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Assistant Professor in Pollinator Ecology

[10/22/2014] The College of Food, Agriculture, and Natural Resource Sciences and the Departments of Entomology and Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior are hiring an Assistant Professor in Pollinator Ecology. Please share this job posting with your networks.

if you have trouble with this link please visit the U of MN HR Website and search Requisition number 194884

EPA Comments on Soybean Insecticide

[10/20/14] According to EPA estimates, farmers use soybean seeds treated with neonicotinoid pesticides on about a third of the acres planted. University of Minnesota researcher ​Dr. ​Bob Koch said he has seen estimates as high as 60 to 75 percent. In most situations, treated soybean seeds have no benefit, EPA officials say. Koch agrees. Given the EPA's conclusion, he said there is no need for widespread use of neonicotinoid-treated soybean seeds. Read the full article.

Special Seminar - Dr. Cole Gilbert, Cornell University

[10/10/14] Please join us next Thursday, October 16th, for the 2nd Annual Richards Hodson Lectureship. Light refreshments will be served prior to the 1pm seminar. Hope to see you at the St. Paul Student Center Theater next week!

ENTO 2014 RH Lecture 2

Dean’s Award for Distinguished Team

[10/9/14] Congratulations to Bob Koch, Ian MacRae, and Ken Ostlie, who are members of the Institute for Agricultural Professionals (IAP) that received the Dean's Award for Distinguished Team at the recent extension conference. Keep up the good work! IAP is a trusted establishment in the Minnesota agriculture industry. It employs multiple delivery systems to educate agricultural professionals via seminars, workshops, and non-credit courses.

The IAP reaches its audience through an annual Field School delivered at the University’s Research and Outreach Centers, Research Updates offered at locations throughout Minnesota, and a Crop Pest Management course that is part of a trade show each December in Minneapolis. All of these programs offer certification credits, which are mandated by most crop-consulting organizations. In addition, the team develops and delivers needs-based worships for “response” issues such as aphids, drought, hail, and diseases.

Chris Philips introduced in Grand Rapids

Ento Chris Philips 3[10/6/14] Dr. Chris Philips, the most recent addition to the Entomology Faculty, made the front page of the Grand Rapids Review, with a story titled 'Its okay to bug this guy." It sounds like he's already made a name for himself as the wise-cracking entomologist, joking with the reporter that fly larvae on raspberries makes them “protein-fortified raspberries!" A big reason Philips is here is to investigate the effects of the Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD). Those of us down on the St. Paul campus are happy to know that Chris has been formally introduced as the resident 'bug guy' for the Grand Rapids area! Read the Full Article

Decisions to Plant Bt Corn?

[10/3/14] The first thing to consider when selecting a corn hybrid is yield potential. Bt traits only provide a yield benefit when targeted insects are above economic levels, according to a report from University of Minnesota Extension integrated pest management specialist Bruce Potter, and Ken Ostlie, Professor of Entomology and Extension entomologist. Read the full article.

The Story behind the Story: Marla's Bees

ENTO Marla[10/2/14] This past Sunday, the Minneapolis Star Tribune published their 4th in a series that focuses on the current challenges facing bees, pollinator health, and future research needs. In this article (Bees at the Brink) the reporter provides a new twist, with a more in-depth focus on Marla Spivak, the MacArthur Fellow and Entomology Professor who has been a catalyst for many innovative research and extension initiatives (including the Minnesota Bee Squad) at the University of Minnesota. This story provides a fascinating back story about how and why Marla became passionate about bees, and how she's been unlocking the secrets of the hive ever since. Marla is also featured in the Fall issue of the Minnesota Extension Service "Source" magazine. For more information, please visit (and like) our Facebook page!

What’s the Buzz on Bees?

[9/19/2014] After three weeks studying bees and their importance in our environment, 5th graders spent a day at the Bell Museum to learn about pollination and honeybees. “When kids can get introduced to something like a bee colony and what they’re doing, I think it’s a really good learning and engagement tool,” said Marla Spivak in an interview for Minnesota 2020. “Everybody can help bees. It’s pretty simple, really, just plant flowers in your garden!” Watch the Video 

Entomology Faculty in the News!

