February 2003 Entomology and Nematology News
Entomology and Nematology Student Organization
A University of Florida Publication


Fruit flies like bananas, but bot flies like to get under your skin. Dr. Frank Slansky reports that 2002 was an "about average" year for requests for bot fly information. Associated with his bot fly website, last year he received and responded to some 40 different requests from the public for additional information from a variety of states (Alabama, California, Florida, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wisconsin) and countries (Canada, Mexico and The Netherlands). These requests referred not only to bot fly infested squirrels, but also to infested birds, cats, mice, ferrets, rabbits, rats, turtles and humans (ouch!).

Some highlights:

1. A computer programmer in Texas won their company's 'Most Amazing Story' award by making a presentation at their 4th of July picnic about bot flies, based on coaching from Slansky, including how to pronounce the bot fly genus Cuterebra (cutie-ree-brah) and myiasis (my-eyeah-sis, as in "Ah think ah got a bot fly in my eye."). This person won a nice Texas mug, tee shirt and some other goodies, and the admiration and respect of his co-workers, and all Dr. Slansky got was a "Thank you, I couldn't have done it without you!"

2. A budding author is doing research for a novel and hopefully an exciting horror flick something about global warming causing the glaciers to melt and some prehistoric bot flies emerge to wreak havoc on the unsuspecting public. In the author's own words regarding the bot fly: "He is one of the meanest looking insects I've seen in a long time and he packs a mean punch when bitten. The larva inside the body slowly growing and when it emerges it looks even scarier." (P.S.: Dr. Slansky has never tried to bite a bot fly, so he can't confirm the "mean punch.") Having learned his lesson from the previous less-than-financially-rewarding consultation (see #1 above), Dr. Slansky this time demanded a signed and notarized lucrative contract before he would allow himself to be flown to Hollywood and be wined and dined as a highly paid consultant for the movie.

3. A pregnant mouse made a nest in a carpenter's toolbox in Michigan and had a litter of babies. The carpenter needed to take his toolbox to work (without the mice), and the carpenter's wife decided that they couldn't just dump the mother and helpless babies in the woods, so she fixed up a nice little cage with bedding and all of the other features that make a mouse nest a home, and she transferred the mice to their new abode, giving the momma mouse time to raise her babies before they were released into the wild. During the transfer, however, two large lumps were discovered on the momma mouse-- a breech birth or cancerous tumor were suspected but the lumps turned out to contain bot fly larvae. These were extracted from the mom, she went on to raise all her mouselets and they were successfully released. Dr. Slansky, himself having a soft spot for small furry creatures, consoled the distraught wife when she discovered the lumps on the mouse and offered praise for her heroic efforts to help this at-risk family. Expecting to be very well paid for his eventual movie consultation (see #2 above), he didn't charge for the mouse job.

4. And finally (well almost, see #5 below), a construction company owner (also in Michigan but apparently no relation to the carpenter or his wife; see below for details) reported that he, after consultation with his pest control service, had discovered a swarm of bot flies in his backyard that were harassing his family and pets. If true, and if these were the secretive tree squirrel bot flies, this would be the first discovery of a male aggregation site of this species, something Dr. Slansky has been searching for in vain for years. Dr. Slansky began planning a quick flight to Michigan to document this exciting discovery and bask in the associated fame and glory, but became suspicious when further inquiry revealed that these so-called 'bot flies' were nesting in this person's basement, flying out through a crack in the foundation, visiting flowers, stinging the family dog and returning to the basement. None of these activities resembled bot fly behavior but instead pointed obviously (well, at least to a highly trained, astute entomologist) to a bumblebee colony, which turned out to be the case. In all fairness to this person and his pest control service, the adults of some bot fly species do resemble bumblebees in their black and yellow coloration. In payment for this high-powered consultation, Dr. Slansky received a living pupa of a mouse bot fly, which the grateful homeowner obtained after killing some mice in his house (hence the presumed lack of relationship to the folks in #3 above, and hopefully these were not those little furry guys from that episode), only to have bot fly larvae emerge from the corpses and crawl across his kitchen floor.

