University of Minnesota
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Kenneth Ostlie

Professor and Extension Entomologist



Office location

Room 228 Hodson Hall


Mailing Address

219 Hodson Hall, 1980 Folwell Ave.
University of Minnesota
St. Paul, MN 55108

Phone: (612) 750-0993
FAX: (612) 625-5299


B.S. Luther College (Decorah, Iowa), 1976, Biology and Mathematics
M.S. Utah State University, 1979, Ecology
Ph.D. Iowa State University, 1984, Entomology


As a farm boy from WC Minnesota, I grew up exploring nature.  My path to entomology wasn’t straightforward.  With a biological bias was towards plants; it wasn’t until I was studying ecology that the interaction between insects and plants began to dominate my interests.  Agricultural entomology provided the opportunity to merge my newfound interest in plant-insect interactions and my farm background.

Extension / Teaching Activities:
Conduct educational program on corn and soybean insects and their management.
My educational philosophy is to engage farmers, and their advisory ag professionals, in exploring the contemporary management challenges posed by changing insect risks, evolving technologies and dynamic production needs.  These challenges provide an excellent opportunity to teach insect biology, ecology and management at its interface with crop production.   I relish the constantly changing educational situation; every year brings different insect problems. 

Major foci of my extension activities have changed drastically over the last 10 years: European corn borer has faded from its status as a key pest only to be replaced by corn rootworms as their resistance to crop rotation intensifies.  The invasive soybean aphid arrived in 2001 and changed the face of soybean production.  Changing weather patterns has brought to the forefront other insect problems: bean leaf beetle, two-spotted spider mites and western bean cutworm.  The introduction and rapid adoption of biotechnology has revolutionized corn rootworm and corn borer management.  The necessity for insect resistance management vies with economic and logistical realities that farmers face in deciding their production practices.  The current “insurance approach” towards use of crop inputs, such as Bt-corn, seed treatments and foliar insecticides now pose the greatest single hurdle to extension education programs.

Activities in my extension program include:

Guest lecturer for departmental and college courses(integrated pest management, insect pathology, sampling, issues in natural resources)

Graduate Advising: 
Major Professor for 5 M.S. students (S.E. Ross, S. Chaddha, L.J. Luedeman, A.M. Journey, and P.J. Price) and 2 Ph.D. (A.M. Journey, B.D. Potter - in progress).
Committee member for 10 PhD and 9 M.S. students.

Research Interests:

Grants Funded (last 4 years)

Minnesota Corn Research & Promotion Council. 2009. The Growing Threat from Northern Corn Rootworm: Risk, Transgenics, and Management in Changing Corn Rotations. $93K

Minnesota Corn Research & Promotion Council. 2007-8. Unlocking the mysteries of northern corn rootworms. $191K

MN Legislative Rapid Agricultural Response Fund. 2007. Corn rootworms: Adaptation, risk & transgenic corn $191K

Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council-Research. 2005-2008. Misc. research and technology transfer projects on soybean aphid and bean leaf beetle. 2005 - $89K, 2006 - $50K, 2007 - $57K, 2008 - $19.5K.

USDA-ARS 2006. Contributions to a framework for managing insect implications of resistance to transgenic crops. 2006-2007. $30K.

Syngenta. Misc. research on Corn Rootworm Control with MIR604. 2006-2008. $57.9K.

Pioneer HiBred Int’l. Misc. research on rootworm-resistant transgenic events. 2005-7. $15.4K

Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station. 2006. Strategies for Managing Corn Rootworm Problems in Rotated Corn. 2006-2012. $12.3K/yr.

Research Publications (last 4 years)
Sappington T. W., K. R Ostlie, C. Difonzo, B. E. Hibbard, C. H. Krupke, P. Porter, S. Pueppke, E. J. Shields, and J. Tollefson. 2010. Conducting public-sector research on commercialized transgenic seed: in search of a paradigm that works. GM crops 1 (2): 55.

Hurley, T., I. Langrock and K. Ostlie.  2006.  Estimating the Benefits of Bt Corn and Cost of Insect Resistance Management Ex Ante.  Journal of Agriculture and Resource Economics 31(2):355-375.

Presentations at Professional Meetings (last 4 years):
Ostlie, K. 2009. Performance of transgenic corn resistant to corn rootworms in Minnesota. Poster presented at NC Branch – Entomological Society of America Annual Meeting, St. Louis, MO.

Potter, B. and K. Ostlie. 2009. Effect of volunteer corn in soybeans on corn rootworm. Poster presented at NC Branch – Entomological Society of America Annual Meeting, St. Louis, MO.