[9/8/14] Several Entomology faculty were featured as a resource for two recent stories in the Star Tribune, including Sunday (9/7) and Monday (9/8). On Sunday, Ian MacRae, Bob Koch and Extension IPM Specialist Bruce Potter, were interviewed for a feature story, "Bees at the Brink-part 3" --the Bee Squad was also mentioned. On Monday, Susan Weller, Director of the Bell, was interviewed for a story (front page) about the upcoming move of the Bell Museum from Mpls. to the St. Paul campus -- and the future of "wildlife dioramas". Read the full story

Entomology at the State Fair

Ento Fair Tweet[9/4/2014] Just as summer term was coming to an end, Entomology Staff and Students took time from their busy schedules to staff our Entomology booth at the MN State Fair. We showcased museum drawers of insects from all over the world, much to the awe (and sometimes shock!) of Fairgoers. Many had questions about insects they’d seen in the area recently, and were impressed with the extensive knowledge and passion of our department. We heard lots of stories about Fairgoer’s adventures in Entomology. Who knew that so many Minnesotans had insect collections! On Sunday, August 31st, President and Mrs. Kaler stopped by to check out our booth – and tweeted about it!

We’d like to send out a huge thanks to everyone who made our booth a success this year, especially Erica Nystrom and Tricia Leaf for organizing! Everyone's help in setting up, taking down, and making sure that the booth was staffed was greatly appreciated. Couldn't have done it without the whole team. Can’t wait for next year’s Great Minnesota Get Together.

Ento Fair Collage

Congratulations Dr. Adela Sarahi Oliva Chavez!

Ento Adela Microscope[9/3/2014] Earlier this year, Dr. Adela Sarahi Oliva Chavez accepted an opportunity with CIRAD-INRA, in Petit-Bourg, Guadeloupe. Although we were sad to see her go, we are proud to announce that she has recently won the Young Scientist Award at the recent meeting of the 8th International Ticks and Tick-Borne Pathogens Meeting (TTP-8) held in Cape Town, SA. This award celebrates young researchers and their important contributions to the advancement of research regarding these important ectoparasites and their associated pathogens. Congrats, Adela, for winning this impressive award!

Congrats to Dr. Susan Weller -- ESA VP Elect!

Ento Weller 2014[8/26/2014] Annapolis, MD - Dr. Susan Weller, an entomology professor at the University of Minnesota and director of the Bell Museum of Natural History, was recently elected to be future President of the Entomological Society of America (ESA). She will serve as Vice President-Elect in 2015, then as Vice President in 2016, and finally as ESA President in 2017.

For the first time in its history, ESA will have two female Presidents back-to-back, as Dr. Weller succeeds 2016 President May Berenbaum, professor and head of the Department of Entomology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Congratulations Susan! Read the Full Article 

Bee Lab on MPR News

[8/14/2014] In an interview with MPR, Becky Masterman commented about the bee colonies living (and thriving) at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. "It's likely that the urban bees are feeding on landscapes that are being well nourished and watered," Masterman said. "They're able to achieve so much as a group and make decisions based on resources, based on environmental conditions...and to be able to share that information with the public. It's an endless source of intrigue and behavior that is fascinating." Read the Full Article 

Bee Lab Recognized at Eastcliff

Ento Becky Masterman

[8/8/14] The party’s just not stopping for our Bee Lab! On Monday, August 4th, Marla Spivak, along with the Bee Lab and the Bee Squad, attended a celebration in their honor at Eastcliff. The important research of the labs was recognized, and it was announced that the Practical Laboratory for Bee Research would be named after our own Becky Masterman!

Construction of the new research facility on the UMN St. Paul campus is planned next spring and finish in mid-2016. The department is very excited that the great work of the Bee Lab will continue in this new facility. Congrats on your Practical Lab, Becky!

Pollinator Party on Thursday!

Ento Pollinator[7/22/214] Come celebrate bees at the Pollinator Party this Thursday at Lyndale Park, near Lake Harriet, from 5 to 8 pm.
4124 Roseway Road, Minneapolis.

The U of MN Bee Lab will be joined by the Bell Museum, Beez Kneez, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the Xerces Society, and many others.

Live music by Pop Wagner, Dreamland Faces and Brass Messengers!
Food from La Loma Tamales will be available.

At dusk, the film "Wings of Life" will be shown.

Hope to see you there!

More info on the Minneapolis Parks Page 

Large Mayfly Hatch Possible Cause of Car Crash

Ento Kranzfelder[7/22/14] La Crosse, WI was plagued on Sunday when millions of mayflies from the Mississippi River hatched, causing low visibility and making travel dangerous. The cloud of bugs was so massive it was picked up on radar, and unfortunately was the likely cause of one car accident. Petra Kranzfelder spoke with CBS Local and explained the benefits of mayflies, and the benefits they provide for the environment. Read the Full Article 

New Graduate Fellowship, Award Recipients!