5. Well, those are indeed the bot fly highlights from 2002, but 2003 is already starting off with a bang (as in "Did you hear a sonic boom?"). Dr. Slansky recently received an email asking if deer bot flies can actually fly more than 700 mph, as reported in a book of interesting 'facts' the e-mailer was reading. Fortunately, Jason Byrd's entry 'Fastest Flyer' in Tom Walker's 'The University of Florida Book of Insect Records', was available to refer this person to for the 'real' facts.

Between the above bot fly adventures, Dr. Slansky was able to publish two bot fly-related papers:

Slansky, F., and L. R. Kenyon. 2002. Bot fly (Diptera: Cuterebridae) infestation of nest-bound infant eastern gray squirrels. Florida Entomologist 85: 369-371.

Slansky, F., and L. R. Kenyon. 2002. Beyond Animal Care: Wildlife rehabilitators are providing valuable information to research scientists. Wildlife Rehabilitation Today Fall 2002/Winter 2003: 16-20.


A new cooking demonstration show on public television that emphasizes sustainable food production and close relationships between chefs and local farmers will begin airing on most PBS stations in early January 2003.

"Chefs A' Field: Culinary Adventures That Begin on the Farm" features the talents of the nation's most acclaimed chefs -- and the farmers they rely upon. Going beyond standard meal preparation, the program's 13 episodes take viewers onto the farm for an over-the-shoulder view of chef-farmer exchanges. The half-hour programs begin airing nationwide in January.

Every episode of Chefs A' Field showcases regional cuisine and is filled with picturesque scenes shot at the peak of the seasonal harvest, from a campaign to sell rutabaga in Virginia or a sea voyage in search of Bluefin tuna off the coast of Cape Cod. Distributed by American Public Television, "Chefs A' Field" was partly supported by USDA's Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program. SARE is supported by USDA's Cooperative State Research, Education & Extension Service.

CREC Honors Employees of the Year

LAKE ALFRED - The University of Florida/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center (CREC) honored Angel Hoyte, Gretchen Baut and Gary Wilhite as 2002 Employees of the Year, and the Florida Department of Citrus (FDOC) recognized Lura Rixman and Bruce Robertson for outstanding service on Dec. 20.

Hoyte, Baut and Wilhite each received a plaque and $100 gift certificate, presented by Dr. Harold Browning, CREC Center Director. Rixman and Robertson were presented with a certificate of appreciation and gift basket by Dr. Andy Laurent, FDOC Deputy Executive Director of Research and Development and Dr. Joe Ahrens, FDOC Scientific Research Director.

Hoyte works with Drs. Clay McCoy and Robin Stuart on Diaprepes root weevil pest management. She is involved in research on egg parasitoids of Diaprepes, neonicotinoid insecticides for Diaprepes larva and ant predators of Diaprepes.

Baut provides photography and graphic arts for CREC research, extension and teaching programs and Wilhite provides computer and telephone network and support. Rixman is the receptionist for the FDOC Scientific Research staff in Lake Alfred and Robertson is CREC's electrician.


Cuda, J. P., G. S. Wheeler, and D. H. Habeck. 2002. Brazilian peppertree seed chalcid: Wasp wages war on widspread weed. Wildland Weeds 6(1): 18-20.

Khoo, C. C. H., and P. O. Lawrence. 2002. Hagen's glands of the parasitic wasp Diachasmimorpha longicaudata (Hymenoptera: Braconidae): ultrastructure and the detection of entomopoxvirus and parasitism-specific proteins. Arthropod Structure and Development 31: 121-130.

