2012 News


 2012 Entomology News

Casey Butler (BS ’03, MS ’06), Starks Plant Resistance to Insects Graduate Student Research Award Research
This aricle eppeared in the Winter 2012 Newsletter of the "The Entomological Foundation"
Date Added: 3/2/2012
Potato psyllid 

Dr. Casey D. Butler recently received his PhD from the University of California-Riverside (UCR) and earned his BS (’03) and MS (’06) degrees from Purdue University. At UCR, Casey’s research focused on the development of management strategies for the potato psyllid, Bactericera cockerelli (Sulc), in southern California, a major pest of solanaceous crops. The goal of his research is to build the foundation of integrated pest management against this pest by first developing sampling plans in agricultural fields and then move toward more targeted chemical tools, biological control, and host plant resistance. His research regarding host plant resistance involved collaborators at the USDA-ARS and Texas A&M University. Twenty-two potato genotypes were tested on adult potato psyllids for possible antizenosis to determine if specific breeding clones or varieties can decrease transmission of Ca. L. psyllaurous. Five of the potato genotypes significantly decreased transmission compared to controls. The next step is to test these promising genotypes in the field before recommendations can be made for the most effective integration with a management program. Casey is a R&D scientist at Syngenta Crop Protection, Inc.

He said: This is a special honor and I am extremely grateful for receiving the Kenneth and Barbara Starks Plant Resistance to Insects Graduate Student Research Award. Being acknowledged with this award has further encouraged my interest in host plant resistance to insects in agricultire.

Kevin Steffey (BS ’72) – Part of ECB Team – wins IPM Team Award
This aricle eppeared in the Winter 2012 Newsletter of the "The Entomological Foundation"
Date Added: 3/2/2012
Dr. Kevin Steffey

Kevin Steffey (BS ’72) was one of ten ECB team members and eight associate team members awarded the Integrative Pest Management Team Award (sponsored by Dow AgroSciences).

The European Corn Borer Team documented a 6.9 billion dollar cumulative benefit to U.S. corn producers resulting from 14 years of area-wide suppression of the pest Ostrinia nubilalis (Hubner) following the adoption of transgenic corn, specifically corn hybrids expressing one or more insecticidal proteins of the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis. The team found a significant decline in ECB larval and moth populations for five major corn-growing states in the central U.S. Corn Belt. The team had access to, or collected, long-term (50+ years) larval and moth population data that allowed a quantitative analysis of population change before and after the introduction of Bt corn. In brief, the area-wide suppression occurs over time because Bt corn, as a form of host plant resistance, continues to be highly effective, providing virtually 100% control of the pest with no field-evolved resistance to Bt. The analysis confirmed that in addition to the direct benefits to Bt corn producers, nearly 63% of the savings ($4.9 billion) actually accrued to non-Bt corn growers. The team’s findings were reported by Science, NPR, the Associated Press, German Public Radio, and other news outlets.

Fighting Ants Fodder for Writers
Tom Turpin
From "On Six Legs"
February 23, 2012 issue
Date Added: 2/24/2012
Cartoon clip art of ant in army fighting gear 

Ants, it seems, relish a good fight. If you take a moment to observe ants in nature, you will notice that battles between different species of ants are a common occurrence. Such hostile encounters within the ant world have inspired many a writer to take up pen and ink, or in modern times keyboard and screen, to capture the moment.

While he lived at Walden Pond, Henry David Thoreau witnessed ants in the woodpile engaged in less-than-friendly activities. Based on his observations, he wrote "The Battle of the Ants," an excerpt from "Walden." In his essay, Thoreau described the ants as "the red republicans on the one hand, and the black imperialists on the other." Thoreau was amazed at the tenacity of the battling ants and wrote, "It was evident that their battle-cry was 'Conquer or die.'"

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Did You Know?: Purdue Entomological Research Collection
Reprinted from Purdue Today
February 23, 2012 issue
Date Added: 2/23/2012
Arwin Provonsha amid the vast Entomology Department insect collection 

The Purdue Entomological Research Collection (PERC), whose specimens date back to the beginnings of the University, contains the largest, most complete insect reference collection in Indiana. It's basically a library of bugs. From the exotic (consider the Madagascar hissing cockroach) to the invasive (an Oriental beetle now represents a serious threat to Indiana plants), PERC offers more than 2 million insects representing more than 150,000 species. And they add approximately 15,000 new specimens each year.

