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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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Spring Newsletter Now Available

​B. York

Date Added: 7/9/2015

Newsletter Image.JPG

The Spring 2015 issue of Entomology@Purdue is now available.  You may go to Alumni & Friends on this page, and then click on Entomology Newsletter, or just click on .

Jon Neal to present a Wednesdays in the Wild program

​J. Neal

Date Added: 7/6/2015
Rare butterfly1.jpgWednesdays in the Wild is a weekly program at the Lilly Nature Center/Celery Bog Nature Area on Lindberg Road in West Lafayette.  These programs are sponsored by Mary Cutler, Naturalist, Tippecanoe County Parks and Recreation Department; Dan Dunten, Stewardship Director, West Lafayette Parks and Recreation Department; Sycamore Audubon Society; West Central Chater of INPAWS (Indiana Native Plant and Wildflower Society); and NICHES Land Trust.
The July 15th program will be led by Jonathan Neal - he will give a brief indoor presentation on our local butterflies, followed by an outdoor butterfly identification walk.  This will be great preparation for the Butterfly Encounter coming up on July 18th. 
For more information on Wednesdays in the Wild, see their web page at .

Lightningbug or Firefly?

​Tom Turpin
On Six Legs, 6/25/15

Illustration by Arwin Provonsha

Date Added: 6/30/2015

IFirefly_drawing200.jpgndiana warm summer nights that follow the summer solstice – the shortest night of the year and the official beginning of summer – mean it's prime time for aerial displays of luminescent insects. These insects are beetles that are classified scientifically in the insect family Lampyridae. 


Of course, few people use the term Lampyridae in reference to flashers of the insect type, except maybe an old entomologist or two. Most folks refer to the aerial showoffs by using a common name: either firefly or lightningbug.

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Queen Rearing Class a huge success

​K. Given

Date Added: 6/26/2015

2015 Queen Rearing Class.jpg

The Purdue Bee Laboratory held the Queen Rearing Class on June 20, 2015 with 29 students from six states participating!  This was the most "bee informed" group in the history of the class, so things progressed smoothly.  Participants finished transferring the 24-hour larvae to the queen cups in just over an hour.  The students had about 35% cell acceptance, and some will return this coming weekend to collect their 10-day queen cells.

Good job! 
Purdue shines at NCB-ESA

​B. York

Date Added: 6/25/2015

​Several graduate students and visiting scientists traveled to Manhattan, Kansas for the 2015 meeting of the North Central Branch of ESA.  The following awards were presented.


BS/MS Ten Minute Presentations P-IE: Bridget Blood - 3rd place. Title: Thousand cankers disease: attraction of Pityophthorus juglandis to volatiles associated with black walnut and Geosmithia morbida
PhD Poster Presentations PBT,SysEB, P-IE: Andres Sandoval-Mojica - 3rd place. Title: Determination and silencing optimization of the main components in the Reticulitermes flavipes peritrophic matrix [click Andres Sandoval for photo]NCB-ESA 2015 Linnaean Game Team.jpg
Linnaean Games: Purdue - 2nd place (Linnaean team pictured at right)
Triplehorn Challenge Pinning Competition: Yan Yan - 5th place [click Yan Yan for photo]
Student Travel Scholarhsips: Bridget Blood, Alexandra Duffy, Gabriel Hughes [click Alli Duffy and Gabriel Hughes for photos] 
Congratulations to all who competed!
Purdue Bee Lab field day trains beekeepers

​B. York

Date Added: 6/19/2015


​​The Purdue bee lab is featured in the June 19, 2015 issue of JConline.  To read the article, click on bee lab field day.

Dave Hogg (BS '71; MS '74) wins award at NCB

​B. York

Date Added: 6/19/2015

Dave Hogg.jpgPurdue alumnus Dave Hogg (BS '71; MS '74) was recently honored at the ESA NCB meeting in Manhattan, Kansas, when he was presented the C. V. Riley Achievement Award.  Paula Davis from DuPont Pioneer presented the plaque to Dave (pictured) which indicates that it is awarded "for outstanding and significant contribution to the science of entomology."