Cuda, J. P., D. Gandolfo, J. C. Medal, R. Charudattan, and J. J.Mullahey. 2002. Chapter 23 Tropical Soda Apple, Wetland Nightshade, and Turkey Berry, pp. 293-309. In Van Driesche, R. G., B. Blossey, M. Hoddle, and R. Reardon (eds.), Biological Control of Invasive Plants in the Eastern United States. Morgantown, West Virginia: USDA Forest Service.

Hight, S. D., J. P. Cuda, and J. C., Medal. 2002. Chapter 24 Brazilian Peppertree, pp. 311-321. In Van Driesche, R. G., B. Blossey, M. Hoddle, and R. Reardon. (eds.), Biological Control of Invasive Plants in the Eastern United States. Morgantown, West Virginia: USDA Forest Service.

Fox, A. M., W. T. Haller, and J. P. Cuda. 2002. Impacts of carbohydrate depletion by repeated clipping on the production of subterranean turions by hydrilla. Journal of Aquatic Plant Management 40: 99-104.

Slansky, F., and L. R. Kenyon. 2002. Bot fly (Diptera: Cuterebridae) infestation of nest-bound infant eastern gray squirrels. Florida Entomologist 85: 369-371.

Slansky, F., and L. R. Kenyon. 2002. Beyond Animal Care: Wildlife rehabilitators are providing valuable information to research scientists. Wildlife Rehabilitation Today Fall 2002/Winter 2003: 16-20.

Rasmussen, A.K., and M.L. Pescador. 2002. A guide to the Megaloptera and aquatic Neuroptera of Florida. Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Tallahassee. 45 pp. + appendices.

To receive a copy of this document, requests should be addressed to:
Bureau of Laboratories, Attn: Joy Jackson
Florida Department of Environmental Protection
2600 Blair Stone Road
Tallahassee, FL 32399-2400


IPM Florida recently conducted a meeting of the Florida Woody Ornamentals IPM Certification Workgroup at Cherry Lake Tree Farm in Groveland, Florida, to discuss the possibility of ecolabeling for some of the industry's plant products. UF, IFAS faculty and students in attendance were Kevin Athearn, Eileen Buss, Stephanie Dickerson, Ed Gilman, Norm Leppla, Bill Schall, Dan Sonke, and James Sterns. Ecolabels involve standards set by growers, certification usually by a third party, a chain of custody for the product, and associated marketing (see Consumers Union Web site). Education and outreach support the process. Healthy Grown Wisconsin Potatoes serves as a model, since it has been very successful and is being investigated by crop consultants and UF, IFAS for Florida vegetables. The primary costs are for establishing standards and an evaluation process, educating growers and customers, training certifiers and managing the certification system, and maintaining the quality of IPM certified products. The benefits would be savings on plant production, a greater value for the products, protection from false claims of pesticide misuse, and environmental stewardship with potential marketing advantages. It was emphasized that participation in this program would be completely voluntary for the growers interested in adopting reduced risk practices and possibly enhancing niche markets. The first step for woody ornamental production would be pesticide risk reduction. Possibilities were discussed for rating chemicals based on toxicity and for scoring IPM adoption using a point system, e.g., toxicity units (Benbrook et al., 2002, Amer. J. Potato Res. 79:183-199). The University of Massachusetts IPM Guidelines for Poinsettia were provided as an example . The project is funded by a grant from the EPA and is co-directed by Dr. Tom Green, director of the IPM Institute of North America. Minutes from this meeting are available from Norm Leppla.


On Saturday, December 7, 2002, Alejandro Arevalo, Justin Harbison, Shane Hill, and Trevor Smith planted 63 wax myrtles along the fence that separates the Division of Plant Industry compound from the Natural Area Teaching Laboratory. In a few years these knee-high plants that these ENSO volunteers set in place should grow to become a visual barrier between DPI and NATL. This will help docents from the Florida Museum of Natural History more easily keep the attention of groups of K-12 students as they experience NATL's upland pine ecosystem.

