[12/02/13] The University of Minnesota Bee Squad supports all bees and all levels of beekeepers. The Squad team engages in a compelling mix of scientific research and practical application. Founded by Marla Spivak, Bee Squad programs are designed to help novices bypass the trial-and-error stages of beekeeping, and get straight to the most efficient, successful management practices. MinnPost
[11/22/13] The loss of bugs is no small matter. Insects help stitch together the web of life with essential services, breaking plants down into organic matter, for example, and dispersing seeds. They are a prime source of food for birds. Critically, some 80 percent of our food crops are pollinated by insects, primarily the 4,000 or so species of the flying dust mops called bees. "All of them are in trouble," said Marla Spivak, a professor of apiculture at the University of Minnesota. New York Times
Worms are a way of life for Lee and Joann French
[11/22/13] Since 1968, Lee French has made a fascinating living by raising worms for agricultural research. French, and his wife Joann, live near Lamberton, and raise about 10 different kinds of insects and ship them to major agricultural companies for research. ...“I started college in 1968, and right away, went to work at the Southwest Research and Outreach Station in Lamberton,” French said. “I started raising insects in my own barn in 1982." French is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Entomology at the University of Minnesota. Redwood Falls Gazette
[11/18/13] UMN researchers have developed a new approach for identifying potential environmental effects of deliberate releases of genetically engineered (GE) insects. The authors include professor of entomology David Andow and Aaron David, Joe Kaser, Amy Morey and Alex Roth -- four graduate students who received NSF Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeships (IGERT) -- NSF's flagship interdisciplinary training program educating U.S. Ph.D. scientists and engineers. "When new technology is developed, you want to make sure it's safe," says Morey, who is a doctoral student in the Department of Entomology. "You want to know what could happen when you release these novel organisms into the environment." (See Science Daily!)
[11/18/13] About five years ago, a leading entomologist gave the university about 83,000 small flies, known as midges, entomology professor Leonard Ferrington said. "The value is more in the scientific value, which in a sense is priceless because you can't put a price on that kind of knowledge," said Ralph Holzenthal, director of the university's insect collection. Pioneer Press
[11/4/13] Drs. Ian MacRae and Bob Koch were highlighted this week in the CFANS' magazine, Solutions! The article summarizes their new use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to assess the potential of creating high-resolution maps of soybean aphid infestations. These maps may have applications to crop consultants, and may be useful for more efficient pest scouting of fields, for insect feeding injury or damage. This will also be a research focus for new Ph.D. student, Tavvs Alves, who is co-advised by Koch and MacRae. “We’re looking at whether or not we can use spectral reflectance as a way of measuring insect damage in a field and what level of damage does there need to be before you can actually see that difference in spectral reflectance,” MacRae says (also check out the video).
[10/18/13] Dr. Susan Weller, Professor & Director of the Bell Museum, was recently appointed to the Women's Faculty Cabinet (WFC). The WFC was established in fall 2005. The cabinet membership aims to represent the full range of women faculty at the University, including diverse women at all seniority levels and in a variety of disciplines. Members are appointed for three-year terms jointly by the vice provost for faculty and academic affairs and the current members of the cabinet. The WFC is advisory to Provost Hanson about the status of women faculty and future goals for improvement of their academic careers and workplace. Susan will be the first member (in recent years) to also represent the interests of women faculty on the St. Paul campus.
[10/15/13] As you have no doubt heard by now, honeybees, those sexy beasts, are in severe, catastrophic decline. Pollinating bees contribute as much as $15 billion a year in value to the American agricultural system by pollinating the food that turns into one of every three mouthfuls we eat. Marla Spivak, Susan Weller, and adjunct faculty member, Karen Oberhauser are quoted. MSP Magazine
[10/15/13] Extension integrated pest management (IPM) specialist Bruce Potter has been named Educator of the Year by the Mid America CropLife Association (MACA). Each year Potter, who works with the Southwest Research and Outreach Center in Lamberton, attends no fewer than 40 to 50 meetings, publishes multiple Extension articles and articles in peer-reviewed journals, and publishes a very popular weekly newsletter. Bruce is known for his gift of interpreting and presenting complex issues in his talks and newsletters with clarity, logic, wit, and humor, and he is currently one of our most requested speakers.
- Ian MacRae, State IPM Coordinator
[10/15/13] Marla Spivak is the 2013 recipient of the Campus Based Faculty Dean's Award, which recognizes excellence of an Extension faculty member in performing the work of Extension education. Marla truly embodies the mission of Extension; her combined research career and Extension programming have significant impact on food and agriculture. She has taken a multi-pronged approach to Extension outreach by working with commercial bee breeders and backyard beekeepers with hands-on mentoring, e-learning, short courses, and beyond.
- Mike Schmitt, Assoc. Dean, CFANS
[10/07/13] University of Minnesota Ph.D student Fraser McKee spends 10 hours a day sloshing through the Beltrami Island State Forest, just a few miles south of Lake of the Woods along the Canadian border. Sunlight filters in through tamarack and cedar branches. Mosquitos form a thick, buzzing fog. For protection, McKee wears netting over his head and arms, latex gloves, and three shirts, despite temperatures near 90. MPR News
[10/07/13] This past summer Dr. Marla Spivak was invited to give a TED Talk in Scotland, on a familiar theme -- "Why are bees disappearing?"...and now it's available -- click here.
