[6/10/13] While bees, historically, have not foraged on these crops for food, the widespread presence of single crops means fewer dining options for the bees — and that could be leading to weakened immune systems. “We have been systematically eliminating flowers that bees require for nutrition and survival,” explained Marla Spivak, a University of Minnesota entomologist and one of the country’s most prominent bee researchers. “We started using lots of insecticides, necessary because monoculture put out feasts for crop pests. Insecticides are designed to kill insects, which depending on the dose can also kill bees.” St. Louis Post-Dispatch
[6/10/13] Monsanto claimed Wednesday that the Oregon field found last week to be contaminated with Monsanto's unapproved GM wheat was an "isolated" incident, and that it was likely either the result of an accident or "sabotage." However, scientists warned Thursday that the biotech giant's denial has many holes.... However, David Andow, a professor of entomology at the University of Minnesota, said in an interview with Bloomberg that these claims are misleading and that the tests cited by Monsanto this week, which displayed clean wheat in the state of Washington, are shortsighted. Bloomberg News
[6/6/13] Incoming grad student, Marissa Streifel captured the last-sighted female endangered "Schauss swallowtail" two weeks ago in dense vegetation in the Florida keys. The butterfly, which laid one egg, has facilitated a last-ditch breeding program to save the species in Jaret Daniel's laboratory at the University of Florida. Marissa will join Dr. Brian Aukema's Lab on July 1. CNN
[5/28/13] A growing body of scientific research shows that even very low levels of neonicotinoid insecticide exposure can affect bee behavior. Vera Krischik, an associate professor of entomology at the University of Minnesota, noted that bees are very social insects with a complex communication system. For insects, bees have a big, well-developed brain, and neonicotinoid insecticides work by blocking neurons in the brain, she said. Minnesota Public Radio.
[5/28/13] Bruce Potter, entomologist and pest management specialist at the University of Minnesota's Southwest Research and Outreach Center in Lamberton, said he's seen quite a few wood ticks, the kind that prey on dogs, walking around the grass. Marshall Independent
[5/7/13] Thank you for joining us for the 16th Annual Hodson Alumni Awards celebration in Entomology! Dr. Mussen, the 2013 recipient, received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Entomology from our department in 1969, and 1975, respectively.
Since 1976, Dr. Mussen has been "The Bee Guy" in California, as many challenges related to Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) have had significant impacts on California agriculture. Eric is a popular speaker in California and nationally, as his advice is often sought out by bee keepers, growers, researchers and the media.
Dr. Mussen presented a talk titled, "Reflections on My Career in Entomology".
[5/6/13] Jeff Hahn's answer may diverge from that of most people: "I get the camera and take a picture of it. Then I put it in my collection." Read more.
[4/22/13] University of Minnesota doctoral student Judy Wu is studying the effects of neonicotinoids on honey bee queens. Her study began in 2011 and continued last year with small hives. She was part of Bayer Crop Science's Bee Care Tour, which visited the St. Paul campus earlier this month. AgriNews
[4/22/13] Bean plants may work as bedbug traps, but they’re obviously an impractical solution for widespread and large infestations. ... “I think it’s a good start and an interesting and novel idea,” said Stephen Kells, a University of Minnesota entomologist and bedbug expert, in a phone interview last week. He’s not sure, however, how practical the device will be. MinnPost
[4/8/13] The future is not looking bright for bees. In 2012, millions of honeybees succumbed to Colony Collapse Disorder, which causes them to suddenly and inexplicably expire, sometimes falling out of the sky in midflight. The spectacle is heartbreaking, especially to bee experts like University of Minnesota entomologist Marla Spivak, who has waged a lifelong crusade to protect an insect whose labors on behalf of humanity rival those of any other creature on the planet. Pioneer Press
[3/28/13] Dr. Brian Aukema will be leading a discussion on the Emerald Ash Borer during the Annual "Classes without Quizzes" event, held this year on Saturday, April 6th. All alumni and friends are welcome to attend. EAB was first discovered 10 years ago in Michigan; the pest continues to spread throughout the Midwest. To review the complete program and register for classes, click here.
