Entomology Department Helps Youths Practice for 4-H, FFA Judging Contests with Annual Clinic

COLLEGE STATION, Texas—More than 170 members of the Future Farmers of America and 4-H youth programs statewide and their agricultural science teachers, adult leaders and county agents spent a rainy Saturday morning learning about entomology, entomology contests, and testing their insect identification skills in the Heep Center during the Entomology Judging Clinic on Saturday, March 4. The annual half-day clinic is designed to help 4-H and FFA students with skills to collect, prepare, and identify insects, to learn about their biology and relationships to different environments, all in… Read More →

West Texas bees doubt groundhog’s extended winter prediction

By Steve Byrns, Texas A&M AgriLife Communications SAN ANGELO – SPLAT! West Texas honey bees are on the move, so motorists shouldn’t be surprised if their windshields are strafed by a hapless swarm in coming weeks, said a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service entomologist. Dr. Charles Allen, of San Angelo, said the unusually warm February, touted as the warmest on record here, has put honey bees in the mood to travel. “It’s a sign spring has arrived, at least to the bees,” Allen said. “Usually the number of… Read More →

Student Team Wins Best Policy Proposal during SCONA Conference

Congratulations to Senior Entomology Shelby Kilpatrick as she was involved in a team that received Best Policy Proposal during the 62nd meeting of the MSC Student Conference on National Affairs (SCONA). Kilpatrick was one of 196 delegates that were divided into 17 roundtable discussion groups during the annual conference held on February 14-18. The team was tasked to collaborate and write a policy proposal within 60 hours addressing a topic of national importance, such as homeland security, the environment, epidemics and public health, and cybersecurity. The team she… Read More →

Extension Names Drake, Gonzales as IPM Agents

The Department of Entomology and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service would like to welcome John David Gonzales and Dr. David Drake as the newest members of the growing statewide integrated pest management group. Gonzales and Drake started their Extension Agent-IPM positions on February 1, with Gonzales serving the Muleshoe area and Drake serving the Commerce area. Gonzales replaced Erin Jones while Drake replaced Dr. Jim Swart after he retired in December 2014. Before joining the Commerce position, Drake worked as an Extension Agronomist for 8 years at the… Read More →

Carl Hjelmen and Richelle Marquess Named Outstanding Graduate Students

COLLEGE STATION, Texas–The Department of Entomology recently named Ph.D. student Carl Hjelmen and MS  student Richelle Marquess as the newest Oustanding Graduate Students at a special recognition seminar on Thursday. Hjelmen is advised by Dr. Spencer Johnston and is researching the evolution of genome size in Drosophila species. During the past year, Hjelmen has prepared and submitted a manuscript titled “The mode and tempo of genome size evolution in the subgenus Sopophora” and was a contributing author of another paper titled “The effects of natural selection and repetitive… Read More →

Alex Payne Wins Award for Her Research at National Conference

GALVESTON, Texas—Congratulations to Ph.D. student Alex Payne as she recently received an award for Best Student Paper from the American Association of Professional Apiculturists for her talk at the organization’s annual American Bee Research Conference in Galveston in January, 2017. Payne is mentored by Dr. Juliana Rangel. Her talk at the symposium was titled “The effects of honey bee (Apis mellifera) queen insemination volume on colony growth”. Her presentation looked at how the volume of semen in a queen who was artificially inseminated affects the overall growth of… Read More →

Texas cattle fever ticks are back with a vengeance

by Steve Byrns, Texas A&M AgriLife Communications COLLEGE STATION– Texas cattle fever ticks, which made Texas longhorns the pariah of the plains in the late 1800s, are once again expanding their range with infestations detected in Live Oak, Willacy and Kleberg counties, said Texas A&M AgriLife experts. As of Feb. 1, more than 500,000 acres in Texas are under various quarantines outside of the permanent quarantine zone. Dr. Pete Teel, Texas A&M AgriLife Research entomologist at College Station, said the vigilance and cooperation of regulatory agencies, namely the… Read More →

Dr. Max Summers Honored with Lifetime Achievement Award

COLLEGE STATION, Texas—The Department of Entomology honored Dr. Max Summers with the Department of Entomology Lifetime Recognition award during the January regular faculty meeting. Summers is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus and former holder of the Endowed Chair in Agricultural Biotechnology. Summers promoted inquiry-driven and knowledge-based research that generated more than $40 million in grants and patent income and over 375 scholarly publications in quality, high impact peer-reviewed journals. Together with his former student, Gale Smith, Summers was responsible for the pioneering and enabling research that developed the baculovirus… Read More →

Pest Management Conference Featured Expert Panels, Vector Control Sessions

Dr. Vargo at the Brazos Center main room stage

BRYAN, Texas–Hundreds of pest control professionals convened at the Brazos Center in Bryan to learn about the latest technologies and regulations to control insects and other pests during the 71st meeting of the Urban Pest Management Conference and Workshop. The three-day-long workshop was held from January 11-13 and featured several different topics of interest including regulations on use of chemicals, control methods for various pests, and how to keep safe on the job. Entomology Department Head Dr. David Ragsdale opened the event with an overview of the Department’s… Read More →

Tomberlin Named AgriLife Research Fellow, Extension Entomology, IPM Agents Receive Superior Service Awards

COLLEGE STATION, Texas—The Department of Entomology has started the New Year off right as it celebrates the recipients of the latest round of awards given at the 2017 Texas A&M AgriLife Conference. The awards were given during the Research and Extension awards presentation on Tuesday in the Memorial Student Center’s Bethancourt Ballroom. Dr. Jeff Tomberlin was honored as a Texas A&M AgriLife Research Faculty Fellow, an honorific title he will keep throughout his tenure at Texas A&M.  This was awarded for his outstanding research in the field of… Read More →

Texas A&M garners $10 million grant to establish center, fight vector-borne diseases

by Steve Byrns, Texas A&M AgriLife Communications COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Texas A&M AgriLife recently received a substantial monetary boost to bolster its aggressive fight to stem the spread of vector-borne diseases for the public good, said Dr. David Ragsdale, Texas A&M University entomology department head at College Station. Ragsdale said the $10 million five-year grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be used to establish the Western Gulf Coast Center of Excellence for Vector-Borne Diseases. The Western Gulf Coast Center of Excellence for Vector-Borne… Read More →

Entomology Students Part of Record Number of Graduating Aggies

COLLEGE STATION—Several Entomology students celebrated the holiday season early as they were part of more than 4,000 students expected to graduate this fall during commencement ceremonies at Reed Arena on Friday, December 16. The department had a total of 21 students, which included 6 undergraduate ENTO majors and 1 minor, 3 master’s students and 1 Ph.D. student that attended the 2pm ceremony with others in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. There also were 15 students that received the Certification in Public Health Entomology. “We want to… Read More →

Ann Pool Receives Staff Meritorious Service Award

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — The Department of Entomology at Texas A&M University would like to congratulate Ann Pool on receiving the 2016 Department of Entomology Staff Meritorious Service Award. Pool, an Academic Advisor II in the Department’s Advising office, received the award during a special reception in the fourth floor atrium on Wednesday, December 14. Since joining the Department in 2013, Pool has been instrumental in the daily academic operations in the department, taking care of most of the undergraduate academic advising for the Entomology, Forensic and Investigative… Read More →

Former Student Honored with Outstanding Early Career Alumni Award

BRYAN, Texas—Congratulations to Dr. Brad Hopkins as he received the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Outstanding Early Career Award. The award recognizes former students in the College that have made significant accomplishments and contributions at the state, national or international levels in agriculture, natural resources or the life sciences and who graduated from the college within the past 15 years. Hopkins was recognized at the annual Legacy and Leadership banquet held at the Brazos County Expo Center on November 18. Hopkins received his bachelor’s, masters, and Ph.D…. Read More →

Kerns Named Statewide Integrated Pest Management Coordinator

COLLEGE STATION–The Department of Entomology and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service would like to welcome Dr. David Kerns to the faculty as Professor and Statewide Integrated Pest Management Coordinator. Kerns started December 1 and is based in College station. Before joining A&M, he was the Jack Hamilton Regents Chair in Cotton Production in the Department of Entomology at Louisiana State University since April 2011 located at Winnsboro at the Macon Ridge Research Center. At LSU, Kerns was responsible for conducting entomological research at Macon Ridge and St. Joseph… Read More →

AgriLife Research team makes strides in fight against Zika

by Steve Byrns, Texas A&M AgriLife Communications COLLEGE STATION – There’s a war raging on a tiny battlefield and the outcome could well touch millions of people worldwide threatened by Zika and related viruses. The key ally unlocking the mystery surrounding this conflict is the long-dreaded yellow fever virus. Dr. Kevin Myles, Glady “Hazitha” Samuel and Dr. Zach Adelman are Texas A&M AgriLife Research scientists at Texas A&M University, College Station, who published “Yellow fever virus capsid protein is a potent suppressor of RNA silencing that binds double-stranded… Read More →

Former Grad Student Receives Award from Malaysian Government

Chin Heo, center, with Dato' Kamel Mohamad, Deputy Secretary General of Higher Education in Malaysia (left), and Associate Prof. Dr. Puzziawati Abdul Ghani (right)

The Department of Entomology would like to congratulate former Ph.D. student Chong Chin Heo as he received the highest honor from the Malaysian government during a special ceremony held at the Embassy of Malaysia in Washington, D.C. on November 5. Chong Chin Heo received the Perdana Scholar Award in the Research, Innovation and Publication category from the Malaysian government. Given to selected Malaysian students that have studied in the United States, the award’s goal is to identify, document and promote Malaysia students that have excelled in academics, leadership… Read More →

Pietrantonio’s Fire Ant Research Featured in Podcast

Fire ants

Texas A&M Entomology professor Dr. Patricia Pietrantonio’s fire ant research project was recently featured in a video posted by the science media podcast website EarthSky. The podcast is located at http://earthsky.org/earth/science-fights-to-control-fire-ants, highlights the destructive impact of red imported fire ants (Solenopsis invicta Buren) and the ongoing basic research efforts to conceive better strategies to control this pest. Pietrantonio’s National Science Foundation-funded project, titled “Neuropeptide Receptors and Identification of Genes in Signaling Networks Involved in Reproduction and Nutrition in the Red Imported Fire Ant”, focuses on localizing the neuropeptide… Read More →

Monarchs on the Move In Texas

by Steve Byrns, Texas A&M AgriLife Communications SAN ANGELO – Tens of thousands of monarch butterflies have been migrating through the Concho Valley in recent days, and a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service entomologist hopes Texans stop to appreciate what he terms is truly a royal procession. “These are special insects, and they are moving through our country here in San Angelo in a big way,” said Dr. Charles Allen who is headquartered at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at San Angelo. “There were literally… Read More →