[9/24/13] Dr. Whitney Cranshaw, Professor at Colorado State University and graduate from Dr. Ted Radcliffe's program ('79, '81), has produced yet another book that looks to be a popular text for Introductory Insect Biology courses: "Bugs Rule!" Beyond the classroom, this will be a great read for all of us interested in our six-legged friends. For more info, and to order, click here!
[9/24/13] Thousands of Minneapolis honey bees began dying off late last week due to apparent pesticide poisoning. The University of Minnesota Bee Lab and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture are conducting tests to verify whether pesticides were the actual cause. Twin Cities Daily Planet
[9/24/13] Honeybees have thrived for 50 million years, each colony 40 to 50,000 individuals coordinated in amazing harmony. So why, seven years ago, did colonies start dying en masse? In a new TED Talk, Marla Spivak reveals four reasons which are interacting with tragic consequences. Exchange Magazine
[9/17/13] Horst Rechelbacher recently signed on to help in a University of Minnesota honey bee study where he's lending some of his farmland for tests."His participation is very valuable," said Becky Masterman of the UofM's Bee Squad. "Every year approximately 30 percent of honey bee colonies are dying. It's reached a crisis. This allows us to study the bees in various geographic areas." Pioneer Press
[9/4/13] University of Minnesota Extension entomologist Jeff Hahn talks with Heather Brown, answering a "Good Question" about cicadas. WCCO-TV
[9/3/13] Professor & Extension Entomologist, Dr. Ken Ostlie, discussed the Bt technology challenge in "Farming a toxin for crop protection, pollinators and people" (see article)
[9/2/13] Fairgoers watched as apiary scientist Gary Reuter, from the University of Minnesota's Bee Lab, used students to demonstrate how bees can cluster to form "beards" ...around a queen (see the video, Pioneer Press).
[8/26/13] One of my perennial fair favorites is the all-things-honey section of the Agriculture Horticulture Building, starting with the swell honey-nut ice cream... Another nice touch: Each purchase benefits the University of Minnesota Bee Lab. Star Tribune
[8/14/13] An environmental group said Wednesday that many home gardeners may be unknowingly hurting the bee population, as the insects’ numbers continue to decline. U of M bee expert Vera Krischik comments. WCCO-TV
[8/13/13] Two British scientists are dumping cold water on campaigns to promote urban beekeeping. Marla Spivak, a specialist on bees at the U of M, weighs in. MPR
Hodson Hall News Services
[8/13/13] Assistant Professor of Forest Entomology Dr. Brian Aukema took home the Grand Champion ribbon for the Pork category of the 2013 Dakota County Fair Barbeque Competition this August. His St. Louis style ribs tied for top composite score based on appearance, aroma, tenderness, moisture, and taste. Event staff awarded Aukema the purple ribbon, however, based on written judge’s comments.
What made the win most impressive was that he cooked the ribs on a homemade barrel smoker. The 55-gallon drum, of course, was a cast-off from the University of Minnesota Insect Collection. Museum Director Prof. Ralph Hozenthal was the genesis of the good fortune. “Now I’m from the south, and I know my ‘Q. When I saw that barrel, I said, well hey now, that’s round. That would make a good smoker in the right person’s hands.”
Aukema fabricated the smoker over the winter and decided to enter the competition a week before the event. With eight years of experience grilling students during prelims, Aukema said ribs were a natural progression. “Done right, you want them to bend but not break. Too much heat and they can come out bitter – they don’t always hold up real well for 6 hours. But if you’re careful, they can be very sweet, actually.”
Canadian by birth, the contest was the first BBQ competition Aukema had entered.
[8/1/13] Becky Masterman and the Bee Squad check out the 7,500 newest members of a colony of "Minnesota Hygienic" honeybees,bred for disease resistance in the bee lab of the University of Minnesota Entomology Department (Star Tribune).
[7/27/13] You may have noticed more Lightning Bugs this year. Dr. Susan Weller, Professor of Entomology, and Director of the Bell Museum of Natural History, explains why on (WCCO-TV).
[7/25/13] Bruce Potter, Integrated Pest Management (IPM) specialist with the University of Minnesota's Southwest Research and Outreach Center has heard from observers there's a large arc of infestation of armyworms from southeast Minnesota, through east-central and central Minnesota into North Dakota (Star Tribune).