McManus, B., B. Fuller, L. Bledsoe, M. Boetel, E. Cullen, C. DiFonzo, B. Eisley, L. Meinke, J. Oleson, J. Tollefson, K. Ostlie, M. Sears and R. Youngman. 2008. Influence of clothianidin-based seed treatments on maize yields in North America. Poster presented at Entomological Society of America Annual Meeting, Reno, NV. Ostlie, K. 2007. Bt corn and the refuge dilemma.  Paper presented at NC Branch – Entomological Society of America Annual Meeting, Winnipeg, MB.

Barnes, J. and K. Ostlie. 2007.  Strategic evaluation of rootworm-resistant Bt corn, seed treatments and soil insecticides.  Poster presented at NC Branch – Entomological Society of America Annual Meeting. Winnipeg, MB.

Ostlie, K.  2006.  Managing corn rootworms in a less stable environment.  Midwest Food Processors Conference.  Appleton, WI. 

Ostlie, K.  2006.  Soybean Aphid: Economics and Management.  Soybean Breeders Workshop.  St. Louis, MO. 

Ostlie, K. and E. Newberg.  2006.  Soybean aphid: Comparative efficacy of conventional and electrostatic application.  TriState Aerial Applicators Conference.  Sioux Falls, SD.

Ostlie, K.  2005.  Soybean aphid: A comparison of spray technologies.  Presented as part of workshop on Electrostatic Sprayers – A Progress Report organized by Dave Eby, AgriFlite Services. National Agricultural Aircraft Association annual meeting.  Phoenix, AZ.  Nov. 29, 2005. 

Ostlie, K., D. Hume.  2005.  Inoculants and Seed Treatments – Cheap Insurance.  Southwest Ontario Ag Conference. Ontario, Canada.  January 5-6.

Ostlie, K., T. Baute.  2005.  Soybean Aphids and Other Pests.  Southwest Ontario Ag Conference. Ontario, Canada.  January 5-6.

Awards and Honors (last 4 years):
Board Certified Entomologist of Mid-America - 2005 Entomology Educational Project Awards

Consensus Recommendation for Soybean Aphid Control.

Soybean Aphid Management Workshop

Sampler of Extension Presentations (last 2 years):
To request a PowerPoint Version of these pdf files, please send an email to me at:

Ostlie, K.R. 2008. “Corn Lodging and Transgenic Corn for Corn Rootworms” Presentation at 2008 SROC Winter Crop Days, Lake Crystal, Waseca, Kasson, Wykoff and Arlington, MN.

Ostlie, K.R. 2008. “Just-in-Case Treatments: Implications for Corn and Soybean Insect Management” Presentation at 2008 Ag Professional Updates, Kasson, Waseca, Fairmont, Lamberton Willmar, and Morris, MN.

Ostlie, K.R. 2008. “Spidermites and Bean Leaf Beetles in Soybean: The First and Last Word by Soybean Insects” Presentation at 2008 Northern Great Plains Soybean IPM Forums, Morehead MN and Brookings SD.

Ostlie, K. 2008. “Transgenic Traits, Stacks, and Volunteer Corn: Changing Fortunes for Corn Rootworms” Presentation at 2008 SWROC Winter Crops Day, Lamberton, MN

Ostlie, K.R. 2008. “Corn Insect Management: Changing Pests, Technology and Production Practices” Presented at 2008 Advanced Crop Advisors Workshop, Fargo ND.

Ostlie, K.R. 2008. “What’s New in Managing Corn & Soybean Insects?” Presented at 2008 West Central Agronomy Update. Owatonna, MN.

Ostlie, K.R. 2008. “An Update on Crop Insects and Insecticides” Presentation at 2008 Commercial Agricultural Applicators Recertification Workshops. St. Cloud, Fairmont, Faribault, Kasson, Mankato, and Marshall, MN.

Ostlie, K.R. 2008. “When is a Seed more than a Seed? An Update on Insecticide Seed Treatments” Presentation at 2008 Seed Treatment Recertification Workshop. St. Cloud, MN

Ostlie, K.R. 2008. Corn Rootworm Transgenics for 2009: A Moving Target. Proc. 33th Annual Crop Pest Management Short Course. St. Paul, MN.
PDF file of PowerPoint slide presentation located at:

Ostlie, K.R. 2008. “Corn Rootworm Management for 2008: Triple Stacks, Insecticides & Resistance Management” Presented at 2008 Producers Seed Company Meeting, Rochester, MN.

Ostlie, K.R. 2008. “Triple Stack or Take it Back – Sales Pitch or Reality?” Presented at 2008 Winter Crops Day, Faribault, MN