[7/21/14] Congratulations to three of our PhD students who recently picked up some significant new Fellowships and Awards in July! Joe Kaser (Heimpel lab) and Theresa Cira (Hutchison lab) recently received MnDRIVE Global Food Ventures Fellowships, established this year under the UofM-wide MnDRIVE initiative, with significant funding to CFANS. The fellowship includes a full year stipend, along with an additional $2000 for travel to meetings. Joe and Theresa will also join a cohort of 6 MnDRIVE Fellows, attending several professional development activities during the academic year.

Ento Kaser Ento Cira Square

In addition, Amy Morey (Venette lab), was one of two graduate students to receive a “Dow Foundation Award,” sponsored by the Plant-Insect Ecosystems (PIE) section of ESA and Dow AgroSciences (DAS). The award consists of $2000, and a waiver of the Registration fee for the 2014 ESA National Meeting in Portland. Recognition will be presented at the PIE Networking meeting (Nov. 17th) at the ESA Annual Meeting. The PIE Section Awards Committee and two representatives of DAS consider applications from students who have demonstrated significant achievement in entomology through: 1) a graduate research project; 2) creative approaches to teaching/teamwork; and/or 3) creative achievements in outreach.

ENTO Morey

Congratulations to all!

Wild Bee Safari Day

Ento Bee SquadPlease join the UMN Bee Squad’s Wild Bee Team for an afternoon exploring wild bees! This class will include three bee amazing activities that include:

  1. Pollinator Plant Tour
  2. Wild Bee Safari
  3. Photography Session

Date: Sunday, July 20th. 1:00pm-3:00pm
Location: Horticultural Display Gardens on the UMN St Paul Campus (corner of Gortner and Folwell Ave, parking meters available)
Cost: $25.00, payable at the event

Please reserve a space in class by sending an e-mail with your name to
This class is outdoors, and will be cancelled if it rains!

New Bee Lab on its way

Ento Bee Lab[7/9/14] Bees have certainly been a hot topic this year, and with good reason. Bees pollinate about one-third of the world’s crops, and their population is declining. The important work of the University of Minnesota’s Bee Lab has been made difficult by cramped quarters. They’ve outgrown their current 900 square foot space, but that is about to change. With funding from the state, from private donors, and from the College of Food, Agriculture, and Natural Resources Sciences, a new facility is in the works. The new 10,000 square foot space will allow the Bee Lab to further explore man-made and natural solutions to the many issues that have caused the bee population to decline. In an interview of the Minnesota Daily, Dr. Marla Spivak said that the new facility, "will consolidate everything." Read the full article

State bee research takes aim at Quarry Park

[7/7/14] Crystal Boyd and Elaine Evans spoke with the St. Cloud Times for a story about identifying Minnesota's native bee species. "We need to know what's out there," said Elaine Evans, who is earning her doctorate in entomology from the University of Minnesota. "The survey is the first step to assess the health of our pollinator population in Minnesota." Evans spoke from the University of Minnesota's Bee Lab, where the focus is on bee health. Read the Full Article

Nature’s Dying Migrant Worker

Ento Krischik Square[7/1/14] Although representatives of neonicotinoid manufacturer Bayer CropScience say that insecticide-related bee kills are rare, when bees are exposed to low doses of neonicotinoids, some scientists say, they falter. Like drunks, they can’t find their way home. “They can’t remember who they are or where to go,” said Vera Krischik, in an interview for the Star Tribune. Read the Full Article

“Bee-friendly” plants sold at Wal-Mart, Home Depot actually contain bee killing pesticides

[7/1/14] Planting bee-friendly gardens can make a difference, but more than half of the reportedly “bee-friendly” plants sold at Home Depot, Lowe’s and Wal-Mart garden centers across the US and Canada actually contain neonicotinoids. According to ecotoxicologist Vera Krischik of the University of Minnesota, who was not involved in the study but reviewed it in detail, the data is solid and troubling. A dose of 192 parts per billion is enough to kill a honeybee, she says, and dozens of studies have found impairments in bee navigation, memory and foraging ability at between 4 and 30 parts per billion. Read the Full Article 