[3/20/2013] Last Friday, Graduate Student, Adela Oliva Chavez, organized a unique Insect Biodiversity outreach to a diverse and curious group of 7th and 8th grade students at St. Cloud North High School. For many students, this was their first opportunity to learn about major insect species of Minnesota, and Global Biodiversity issues. In passing, Adela also indicated that her "hissing cockroaches in a box" were also exciting and a hit with the "hands-on" segment of the show. Adela is a graduate student with Dr. Uli Munderloh, working on functional genomics of the tick-borne pathogen Anaplasma phagocytophilum. She is trying to understand the involvement of two genes in the bacteria's ability to infect tick and human cells.
[3/19/13] Entomologists at the UofM are trying to raise money for a project to enhance bee research and education in the Twin Cities, and raise the university's profile in environmental and agricultural research. "This has the potential to be unique for the nation and absolutely gorgeous," said Marla Spivak, a McKnight professor of entomology who runs the university's bee lab programs.
[3/17/13] It is with great regret that we inform you of the loss of our dear colleague, friend and fellow Entomologist, Dr. William E. Miller. As many of you know, Bill was a very active Emeritus Professor in our department for the past 30 years, following a stellar career with the U.S. Forest Service. He was a well known expert on all aspects of Lepidopteran population dynamics, and was recently exploring additional hypotheses regarding maternal influences on population outbreaks (among others). Moreover, he was a great mentor and friend to many students and colleagues over the past 55+ years. Please join us if you can at his memorial service, Thursday, March 21, 10 a.m. (visitation: 9 a.m.), in St. Paul. You may also enjoy a brief article and an early photo, of Dr. Miller and his start with the Forest Service in Michigan (1956).
[3/4/13] No pollination, no fruit.... A huge collaboration of bee researchers, from more than a dozen countries, looked at how pollination happens in dozens of different crops, including strawberries, coffee, buckwheat, cherries and watermelons. "The surprising message in all of this is that honeybees cannot carry the load. Honeybees need help from their cousins and relatives, the other wild bees," says Marla Spivak, a professor of entomology at the University of Minnesota. "So let's do something to promote it, so that we can keep honeybees healthy and our wild bee populations healthy." Listen at National Public Radio
[2/13/13 ]In the United States, planting herbicide-tolerant soybeans has not reduced herbicide use, but the glyphosate herbicides used are less toxic than the ones previously used. Department of Agriculture economists found that farmers planting those soybeans had greater income because saving time in the field allowed for more off-farm employment...Remarkably, a study by William Hutchison, an entomology professor at the University of Minnesota, estimated that farmers who grew non-GE corn benefited more from GE crops than neighboring farmers planting pesticide-producing GE corn. The Atlantic
[2/4/13] As winter approached its Groundhog Day midpoint, this season might have seemed unusually cold to people. But native and invasive plants and insects have hardly shivered. A new video featuring Lindsey Christianson, MS graduate student, and Dr. Rob Venette, USDA-Forest Service and Adjunct Professor, illustrates the process of extracting emerald ash borers from trees to evaluate whether the cold tolerance of the insects is affected by the type of tree they eat: green ash or black ash. Star Tribune (see Video)
[1/20/13] Luke Skinner is the new Deputy Director for the Parks and Trails Division. Skinner has served as the division’s acting deputy director since May. Skinner has more than 20 years of experience with the DNR in roles ranging from natural resources specialist to supervisor. Since 2007, he has served as unit supervisor of the invasive species program in the ecological and water resources division. “Luke brings valuable perspective and experience to the legislative, policy and organizational design challenges we continue to face in parks and trails,” said Courtland Nelson, director of the DNR Parks and Trails Division. “His strong leadership skills and ability to work effectively with a wide variety of stakeholders will be a great asset to our division.” Luke earned a B.S. in Biology from the University of Minnesota-Duluth and a PhD in Entomology from the UofM, where he has been an adjunct assistant professor since 2006 (see DNR Press Release).