Texas A&M Entomology Hosts Joint Vector Borne Disease Workshop with UC-Davis

Group in front of classroom at the Thomas G. Hildebrand, DVM '56 Equine Complex

The Department of Entomology at Texas A&M University recently held a two-day workshop in cooperation with the University of California-Davis’ Department of Entomology and Nematology this past weekend to discuss vector-borne diseases in humans, plants, and animals. The two-day event held at the Thomas G. Hildebrand, DVM ‘56 Equine Complex, focused on finding solutions to problems with vector-borne diseases such as Zika, citrus greening and Lyme Disease. The event paired faculty with similar interests, such as genetics and genomics of vectors to those who deal with population structure… Read More →

Students Receive Recognition During 25th Meeting of International Congress of Entomology

ORLANDO—The month of September has been good for the Department of Entomology as six students received awards during the International Congress of Entomology (ICE) meeting in Orlando. Held every four years, ICE allows entomologists worldwide to collaborate and communicate their ideas and to make important connections with entomologists and scientists and compete in global presentation competitions. This year’s meeting featured keynotes from Nobel Prize recipients Drs. Peter Agre and Jules Hoffmann and featured various plenary speakers each day throughout the duration of the conference. In addition, several of… Read More →

Faculty Members and Student Receive Top College Awards

COLLEGE STATION, Texas—Three people from the Department of Entomology received the highest honors the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences gives out annually during its annual Awards Ceremony on September 29. Drs. Juliana Rangel and Adrienne Brundage, and senior Shelby Kilpatrick won three awards for their hard work and dedication with the Department and College. Rangel was honored with the Dean’s Outstanding Achievement Award for Early Career Research for her work during the first few years since she joining the Department. Since Rangel joined the faculty as Assistant… Read More →

“Nosey” Butterflies Visit South Central Texas on Annual Migration

By Paul Schattenberg, Texas A&M AgriLife Communications SAN ANTONIO – What may appear to some to be a butterfly invasion in South Central Texas is really just an annual migration of the American snout butterfly, said Molly Keck, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service entomologist for Bexar County. “Right now these snout butterflies are migrating through the region in huge numbers on their way toward the Rio Grande River area,” Keck said She said the insect gets its name from the elongated mouthparts called “palps” that extend from the… Read More →

Department Remembers Dr. Horace Burke

Dr. Horace Burke, Professor Emeritus, passed away on Tuesday, September 6, 2016, in College Station, Texas. Burke was born April 1, 1926 near Elkhart, Texas to Franklin Parks Burke and Minnie Lee Walling Burke. After attending Elkhart High School, he served in the United States Army 17th Airborne Division, 194th Glider Infantry in World War II.  Burke also served as part of the 13th Airborne and 82nd Airborne Divisions. Upon resuming civilian life back in Texas, Horace attended Sam Houston State University where he earned a degree in… Read More →

New AgriLife Research scientists take aim at Zika

By Steve Byrns, Texas A&M AgriLife Communications COLLEGE STATION – Today’s news is flooded with reports on Zika; none of them good…until now. Texas A&M AgriLife Research has fielded a Zika team led by two scientists who joined the department of entomology at Texas A&M University on Aug. 1, said Dr. David Ragsdale, department head at College Station. Dr. Zach Adelman and Dr. Kevin Myles were previously at Virginia Tech and now join the ranks of a number of AgriLife Research personnel whose priority has become stopping Zika,… Read More →

Grad Students Receive Top Awards at Nineteenth Annual Forum

Four students received top awards during the Department of Entomology’s Nineteenth Annual Graduate Student Forum on August 25. Tyler Raszick received first place for his talk titled ”Boll weevil (Anthonomus grandis) population genomics as a tool for monitoring and management” and Jocelyn Holt received second place for her talk “The sugarcane aphid in the continental US” This year’s competition ended up with a tie, with both winners receiving awards. The winners were Derek Woller for his presentation titled “Exploring the functional frontiers of genitalia morphology via synergistic imaging… Read More →

AgriLife Research Entomologist Creates Toolbox for Vegetable Producers

by Rod Santa Ana, Texas A&M AgriLife Communications WESLACO – It’s an imaginary toolbox, but Dr. Ismael E. Badillo-Vargas wants to create one for South Texas growers to help them revive what was once a thriving vegetable industry in the Rio Grande Valley. It would contain both short- and long-term strategies to once again harvest vast fields of produce in Texas for local, national and international markets. Badillo-Vargas, a Texas A&M AgriLife Research insect vector entomologist in Weslaco, said insects and the plant diseases they carry represent a… Read More →

Educating the public about Zika is now AgriLife Extension’s ‘priority-one’

COLLEGE STATION – Educating the public to protect themselves from Zika has become “priority one” for the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, a state leader said. AgriLife Extension is tasked with educating the public on a great number of topics for all ages, but in a bold unprecedented move, the agency has harnessed its statewide presence to prepare the public against this ever-increasing threat, said Dr. Susan Ballabina, executive associate director, College Station. “As I expect most Texans are aware, the Zika virus — spread mainly by the A. aegypti and A…. Read More →

Sword’s research plays key role in new technology poised to make major cotton industry contribution

Greg Sword

by Steve Byrns, Texas A&M AgriLife Communications COLLEGE STATION—The dream of many Texas cotton farmers plagued by dwindling irrigation water and drought might be to someday produce more fiber using the same amount of water. That dream is fast becoming reality now thanks to a commercially available seed treatment from Indigo Ag called Indigo™ Cotton. The science behind the treatment stems directly from research started by Dr. Greg Sword, a Texas A&M entomologist. But the dream gets better. Sword and Indigo-his industry partner-say that under some conditions the… Read More →

Teel Wins Distinguished Achievement Award In Teaching from ESA

Congratulations to Professor and Associate Department Head for Academic Programs Dr. Pete Teel for winning the Entomological Society of America’s (ESA) Distinguished Award In Teaching for 2016.  This is the highest level of achievement from the ESA bestowed on its members. The award is presented annually to members of the ESA that have achieved success throughout their career in teaching.  Teel has been honored for his 38 years of teaching undergraduate and graduate entomology courses. Teel currently teaches the Occupation and Professional Development course (ENTO 482), where students… Read More →

AgriLife Research, Extension Personnel Receive Awards at Statewide Meetings

Three Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension personnel had a great summer as they received top awards during two statewide meetings held in July. Extension Agent-IPM Blayne Reed received the Texas Corn Producers’ Outstanding Corn Agent award at the Texas County Agricultural Agents Association’s annual meeting on Wednesday, July 20, 2016. Reed covers Hale, Swisher and Floyd Counties. The award honored Reed’s outstanding work in educating producers in the areas of pre-plant decisions, hybrid selection, insect management and fertility of crops. Reed also was a part of a… Read More →

Grad Student Assists In Rediscovery of Grasshopper Species Not Seen in Almost 60 Years

For almost 60 years, scientists thought that Melanoplus foxi Hebard, 1923, a flightless grasshopper endemic to Georgia, was possibly extinct until Ph.D. student Derek Woller and Assistant Research Professor JoVonn Hill at Mississippi State University recently re-discovered the species in May of 2015 after nine years of active searching. Woller became aware of the species in the first place because, for his dissertation, he is examining the evolutionary history of the 24 species that make up the Puer Group (Acrididae: Melanoplinae), which includes M. foxi. He said that… Read More →

Department Welcomes Joel Webb As New Extension Agent-IPM

The Department of Entomology and the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service would like to welcome Mr. Joel Webb as the new Extension Agent-IPM for the area covering Tom Green and Runnels Counties. Webb joined the IPM Program on June 1 where he replaced the position that was formerly held by Rick Minzenmayer who retired in 2015. Before joining Extension, Webb worked for three years as a Research Associate in Weed Science and Crop Systems and 3 years as a Research Technician in the Vegetable Department at the Texas… Read More →

New discovery may improve future mosquito control

Aedes aegypti females reject the sucrose solution containing the synthetic peptide. The sugary solution contained a blue dye to trace the meal in their gut. (Photo courtesy Dr. Patricia Pietrantonio, Texas A&M AgriLife Research Fellow)

AgriLife Research scientist’s paper outlines a new mechanism of sugar feeding aversion By: Steve Byrns, Texas A&M AgriLife Communications COLLEGE STATION – Major rainfall across most of Texas triggering hordes of mosquitoes coupled with seemingly constant mosquito-related Zika virus media reports from around the globe may have set the stage perfectly for what one researcher deems as a very significant discovery in man’s war against earth’s leading human disease carrier. Dr. David Ragsdale, head of the entomology department at Texas A&M University, College Station, credits Dr. Patricia Pietrantonio,… Read More →

Harris Receives Ta-que-ne-whap Award for Leadership and Service

TYLER, Texas–The Department of Entomology would like to congratulate professor emeritus Dr. Marvin Harris as he received the Ta-que-ne-whap Award from the Southwestern Branch of the Entomological Society of America during its annual meeting in February. Established in 1977 by the branch’s Executive Committee, the award honors members who have contributed exceptional leadership and service to the Branch over their lifetimes. Harris, a Professor Emeritus of Entomology at Texas A&M University, received the award for his outstanding efforts in the organization. A joint research (Texas A&M AgriLife Research)… Read More →

Retired Researcher’s Decades of Work on Texas Spiders Published

Allen Dean standing with a specimen in his collection. Photo by Rob Williams.