Arwin Provonsha, the curator and scientific illustrator, though partially retired, maintains a full-time passion for insects. He's drawn thousands of them, illustrating a dozen books, and, since starting in 1971, he's been the point man for identifying and tagging the creatures as they've passed through PERC.

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Hermetic bags save African crop, but not how experts once thought
Brian Wallheimer
From the Purdue Newsroom February 21, 2012
Date Added: 2/22/2012
Alternate text to describe the picture goes here 

To see a video of the PICS bag story, click here.


The hermetic grain storage bags that cut off oxygen to weevils and have saved West and Central African farmers hundreds of millions of dollars by putting the brakes on the insects' rapid multiplication don't merely suffocate them as once thought, a Purdue University study shows.

More than 25 years after introducing the Purdue Improved Cowpea Storage (PICS) bags to farmers in Africa, Larry Murdock, a professor of insect physiology, discovered that weevils produce much of their water themselves through metabolic processes. When oxygen in the bags decreases, the weevils cannot use it to create water, and instead of suffocating, they eventually die of thirst.

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Mild winter likely to increase insect, weed pressures
Jennifer Stewart
From February 17, 2012
Purdue Today
Date Added: 2/17/2012
Bean leaf beetle on green leaf 

Crop pests may be more abundant in Indiana farm fields this spring because of what continues to be a mild winter.

Some species of insects and weeds may have benefited from the warmer-than-normal temperatures and lack of snowfall in the state, two Purdue Extension specialists say.

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Local educator and friend of Entomology honored as teacher of the year
From WLFI-TV.com
February 13, 2012
Date Added: 2/15/2012
Joe Ruhl, biology teacher at Jefferson High School, Lafayette 

The top science educator in the country has been named and he can be found right in Lafayette.

Joe Ruhl, a biology teacher at Lafayette Jeff, has been recognized by the National Science Teaching Association.

The Shell National Science Teaching Award recognizes outstanding teaching and a positive impact on students.  Ruhl was nominated in August.  Two weeks ago, a committee of judges came to Lafayette to watch Ruhl's teaching techniques in the classroom.

Ruhl said he is honored and humbled by the award.  “The best part of this whole thing has been how excited the students have gotten about this. I mean, that's just warmed my heart beyond words,” said Ruhl.
In addition to the title of the top science educator in the country, Ruhl also was awarded with $10,000 and an all expenses paid trip to the National Science Teacher Convention.
Insect Scales Weigh on Plants
Tom Turpin
"On Six Legs"
February 10, 2012 Issue
Date Added: 2/14/2012
Tamarisk manna scale (manna) 

There are many types of scales. Some are small plate-like structures that form the external covering of fish or reptiles. There are flakey scales, such as the rust that forms on metal. A system of ordered marks, such as a ruler with inches and centimeters, used for measurements is also called a scale. Another type of scale is a series of tones in music. Other scales, such as the one in your bathroom, are designed for weighing things.

There are also scales in the world of insects - a fact that almost anyone who raises plants for either fun or profit can attest. That's because scales of the insect kind are major plant pests.

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Paul A. Cammer (MS '74, PhD '85) and students featured on Cool Schools
From 9NewsNow Television News
Washington, D.C.
Date Added: 2/10/2012
Dr. Paul A. Cammer 

Moving a wheel chair just by thinking about it? Students at Thomas Jefferson High School are doing some amazing research in neuroscience and they have figured out how to do exactly that!

To view video click here.

Dr. Cate Hill helps develop new method to control vector insects
As printed in January 30, 2012 edition of Purdue University News Service
Sources: Catherine A. Hill, Val J. Watts, Vicky Montenegro
Date Added: 1/31/2012
Val J. Watts and Catherine A. Hill, Purdue researchers, prepare a test on insect larvae 

Purdue researchers are discovering the next generation of insecticides directed at disease-carrying insects like mosquitoes, ticks and tsetse flies, which could help professionals in the human health, veterinary and crop production sectors.

Catherine A. Hill, associate professor of entomology in the College of Agriculture, and Val J. Watts, professor of medicinal chemistry and molecular pharmacology in the College of Pharmacy, say vector insects - which carry and transmit infectious pathogens or parasites to other living organisms - are developing resistance to insecticides sprayed in the air or embedded in bed nets. The increased resistance makes insecticides less effective.

