Want to Learn about Insects?

Insects represent the single largest group of animal species -- they influence every facet of life and they are a very important part of human health and well-being. Insects are the earth’s most diverse forms of life. Almost half of the species of all living organisms and over 70 percent of all animal species belong to the group known as insects. Insects play critical roles, both good and bad.

In the past, student interests have included biological control, invasion biology, medical entomology, molecular mechanisms of insecticide resistance, social insect biology, biochemistry of insect development, the effects of climate change on insect/plant interactions, and specific problems related to forest, field and fruit crop, and horticultural pest species.

Fall 2018 Insect Course Offerings

1004/1005 Insect Biology (fall)

Diverse biology of insects and their arthropod relatives. Insect behavior (including social insects), pollination, herbivory, insects as disease vectors, beneficial insects, insect population dynamics/ecology. Insects' role in natural, agricultural, and urban, systems. Lecture only/lecture and lab.

ENT 1905. Bugs in Bodies: Forensic Entomology

This course is designed to provide students with a basic understanding of the interaction between the discipline of entomology and forensic science (the application of science during criminal investigation). Students will be taught the basic entomology concepts necessary to understand forensic entomology, using a blend of lecture, discussion, and active classroom work in small groups. Guest speakers will include local forensic experts and medical examiners.

ENT 3925 Insects, Aquatic Habitats and Pollution (spring)

Effects differing classes of pollutants have on aquatic insects. Insect life-cycle dynamics, trophic guilds, community structure. Hypotheses to explain community structure in streams, rivers, wetlands, ponds, lakes, reservoirs. Organic pollution, eutrophication, heavy metal pollution, runoff/siltation, acidification, thermal pollution. Changes in aquatic insect community structure. Designing/maintaining biological monitoring networks.

ENT 2920. Introductory Lectures in Entomology

Insects have had an immense yet underappreciated impact on the course of human history and civilization.  Through their effects as carriers of disease, insects have decided the outcomes of numerous battles and wars, often causing many more deaths than weapons.  On the other hand, beneficial insects have made important contributions to the development of many industries, in particular related to textile and agriculture, and they also serve as important sources food in many cultures. Throughout the class we focus on ways that historical inquiry can be used to elucidate entomological questions and, conversely, how entomological knowledge can be brought to bear to solve historical mysteries.

ENT 4231. Insect Behavior

Diversity of behavior in insects. Modes of perception, ways in which stimuli are translated into behavior. Genetic basis of behavior. Behavioral traits with Mendelian and more complex modes of inheritance. Natural history of insect behavior. Emphasizes how evolution has shaped diversity of behaviors. Movement/dispersal, feeding, defense/escape, mating/reproduction, sociality. Case studies.

ENT 4251. Forest and Shade Tree Entomology

Ecology/population management of forest/shade tree insects. Emphasizes predisposing factors/integrated management. Lecture/lab.

ENT 5021. Insect Biodiversity and Evolution

Identification of families of adult insects; evolution and classification of insects; techniques of collecting and curating insects; principles of phylogeny reconstruction.


ENT 5041. Insect Ecology

Synthetic analysis of the causes of insect diversity and of fluctuations in insect abundance. Focus on abiotic, biotic, and evolutionary mechanisms influencing insect populations and communities.


ENT 5081. Insects, Aquatic Habitats & Pollution

Effects of pollutants on biology, ecology and community structure of aquatic insects. Life-cycle, trophic guilds, community structure in lotic/lentic habitats. Organic pollution/eutrophication, heavy metal pollution, runoff/siltation, acidification, thermal pollution. Changes in aquatic insect community structure according to original literature sources for each class of pollutant. Biological monitoring networks. Taught with ENT 3925.

ENT 5121 Applied Experimental Design

Principles of sampling methodologies, experimental design, and statistical analyses. Methods/procedures in generating scientific hypotheses. Organizing, initiating, conducting, and analyzing scientific experiments using experimental designs and statistical procedures. Offered with AGRO 5121.

ENT 5126. Spatial and temporal Analysis of Ecological Data

It is well known that spatial and temporal dependence in ecological data can affect experimental inference; what is less apparent is how to detect potential problems, determine their severities, and apply appropriate methodologies so analyses will withstand peer-review scrutiny. The semester starts with a brief refresher on data management and linear models (regression and ANOVA). In the second half of the semester, these “classic" frameworks are extended to scratch the surface of temporal data analysis and the three major areas of spatial statistics: spatial point processes, lattice data, and geostatistics. This course bridges sufficient theory to understand why contending with spatiotemporal dependence in data is important with enough application to make student confident to tackle their thesis or dissertation data.

ENT 5275. Medical Entomology

Biology of arthropod vectors of human disease. Emphasis on disease transmission and host, vector, and pathogen interactions.

ENT 5341. Biological Control of Insects and Weeds

Biological control of arthropod pests and weeds. Analysis of relevant ecological theory and case studies; biological control agents. Lab includes natural enemy identification, short experiments, and computer exercises.

ENT 5361. Aquatic Insects

Taxonomy and natural history of aquatic insects including their importance in aquatic ecology, water resource management, recreation, and conservation. Emphasis on family-level identification of immatures and adults. Field trips scheduled to local aquatic habitats. A collection is required.


ENT 8061. Scientific Communications and Ethics

Students develop/use critical elements of scientific communication, within an ethical framework. Elements in writing scientific manuscripts and research proposals. Oral communication for scientific, outreach, and classroom presentations.