Former research assistant Allen Dean has turned an interest in learning about spiders into a decades-long effort to catalog all spider species of Texas. Recently, these records were turned into a 700-page catalogue of Texas spiders that was recently published online. This paper, titled “Catalogue of Texas Spiders,” is the end result of the work of several decades of collecting and researching on various spider species statewide, as well as literature reviews from other publications that were published decades ago. The catalog contains a list of 1,072 species… Read More →

Students Join Record Number of Aggies Graduating in Spring 2016

COLLEGE STATION, Texas–A large group of students celebrated another milestone in their lives as they joined 9,000 other Aggies during spring commencement on Friday, May 13. The students joined thousands of others from the College of Agriculture and and the College of Geosciences expected to walk the Reed Arena stage. These included 30 undergraduates, 4 Master of Science candidates, 1 Ph.D. candidate, and 27 Public Health Entomology Certificate recipients. Undergraduates Emily Crews, Alexandria Payne, Taylor Splawn, Colton Sweetser, and Adrianna Tirloni were also recognized during the LAUNCH recognition… Read More →

Entomology Student Discovers New Bee Species in Dominica

Shelby Kilpatrick’s experience studying abroad in Dominica has led to a very exciting and memorable learning experience as she discovered a new species of halictid bees during a recent trip to the country in 2015. What turned out to be an insect collecting and identification study for Kilpatrick, a junior Entomology major, ended up being part of the study that was featured in a paper by Jason Gibbs of Michigan State University and a species being named in her honor of her new discovery. The paper titled Bees… Read More →

AgriLife Research entomologist testing potato psyllids for insecticide resistance

by Kay Ledbetter, Texas A&M AgriLife Communications AMARILLO – A growing resistance of potato psyllids to the neonicotinoid classification of insecticides has Dr. Ada Szczepaniec, Texas A&M AgriLife Research entomologist in Amarillo, looking to the future. The potato psyllid is a tiny insect with sucking, piercing mouthparts that transmits a disease called zebra chip and can cause tremendous losses to producers, Szczepaniec said. Producers have used the neonicotinoid insecticides to protect their solanaceous crops, mostly potatoes, in the past. The problem, she said, is many of these psyllids… Read More →

Hewlett Receives COALS Senior Merit Award

Jeremy Hewlett with Dr. Mark Hussey

Congratulations to senior Entomology major Jeremy Hewlett as he received the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ Senior Merit Award during the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Spring Convocation. Hewlett is a member of the Texas A&M Undergraduate Entomology Student Organization and works in Dr. Micky Eubanks’ lab studying the ant-aphid mutualisms and how to use them in controlling other pests while increasing crop yield. He also participated in certification classes and group sailing activities in the American Sailing Association and the Kemah Sailing Club in 2011-2012… Read More →

Hapes Selected As Mentor for NACADA Emerging Leaders Class

COLLEGE STATION, Texas–Congratulations to Academic Advisor Rebecca Hapes as she has been selected to serve as a mentor for the 2016-2018 Class of Emerging Leaders for the National Academic Advisors Association. Hapes is one of 10 other academic advisors that were selected internationally as mentors to selected advisors that are called Emerging Leaders. These selected individuals are interested in advancing in leadership within the NACADA organization, such as committees and other elected positions. For the next two years, Hapes will be working closely with an Emerging Leader in… Read More →

AgriLife Extension experts inform Texans on protecting from Zika, other mosquito-borne diseases

By: Paul Schattenberg and Steve Byrns, Texas A&M AgriLife Communications SAN ANTONIO – Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service entomologists are informing Texans on how to protect themselves from the mosquito vectors that spread Zika and other diseases. “The ongoing outbreak of the Zika virus has spread throughout most of South America, Central America and the Caribbean,” said Sonja Swiger, AgriLife Extension entomologist, Stephenville. “The effects this virus will have on the United States are not entirely known, but experts are concerned about the possibilities.” According to health officials,… Read More →

Department Names Karen Wright As New Insect Collection Assistant Curator

Karen Wright

COLLEGE STATION, Texas–The Department of Entomology would like to welcome Ms. Karen Wright as the new Assistant Curator of the Texas A&M Insect Collection starting June 1. Wright will replace Mr. Ed Riley who retired in August of 2015 after working more than 27 years with the department. Before joining the Department, Wright worked as a graduate assistant in the Arthropod Division of the University of New Mexico’s Museum of Southwestern Biology in Albuquerque in 2015 and as a graduate assistant in the museum’s herbarium during the spring… Read More →

Undergraduates Recognized At 20th Annual Banquet

The Entomology Scholars Society for 2016-2017. Pictured are: Bill McCutchen, Dr. Pete Teel, members Katherina Kang, Dayvion Adams, Elaine Chu, and Shelby Kilpatrick, and Dr. David Reed

COLLEGE STATION, Texas—Congratulations to all of the Department’s students that were recognized at the 20th Annual Undergraduate Entomology Student Banquet on Friday, April 8. Students and their families convened at the Thomas G. Hildebrand Equine Complex where they were treated to a barbecue dinner and desserts as members of the Aggie Forensic and Investigative Sciences and the Undergraduate Entomology Student Organization led the program. After the welcome, UESO member Shelby Kilpatrick reported the highlights of the year’s activities for the organization while Stephanie Stratta reported highlights from AFIS… Read More →

Students Receive Top Awards During Student Research Competitions

COLLEGE STATION, Texas–Congratulations to three of the Department’s students that received top awards  while showcasing student research campuswide during both Student Research Week and the Ecological Integration Symposium held the last week in March. Entomology major Shelby Kilpatrick received first place during the Ecological Integration for her talk titled “An updated checklist of the bees of the Commonwealth of Dominica (Hymenoptera: Apoidea: Anthophila)” Alexandria Payne received first place in the Plant Sciences, Animal Sciences, Wildlife & Fisheries Science, Entomology, Agriculture, Ecological Restoration category for her talk titled “The… Read More →

Department Celebrates Retirement of Staff Member

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The Department of Entomology celebrated the achievements of Sherry Boyd during a reception held in the fourth floor atrium on Wednesday, March 2016. Boyd is the Department’s Business Coordinator I and is mainly responsible for Research accounts and inventory. She will be retiring on March 31 after nine years with the Department. “Sherry is an invaluable member and a tremendous asset to the Department,” said Department Head Dr. David Ragsdale. “She will be missed greatly.”

Multi-state Sugarcane Aphid Team Receives Regional Award for Saving Grain Sorghum Crops

TYLER, Texas–Researchers and Extension specialists from Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension and three other states recently received the Friends of IPM Pulling Together Award at the Southwestern Branch of the Entomological Society of America meeting for their actions in saving sorghum crops from the sugarcane aphid. Because of the proactive actions of team members, grain sorghum producers were spared losses in the hundreds of millions. In Texas alone, sorghum is planted on 1.25 million acres and brings a value to the state of $160 million dollars each… Read More →

Texas A&M Entomology Students Receive Numerous Awards during Southwestern Branch Meeting

TYLER, Texas – Seven students walked away winners at the Southwestern Branch of the Entomological Society meeting February 22-25 in Tyler. Ph.D. student Derek Woller received the ESA’s Comstock Award. This prestigious award with one graduate student from each branch recognized for their accomplishments in research, service, and public engagement. The award is financial support to attend the annual meeting of the Entomological Society of America which this year is co-located with the International Congress of Entomology to be held in September in Orlando, FL. Woller is a… Read More →

Linnaean Teams Win First and Second Place at Southwestern Branch Meeting

TYLER, Texas–The Department of Entomology’s graduates and undergraduate Linnaean Teams came out big during the annual Linnaean Games quiz bowl competition at the Southwestern Branch of the Entomological Society meeting during the last week of February. The Graduate Linnaean Team received first place after defeating the Texas A&M undergraduate team in the final round of play. Both teams also competed other teams, graduate and undergraduate, from Oklahoma State University. The graduate team consisted of Pierre Lau, Freddy Ibanez, Adrian Fisher, and Carl Hjelmen while the undergraduate team included… Read More →

AIBS to Convene Expert Panel Webinar on Science of Zika, Potential for Genetic Control

Washington, DC – The Zika virus is the most recent example of a virus spreading rapidly around the world with the assistance of an animal vector – in this case the mosquito Aedes. On March 15, 2016, the American Institute of Biological Sciences will convene a meeting of scientific experts to discuss the epidemiology of Zika, the potential for genetic control of the mosquito species that transmit it, and the ethical issues associated with the use of this new biotechnology. This webinar program is free and open to… Read More →

Grad Students Honored with Awards During Seminar

COLLEGE STATION, Texas –The Department of Entomology would like to congratulate two of our grad students as they received top honors during the department’s spring seminar series on February 18. Ph.D. student Carl Hjelmen received the Outstanding Ph.D. Student while Devin Beach Tillman received the Outstanding Masters Student Award during the special presentation. Hjelmen is advised by Dr. Spencer Johnston and is currently researching the evolution of genome size in Drosophila species. Hjelmen is a member of the Graduate Entomology Student Organization, where he is serving as the… Read More →

Valencia and Shaffner Receive Top Departmental Awards

COLLEGE STATION — Congratulations to Cesar Valencia and Joe Schaffner in receiving the Department of Entomology’s top awards for the year during the February faculty meeting on February 11. Valencia received the Department’s Staff Meritorious Service Award while Schaffner was given the Lifetime Achievement award during the meeting. Valencia is a lab and field manager for Dr. Greg Sword’s lab and also serves as the proctor of the Entomological Research Laboratory, which houses various labs and offices for the Department. He is responsible for several tasks in the… Read More →

Dr. Gabe Hamer Featured on KBTX about Zika Virus

Assistant Professor Dr. Gabe Hamer, along with KBTX-TV’s Chief Meteorologist Shel Winkley were interviewed by KBTX-TV’s Kathleen Witte during the station’s Focus At Four segment on February 10. During the interview, Hamer discussed the mosquitoes that are vectors for the Zika, which are Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, their habitats, and their distribution, as well as possible risk factors to the United States.

Texas A&M AgriLife Research Entomologists Co-Authors on Bed Bug Genome Mapping Paper

COLLEGE STATION – Two Texas A&M AgriLife Research entomologists were among a team of more than 80 international scientists whose work in sequencing the genome of the bed bug was published in the scientific journal Nature Communications on Feb. 2. The AgriLife Research team members from College Station who were part of the two-year project are Dr. Ed Vargo, Endowed Chair in Urban and Structural Entomology headquartered in the Rollins Urban and Structural Entomology Facility, and Dr. Spencer Johnston in Texas A&M University’s department of entomology. The paper,… Read More →

Ph.D. Student Receives Award from Beltwide Cotton Conference

The Department of Entomology would like to congratulate Ph.D. student James Glover for receiving the Best Ph.D. oral presentation prize in the Insect Management category at the Cotton Beltwide Conferences in New Orleans on January 5-7. Glover received the award for his talk titled, “Comparing Boll Injury and EILs for Species of a Boll-Feeding Sucking Bug Complex (Hemiptera: Miridae and Pentatomidae) on South Texas Cotton.” Texas A&M AgriLife Research professor and co-mentor Dr. Mike Brewer said that Glover’s research is on the injury of cotton plants from a… Read More →

Department Honors Dr. Brad Vinson’s Retirement with Special Reception

COLLEGE STATION, Texas—Friends and family from far and near gathered at the fourth floor atrium to recognize the achievements of Dr. Brad Vinson as he retires from the University after 47 years of employment on January 31. Vinson began his career here at Texas A&M in 1969 after working at Mississippi State as an associate professor. “Most of us are standing on the shoulders of giants-those remarkable scientists who had a vision of where to lead the rest of us,” said Entomology Department Head Dr. David Ragsdale. “Dr…. Read More →

Entomology Faculty, Staff Receive Superior Service, Vice Chancellor Awards During Conference

BRYAN – Several members of the Department of Entomology started the New Year off right after they received awards at both the Superior Service Awards dinner and Vice Chancellor’s Awards in Excellence The first award was a Superior Service Award in the Team category that was given to the Texas Sugarcane Aphid Team for their efforts in staving off a statewide disaster that came from sugarcane aphids, one of the worst pests to ever threaten the sorghum industry, and prevented millions of dollars in damage to crops across… Read More →

Department Hires Research, Extension Faculty Members

The Department of Entomology, Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension would like to welcome Dr. Ismael Badillo-Vargas and Suhas Vyavhare to its faculty roster. Badillo-Vargas will start on February 1 as the newest vector entomologist for the Texas A&M AgriLife Research Center in Weslaco while Vyavhare will start February 1 as an Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Lubbock. Badillo-Vargas was born and raised in Puerto Rico and graduated from the University of Puerto Rico –… Read More →

Department Reaches Out To Local Family During Holiday Season

During this December, the Department of Entomology “adopted” a family this holiday season that needed our help to make their Christmas special. This year’s Christmas Wish List for the Adopted Family was very successful. The gifts were delivered Thursday afternoon, December 17, 2015 to a local family. The family they chose consisted of a 4-year-old boy, 5-year-old boy, 7-year-old girl, 9-year-old boy, 10-year-old boy, 12 year-old girl, and their mother. With the gifts and donations given the department was able to provide each child with a pair of… Read More →

Congratulations Fall 2015 Graduates!!