[1/7/13] Internationally recognized neuroscientist, Dr. Karen A. Mesce, an Entomology & Neuroscience professor, was honored Nov. 28th, as she delivered the University of Minnesota's annual Ada Comstock Distinguished Women Scholars Lecture. As a University of Minnesota award, this is only given out once every two years to a female faculty member working in the sciences. As advertized, her lecture, "Two Brains are Better Than One: How Small Brains Make Big Decisions." was both entertaining and information packed with novel results presented from three systems: tobacco hornworm (Manduca), honey bee and the leech. Her lecture provided an overview of her original and imaginative approach to understanding how neuronal networks develop and function. The lecture took place at Cowles Auditorium (Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs) and was well attended. Congratulations Karen! Dr. Karen Mesce (L) is pictured receiving her award from Dr. Peg Lonnquist | Women's Center Director.
[12/4/12] The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is using innovative research from the University of Minnesota's Department of Entomology and the U.S. Forest Service to help determine the next steps against emerald ash borer (EAB). The Forest Service is the first in the nation to study the insects' cold tolerance, and the University is leading the way in studying flight distance potential of EAB biological control agents. The team working on this research includes The Forest Service's Dr. Rob Venette, also an Adjunct Associate Professor in Entomology, Dr. Brian Aukema, Assistant Professor in Entomology, and graduate students Anthony Hanson and Sam Fahrner. Star Tribune; Pioneer Press
[11/26/12] Fifteen years ago, genetically engineered seeds promised to reduce the amount of poisons used on the land, but today they are forcing farmers to use more -- and sometimes more toxic -- chemicals to protect their crops....more recently, infestations of rootworm, known as the $1 billion insect because of its cost to farmers, have exploded. University of Minnesota researchers say some farmers in virtually every county south of the Minnesota River have reported problems with the pest, especially where corn has been planted in the same field year after year. Ken Ostlie, a corn entomologist at the University of Minnesota, said he doesn't need more evidence to prove that southern Minnesota is seeing a dramatic shift in biology. Star Tribune
[11/26/12] Lee French thinks South Dakota could be a good place to grow a highly versatile purple corn hybrid and enter a market that could grow “tremendously fast and far.” The farmer and entomologist, who works for the University of Minnesota as a researcher and adjunct faculty member, grew purple corn on his farm near the university’s experiment station in Lamberton in southwest Minnesota. Tri-State Neighbor
[11/19/12] If you lack focus below the soil, on your crop root environment, then these critical plant pathways won't efficiently transport water and nutrients into place for top yields. To build healthy roots, start with the basics, suggests Bruce Potter, integrated pest management specialist, University of Minnesota Southwest Research and Outreach Center. Corn and Soybean Digest
[11/19/12] Jeff Hahn, extension entomologist at the University of Minnesota, said the stink bug has already shown up in scattered homes in Minnesota, usually one or two at a time. They appear to be adult hitchhikers that haven’t reproduced there yet. “We have not found it in crops yet,” Hahn said. Which is good because: “They love soybeans. They love apples. They get into peach trees. Corn.” Des Moines Register
[11/18/12] Vera Krischik and her lab are exploring how a group of insecticides commonly used in urban gardens and forests as well as in agricultural fields, might be making bees less resistant to the parasites and pathogens that researchers now believe are likely causes of Colony Collapse Disorder. CFANS Solutions
[10/19/12] Several Entomology faculty and graduate students were featured in the Fall 2012 issue of CFANS Solutions. Solutions is the quarterly newsletter of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences. The article, titled, "Discovering Global Solutions", recognizes David Andow, Brian Aukema, Bill Hutchison, Len Ferrington, George Heimpel, and Petra Kranzfelder for their International Research. CFANS Solutions
[10/8/2012] Shoreview celebrated property owners using best management practices to promote water quality with the Green Community Awards Sept. 17... "The awards are less for competition and more for exhibition," said Len Ferrington, University of Minnesota entomologist and member of the Environmental Quality Committee. Lillie Suburban News
[10/8/2012] Ladybug, ladybug, fly away home! If you have been inundated by the orange and black critters, your misery has company. ...“I doubt they’re Japanese beetles,” said University of Minnesota Extension entomologist Jeff Hahn. Wadena Pioneer Journal
[10/9/2012] Chances are box elder bugs are creeping into a space near you this fall. ...University of Minnesota Extension Entomologist Jeff Hahn says it's an above average year for the bugs, and even he isn't immune. KARE 11
[9/20/2012] Marla Spivak and her team have received six SARE grants since 1997 to support their work showing beekeepers how to identify and breed for hygienic bees - bees that are adept at spotting infected immature bees (larvae and pupae) and quickly removing them from the nest.
