student Christian Kammerer presented their research at the South Florida Turfgrass Field Day and Expo at the Ft. Lauderdale REC.

First Annual Entomology & Nematology Undergraduate Research Showcase

On April 15, 2022, our department hosted the First Annual Entomology & Nematology Undergraduate Research Showcase! This event highlighted the research accomplishments of undergraduate students in our department and celebrated their achievements. Students presented their research either as a 10-minute talk or as a poster. Presenters this year were:

  • Jordan Buisch (mentor: Dr. Cameron Jack)
  • Julia St. Amant (mentor: Dr. Cameron Jack)
  • Brett LaBella (mentors: Drs. Roberto Pereira & Phil Koehler)
  • Priya Larson (mentor: Dr. Peter DiGennaro)
  • Bhuvaneshwari Venkataramanan (mentor: Dr. Peter DiGennaro)
  • Ciara Magee (mentor: Dr. Bryony Bonning)
  • Ashley Malcolm (mentor: Dr. Yoosook Lee)
  • Hunter Martin (mentor: Dr. Dan Hahn)
  • Lucia Navia (mentor: Dr. Bryony Bonning)
  • Kyle Payne (mentor: Dr. Eric Caragata)
  • Jordyn Ranfone (mentors: Drs. Roberto Pereira & Phil Koehler)
  • Thank you again to all of the student presenters, their research mentors, and everyone who joined us for the event! The showcase was a phenomenal success, with over 80 students, staff, and faculty in attendance! It was wonderful to see such a huge amount of support for undergraduate research in our department. We plan to host the Undergraduate Research Showcase again next spring, and hope that it will continue to grow in the years to come.

    Dr. Anthony Auletta and Ciara Magee

    Dr. Norman Leppla and Ashley Malcolm

    James Brown, Fernando Miguelena and Hunter Martin

    The Undergraduate Committee is happy to announce the recipients of the 2022 Entomology & Nematology Undergraduate Travel Awards! These scholarships are awarded annually to support undergraduate students seeking to present their research at professional conferences or to study abroad. Each student will receive a $1,000 award to help fund their travel.

    • Gina Bishop (to attend the Beekeeping in Asia study abroad program with Dr. Cameron Jack)
    • Kaley Hildebrand (to attend the UF in Ourense - Clinical Shadowing study abroad program)
    • Katheryn Naherny (to present her research at the ESA Annual Meeting in Vancouver; mentor: Dr. Jamie Ellis)
    • Daniel Rhodes (to attend the Beekeeping in Asia study abroad program with Dr. Cameron Jack)
    • Lauren Roberts (to attend the Beekeeping in Asia study abroad program with Dr. Cameron Jack)

    Congratulations to all of our award winners!

    Entomology & Nematology Education and Outreach

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    Outreach events:

    March 14, 2022 Oak Hall Lower Elementary School: The three classes, with at least 100 students total, had an exciting morning by being shown in rotation: NATL by James Brown, the Honey Bee Research and Extension Lab by Chris Oster, and the petting zoo by Jennifer Standley.

    March 17, 2022 Metcalfe Elementary School: This was a STEAM night in which Clancy Short, Lillie Rooney, and Jennifer Standley showed off their insect petting zoo. The critters were very popular!

    March 25, 2022 MANNRS Conference: Kendall Stacey, Clebson Tavares, and Abigail Prohofsky attended this event with over 100 kids. The mission of the event is to promote academic and professional advancement by empowering minorities in agriculture, natural resources, and related sciences. It is the largest source of diverse talent in the United States for these fields with chapters spanning across 55 colleges, 21 high schools, and dozens of notable companies.

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

    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

    James Brown showing the Oak Hall Lower Elementary kids the wonders of NATL fauna.

    Clancy Short (pictured middle), and Lillie Rooney (second to the left) had a fabulous time at the Metcalfe Elementary School STEAM night.

    Clebson Tavares (far right), and Abigail Prohofsky (second to the right) really impressed the MANNRS students.

    Lillie Rooney, the Madagascar Hissing Roach whisperer (far left), and Allison Dehnel (center) stuck it out in the heat with over 500 attendees at the Norton Elementary School Carnival.


    The award-winning Entomology Club at the University of Florida held BugFest 2022 on Saturday, April 9, 2022! During the event, members of the Entomology Club hosted fun activities such as maggot paintings, roach racing, and more. Thank you, Dr. Rebecca Baldwin, Dr. Philip Koehler, and volunteers for bringing back BugFest!

    Dr. Rebecca Baldwin and Dr. Philip Koehler

    Carolina Hermosilla

    Sarah Tafel

    Dr. Anthony Auletta

    BugFest Volunteers:

  • Jennifer Villate
  • Jenna Curtis
  • Mary Wyrosdick
  • Abigail Stelmashenko
  • Victoria Reis
  • Haley Dabbs
  • Shelby Fraser
  • Eddie Humphries
  • Tammy Nguyen
  • Noah Barguez-arias
  • Kenna Stone
  • David Nethery
  • Vivek Vemugunta
  • Gisella Depiazza
  • Christian Wilaer
  • Brett LaBella
  • Jordyn Ranfone
  • Kyle Niblett
  • Roseleen Herrera
  • Gina Bishop
  • Ian Higginbotham
  • Jenna Curtis
  • Bella Scramoncin
  • Christian Wilaer
  • Haley Dabbs
  • Athena Conde
  • Mackazie Spiroff
  • Nolan Missigman
  • Eddie Humphries
  • Kristen Lilia
  • Carolina Hermosilla
  • Austin Manghun IV
  • Valentina Consuegra
  • Ashley Morris
  • Dr. Anythony Auletta
  • Dr. Rebecca Baldwin
  • Dr. Philip Koehler
  • Randy Fernandez
  • Entomology on the Go  

    Kids & Bees

    While still a-buzz from a fantastic Kids and Bees event in Vegas, we’re already setting our sights on Jacksonville, FL, in 2023. Are you planning to attend the conference? Are you a beekeeper local to Jacksonville? We would love to hear from you! Also, if you have beekeeping friends in the Jacksonville area, or know a teacher or homeschool family that would like to be involved in our event (as a volunteer or attendee) please put them in touch with us. If you haven’t attended the Kids and Bees event (yet), learn more at our website and check out our Facebook page photo album collection which features photos from January’s event as well as many more.

    Speaking of Facebook, the Kids and Bees team has started a Facebook group to connect Kids and Bees volunteers – past, present, and future. This will be a space for beekeepers to connect with friends they have met at ABF Kids and Bees events, share what you have taken home with you from the event(s), and what has worked well (or flopped). We will also share Kids and Bees program announcements, and any relevant resources and news that arise. The volunteer community that we have cultivated over the years is such a special group of people, and we look forward to being in touch with you! If you would like to join, send us a request here.

    Two Bees in a Podcast

    In this episode of Two Bees in a Podcast, released on April 27, 2022, Dr. Jamie Ellis and Amy Vu celebrate our 100th episode with monthly management and a blooper reel! Thanks for joining us for our weekly episodes and supporting our show.

    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: UFEntNem. Please share these links with past students or colleagues who may have an interest in departmental activities.


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    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.

    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, & 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