Several  students will be getting an early Christmas gift this December as they are expected to walk the stage for fall commencement at Reed Arena on Friday, December 18. A total of 22 students joined thousands of students in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences during the 9am commencement ceremony. “We congratulate all of today’s graduates and the family and friends who will be celebrating the achievements of their loved ones. We are so proud of all they have accomplished,” said Entomology Department Head Dr. David Ragsdale…. Read More →

Grad Students Receive High Awards for Presentations at National Meeting

Carl Hjelmen speaking

MINNEAPOLIS– Congratulations to Ph.D. students Carl Hjelmen and Liz Walsh as they were given awards for the Graduate Ten Minute Paper Presentation Competition at the Entomological Society of America’s annual meeting on Monday, November 16. Hjelmen’s paper received first place in the SysEB – Citizen Science, New Methods, and Physiology section and was titled “Phylogenetic basis for understanding genome size evolution in Drosophila.” In his paper, he is looking at the evolution of the genome size in the Drosophila species of flies. In his research, he is utilizing… Read More →

Extension Bug Banquet makes a unique culinary experience

by Paul Schattenberg, Texas A&M AgriLife Communications SAN ANTONIO – An Australian man made national news recently and was dubbed “Ant Man” after surviving for almost a week in the unforgiving outback by eating ants – something he had seen survival expert Bear Grylls do on television. While such a tale is unusual, entomophagy or the eating of insects for food goes back tens of thousands of years and continues today, said Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service entomologist Molly Keck for Bexar County. “People in the United States… Read More →

Vargo Receives Crown Leadership Award

Less than a year into his tenure as the new Endowed Chair for the Texas A&M Urban and Structural Program and Dr. Ed Vargo has already received national attention recently during a special ceremony in Nashville. Vargo was awarded the Pest Control Technology/Syngenta Crown Leadership Award, which spotlights individuals who have positively contributed to growing and developing to the pest control industry and establishing ties to their communities. Vargo became Professor and Endowed Chair for the university’s urban and structural program in December 2014 after replacing Dr. Roger… Read More →

Kate Harrell Named Extension Agent – IPM for Wharton Area

WHARTON, Texas – The Department of Entomology and the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service welcomes Kate Harrell as the newest Extension Agent-IPM for Wharton County. Harrell is no stranger to Texas A&M as she graduated from the university with a Bachelor’s of Science in Entomology and Agronomy in May 2013 and is currently a grad student studying Entomology. She is expected to graduate in May 2016. Harrell began working in Wharton County on September 1, when she replaced former Extension Agent-IPM Clyde Crumley who retired on February 28,… Read More →

AgriLife Research, Extension Entomologists Respond to Invasive Sugarcane Aphids in South Texas

CORPUS CHRISTI – Entomologists and plant breeders with Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension within the Departments of Entomology and Soil and Crop Sciences partnered to take care of a large outbreak of a very invasive pest: the sugarcane aphid attacking sorghum. The team included Michael Brewer, Robert Bowling, Mo Way, James Woolley, Gary Peterson, Bill Rooney, Stephen Biles, and David Kerns of LSU. Graduate students also worked on this project, including John Gordy and Erin Maxson of the Department of Entomology, and Lloyd Mbulwe of Soil and… Read More →

New AgriLife Research Entomologist Hired in Amarillo

By: Kay Ledbetter, Texas A&M AgriLife Communications AMARILLO – Dr. Ada Szczepaniec has been hired as an assistant professor and research entomologist by Texas A&M AgriLife Research in Amarillo and the Texas A&M University department of entomology. She began Sept. 14. “Dr. Szczepaniec possesses an excellent academic and field research background that will allow her to quickly establish a strong entomology research program directed primarily on cropping systems that include wheat, corn or sorghum,” said Dr. John Sweeten, AgriLife Research resident director in Amarillo. “Her strong personal attributes… Read More →

Johnston Part of Group Studying How Genome Size Affects Reproductive Fitness in Seed Beetles

Beetles can teach us a lot of things about genetics, especially with regard to differences in genome size within and between species. Professor Spencer Johnston worked with a team of scientists to test how the genome size affects reproductive fitness in seed beetles. Led by Goran Arnqvist of the University of Uppsala in Sweden, the researchers have presented evidence suggesting that natural selection may be a more important determinant of genome size than chance events (genetic drift). In the study published in the September 2015 issue of the… Read More →

Entomology Student Learns Valuable Experience at Orkin Internship

Video courtesy of Orkin For junior Entomology major Colby Shodrock his dream of working at a pest control company came true as he got to intern in Georgia for the Orkin Internship program during this summer. Shodrock said he had heard about the internship when he saw a flier about the program that was posted on a bulletin board. He had always wanted to work for Orkin and wanted to see what it would be like working for the company. Shodrock interned at the company’s call center in… Read More →

Ph.D. Student Receives USDA-AFRI Travel Grant

Congratulations to Wenqing Zhou on receiving a USDA – AFRI travel award to attend the Entomological Society of America’s annual meeting in Minneapolis this November. The travel grant award is funded by USDA-NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Program on Plant-Associated Insects and Nematodes. It was created to provide financial support to graduate students for new networking, presentation, and research opportunities at the meeting that will be held on November 15-18. Zhou is a Ph.D. candidiate currently being mentored under Professor and Charles R. Parencia Chair in Cotton… Read More →

Faculty, Staff Honored at Annual COALS Dean’s Outstanding Achievement Awards Ceremony

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Congratulations to Dr. Jim Woolley and Mr. Pete Krauter for receiving the highest award from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences for their achievements. Woolley and Krauter were honored on Wednesday, September 16, during the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ Dean’s Outstanding Achievement Awards ceremony held at the AgriLife Center. Woolley, a professor of Entomology, received the Dean’s Award in the international impact category. Woolley has been with the Department for 32 years teaching and researching the taxonomy and evolution of parasitic… Read More →

Entomologists find new stink bug to help soybean farmers control damage

By Kathleen Phillips, Texas A&M AgriLife Communications BEAUMONT — Entomologists in Texas got a whiff of a new stink bug doing economic damage to soybeans in Texas and are developing ways to help farmers combat it, according to a report in the journal Environmental Entomology. Various types of stink bugs have long been a problem on soybean crops, but when sweeps of fields in southeast Texas netted 65 percent redbanded stink bugs, entomologists realized this particular bug had become the predominant pest problem, according to Dr. Mo Way,… Read More →

Chong Chin Heo Receives Top TAMU Awards For Research Excellence

COLLEGE STATION, Texas—Chong Chin Heo’s research has been recognized at the higher level as he recently received the Vice President for Research’s Excellence Award and the Sigma Xi Interdisciplinary Award for his outstanding research efforts. Heo is a Ph.D. candidate in Dr. Jeffery Tomberlin’s FLIES lab and received his Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences and Masters in Parasitology from the National University of Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Heo’s interest in research started when he learned about the devastating impacts of parasites and insects to human and… Read More →

Grad Students Receive Awards During Forum

The Department of Entomology recently recognized four students as they received recognition for their outstanding research presentations during the Eighteenth Annual Graduate Student Forum on August 27. The forum allows graduate students to present their research in front of their peers. Presenters had a total of 15 minutes to present their research and field questions from the audience. Of the 15 presenters, Chong Chin Heo received first place for his talk titled “Ecosystem resilience of carrion experiencing delayed Diptera colonization” and Paula Castillo for her talk titled “RNAi… Read More →

IPM Professionals Receive Experience at New Training House

By: Paul Schattenberg, Texas A&M AgriLife Communications DALLAS – The Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Dallas recently held an inaugural hands-on integrated pest management, or IPM, training class for more than a dozen professionals and paraprofessionals in the business of pest control. The class was the first to be offered using the IPM Experience House, a facility designed to train pest-control professionals how to control pests more safely and effectively. “This was the first time for the center to host a program based on hands-on… Read More →

Texas A&M Insect Collection Associate Curator Ed Riley To Retire

COLLEGE STATION, Texas— Associate Curator of the Texas A&M Insect Collection Ed Riley will soon have more time to enjoy insect collecting as he retires on August 31. Riley will retire at the end of August after working 27+ years as the assistant and associate curator of the Texas A&M Insect Collection within the Department of Entomology. Riley has been responsible for maintenance and curation of the Texas A&M Insect Collection. During his tenure, the insect collection has nearly tripled in size from one to three million curated… Read More →

Congratulations August Graduates!