Metro blackflies poised to bite

[7/1/14] Black flies, the nasty biters that can ruin a picnic even faster than mosquitoes, are about to appear in force in the metro, just in time for the run-up to Independence Day camping and parties. They’re not just annoying, though. Whereas mosquitoes bite with pinpoint finesse, black flies have “slashing mouth parts” that rip off a piece of skin to give them access to blood, said Jeff Hahn, an entomologist with University of Minnesota Extension. That leads to more discomfort than a mosquito bite does. Read the Full Article

Feds will pay farmers to create thousands of acres of bee habitats

Ento Spivak Square[7/1/14] Minnesota has been at the forefront of protecting pollinators. The US Department of Agriculture announced on June 27th that the Conservation Reserve Program will provide $8 million in incentives for Midwest farmers and ranchers who establish new habitats for declining honey bee populations. University of Minnesota entomologist Marla Spivak was one of about 50 experts that went to Washington in April to push for the order announced Friday. Read the Full Article 

USDA on bee decline: Task force, farmer incentives

[7/1/14] American agricultural production relies on having a healthy honey bee population, and producer knowledge of basic bee biology can help protect bees from pesticides. Robert Koch and Marla Spivak, entomologists with University of Minnesota Extension, report that honey bees and native bees forage in and near soybean and cornfields. When treatment decisions are being made for pests of those crops, they stress the importance of considering minimizing the risk to these pollinators.  Read the Full Article 

Good question: What are chiggers and how do you get them?

[7/1/14] It’s that time of the year again, when we spend more time enjoying being outdoors, only to find ourselves covered in bug bites. Sometimes, it can be tough“Chiggers are an immature form of a free-living mite,” said Jeff Hahn, an entomologist with University of Minnesota Extension. Watch the Video  

 Welcome to the department, Dr. Christopher Philips!

Ento Chris Philips[6/30/14] We are pleased to announce a new faculty member in the Department of Entomology. Dr. Chris Philips will be joining the department this summer as the Fruit and Vegetable Entomologist, and will be working at the North Central Research and outreach Center in Grand Rapids, MN.

The emphasis of Dr. Philips’ research will be on the applied ecology and sustainable integrated and organic management of fruit and vegetable arthropod pests including brown marmorated stink bug and spotted wing drosophila. In addition to focusing on the management of pests in field grown crops, he hopes to greatly expand on the high tunnel research taking place in Minnesota. He is looking to evaluate management programs for potential pests to provide control options before they become serious problems. He’s also interested in understanding what makes soil “healthy” for a pest management perspective by determining the impact of soil microbes on pest suppression.

To date, Dr. Philips’ research has focused on understanding the ecology of pest control and improving pest management decision-making and control strategies; with a specific emphasis on evaluating the efficacy of ecologically-based pest management. He received his Ph.D. in entomology from Virginia Tech and his B.S. and M.S. in entomology from the University of Delaware. Most recently, Dr. Philips worked as a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Entomology at Washington State University studying the ecological basis of natural pest control in organic and conventional farming systems.

Chris said: “I grew up in North Texas where I spent most of my summers outside swimming and fishing. I still take any opportunity I can to be outside. I enjoy fishing, hiking, kayaking, mountain biking, and anything that allows me to spend time with my wife Becky and our two girls, Penelope and Haylee.”

It sounds like northern Minnesota will be a great fit for the Philips family. Congratulations, and welcome!

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Upcoming Events

ESA Meeting
Nov 16-19
Portland, OR


Marla Spivak's TED Talk

Crop Scouts in the Sky Video!!!

IPM3 Courses - Online!

Grad Student Profiles

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Insect Pest Information

Bed Bug Information

New findings from Dr. Kells on how to keep bed bugs away (KSTP).

Recent Publications

Wilson, Michael B.; Spivak, Marla; Hegeman, Adrian D.; Rendahl, Aaron; Cohen, Jerry D. 2013. Metabolomics Reveals the Origins of Antimicrobial Plant Resins Collected by Honey Bees. Plos One

Blahnik, R.J., and R.W. Holzenthal
. 2014. Review and redescription of species in the Oecetis avara group, with the description of 15 new species (Trichoptera, Leptoceridae). ZooKeys 376: 1-83. journals/zookeys/issue/376/

Click here for more publications. 

Dr. Kells' website and Hotline Info

ESA News

ESA National Meeting (Portland, OR)
November 16-19, 2014
ESA Logo 2014 (smallest)

NCB Meeting (Manhattan, KS)
May 31 - June 3, 2015