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New Grad Students for 2015New

​B. York

Date Added: 9/3/2015

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New graduate students (Spring '15, Summer '15 and ​Fall '15) were introduced to the Department at the picnic on September 2.  Pictured here, they are (back row) Gareth Powell, Matt Dittmann, Garrett Price, and Julius Eason; (front row) Julia Snyder, Crystal Purcell and Sara Stack.  Former MS student Aaron Myers is also continuing as a new PhD student.


Welcome students!

Purdue alum elected secretary-treasurer of ESA SW branch

​ESA News

Date Added: 8/31/2015
Eric Rebek.jpgDr. Eric J. Rebek is an associate professor and extension entomologist at Oklahoma State University, Dept. of Entomology and Plant Pathology in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Eric earned his B.S. (1996) and M.S. (1999) in Entomology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and his Ph.D. (2004) in Entomology from Purdue University. Before arriving at OSU in 2007, he worked at Michigan State University as a post-doctoral research associate and had responsibilities in research, teaching, and extension. Eric currently holds a 100% extension appointment in horticultural entomology, specializing in insect pests of turfgrass, ornamentals, vegetables, and grapes. His research efforts support his extension program and include insecticide efficacy testing and integrated pest management strategies for horticultural crops. He supervised a Ph.D. student who won the J.H. Comstock Award in 2013, and he currently advises one Ph.D. and one M.S. student working on biological control in greenhouses and vineyards, respectively. Eric has a strong history of service to ESA, including the ESA Common Names Committee (chair), the Resolutions Committee, judging and moderating for student competitions, and subject editor for the Journal of Integrated Pest Management. For ESA-SWB, he has served on the Linnaean Games Committee (former coach and current Gamesmaster), Awards Committee, and Student Competition Committee. Eric is a member of the Society of Southwestern Entomologists and he served as Co-Chair of the Program Committee of the ESA-SWB Annual Meetings held in Amarillo, TX (2011) and San Antonio, TX (2014).
Alum Michael Kanost elected ESA Fellow

​ESA News

Date Added: 8/31/2015

​​Michael Kanost.jpgDr. Michael R. Kanost is University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics at Kansas State University. He is internationally known for his research in biochemistry and immunology of insects.

Kanost was born in Cheyenne, Wyoming, in 1956 and moved with his family to Broomfield, Colorado, at age 12. He received a B.S. with majors in zoology and entomology from Colorado State University in 1979. He earned a Ph.D. in entomology at Purdue University in 1983, mentored by Dr. Peter Dunn and investigating synthesis of hemolymph antibacterial proteins stimulated by bacterial infection in Manduca sexta. From 1983-1986, he was a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Biology at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, working with Dr. G.R. Wyatt on regulation of hemolymph protein synthesis by juvenile hormone. He moved to the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Arizona, working with the late Dr. Michael Wells at an exciting time, the beginning of the Center for Insect Science. He was a Research Associate (1986-1989) and then Research Assistant Professor (1989-1991) at Arizona, investigating biochemistry of lipophorin and then beginning a study of serpins in insect hemolymph that has continued for 25 years. In 1991, Kanost became Assistant Professor of Biochemistry at Kansas State University, with promotion to University Distinguished Professor in 2005. He served as head of the Department from 2002-2012.

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Cate Hill discusses West Nile Virus

​Matt Meyer, City Editor
August 27, 2015

Date Added: 8/28/2015

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Dr. Catherine Hill was recently interviewed by the Purdue Exponent regarding the confirmed cases of West Nile virus in Indiana.  To read the entire article, click ​West Nile virus in Indiana.

Michael Garvey featured bicycling to class

​Eliana Yu, Photo Editor

Date Added: 8/28/2015

Garvey, Michael.JPGMichael Garvey, PhD Student, was photographed bicycling to class and dodging concrete barriers on the Ag campus.  His photo was featured in the August 27, 2015 issue of the Purdue Exponent.  To view Michael ​and his bicycle, click on Michael goes to class.

Boiler Bug Barn featured in Purdue Today

​Paige Pope

Date Added: 8/28/2015

Pearson, Gwen upright.jpgThe Bug Barn in the department was featured in the Purdue Today online news on August 28, 2015.  Outreach Coordinator Gwen Pearson explained the transitioning of the collection and how it will change and improve.


To view the article, click Boiler Bug Barn.