COLLEGE STATION, Texas—Thirteen students  joined more than 1,800 Aggies this August in walking the stage at Reed Arena during summer graduation. The thirteen included 3 Bachelor of Science, 4 Master of Science, and 5 Ph.D. students, as well as two students that received their Public Health Entomology certificates during the 9am ceremony. Before the ceremony started, students and their families were treated with a pre-commencement breakfast reception with faculty and staff in the fourth floor atrium where they could share their memories and congratulations before lineup. Associate Department… Read More →

Grad Student Receives Top Honors at International Research Competition

LEXINGTON—Rangel Lab member and Ph.D. student Elizabeth Walsh was one of two students from Texas A&M that received a high awards for their research at a company’s international agricultural science competition. Walsh and Xiaoquiu “Churchill” Wang submitted research projects to the Alltech Young Scientist Competition that was held in Lexington, Kentucky. Walsh received second place and Wang received first out of more than 9,000 students from 61 countries that participated in the competition. A native of Johnson Creek, Wisconsin, Walsh entered her project named “The Effects of In-Hive… Read More →

Department Participates In Unique Outreach Opportunity at Butterfly Release

The air was filled with lots of butterflies as the Department of Entomology helped celebrate the fourth annual “Wish upon a Butterfly” butterfly release at the Brazos Valley Museum of Natural Science on Saturday, July 25. The annual fundraiser helps the museum, and also was an opportunity for members of the Department’s Entomology Graduate Student Organization and Dr. Juliana Rangel’s lab to raise awareness of how butterflies benefit humanity. According to the museum’s website, the fundraiser pays homage and well-wishes to celebration, childhood wonder, the memory and presence… Read More →

Extension Program Specialist Enjoys Helping the Community

The Department of Entomology is featuring some of our Extension personnel and how they became interested in entomology and their jobs as entomologists. Extension Program Specialist Wizzie Brown works in the Austin/Travis county area and handles issues with integrated pest management and urban educational programs. Brown started her career in Extension in 2002 working as an Extension agent with the integrated pest management (IPM). She said that she was very interested in entomology when she was younger but didn’t start studying it as a possible field of study… Read More →

Department Remembers Dr. Jimmy Olson

The Department of Entomology remembers the life of Dr. Jimmy Olson this week after he passed away on Thursday, July 2, at St. Joseph Regional Health Center in Bryan. Olson was born to James Francis and Ruth Ann Peck Olson on February 18, 1942 in Twin Falls, Idaho. He received his Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from the University of Idaho in 1965 and his Ph.D. in Entomology in 1971 from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. He worked with the Department for 37 years as a Professor… Read More →

Entomologists Discover New Way For Humans to Avoid Being Bitten By Mosquitoes

Summer is usually a time for get-togethers, barbecues, and spending time outdoors. It also means a time where mosquitoes are the most active. A group of scientists, led by Dr. Jeff Tomberlin, is looking at a possible way of making humans unattractive to these biting insects by outsmarting mosquitoes simply by using the chemical communications systems bacteria on the skin. Tomberlin, along with Drs. Craig Coates, Tawni Crippen from USDA and Tom Wood from Pennsylvania State University, and former TAMU graduate student researcher Ms. Xinyang Zhang have discovered… Read More →

Workshop Helps Inspectors Improve Tick Identification Skills

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The Department of Entomology was host to a total of 52 animal health inspectors and state-federal laboratory personnel from the Texas Animal Health Commission and the United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Veterinary Services agencies on 16-17 and 23-24 June for workshops on Tick Identification and Foreign Animal Disease Awareness. Taught by Dr. Pete Teel, Professor, Texas A&M AgriLife Research, the workshop is designed to serve the needs of animal health inspectors in Texas conducting tick surveillance activities at… Read More →

Department Helps with Annual 4-H Roundup

COLLEGE STATION, Texas–The Heep Center on the Texas A&M Campus was alive this summer with youth, parents, and sponsors attending the annual 4-H Roundup Entomology Contests from all over Texas. The annual event, which is hosted on the Texas A&M Campus, is a qualifying invitational event that is held for youth between 11 and 18 that have already successfully qualified by participating at the district or regional level or registered to compete in an invitational event at the state level. The Department held two contests during the three… Read More →

Professor Co-Authors Article Featured In Science about Bee Eusociality

Several scientists including the Department’s own Dr. Spencer Johnston have published results in a recent edition of Science Magazine on how genetics can affect the eusociality of bees. Led by Karen Kapheim, the team studied the genomes of ten bee species that had varied social complexity that represented multiple independent transitions in the evolution of social structures in the insects. Johnston said that the scientists wanted to answer the question on how genetics played a role in determining behavior in social insects, such as bees. “Scientists have many… Read More →

Entomology Students Join Record Spring 2015 Graduating Class

Several Entomology students celebrated their hard work in their academic career as they joined more than 8,700 other Aggies expected to walk the stage during spring commencement exercises at Reed Arena on Friday, May 15. Students and their families shared memories with faculty members and were treated to a special pre-graduation breakfast with donuts and coffee in the fourth floor atrium. We want to congratulate all that are expected to graduate this spring and good luck on your future! Undergraduates Christina Kaye Alvarez Entomology Justin Bejcek Entomology Amy… Read More →

Loriann Garcia Receives 2015 Distinguished Grad Student Award

Loriann Garcia standing with her award with flowers in the background. Photo by Rob Williams.

COLLEGE STATION, Texas—Congratulations to Ph.D. student Loriann Garcia on receiving the Distinguished Graduate Student Award for Excellence in Teaching. Garcia was honored with the award for Excellence in Teaching during a special Distinguished Day awards ceremony that was held on April 27. Garcia is advised by Dr. Micky Eubanks and has been a teaching assistant for several courses, including General Entomology, Evolution of Insect Structure, Host Plant Resistance, and Integrated Pest Management courses since fall of 2012. She also has been an invited lecturer for a general entomology… Read More →

Department Celebrates Rollins Urban and Structural Entomology Facility Grand Opening

Ribbon Cutting

COLLEGE STATION, Texas—More than 80 guests from the community and the university gathered in the beautiful weather to celebrate the grand opening of the new Rollins Urban and Structural Facility on Monday, May 4. Located at the corner of F&B and Agronomy Roads, the 10,000-square-foot facility houses laboratories, conference rooms, offices, and training rooms that help support the vision and mission of the Department’s Urban and Structural Entomology program. The luncheon featured several remarks by Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp, Vice Chancellor and Dean of the… Read More →

Students Recognized During Banquet, Parents’ Weekend Convocation

COLLEGE STATION, Texas—The stormy weather did not stop families and friends from celebrating the achievements of our Entomology and Forensic and Investigative Sciences students at the 19th annual Undergraduate Student Recognition Banquet on Thursday, April 16. Students were treated to a buffet style dinner and desserts as members of the Aggie Forensic and Investigative Sciences (AFISO) and the Undergraduate Entomology Student Organization (UESO) led the event. Dr. Adrienne Brundage provided a motivational talk about discovery of one’s career path based upon her life experiences and decisions, and provided… Read More →

First-Ever Student-Edited Electronic Journal Released

COLLEGE STATION, Texas—Students in the Department of Entomology now have another place to showcase their research as assistant lecturer Dr. Adrienne Brundage’s Entomology 481 Science Writing course released its first-ever online journal this month. The journal, named “Instars: A Journal of Undergraduate Research,” is an open-access journal that features a compilation of research project papers that have been done by former and current undergraduate students both in the department’s Entomology and Forensic and Investigative Sciences programs. Students served as peer editors during the planning stages last fall. Brundage… Read More →

Insect Judging Clinic Helps Increase Youths’ Interest in Insects

Dr. Teel teaching

COLLEGE STATION, Texas –A total of 98 high school and junior high students learned the basics of entomology and insect identification during the Department of Entomology’s annual Insect Judging Clinic on March 28. This is the fifth year that the Department has hosted the event that helps students to work on refining their insect identification skills and learn about science and about Texas A&M University. The half-day-long clinic featured various demonstrations on topics such as the basics of identifying and collecting insects and recognizing features of problem insect… Read More →

Entomology Students’ Research Receives Top Awards during Spring Competitions

COLLEGE STATION, Texas—Spring 2015 has turned out to be a good semester for the Department of Entomology’s undergraduate and graduate students as they received high recognitions during two research competitions in late March. The first set of students received high marks during the student research competition at the 16th annual Ecological Integration Symposium held at Rudder Tower on Thursday. During the event, Ph.D. student Carl Hjelmen received the first place award in the Graduate Student Presentations category for his presentation titled “Size DOES Matter: Finding phylogenetic signal in… Read More →

Termite School Trains Pest Management Professionals on Latest Techniques

COLLEGE STATION, Texas–Twenty-one pest management professionals convened at the Rollins Urban and Structural Entomology Center to learn the latest termite control techniques at the Philip Hamman Termite Control Training School on March 24-26. The three-day-long event was held to allow pest control and other professionals interested in termite control to receive the proper training in the latest techniques on how to treat and control termites in structures. Each session included various hands-on demonstrations and classroom lectures that allow the participants to learn how to properly apply the appropriate… Read More →

Hapes Elected to Advising Training and Development Chair Position with National Academic Advising Organization

Rebecca Hapes Takes on Leadership Role with National Advising Organization

The Department of Entomology would like to congratulate Rebecca Hapes, Senior Academic Advisor in Entomology, on her recent election as chair of the Advising Training and Development Commission of the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA). Hapes assumes her new role at the end of the NACADA Annual Conference held in Las Vegas, NV in October and will serve in this position until October 2017. As the chair, Hapes will be responsible for providing leadership and direction to the commission regarding its special advising area of interest, promoting participation… Read More →

Students Experience Hands-On Learning With Insect Collecting Trip

Several students in Dr. Julio Bernal’s ENTO 313, Biology of Insects, lab got the experience of a lifetime this March as they learned valuable hands-on experience in collecting insects at Lick Creek Park early in March. The students worked throughout the class period learning the various techniques and the insect biodiversity that is at the park. Teaching assistant and Ph.D. student Ordom Huot led the trip and said that he wanted to teach and use some of the collection and identification techniques that were taught in the lab… Read More →

Meaghan Pimsler Receives Comstock Award from Southwestern Branch of ESA

Meaghan Pimsler with Bob Davis

TULSA—Ph.D. student Meaghan Pimsler’s hard work and determination has paid off again as she received the Entomological Society of America’s John Henry Comstock Award for 2015 at the Southwestern Branch of the Entomological Society’s annual meeting. The award was announced during the meeting’s awards ceremony held at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Tulsa during the three-day event on February 23-26. Pimsler is co-advised by Drs. Jeff Tomberlin and Aaron Tarone and her dissertation is titled “A Functional Genetic Study of the Behavioral Ecology of Chrysomya rufifacies… Read More →

Extension IPM Agents Honored at 2015 TPMA Annual Meeting

TPMA Chairman Mark Wright, left, and Award Winners Stephen Biles, center. and Rick Minzenmayer, right. Photo by Pat Porter

AUSTIN—Three Texas A&M AgriLife Extension personnel received honors at this year’s Texas Pest Management Association in Austin. The awards were given to Extension Agent-IPM Stephen Biles, Extension Agent-IPM Danielle Sekula-Ortiz, and Extension Agent-IPM Rick Minzenmayer for their dedication and hard work throughout the year. Biles received the 2014 Excellence in IPM Programming Award for seven or more years of service to the state’s integrated pest management program. According to the nomination letter, Biles serves as the Extension Agent-IPM for Calhoun and Refugio Counties. He has also served as… Read More →