At the end of Fall Semester, NATL's new Academic Pavilion was placed in service. CALS Dean Jimmy Cheek and UF Provost David Colburn, who funded the pavilion, were photographed as they visited it, and an entomology class, led by Marian Hay-Roe, was later photographed using it. One or both of these pictures may soon appear with an article in the University Digest (which is in the Alligator each Wednesday).

The Natural Area Advisory Committee, with includes Don Dickson, Shane Hill, and Tom Walker, is undertaking the development of a Natural Area Park immediately north of the SEEP retention pond. A kiosk in the Park will explain SEEP and NATL, and five picnic tables will provide places to eat lunch for the K-12 groups that visit Florida Museum of Natural History. UF's Ethnoecology Club plans to use the Park as a place to establish and label plants that were used by native and colonial Americans for food, medicine, and commerce. Boulders and shrubs along the east edge of the Park will exclude vehicles. Funding for the Park comes from Provost Colburn and the Florida Museum of Natural History.


The department now has an additional eight IPM tutorials on four more CD-ROMs. The additional eight Bug Tutorials now paired on CD-ROMs are:
Beneficial Insects 1 and Beneficial Insects 2
Fleas and Ticks & Wasps and Bees
Mulch and Moisture Pests & Occasional Invaders
Turfgrass Insects 1 and Turfgrass Insects 2

The department now has 21 CD-ROMs on insects and other arthropods.


The UF Entomology and Nematology Department and the FDACS Division of Plant Industry have added files on the following organisms to the Featured Creatures WWW site. There are now over 280 Featured Creatures files, with more undergoing development.

Hall DW, Butler JF. Webbing barklouse or psocid, Archipsocus nomas Gurney.

Conklin T, Mizell RF. Glassy-winged sharpshooter, Homalodisca coagulate (Say).

Camerino A. Ground pearls, Margarodes spp.

Howard FW, Pemberton R, Hamon AB, Hodges GS, Mannion CM, McLean D, Wofford J. Lobate lac scale, Paratachardina lobata lobata (Chamberlin).

Capinera JL. Pepper weevil, Anthonomus eugenii Cano.

Knox MA, Fasulo TR. Indianmeal moth, Plodia interpunctella (Huebner). (major revisions)

Brammer AS, Scheffrahn RH. A drywood termite, Cryptotermes cavifrons Banks.

Scheffrahn RH, Su N-Y, Cabrera BJ, Kern Jr W. Cuban subterranean termite, Prorhinotermes simplex (Hagen).

Capinera JL. Striped blister beetle, Epicauta vittata (Fabricius).

New text and/or photographs were added to the files on: jumping spiders, brown recluse spider, oriental fruit fly, Asiatic citrus psyllid, Florida rove beetles, wheel bug and common cattle grub.

To save space, these publications are not listed exactly as they should be cited. The complete correct citation is: Author(s). (date of publication). Full title. UF/IFAS Featured Creatures. EENY- ###. URL

Some Featured Featured Creatures -

"I appreciate all the work you and your staff have done with the Featured Creatures website. I often refer homeowners and others to the site to get information about a certain pest or beneficial insect. The layout of the information is excellent, and the photographs are extremely helpful. I just received an email from a friend asking about lightning bugs, and I wanted to refer her to the Featured Creatures site, but I could not find an information sheet on lightning bugs. Are you planning on adding one in the future? I took a class with Dr. Lloyd, and it seems like he would be the perfect person to write a sheet on them, due to his wealth of knowledge on the topic. Thank you, again, for developing such a great website." - Kimberly A. Gallagher, Technical Sales/Product Coordinator/Entomologist - Entomos, Inc.

We agents don't say it as often as we should, but the Featured Creatures Articles are one of the most valuable resources on line we agents have available to us from Gainesville. Thank you very much for being there for us. I am one of the 130,000 daily [actually 'distinct visits' for all of May 2002] visitors that use it faithfully. - Raymond H. Zerba Jr, Horticulture Agent, Clay County, Florida

"This is great! Thanks for your efforts." - Barbra Bloetscher, of Ohio State University, after receiving an announcement that the Featured Creatures file on the Indianmeal moth had been updated with significantly revised text and a number of new photographs.