Greg Hunt's breeding program gains notoriety

​S. Yaninek

Date Added: 8/26/2015


NPR found out about the Purdue honey bee queen breeding program at the state picnic, which resulted in some very positive press for the work of Dr. Greg Hunt and his bee lab.  In addition to being cited by beekeeper Jeff Berta in "The Allegheny Front Environmental Radio," Building a Better Honeybee, Dr. Hunt was also interviewed personally and that voice interview is available at Purdue mite biters.

The alluring firefly: nature's lightning bug may hold key to medical breakthroughs

​Jane McInnis
August 19, 2015

Date Added: 8/21/2015


Dr. Tom Turpin was quoted in a recent article in regarding the role of bioluminescence in potential medical procedures.  To read the entire article, click firefly breakthroughs.

Faculty retreat 2015

​S. Yaninek

Photo courtesy of John Obermeyer

Date Added: 8/20/2015

EntmFacultyRetreatAugust2015 (00000002).jpg

The entomology  faculty gathered on Wednesday, August 19th at the Daniel Turf Center for their annual retreat.  


One agenda item was the presentation of the Distinguished Professor medallion to Larry L. Murdock, who was named a Distinguished Professor of Entomology by the Board of Trustees on May.  Dr. Murdock is the first professor of entomology to receive this award.

Sweat bees or harmless flies?

​Angela Ganote - August 19, 2015

Date Added: 8/20/2015


Everyone knows that sweat bees are a summer staple, like sunburns and lightningbugs.  But are they really bees?  Tom Turpin was recently interviewed for the Fox 59 segment, Angela Answers.  View his interview here.

Krispn Given teaches the 2015 Instrumental Insemination class

​K. Given

Date Added: 8/20/2015

Krispn Given I I Class 2015.jpgKrispn Given, in the Purdue bee lab, taught the art of Instrumental Insemination to six students from five states: Indiana, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio and Idaho.  I. I. is an important tool in selecting bees that possess desirable traits, such as gentleness and honey production.  The two-day course covered everything from sterile technique to banking inseminated queens. 
All the students did a fantastic job and maybe - with a little practice - one will emerge as a significant breeder some day.  Each student was able to see the technique on a monitor as Krispn successfully inseminated a queen.  Our current focus is on selecting bees that chew Varroa destructor, a parasitic mite that sucks the hemolymph and vectors viruses to honey bees worldwide.  Through the use of I. I. we are able to speed up the selection process.
Cicada Weather Predictors

​Tom Turpin
On Six Legs, August 13, 2015

Date Added: 8/19/2015

CicadaAnnualSideBranch72 (00000002).jpgIn June while on a family trip to visit the Grand Canyon we took a side excursion to Montezuma Castle National Monument near Camp Verde, Arizona. We stopped to see the cliff dwellings of the Ancestral Puebloan people who resided there some 1000 years ago. 


The cliff dwellings carved into the rock high up the mountainside in that hot and dry Arizona environment were interesting.  So was the little canal these ancient people had constructed to provide water for crop growth in this arid environment. But I must admit that what really caught my attention was what sounded like cicadas singing from the sycamore and cottonwood trees growing in the valley below the cliff dwellings.

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Snyder wins Alexander B. Klots Award

​Ben Prickel

Date Added: 8/14/2015

BedBug 8758 (7).jpg​​Graduate student, Julia Snyder, won the Alexander B. Klots Award for Best Student Poster at the Annual Meeting of the Lepidopterists’ Society. Julia presented the results from her Molecular Agriculture Summer Institutes (MASI) undergraduate student internship last summer.​

ALERT! Bed Bugs In and On Campus

​Kaley Higgins, Summer Reporter

Date Added: 8/7/2015

BedBug 8758 (7).jpgWith the annual influx of students to the Purdue campus, the threat of bed bugs in dorms and apartments needs to be considered.  For information regarding this problem, and Dr. Tim Gibb's comments and recommendations, see the article in this week's Exponent by clicking on Bed Bugs Move In, Too!

Insect-inspired Boot Jacks

​Tom Turpin
On Six Legs

Date Added: 7/23/2015

Boot Jacks.jpgBoot jacks are something that all of us who grew up on a farm have probably used at one time or another. They are devices that aid in removal of a person’s boots. The boot jack allows you to take off your boots without touching them with your hands.  It could be said that boot jacks are a “hands free” device, just like the cellphones that are designed so that you can use them and still keep your hands on the steering wheel of an automobile. 