Grad Students Honored at Special Recognition Seminar

Paula Castillo with Dr. David Ragsdale holding an award

The Department of Entomology recently named its Outstanding Graduate Students of 2015 during a special seminar on Thursday, February 19. Paula Castillo and Meaghan Pimsler were honored during the Grad Student Recognition Seminar. Castillo received the Outstanding Grad Student – Masters Student while Pimsler received the Outstanding Ph.D. Student Award. Castillo is currently being mentored by Dr. Patricia Pietrantonio. She is author of an article published in PLoS One in 2013 on the immunolocalization of the sNPF receptor in all three subcastes of red imported fire ant workers…. Read More →

Department Names Dr. Hojun Song as Assistant Professor of Systematics and Biodiversity

COLLEGE STATION, Texas—The Department of Entomology at Texas A&M would like to welcome Dr. Hojun Song as Assistant Professor of Entomology in Arthropod Systematics and Biodiversity. Song joined the Department on January 12 and replaced the position that Dr. Wharton left after he recently retired in August 2013. Before coming to A&M, Song was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Central Florida and was curator of the Stuart M. Fullerton Collection of Arthropods at UCF. Song is broadly interested in systematics and… Read More →

Department Announces Adkisson Distinguished Seminar Speaker Award

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The Department of Entomology is pleased to announce that Dr. Sarjeet Gill of the University of California-Riverside was named as this year’s Perry Adkisson Distinguished Seminar Speaker during a special seminar on January 29th. Given annually, the Perry Adkisson Distinguished Seminar Speaker Award recognizes outstanding researchers in the field of entomology and gives graduate students and the community the opportunity to hear the latest research from leading scientists. Gill is Professor and Entomologist in the Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience at the University… Read More →

Urban and Structural Pest Management Conference Featured Glimpse of New Urban Building

COLLEGE STATION, Texas –A total of 396 participants got a glimpse of new urban insect biology and management techniques during the 69th annual Texas A&M Urban Pest Management Conference in early January. Held from January 6-8, the conference is designed to help those that work in the pest management field to learn about the latest developments, techniques and regulations in the industry that can be used to help improve their business practices. The first session began with Entomology Department Head Dr. David Ragsdale introducing Dr. Ed Vargo as… Read More →

Grad Student Receives Award at 2015 Beltwide Cotton Conference

Carrie Deans. Submitted Photo

SAN ANTONIO – For the second year in a row, Entomology Ph.D. student Carrie Deans has received an award at the 2015 Beltwide Cotton Conference in January. Deans received the Best Ph.D. Student Oral Presentation Prize in the Insect Research and Control section for her talk titled “The Impact of Nutrition on Cry1Ac Susceptibility in Helicoverpa Zea (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae): A Case Study in Environmentally-Mediated Resistance” during the three-day long conference held in San Antonio. This is Deans’ second award at the national conference. She also received the Best… Read More →

Dr. Roger Gold Honored at Retirement Reception

BRYAN, Texas –More than 90 faculty and friends came to celebrate 25 years of hard work and dedication for Professor and Endowed Chair for Urban and Structural Entomology Dr. Roger Gold during a dinner at the Astin Mansion on January 8. Gold retired on January 16 after 25 years of service with the Department. He started with the Department in 1989 as Professor and Endowed Chair of the Urban and Structural Entomology program. As Professor and Endowed Chair, he was responsible for overseeing research, extension and teaching programs… Read More →

School IPM, Staff Member Receive Excellence Awards for 2015

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — The Department of Entomology would like to congratulate several members of the faculty and staff for receiving awards for excellence. The Texas School Integrated Pest Management Program received the AgriLife Extension Service’s Superior Service Award in the Team category during the Texas A&M AgriLife Conference on January 6. The team consists of Dr. Blake Bennett, AgriLife Extension economist-management, Dallas; Wizzie Brown, AgriLife Extension program specialist, Travis County; Janet Hurley, AgriLife Extension program specialist, entomology, Dallas; Molly Keck, AgriLife Extension program specialist, entomology, San Antonio;… Read More →

Ed Vargo Named As New Endowed Urban and Structural Entomology Chair

Dr. Ed Vargo. Submitted photo

COLLEGE STATION, Texas –The Department of Entomology would like to announce that Dr. Edward Vargo was recently selected to become the next endowed chair of the Urban and Structural Entomology Chair and arrived in early December. The present chair Dr. Roger Gold retires on January 15, 2015. Vargo will be continuing the work of the urban and structural entomology program’s goals. Before coming to Texas A&M, Vargo was professor and interim head of the Department of Entomology at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina. As interim… Read More →

Congratulations December 2014 Graduates!!

December 2014 Graduates

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — A total of 22 students braved the cold and rainy early morning weather to become the newest group of fall graduates to walk the Reed Arena stage during fall graduation on Friday, December 19. Fifteen undergraduates, 4 Master’s, and 3 Ph.D. students were among the thousands of other students from the Colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Science, and the Mays Business School that were expected to graduate during the 9 a.m. ceremony. Students and their families also shared memories and well wishes with faculty… Read More →

Students Receive Unique Learning Experience by Creating Online Journal

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Students in senior lecturer Dr. Adrienne Brundage gave the challenge to her students in the Entomology 481 Writing Seminar class to come up with a way to combine science writing and editing an online journal. The challenge was taken as the students in the class worked on a project for an online journal that will contain submissions from student writers in the Department with the students in her class taking the role of editors of the submitted articles. The journal called “Instars: A Journal… Read More →

Graduate Linnaean Team Received Third Place at National Competition

PORTLAND, Ore. –The Texas A&M Graduate Linnaean Team received third place during the semifinals of the 2014 Linnaean Games at the annual Entomological Society of America meeting in Portland in November. The student team, consisting of graduate students Lauren Ward, James Tracy, Adrian Fisher, and Suhas Vyavhare, with alternates Pierre Lau and Carl Hjelmen, is coached by Dr. Juliana Rangel. The team competed against several other universities in the quiz-bowl style competition between universities during the meeting. The team defeated Oklahoma State during the quarter finals but lost… Read More →

Grad Student Receives First Place in National Meeting Poster Competition

Freddy with poster-frontpage. Photo by Paula Castillo

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Department would like to congratulate Ph.D. student Freddy Ibanez as he received first place at a poster competition during the national meeting of the Entomological Society of America in late November. Mentored by Dr. Cecilia Tamborindeguy, Ibanez received First Place in the Physiology, Biochemistry and Toxicology Section. The section is for people who study insects at the cellular or molecular levels and includes topics such as biochemistry, microbiology, toxicology and molecular biology. Ibanez’s poster titled “Vitellogenesis in potato psyllid, Bactericera cockerelli” looks at how… Read More →

Extension, Research Entomology Receives Three USDA Grants For Integrated Pest Management

COLLEGE STATION – The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and Texas A&M AgriLife Research have received a total of $937,345 in grant monies from the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture for integrated pest management work, according to a recent USDA news release announcing the successful grant projects. The agency awarded a total of $16 million in grants nationally to support research and Extension activities across the U.S. that address critical integrated pest management needs, according to the press release. The resources are meant… Read More →

Texas Apiary Inspection Service Launches New ‘Master Beekeeper’ Program

COLLEGE STATION, Texas –Beekeepers in Texas will now have a way to further their knowledge and skill set in beekeeping as the Texas Master Beekeeper program officially launched this November. Provided by the Texas Apiary Inspection Service in association with the Texas Beekeepers Association, the Texas A&M Honey Bee Lab, and the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, the program is an educational program to help increase the knowledge and skill level of participating beekeepers. TAIS Chief Apiary Inspector Mark Dykes said that the Texas program is modeled after… Read More →

Hillel Jewish Student Organization Visits Rangel Lab and Apiary

Pierre Lau showing his research to students from the Hillel Jewish Student Center at a recent tour. Photo by Juliana Rangel

BRYAN, Texas – Members of the Hillel Jewish Student Organization headed out for Texas A&M’s Riverside campus to get the latest buzz on honey and how honey is made during a recent tour in September. The students learned several different things about honey, including how it is made, what part honey bees played in the role, and how honey is used in such religious celebrations as the Jewish New Year, or Rosh Hashanah. Hillel’s Jewish Student Life Coordinator Veronica Beskin said that the trip was perfect because they… Read More →

Insect of the Month: Green June Beetles

It’s the time of year that green june beetles are spotted in large clusters around Central Texas. According to Extension Program Specialist Wizzie Brown, these beetles are known by their velvety green appearance and measure about one inch long and one-half inch wide. The beetle’s top is a dull green with yellow-brown markings on the wings and the underside is bright, metallic green with yellow-orange markings. The larvae, usually called grubs, are creamy white and shaped like the letter C with well-developed head capsules and legs and can… Read More →

Grad Students Receive AFRI Travel Grant for ESA Meeting in November

Carrie Deans and Freddy Ibanez

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Ph.D. students Freddy Ibanez and Carrie Deans will be able to travel to the national meeting of the Entomological Society Meeting this year thanks to a travel grant from the US Department of Agriculture. Deans and Ibanez were two of 10 students that were selected to travel to the meeting that is scheduled to be held in Portland, Ore., on November 16-19. According to the ESA’s website, the grant provides financial support to allow graduate students to travel to the annual meeting to allow… Read More →

Teel Receives COALS Award for Excellence in Teaching, ENTO Faculty Achieved Promotion

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The Department of Entomology would like to congratulate Professor and Associate Department Head for Academic Programs Dr. Pete Teel for receiving the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ Dean’s Outstanding Achievement Award for Teaching. Teel was honored for the Dean’s Outstanding Achievement Award for Teaching in the Educational Enrichment and Innovation category during a special awards presentation at the AgriLife Center on Wednesday, Sept. 10. The main goal of the awards ceremony is to recognize and reward excellence in the College’s faculty, staff, and… Read More →

Grad Students’ Research Presentations Receive Recognition During Forum

  COLLEGE STATION, Texas — The Department of Entomology would like to congratulate grad students Luciano Cosme, Emily Boothe, and Kevin Deitz as they received awards for their talks during the annual Graduate Student Forum. The students received awards for having the top presentations out of sixteen participants during the seventeenth annual event that was hosted on August 28. Deitz received third place for his talk titled “Genomic Analysis of Divergence Within the Malaria Vector Anopheles melas” while Booth received second for her talk “A stable isotope mark-capture… Read More →

Dr. Spencer Johnston Co-Authored Article on Antarctic Midge Genome

Who would have thought that there would be an insect (or any other terrestrial animal) tough enough to survive the brutal Antarctic environment? A group of scientists including the Department’s own Dr. Spencer Johnston just published an article featured in Nature Magazine on the Antarctic midge that not only survives year round in the South Pole, but also has the smallest insect genome sequenced to date. Led by Dr. Joanna Kelley of Washington State University, the scientists have set out to study the Antarctic midge (Belgica antartica) and… Read More →