[7/22/13] Theresa Cira, Graduate Student in Entomology, was mentioned in the July issue of President Rob Wiedenmann’s Letter to ESA members, known as Articulated Segments (July 22nd), focused on “Advocate Entomology.” Cira was selected by President Wiedenmann to serve on the ESA’s "Student & Young Professionals Committee." (see ESA page to register for 2013 meeting)
[7/22/13] The mystery of what killed thousands of honeybees St. Paul was solved Wednesday, when an official said that fire crews had sprayed the bees with fire retardant foam in response to a police call for help. Marla Spivak, a University of Minnesota entomologist, comments. Star Tribune
[7/18/13] Spotted wing drosophila (SWD), an Asian fruit fly that arrived in the U.S. only 5 years ago, wiped out some raspberry crops last year, and has growers and researchers developing defenses against it as harvest time approaches. UofM Research Associate, Mark Asplen emphasized it’s a “manageable pest if growers monitor and trap adult flies early in the season…” (MPR). Mark also reviewed grower recommendations in a KSTP interview Wednesday.
[7/16/13] Minnesota’s state butterfly is scarce again this summer, a victim of two bad weather years in a row and the decline of caterpillar-sustaining milkweed in the landscape, experts say. Vera Krischik, a University of Minnesota entomology professor, added that the absence of monarchs is part of a larger, more disturbing picture. Honeybees, bumblebees, parasitic wasps and many other kinds of beneficial, pollinating insects — including other butterflies — are also noticeably absent this year. Star Tribune
[7/9/13] Graduate student Fraser McKee (PhD) and his advisor, Dr. Brian Aukema, were recently featured on a Minnesota Public Radio broadcast. For the past decade, the eastern larch beetle has killed thousands of tamarack trees in the forested bogs of far northern
[7/5/13] PhD student Gretchen Wilbrandt received the prestigious Fitzgerald Travel Grant ($879.00) from The Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections (SPNHC). The travel grant covered all expenses for attending the 28th annual SPNHC meeting June 17-22, in Rapid City, South Dakota. With the travel award, Gretchen was assigned a SPNHC mentor who facilitated meeting logistics, introductions, and networking. Gretchen, along with her PhD advisor Dr. Paul Tinerella, presented: "Collections Digitization and Biodiversity Data Discovery: Explorations of Specimen-Based Taxonomy in the Digital World".
[7/8/13] Mosquitoes are especially abundant this summer because of heavy rainfall and increased moisture in the environment. University of Minnesota Extension entomologist Jeff Hahn explains mosquito larvae live in small pools of water. Increases in rainfall lead to more mosquito breeding grounds. Alexandria Echo Press.
[7/1/13] Dr. Steve Kells, Associate Professor & Extension Entomologist, and Amelia Shindelar, Community Health Coordinator for the “Let’s Beat the Bed Bug” campaign, were honored at the annual meeting of the North Central Branch (NCB), ESA meeting in Rapid City, SD, June 18th. The award, sponsored by the Board Certified Entomologists (BCE) of ESA, annually provides educational awards to innovative programs throughout the NC Region. This award was for the “Conference and Video Project” category. The Bed Bug web program and web site continues to be well received with thousands of page views monthly (see Awards for more info).
[7/3/13] Two Graduate Students received awards in the Poster and Oral paper competitions at the 68th Annual Meeting of the NCB-ESA, held June 16-19, in Rapid City, SD. For the 2nd NCB meeting held in June, a significant turnout of ~275 ESA members traveled to Rapid City, with about 100 students attending. For Minnesota, Anthony Hanson (PhD) earned a 2nd place award in the Poster competition and Lindsey Christianson (MS) earned 2nd place award in the 10-min talk competition...(see Awards page for more).
[7/3/13] Interested in bees? Come to campus Monday, July 29 for an opportunity to visit with Marla Spivak, CFANS' world-renowned bee expert and recipient of a MacArthur Genius Grant. Last month Martha was a featured presenter at TEDGlobal 2013 in Edinburgh, Scotland. View Marla's TEDTalk, "The big bee bummer," tour the bee lab and honey house on campus, and learn about the Bee Research and Discovery Center. Join Marla, along with U of M Alumni Association national board president, CFANS alumnus, and hobby bee keeper, Kent Horsager, for this special event! The program will run from 1-3 pm and space is limited to 20 participants. Click here to register. Can't attend but would like to learn more about bee research at the U? Complete this info request form.
Shelton, A. M., D. L. Olmstead, E. C. Burkness, W. D. Hutchison, G. Dively, C. Welty, and A. N. Sparks. 2013. Multi-state trials of Bt sweet corn varieties for control of the corn earworm (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae). Journal of Economic Entomology 106(5): 2151-2159.
Hanson, A.A., S. Paula-Moraes, T.E. Hunt, and W.D. Hutchison. 2013. Supercooling point of western bean cutworm (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) collected in eastern Nebraska. Great Lakes Entomologist 46(3&4): 216-224.
Wulff, J. A., K. Buckman, K. Wu, G. E. Heimpel, and J. A. White. 2013. The endosymbiont Arsenophonus is widespread in soybean aphid, Aphis glycines, but does not provide protection against parasitoids or a fungal pathogen. PLoS One 8:e62145.
Heimpel, G. E., Y. Yang, J. Hill, and D. W. Ragsdale. 2013. Environmental consequences of invasive species: greenhouse gas emissions of insecticide use and the role of biological control in reducing emissions. PLoS One 8:e72293.
Click here for more publications.
New findings from Dr. Kells on how to keep bed bugs away (KSTP).