On October 9th, 2002, the Southwest Technical Resource Center for IPM in Schools and Childcare Facilities sent out a message asking "pest specialists" on its mailing list to provide information to a school district that was having problems with a crazy ant infestation. A member of the Texas Structural Pest Control Board replied to the message by simply providing a link to the Featured Creatures file on that species.


Scotty Long has been named "Graduate Student of the Year" by Alpha Zeta. Congratulations!

The latest winner of the UF Best of the Bugs award is the Robber Flies Web site based in Germany. The robber flies comprise a group of active insects that attract considerable attention in that the larvae and adults are predators of many other insects. Webmasters Fritz Geller-Grimm and Torsten Dikow have compiled a site that includes everything you might want to know about this large group - from ID keys to art depicting these insects. The site also contains many beautiful color photographs.

Dr. James P. Cuda was awarded a grant for $18,353 from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to conduct a survey on the Wacissa River for Hydrellia pakistanae (Diptera: Ephydridae) and Cricotopus lebetis (Diptera: Chironomidae), two insect natural enemies of the aquatic weed hydrilla.

Dr. Liburd and Erin Finn were recently (January 2003) awarded a grant of $39, 692 from the Florida Fruit and Vegetable Research Foundation to study species of flower thrips occurring in Florida blueberries. The project also plans to investigate reduced-risk tactics for control of flower thrips in blueberries. This is a 2.5-year project, which will be initiated in February 2003 until summer 2005. The project funding will be subsidized with a USDA-PMAP grant ($117,572) that Dr. Liburd received in summer of last year.

Dr. Liburd received first year funding $46,650 for his 2002 USDA-CSREES T-Star grant entitled "Utilization of living mulches to suppress cucurbit pests." The project is designed to compare conventional production practices of using synthetic mulches with selected living mulches to determine their impact on homopteran pests in cucurbits. The duration of the project is three years and first year funding was received in November.

Katie Barbara and Roxanne Burrus each have received the US Navy Health Services Collegiate Program scholarship. This is a very competitive scholarship: only 1-2 people are accepted each year into this medical program. As recipients, they will be entering the US Navy full-time after graduation as officers to serve as Medical Entomologists.


Dr. Marjorie Hoy presented a lecture, "Agricultural Bioterrorism," as part of the Florida Frontiers Lecture Series, February 5, 2003, at the Harn Museum of Art on the UF campus. The presentation was part of a program to help celebrate the University's Sesquicentennial celebration.

Thomas Fasulo gave one of the luncheon seminars at the Florida Mosquito Control Association's 2003 Dodd Plenary Short Courses on January 29, 2003. The title of his talk was "Infoviruses: Distributing Information Quickly Through a Population."

Dr. James P. Cuda attended the Annual Meeting of the Florida Aquatic Plant Management Society held in Daytona Beach, Florida, on November 13-15, 2002. Dr. Cuda is currently serving as a member of the FAPMS Board of Directors. He also was invited to give an oral presentation titled, "Biological Control of Brazilian Peppertree."

Dr. James P. Cuda attended the Annual Meeting of the Entomological Society of America held in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, on November 17-20, 2002. Dr. Cuda served as Chair of Section C (Biology, Ecology and Behavior), which is the largest section in ESA, and organized this year's Section C program. He served as moderator for one of the student competition oral presentations, and was invited to give oral presentations in two conference symposia. One of the presentations was titled, "Progress in Biological Control of Brazilian Peppertree and Tropical Soda Apple," and was co-authored by Dr. Julio Medal. The other presentation was titled, "Assessing Non-target Effects of the Brazilian Peppertree Sawfly to Native Fauna."

Cynthia Khoo and Luis Matos attended the annual meeting of the Entomological Society of America in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in November 2002.