Department, Extension Names Robert Puckett as Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist

Robert Puckett. Photo by Rob Williams

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The Department of Entomology and Texas AgriLife Extension would like to welcome Dr. Robert Puckett as its newest member. Puckett will be starting his position as Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist on September 1,and will be co-located at the Rollins Urban and Structural Entomology facility where he will work with Dr. Edward Vargo, the next Endowed Chair in Urban and Structural Entomology.“We are very fortunate to be able to hire Dr. Robert Puckett as Extension Entomologist at College Station,” said Dr. Charles Allen, Extension… Read More →

Congratulations Graduates! Seven Students Celebrated Summer Graduation

Congratulations Graduates! Seven Students Celebrated Summer Graduation

It was a great summer for the seven students in the Department of Entomology that were expected to walk the stage for summer graduation this August. The students joined other students in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, as well as five other colleges, that were expected to walk the stage at Reed Arena early Friday morning during summer commencement ceremonies. The students consisted of three undergraduate entomology majors, one biomedical science and entomology double major, and three Ph.D. candidates. Biomedical Sciences and Entomology double major Meng… Read More →

Grad Students Help High School Students Become Stars at Statewide Summer Camp

Ordom Huot teaching high school students about entomology

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Grad students Xanthe Shirley and Ordom Huot presented to several high school students during a recent youth camp at the Memorial Student Center. The STARS Camp is a camp held during the summer for students interested in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A&M University. During the two-day camp, participants learned about degree programs and networking, as well as career and college preparation. The group hosted students from various Houston and San Antonio area schools during the last week of July…. Read More →

Rangel Has Exceptional Harvest, Aggie Honey Back On Sale at Rosenthal

Mark Dykes and Laura Weller with honeycomb

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — After a productive summer from the newly-installed apiary at the Janice and John G. Thomas Honey Bee Facility, Dr. Juliana Rangel and her students have a bumper crop of Aggie Honey™ for sale. The honey, is one way to highlight the research ongoing at Texas A&M in honey bee health and management. Honey sales is one way to support the Rangel lab’s research program on honey bee biology and health. Aggie Honey is available for $12 for a 16 oz jar and $7 for… Read More →

Insect of the Month: Paper Wasps

Paper wasp

Since we are now in the “dog days” of summer, you probably have seen these paper wasps buzzing around or have seen their nests on eaves and other items around homes, or have been stung accidentally by these insects before. Extension Program Specialist II Wizzie Brown said that paper wasps are reddish brown wasps, sometimes with yellow markings and are about ¾- 1 inch in length with smoky wings. Mated queens overwinter and emerge in spring to start a small, new nest in which to lay eggs. The… Read More →

Hamer Research Team Collaborates to Protect Endangered Whooping Crane Populations from Vector-Borne Parasites

Whooping Crane at Aransas Wildlife Refuge. Photo by Dave and Liz Smith.

A collaboration among Dr. Gabriel Hamer’s Research Team in the Department of Entomology, the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Science, and the International Crane Foundation is helping to save the whooping crane populations by studying vector-borne parasites in both whooping and sandhill cranes in the United States and Canada. PhD student and veterinarian Miranda Bertram is leading the project, and works closely with Gabe as well as Dr. Sarah Hamer of the Department of Veterinary Integrative Biosciences, and Dr. Barry Hartup of the International Crane Foundation and… Read More →

Two Grad Students Receive TAMU Dissertation Fellowship

Carrie Deans and Meaghan Pimsler

COLLEGE STATION, Texas—The continuing dedication and hard work of our graduate students paid off again as Ph.D. candidates Meaghan Pimsler and Carrie Deans received the Dissertation Fellowship from the Texas A&M Office of Graduate and Professional Studies. Both Deans and Pimsler are doctoral candidates in Entomology. Deans is co-advised by Drs. Spence Behmer and Gregory Sword and Pimsler is co-advised by Drs. Jeff Tomberlin and Aaron Tarone. Deans’ proposed dissertation title is “The Interaction between Nutrition and Stress in Insects.” Some of the topics covered include characterizing the… Read More →

Robert Bowling Named Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist in Corpus Christi

Robert Bowling

CORPUS CHRISTI – The Department of Entomology and the Texas AgriLife Extension Service recently named Robert Bowling to the position of Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist in Corpus Christi. Bowling will start his position on July 1 and will replace the position that was recently held by Dr. Roy Parker until he retired on August 31, 2013. Bowling first joined the Department and Extension in 2000 as an Extension Agent – Integrated Pest Management in Dumas, Texas. While he was in Dumas, he has cooperated with area consultants,… Read More →

Insect of the Month: Cicadas

Editorial note: This is a monthly series highlighting the most interesting facts about a featured insect. by Wizzie Brown, Extension Program Specialist, Austin Cicadas are fairly large insects but can vary in size with some growing over 1 ½ inches. Color may also vary depending upon species, but many are browns or greens. All cicadas have bulging eyes and, on adults, wings that are held roof-like over the body. The wings are semi-transparent with thick wing veins. The majority of their life cycle is spent underground. Cicadas have… Read More →

Hacking for a Good Cause: KEL Members Receive Recognition For Application at Programming Event

The team working on the City of Houston Blighted Properties project. Photo by College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

HOUSTON –Two members of the Department of Entomology’s Knowledge Engineering Laboratory received an award during a recent event held for developers. The five member team came up with a solution to help the city of Houston with improving an information system dealing with blighted properties during the annual City of Houston Open Invitational Hackathon in early June. The team consisted of KEL members Reza Teshnizi  and Elvis Takow, as well as Biological and Agricultural Engineering grad student Rahuveer Modala City of Stafford staff member and former TAMU student… Read More →

Beekeepers Learn Latest Buzz about Honey Bees at Annual Summer Clinic

E.T. Ash demonstrating how to extract honey.

BRYAN, Texas – More than 300 honey bee keepers and bee enthusiasts statewide descended upon the John G. and Janice Thomas Honey Bee Facility on June 7 for the annual Texas Beekeepers Association’s Summer Clinic. Held every summer, the clinic allows bee keepers, gardeners, and honey bee enthusiasts to come together to learn about the latest research and the latest techniques and tips from experts from the Dr. Juliana Rangel Lab, members of the Texas Apiary Inspection Service and other presenters. Since this summer’s clinic was the first… Read More →

Professor Studied Stick Insects to Test Prediction of Population Divergence

A male stick insect (Timema knulli) sitting on its host redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) in the Landels-Hill Big Creek Reserve, Big Sur, California. The process of Timema populations adapting to different hosts has repeatedly initiated parallel genetic changes in this group of insects. In turn, these replicate instances of differentiation have resulted in predictable and repeatable patterns of genome divergence by natural selection. See page 738. Photo: © Moritz Muschick

Who would have thought that stick insects would be so helpful in studying the predictability of the adaptive process that occurs when an insect adapts to a new host plant? It is a question of more than academic interest. Many agricultural insect pests are the consequence of just such a host switch. A group of scientists including Dr. Spencer Johnston of Texas A&M Department of Entomology recently captured the May 16 cover of Science magazine with a paper on the genetic changes driving the divergence of populations into… Read More →

Bockoven Receives National Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Teaching

Alison Bockoven, center, with Dr. David Reed, left, and Dr. Micky Eubanks, right. Photo by Rob Williams

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – For Ph.D. student Alison Bockoven, teaching is a part of life. On Friday, May 9 she received the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture’s Graduate Student Teaching Award of Merit Award. The Department of Entomology congratulates her on this outstanding accomplishment. The award recognizes all graduate students who excel as teachers in the agricultural disciplines. Bockoven received the award during a special reception held for graduation on May 9. Bockoven is advised by Dr. Micky Eubanks and her research focuses on the extent,… Read More →

Department Sees Record Number of Students Graduating in Spring 2014

ENtomology undergraduate students at graduation

What a great early Mother’s Day gift to see loved ones walk the stage at graduation! That’s exactly what a total of 42 Entomology and Forensic and Investigative Sciences students did when they graced the stage at Reed Arena to celebrate their graduation along with thousands of other students in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences on Saturday, May 10. In addition to Entomology and Forensic and Investigative Sciences, eight students also had the honor of completing the 15 credit hours required to earn the Public Health… Read More →

Insect of the Month: Gall-Making Insects

Editorial note: This is a series highlighting the most interesting facts about a featured insect each month. Have you ever wondered what makes those small balls that you see underneath leaves and stems of plants, such as trees? According to Professor and Extension Urban Entomologist Dr. Mike Merchant, the growths, called galls, are often the result of insects laying eggs inside or feeding on the branches or leaves of trees and other plants. The galls, Merchant said, were tumor-like growths that are produced by the plant in response… Read More →

Heinz Receives Kunze Award from TAMU Graduate Student Council

Dr. Kevin Heinz, center, stands with Graduate Student Council Executive Vice President Amanda Rutherford (left) and GSC President Brittany Bounds (right). Photo by Charlotte Garroway.

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — The Department of Entomology would like to extend its congratulations to Dr. Kevin Heinz as he received the Kunze Award for his hard work and accomplishments with the Office of Graduate Studies and the Department of Entomology during a special ceremony on Monday, April 28. Heinz is currently the Assistant Provost of Graduate and Professional Studies and also serves as the Director of the Texas A&M Forensic and Investigative Sciences program and is a Professor in the Department of Entomology. The Kunze Award was… Read More →

Students Recognized for Senior Merit, ANRP Internship Announced

students standing with Dr. Ragsdale, Entomology Department Head

COLLEGE STATION, Texas –Four students were recently recognized at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ annual Spring Awards Convocation on April 12. Seniors Courtney Weldon, Barrett Riddle, and Jeffrey Ng received Senior Merit Awards for their leadership, scholarship and service at the department, college and university level.  The Texas A&M College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Senior Merit Award is the highest award given to undergraduates by the College. Senior Merit Awards have been given by our college at this convocation for more than 50 years.  Junior… Read More →

Graduate Students Receive Awards at Campuswide Research Events

Graduate Students Receive Awards at Campuswide Research Events

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Three graduate students from the Department of Entomology recently received honors for their research during two student research events. Master’s student Milo Lewis and Ph.D. student James Tracy placed in the University’s annual Student Research Week competition for oral papers and posters at the competition in the MSC while Ph. D. student Warren Sconiers received an award during the Ecological Integration Symposium in late March. Lewis received second place in the graduate section in the Plant subject at Student Research Week for his oral… Read More →