[9/10/2012] Roger Moon was one of several speakers at the Morris-based West Central Research and Outreach Center's first day-long recent organic dairy day. Grazing, nutrition, pasture management and the center's studies on once-a-day group feeding of organic dairy calves and organic dairy steer production were among the topics. From the pasture, the group learned about two of several research projects focusing on the organic herd. Agri-News
[9/5/12] Corn rootworm can outmaneuver control methods as easily as The Road Runner evades The Coyote.“The days are passing when you can plant a Bt-RW trait repeatedly and ignore the field until harvest,” warned Ken Ostlie, University of Minnesota Extension entomologist. Farm and Ranch Guide
[8/20/12] Marla Spivak, a honeybee researcher at the University of Minnesota, has found that honeybees behave like a highly effective immune system as a colony. They remove, eat, or seal off diseased individuals that they find in their hive. “The fact that colonies are dying now, in higher numbers than ever, tells me something is really wrong. Because it’s actually really hard to kill a colony,” said Spivak in her talk at the conference. Vermont Digger
[8/16/12] University of Minnesota entomologist Marla Spivak played a big role in the Bell Museum's Honey Bee, Pollinators and Food program. The program, created by Barb Coffin, Kevin Williams and Shoghig Berberian, was piloted to 180 5th graders in May and will be rolled out to an additional 1000 students next year. The intent is to reach all Minneapolis 5th graders in the next 3 years. Marla provided the research used for the curriculum's video. Watch it here.
[8/11/12] For over a decade, soybean aphids have invaded soybean fields in the upper Midwest...When asked by farmers about soybean aphids, Ian MacRae, University of Minnesota Extension entomologist in Crookston, shared some of the research conducted by George Heimpel, University of Minnesota entomologist, and others. Minnesota Farm Guide
[8/8/12] This summer, a severe drought and genetically modified crops are delivering a one-two punch to US crops. Resistant rootworms are back like the next installment of a superhero blockbuster movie franchise. In a July 30 post, University of Minnesota extension agents Ken Ostlie and Bruce Potter report they've seen a "major [geographical] expansion" of rootworm damage throughout southern Minnesota, where Monsanto's corn is common. Mother Jones
Beckmann, J.F., T.W. Markowski, B.A. Witthuhn, and A.M. Fallon. 2013. Detection of the Wolbachia-encoded DNA binding protein, HU beta, in mosquito gonads. Insect Biochem and Molecular Biol. 43(3): 272-279.
Goblirsch, M., Z.Y. Huang, and M. Spivak. 2013. Physiological and behavioral changes in Honey Bees (Apis mellifera) induced by Nosema ceranae infection. PLoS ONE 8(3): 58165.
Tate, C.M, E.W Howerth, D.G. Mead, V.G. Dugan, M.P. Lutrell, A.I. Sahora, U.G. Munderloh, W.R. Davidson, and M.J. Yabsley. 2013. Anaplasma odocoilei sp. nov. (family Anaplasmataceae) from white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus). Ticks and Tick-borne Diseases 4(1-2):110-119
New findings from Dr. Kells on how to keep bed bugs away (KSTP).
November 10-13, 2013