The undergraduate Molecular Agriculture Summer Institute (MASI) completed its second year. Eight students worked with faculty members to complete research projects and learned the importance of communicating their research to colleagues, industry representatives, grant-gifting organizations, and the general public. In July the students presented their research projects to employees of Dow AgroSciences at the Indianapolis facility. They also toured the PUrdue Meigs Farm.
MASI undergraduates outside of Dow AgroSciences include Hannah Quellhorst and Emily Justus, pictured here second and third from the right.
Purdue's bee lab in entomology finished the annual honey harvest last Monday, September 7th. They were able to extract all the honey from the combs. The photo shows participating members in their PPE.
Tom Turpin, On Six LegsSeptember 10, 2015
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, or so English cleric Charles Colton wrote in 1820. It was one of the bits of wisdom that he included in his book Lacon; or Many Things in a Few Words: Addressed to Those Who Think. Now almost 200 years later, this bit of wisdom might still be true.
Apparently marketing executives think so. They spend millions of dollars on advertising campaigns where well-known celebrities hawk products and services. That is because many of us want to imitate those celebrities and are willing to part with cold, hard cash to do so. Think Michael Jordan and Air Jordan basketball shoes or Elizabeth Taylor and White Diamonds perfume. Then there is Eric Baldwin for Priceline.com and the Capital One Venture card that has also been promoted by the likes of Samuel L. Jackson and Jennifer Garner.
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The September 9, 2015 issue of the Purdue Exponent featured an article on the Bug Barn and an interview with Outreach Coordinator Gwen Pearson. To see the entire article, go to Boiler Bug Barn.
New students (since fall of 2014), returning students, faculty and staff enjoyed food and fun at the department picnic on September 3, 2015. To see photos of the festivities, click on picnic fun!
Dr. Steve Yaninek has announced that he will step out of the role of head of the Department of Entomology to return to his scholarly activities, effective fall 2016. "We are very grateful to Dr. Yaninek for his leadership over the last 15 years," said Dean Jay Akridge. "He has been a great ambassador for the department." Dr. Bob Joly, Professor of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, will chair the search advisory committee for the next Entomology Department Head and the following faculty and staff have agreed to serve on the committee:
Tom Turpin, On Six LegsAugust 27, 2015Photo: David Nicholls
This has been a good year for insects that many people call sweat bees. At least it has been if the number of people inquiring about them is any indication. These insects really aren’t bees and cannot sting. So the alarm that the name “sweat bees” generates in some people isn’t justified.
These insects are really flies and are known by several common names in addition to the inappropriate name of sweat bees. Sometimes they are called hover flies because they often hover in place while flying. They feed on pollen from flowers so some people refer to them as flower flies. Other people call them drone flies because of the droning sound they produce when in flight. Entomologists call them syrphids. That name is based on their scientific family name of Syrphidae, a word from the old Greek that meant a small, flying insect.
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, Mat 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.
Dr. 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.
Matt Meyer, City EditorAugust 27, 2015
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.
Eliana Yu, Photo Editor
Michael 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.
The 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.
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.
Jane McInnisAugust 19, 2015
Dr. Tom Turpin was quoted in a recent article in theguardian.com regarding the role of bioluminescence in potential medical procedures. To read the entire article, click firefly breakthroughs.
Photo courtesy of John Obermeyer
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.
Angela GanoteFox59.com - August 19, 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.
Tom TurpinOn Six Legs, August 13, 2015
In 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.
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.
Kaley Higgins, Summer Reporter
With 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!
Tom TurpinOn Six Legs7/23/15
Boot 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.
Over 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.
Gino Nearns with Beth York
On 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.
Over 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!
These 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.
Tom TurpinOn Six LegsJuly 9, 2015
To 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.
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 http://www.entm.purdue.edu/Spring2015.pdf .