Department Names New Chief Apiary Inspector

Mark Dykes checking a piece of beekeeping equipment

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Things are really buzzing this spring just in time for the honey bees to become active as the Department announces the arrival of Mark Dykes as the new Chief Apiary Inspector. Dykes joined the Department in March after working as a supervisor at the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Apiary Inspection Service. He replaced Paul Jackson after his retirement in June 2013. During the time he was a supervisor of the Region 2 with Florida Department of Agriculture, Dykes oversaw the inspections… Read More →

Mosquito Task Force Releases Manual for Mosquito Control and Management

female mosquito biting

STEPHENVILLE, Texas – A collaboration between several Texas A&M AgriLife Extension agents, mosquito control experts and environmental experts has come together to help Texans control mosquitoes just in time for the mosquito season to begin this year. The final product –called Texas Mosquito Management–is a manual that contains everything that Texas city and county health departments need to know about managing mosquitos and mosquito borne diseases. Assistant Professor and Extension Entomologist Sonja Swiger said demand for the manual was created as Texas county and city governments searched to… Read More →

Graduate Student Linnaean Team Receives Second Place at Branch Meeting, Bid To National Competition

Graduate Student Linnaean Team Receives Second Place at Branch Meeting, Bid To National Competition

SAN ANTONIO—This is the second time the graduate Linnaean Team is going to nationals to compete in the Linnaean Games at the National Entomological Society of America meeting in November. The team, consisting of James Tracy, Adrian Fisher, Lauren Ward, Kate Harrell and Suhas Vyavhare, defeated both University of Texas – Tyler and the Texas A&M undergraduate teams during the final competition of the Linnaean Games during the Southwestern Branch of the Entomological Society Meeting in San Antonio this February. The Linnaean Games are a fast-paced question-and-answer, college… Read More →

Parker, Drees Receive Emeritus Status from TAMUS Board of Regents

Roy Parker and Bart Drees head photos

COLLEGE STATION, Texas –Drs. Bart Drees’ and Roy Parker’s dedication and hard work were honored as they received Emeritus status at a recent Board of Regents meeting in February. Drees and Parker both received the status for their outstanding achievements and service with both the Department of Entomology and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service during their time of employment. Drees retired from the Department and Extension in August of 2013 after 33 years of employment as an Extension Entomologist. Initially, Drees had responsibilities for educational programming on pests… Read More →

Grad Students Receive Recognition for Outstanding Service and Research

Grad Students Receive Recognition for Outstanding Service and Research

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Two of the Department’s graduate students received high honors from the Department for their outstanding research and service as they were honored during a special seminar on Thursday. Marion Le Gall received the Outstanding Ph.D. Student and Milo Lewis was honored with the Outstanding Masters student Award during the special presentation. Le Gall is currently working in Dr. Spence Behmer’s lab, where she is examining how interactions between macro nutrients and allelochemicals influence feeding behavior and nutrient utilization in insect herbivores. Le Gall also… Read More →

Department Recognizes Faculty, Staff with Awards During Monthly Meeting

Department Recognizes Faculty, Staff with Awards During Monthly Meeting

COLLEGE STATION, Texas—The Department recognized the outstanding accomplishments of a few staff and faculty members during its annual awards meeting held on February 14, 2014. The first award given out was the Lifetime Achievement recognition, which was given to Professor Emeritus Dr. Larry Keeley. Keeley jo ined the Department of Entomology as Assistant Professor in 1966, became Professor in 1976 and Professor Emeritus 2004 following retirement in 2003.  Keeley taught Insect Physiology to undergraduate and graduate students, and received the Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award. Keeley’s computer animations of… Read More →

Insect Pests Have Strategies to Survive Cold Weather

Insect Pests Have Strategies to Survive Cold Weather

by Robert Burns, Texas A&M AgriLife Communications OVERTON – Will the extremely cold weather Texas experienced recently have any effect on insect populations this spring? Probably not, said Erfan Vafaie, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service integrated pest management specialist at Overton. “It depends upon the insect,” said Vafaie. Red imported fire ants, for example, burrow down so deeply in the soil that they’re unlikely to be affected by cold weather, Vafaie said. “They tend to be quite ‘insulated’, if you will, from the extreme temperature changes — unless… Read More →

Paula Castillo Receives Third Place in Campuswide Poster Competition

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Master’s candidate Paula Castillo’s research on fire ant neurochemistry and caste system has received her third place prize in the Junior Graduate Student category at a campuswide poster competition. Castillo received the award during the Texas A&M Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience & Texas A&M Institute for Neuroscience’s 2013-2014 Poster Session at the Interdisciplinary Life Sciences Building on Wednesday, January 29. The award was given for her poster titled “Differences in sNPF receptor-expressing neurons in brains of fire ant (Solenopsis invicta Buren) worker… Read More →

George Teetes Named ESA Legends of Entomology

AUSTIN, Texas — A well-known former professor was recently named a legend by the Plant-Insect Ecosystems (PIE) section of the  Entomological Society of America. The award recognizes entomologists for their outstanding contributions to the science of entomology and as their role as a student mentor. Professor Emeritus Dr. George Teetes was the third Legends after announcement during the P-IE’s annual networking session at the ESA Annual Meeting in Austin in November of 2013. During his 36 years as a professor, Dr. Teetes identified and deployed insect-resistant sorghums pivotal… Read More →

68th Urban Pest Management Conference Focuses on Latest Trends, Regulations for Professionals

Janet Hurley fielding questions during the beginning of her presentation. Photo by Rob Williams

BRYAN, Texas –A total of 380 pest control professionals from the state and across the country convened at the Brazos Center to keep up with the changing world of regulations and technologies that concern pest control businesses at the 68th Urban Pest Management Conference and Workshop. Held the week of January 8-10, the conference is designed to help those that work in the pest management field to learn about the latest developments, techniques and regulations in the industry that can be used for their businesses. The conference began… Read More →

Ph.D. Student Receives Top Award For Research at Beltwide Cotton Conference

Carrie Deans with her award. Deans received the award after participating in the oral presentation competition at the Beltwide Cotton Conference in New Orleans this January. Submitted photo.

NEW ORLEANS – Ph.D. Student Carrie Deans has some great news to celebrate in 2014 as she received first place for her research at the 2014 Beltwide Cotton Conference. Deans received the Best PhD Student Oral Presentation Prize in the Insect Control section for her talk titled “Macronutrient preference and effect on performance in Lygus hesperus (Hemiptera: Miridae).” The competition was held during the conference in New Orleans on January 6-7. Deans was among several other students nationwide that gave talks on various subjects on cotton insects during… Read More →

Texas A&M AgriLife Vice Chancellor Award in Excellence Winners Were Announced for Entomology

COLLEGE STATION, Texas –A member of the administrative office at the Department of Entomology and one collaborative partnership are starting the New Year off right as they received the Vice Chancellor’s Award in Excellence d uring the Centennial Conference in January. Administrative Services Officer Carla Smith received the Vice Chancellor’s Award in Excellence in the business and operational staff category and the Salt Cedar Biological Control Team received the Vice Chancellor Award in Excellence in the Team category during the awards ceremony in College Station. Smith has served… Read More →

Students Joined 3,700+ Graduating Students for Fall Commencement Exercises

Students Joined 3,700+ Graduating Students for Fall Commencement Exercises

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Fourteen students in the Department of Entomology braved the cold mid-December morning to celebrate an early Christmas gift as they waited to graduate at Reed Arena during fall graduation on December 13. The graduating class, comprised of 12 Bachelor of Science, 1 Master of Science, and 1 Ph.D. candidate, were among more than 3,700 students  from the university that were expected to graduate this fall. This commencement also marks a milestone in that four of the Bachelor of Science graduates were the first to… Read More →

Exotic Weevils Battle Giant Salvinia at Caddo Lake

KARNACK, Texas–Texas A&M AgriLife scientists are seeing significant areas of giant salvinia destroyed by salvinia-eating weevils at Caddo Lake on the Texas-Louisiana border as part of project to control this exotic weed invading east Texas lakes. After releasing approximately 100,000 weevils at two research sites in the last two years, Dr. Allen Knutson, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service entomologist at Dallas, and Lee Eisenberg, AgriLife Extension assistant at Karnack for the Texas Water Resources Institute, recently found large mats of salvinia destroyed by the weevils at the sites,… Read More →

Texas A&M Entomology Recognized at National ESA Meeting

Texas A&M Entomology Recognized at National ESA Meeting

AUSTIN — Several members of the Department of Entomology traveled westward to Austin to attend the annual national meeting of the Entomological Society of America meeting. Held at the Austin Convention Center this year, the meeting allows entomologists to learn the newest research and collaborate with others from across the United States. Three students and the Department’s debate team received awards during two of the ceremonies at the event. Ph.D. student Suhas Vyavhare was recognized for receiving the USDA-AFRI Student Grant. The award was created to provide financial… Read More →

Aggie Honey Featured As Tastiest Aggie Foods

Aggie Honey Featured As One of Tastiest Aggie-Made Foods

Over the years, researchers across Texas A&M and The Texas A&M University System have cultivated and fine-tuned countless varieties of grains, fruits, vegetables and meats. By focusing these projects on creating high-quality, efficient, economical and environmentally-sound products, Texas A&M has left its mark across the food industry, on everything from carrots to salsa. The Department of Entomology recently released one of the sweetest foods ever made by insects a few weeks ago — Texas Aggie Honey! It’s one of the newest Aggie-created foods and how sweet it is:… Read More →

Hapes Takes on Leadership Role with National Advising Organization

Senior Academic Advisor Rebecca Hapes now has another title to add to her resume –National Chair for the Advising Graduate and Professional Students Commission. Hapes was elected this position in early 2013 and assumed the position during the National Academic Advising Association’s (NACADA) annual meeting in early October held at Salt Lake City. The committee is comprised of those who advise graduate and post-baccalaureate and professional students and provides a collegial and mutually supportive context for discussing issues concerning graduate and professional students. Hapes said this is her… Read More →

‘Aggie Honey’ Makes its debut

‘Aggie Honey’ makes its debut

BRYAN, Texas — After months of preparation and hard work, members of the public can now get a taste of the sweet rewards that are coming in for the newly-established apiary at the Janice and John G. Thomas Honey Bee Facility. In an effort to raise awareness of the work being done at the university’s new facility, the staff there are proudly offering their first summer crop of genuine Aggie Honey, said Dr. Juliana Rangel, Texas A&M AgriLife Research assistant professor of apiculture at the facility. The 450… Read More →

Department, Extension Names Erfan Vafaie As Program Specialist In Overton

OVERTON, Texas — The Department of Entomology and the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service recently named Erfan Vafaie as the Extension Program Specalist I in Overton. Vafaie will start his position at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center team in Overton on December 2. Before being hired at Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, Vafaie was a research technician at the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre in Ontario, Canada. While at Vineland, he researched biological control of whiteflies and spotted wing Drosophila flies. He also was responsible for… Read More →