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These Insects Rob for Food, Not Money
Tom Turpin
From January 27, 2012 issue of "On Six Legs"
Date Added: 1/31/2012
Robber fly eating Japanese beetle on a green leaf 

Human history has had its share of infamous robbers. In the United States, Jesse James, Bonnie and Clyde, and John Dillinger come to mind. England was home to Robin Hood and Dick Turpin; individuals who it is said sometimes helped themselves to the money of others.

In the interest of full disclosure, to my knowledge, the English outlaw Dick Turpin is not one of my ancestors. While being related to a legendary robber might not seem to be a good thing, in this case, it does have its perks. People with the surname Turpin are sometimes given a free drink at Dick Turpin British pubs!

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Michelle Lee - Study Abroad Student
Steve Yaninek
Date Added: 1/30/2012
Department Head Steve Yaninek with study abroad student Michelle Lee 

Please welcome Michelle Lee, an entomology student currently studying at Purdue as an exchange student from the National Taiwan University in Taipei, Taiwan.

Michelle was born in Starkville, Mississippi where her father received his PhD in food science. Her father took a faculty position at Da-Yeh University in Taiwan after his studies and now works in the food industry.

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Larry Murdock Helps Develop PICS Project in Afghanistan
As published on the USAid web site
at http://idea.usaid.gov/div/purdue-grain-storage
Date Added: 1/26/2012
Logo of the Purdue Improved Cowpea Storage Project 

THE NEED: Grain storage loss can cost farmers 25%-30% of their yield for the season. In Afghanistan, over 30 million people depend on stored grains for consumption.

THE SOLUTION: Jump start the supply chain for low-cost hermetic storage bags to help Afghan farmers avoid storage loss of grains.

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2012 PMC Offers Cutting Edge Information
Will Nepper
As abstraced from PMP Buzz Online eNewsletter
Used with Permission
Date Added: 1/20/2012
Gary Bennett 

“We’re celebrating our Centennial. Beginning in 1912, this year marks 100 years of entomology here at Purdue University,” said Gary Bennett, professor of urban pest management for Purdue’s Entomology Department, at the kick-off of the Annual Purdue Pest Management Conference held January 9-11. “This is the 76th pest management conference we’ve held here, and every year, input from our attendees helps us to make each conference more enriching than the one before.”

The three-day conference offered more than 20 educational sessions, giving attendees the opportunity to step up to pest management’s cutting edge by learning about new technologies, techniques and business strategies. Highlights of this year’s conference included a Monday morning session by Hall of Famer Paul Hardy, senior technical director of Orkin Pest Control. He explored new technologies available to pest management professionals (PMPs) and some of the improved integrated pest management strategies changing the way many companies are conducting the technical side of their businesses.

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Entomology Staff Recognition
Steve Yaninek
Date Added: 1/19/2012
Charles Aaron, Vicki Cassens, Larry Bledsoe and Arwin Provonsha 

Purdue University honored staff for their years of service at the Provost Recognition Luncheon on January 19, 2012 in the Purdue Memorial Union. Those recognized from Entomology included Charles Aaron (10 years), Lori Edwards (10 years), Vicki Cassens (25 years), Larry Bledsoe (30 years) and Arwin Provonsha (40 years).

Congratulations to the honorees for their dedication, service and contributions to the department and the university. Attached is a photo of the award winners who attended the ceremony.

Little Insects on the Prairie
Tom Turpin
"On Six Legs"
January 12, 2012
Date Added: 1/17/2012
Green grasshopper on green leaf 

Almost everyone has read or heard a story that begins with, "Once upon a time." That phrase is often used to introduce a fable or a tale with its origins in bygone days. For example, "The Story of the Three Bears" begins, "Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Goldilocks."

Once upon a time in the Midwestern United States there existed a major ecosystem - the tallgrass prairie. It covered some 142 million acres from western Indiana through Illinois and Iowa to the eastern parts of Nebraska and Kansas.

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Purdue Researchers Greg Hunt and Christian Krupke: Honeybee deaths linked to seed insecticide exposure
Brian Wallheimer
as published in Purdue Today
January 11, 2012
Date Added: 1/12/2012
Honey bee on large leaf 

Honeybee populations have been in serious decline for years, and Purdue University scientists may have identified one of the factors that cause bee deaths around agricultural fields.

Analyses of bees found dead in and around hives from several apiaries over two years in Indiana showed the presence of neonicotinoid insecticides, which are commonly used to coat corn and soybean seeds before planting. The research showed that those insecticides were present at high concentrations in waste talc that is exhausted from farm machinery during planting.

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