Dr. James P. Cuda was invited to participate in the Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge's 7th Annual Exotic Plant Workshop for Southwest Florida that was held in Naples on December 3-4, 2002. Dr. Cuda was invited to give an oral presentation titled, "Prospects for Classical Biological Control of Strawberry Guava in Florida."

Dr. Oscar Liburd gave a summary of his 2002 blueberry research findings at the Southeastern Regional Fruit and Vegetable meeting, January 10-12, 2003, in Savannah, Georgia. This annual meeting is designed to educate growers on new production techniques in fruits and vegetables. More than 300 growers from around the southeast attended the meeting.

Dr. James P. Cuda was invited to participate in the USDA, CSREES Tropical and Subtropical Agricultural Research (T-STAR) Technical Committee Meeting that was held in Gainesville on December 10, 2002. Dr. Cuda gave an oral presentation on his research project that is funded by a T-STAR grant titled, "Biological Control of the Invasive Strawberry Guava for Caribfly Suppression."

Andy Rasmussen recently attended the 29th Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Water Pollution Biologists Association held in Panama City Beach, Florida. Andy presented a portion of his dissertation research in a talk titled, "Emergence of Adult Aquatic Insects from a Ravine Headwater Springrun".

Dr. James P. Cuda was invited to deliver a PowerPoint presentation on biological control of aquatic weeds and native insects commonly associated with aquatic plants for the Florida Mosquito Control Association's Annual Dodd Shortcourse held in Gainesville on January 27-31, 2003.

Andy Rasmussen and Manny Pescador presented a paper titled, "Megaloptera and Aquatic Neuroptera Biodiversity in Florida," at the ESA meeting in Ft. Lauderdale.

Dr. James P. Cuda was invited to deliver PowerPoint Presentation on biological control of weeds to an invasive plant-training workshop sponsored by the Florida Institute of Park Personnel, District 7. The workshop was held on January 15, 2003, in Port Charlotte Florida at the Charlotte Harbor Aquatic and State Buffer Preserves.

Dr. James P. Cuda was invited to become a member of the technology transfer team for The Areawide Management Evaluation Program for Melaleuca. TAME Melaleuca is a $4.7 million USDA areawide pest management program designed to demonstrate the effectiveness of a regionally applied integrated weed management approach for the suppression of Melaleuca in Florida emphasizing biological control.


Dear colleagues,

It is now or never that I let you know about my project oversees. As a former graduate student of Don W. Dickson (1998), I was recruited by Dr. Juerg Grunder to survey agriculturally important soils of Switzerland for the occurrence of root-knot nematodes, Meloidogyne spp. My goal was to standardize a simple and reliable identification technique and to recommend a biological control strategy for these nematodes. I had no more or no less than six months to complete this task.

Well, the time is almost up and there are far more questions now than before I began. Also, I have heard all the Dr. Nation stories there are (special regards to Dr. Nation from the Tschokke-Haus, which I am sharing with my two children right now). I also have learned how to ski quite well, and can now calm the Swiss' mind, in that the quarantined nematode, M. chitwoodii, hasn't reoccurred or spread any further. There are some severe infestations with M. incognita and M. arenaria, and M. hapla is on the rise. I couldn't help but look for the bacterial parasite, Pasteuria penetrans, too. Sure enough, there are Swiss P. penetrans and their populations are building up in the greenhouse right now. Based on the findings, an entire greenhouse has been added to the capacities of the FAW nematology team. The team isn't necessarily happy about the extra project in the coming season, but plant breeders and seed companies are very interested. They wish to combine their resistant rootstocks with bio-control agents. Although I would love to take on this project as well, my work permit is about to expire. I will be back in the States in March, leaving this beautiful country and my wonderful colleagues behind. This has been an experience worth renewing.

Keep peace in your hearts and see you soon. Yours always,

Elke Weibelzahl-Fulton.


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February 2003. Updated July 2003.