I don’t think that driving a vehicle while talking on a cellphone is a good idea even if the device is hands-free. However, the idea of removing your boots without touching them is very a good thing indeed. Here’s why: People associated with the livestock industry often wear boots. That means that farm boots are likely to come in contact with all kinds of stuff, including animal manure. Boots adorned with manure can be a sign of a hard-working person, but they are a bit messy to remove. That’s where the no-hands boot jack comes in.

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2015 Butterfly Encounter Produces Typical Results

​B. York

Date Added: 7/20/2015

Identify and Tally.jpgOver 50 butterfly enthusiasts gathered on Saturday, July 18th at the Evonik Wildlife Habitat Area learn about butterflies and participate in our annual census.  This year 316 individuals from 27 species of butterflies and skippers were counted.  No new species were counted.  Complete counts from 2015 and all previous years are posted at Butterfly Counts.

Purdue Hosts First Buprestid/Cerambycid Training Workshop

​Gino Nearns with Beth York

Date Added: 7/17/2015

O2015-BeetleWorshop-Purdue-edited.jpgn July 15th and 16th, our department hosted the First Annual Buprestid/ Cerambycid Training Workshop for insect surveyors (such as CAPS and USDA) to help them perform their work more efficiently and effectively.  Twenty-three trainees from as far away as California and Oregon learned better trapping techniques and were given identification keys and information.  Funded by the Farm Bill, the workshop will move around the country, being offered in a different state each year so that all who are interested in learning more about these wood borers have the opportunity to attend.  The 2016 training will be in Florida. 


Key organizers for the workshop were Gino Nearns, PERC Collections Manager and Bobby Brown, USDA-APHIS Insect Identifier.  When asked to pull together this workshop, they planned the entire event, including the venue, agenda and training materials.  Larry Bledsoe, current Indiana CAPS Survey Coordinator, also attended this workshop.

Bee Lab Wins HHBBC Award

​Krispn Given

Date Added: 7/15/2015

HHBBC Award 2015.jpgOver five hundred beekeepers and scientists attended the 14th annual Heartland Apicultural Society (HAS) meeting in beautiful Albion, Michigan this year.  This three-day event enjoyed record attendance!


Greg Hunt and Krispn Given from the Purdue bee lab received an award given by the Heartland Honey Bee Breeders Cooperative (HHBBC) at the HAS meeting.  The award is for distinguishing themselves in the world of apiculture through the development of bees that chew mites, and instrumental insemination.


Congratulations to Greg and Krispn!

GERI Outreach/Enrichment at Purdue

​Julie Speelman

Date Added: 7/13/2015

​​GERI kids.jpgThese students from Indiana, Ohio, Maryland, and South Korea attended the Gifted Education Resource Institute (GERI) last week here in the department.  This program offers enrichment programs for gifted, creative and talented youth.  They participated in the class entitled "Entomologists in Progress" where the students learned about basic insect biology, diversity and collection/curation techniques.  Some of the activities included setting pitfall traps, using Burlese funnels, and participating in night collecting at Purdue's Horticultural Park.

The Comstocks of Cornell

​Tom Turpin
On Six Legs
July 9, 2015

Date Added: 7/9/2015

ComstockBooks200.jpgTo some, "The Comstocks of Cornell" might suggest the title of a made-for-TV reality show. But this is a real-life saga about John Henry Comstock and Anna Botsford Comstock. They were a husband and wife team associated with Cornell University in New York from the early years of that Ivy League school and throughout their academic careers. John Henry was an entomologist, and Anna Botsford was a naturalist and wood engraver. 


John Henry Comstock was born in 1849 near Janesville, Wisconsin, where his parents had moved from New York. His father abandoned their farm and died of cholera while traveling on a covered wagon to search for gold in California. His mother lost the farm, and young Comstock ended up living unhappily with relatives for a few years. Eventually, a New York family took him in. As a young man, he served as a cook on a ship in the Great Lakes to earn money for his education. He was interested in science but had no special interest in insects until he discovered a book titled "Insects Injurious to Vegetation" by Thaddeus Harris. The beautifully illustrated volume piqued his interest, and he purchased the book to take with him to the schooner where he worked.

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