Congratulations to Dave!

Brittany Peterson attends short course in insect pathology

​Brittany Peterson
June 16, 2015

Date Added: 6/18/2015

Letter received from Brittany Peterson to Steve Yaninek:InsectPathGroupPic.jpg

I just wanted to thank you again for helping to support my visit to Cornell University last week for the Short Course in Insect Pathology. Together with funding from the department and from the PGSG Professional Grant, I was able to join participants from half a dozen countries representing academic, government, and industry institutions. We had a great time learning about the breadth of insect pathology from experts in the field and exploring all the beauty Ithaca had to offer. Attached is a picture of our group at Taughannock Falls after a day of learning, collecting, and hiking. Thanks again for such a wonderful opportunity!
Vanishing Moths?

​Tom Turpin
On Six Legs
June 11, 2015

Date Added: 6/10/2015


More than once I have been asked some version of this question: Where have all the big moths gone? Almost always the questioner elaborates by saying something like: "Every summer when I was a kid there would be nights when several large moths would be fluttering around our porch light. I haven't seen any of those giant moths for years." 


As an entomologist I have learned not to jump to conclusions when responding to questions such as this, especially when the term "big, large or giant" is used. The size estimation of an insect is something that varies widely according to the eyes of the beholder.

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Larry Murdock's achievements cited in Daily World

​Tom Campbell

Date Added: 6/9/2015


A local newspaper in Greene County, Indiana, recently featured Larry Murdock and ​honored his appointment as Distinguished Professor.  To read the entire article, click Daily World honors Murdock.

2015 Butterfly Encounter coming up!

​Jon Neal

Date Added: 6/5/2015

TButterfly Count.jpghe annual Butterfly Encounter will be held at the Evonik Nature Center from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. on July 18th - that's the third Saturday in July.  There are typically two guides for each group, so if anyone can serve as a volunteer guide, contact Jon Neal.  He will do a walk-through of the site on July 11th or 12th (which everyone is welcome to attend) and will host a brief, informal training with displays and guides on Friday, July 17 from 1:30 to 3:00 p.m. 


This is a popular field event and help is greatly appreciated.

Linnaean team takes second at ESA NCB

​Alli Duffy

Date Added: 6/2/2015

2015 Linnaean Team.jpgThe Purdue Linnaean team Boilered Up and earned second place after a 4 question sudden death final match in the Linnaean games at the North Central Branch meeting and qualified to participate at the national meeting in Minneapolis this fall!


Congratulations, team!


[Pictured are team members Andres Sandoval, Bridget Blood, Alli Duffy and Gabriel Hughes.]

Lepidopterists' Society meets in July at Purdue

​Dr. Jen Zaspel

Date Added: 6/2/2015

Lepidop Soc logo.jpgThe Department of Entomology, Purdue Entomological Research Collection (PERC) and Conferences at Purdue University invite you to attend the 64th Annual Meeting of the Lepidopterists' Society July 28 to August 2, 2015.  Please mark your calendar for this meeting which will be held in Purdue's Stewart Center in West Lafayette, Indiana.  


For more information about this meeting, visit their website at PERC updates.

Bookworms and Worms in Books

​Tom Turpin
On Six Legs
May 28, 2015

Date Added: 6/1/2015

Silverfish200.jpgWhen I was growing up, there were some kids in our school who were known as bookworms. These kids always seemed to have their nose in a book. I enjoyed reading as a child, but I am sure no one would have thought of me as a bookworm.  That is because when given the choice in those days I would be outside communing with nature rather than poring over the printed page. 


Most dictionaries define a bookworm as someone who is fascinated by reading; however, the online Urban Dictionary captures the essence of what I consider a bookworm with this definition: a person who is so fascinated by books that he does not know what is happening in the world. We have all known people, young or old, like that – for example, those who miss an appointment because they are so engrossed in a book that they lose track of time. Such people are bookworms for sure!




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