Category Archives: Research

New research gives insight into warding off insect pests by way of nematode odors

by Laura Muntean, Texas A&M AgriLife Communications COLLEGE STATION — A recent study revealed insect-killing nematodes also produce distinctive chemical cues that enhance plant defenses and deter Colorado potato beetles. Entomologists from Texas A&M University, including Dr. Anjel Helms, who led the study, and Penn State University took a look at whether Colorado potato beetles and potato plants responded to the presence of entomopathogenic nematodes, EPNs, or insect-killing nematodes. The study, “Chemical cues linked to risk: cues from below-ground natural enemies enhance plant defenses and influence herbivore behavior… Read More →

Professor Speaks on Fire Ant Research at International Conference

Dr. Patricia Pietrantonio, professor of Entomology at Texas A&M University, was the State-of-the-Art Speaker at the 29th Conference of European Comparative Endocrinologists (CECE), in August in Glasgow, Scotland. Held every two years, the purpose of the CECE meeting is to share new ideas and network with other researchers interested in the field of endocrinology. Pietrantonio’s presentation was during the “Omics and the Physiology of Insect Neuropeptides” section. Pietrantonio was invited by Professor Shireen Davis (University of Glasgow), the coordinator for nEUROSTRESSPEP. This Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme… Read More →

Study Abroad Trips to Trinidad and Tobago, Costa Rica Bring Valuable Field Research Experience to Students

Several students from the Department of Entomology and other departments around the university spent the summer researching in a different location as they ventured to Trinidad and Tobago and at the Soltis Research Center in Costa Rica this summer for research during two study abroad programs. The two groups developed and carried out research projects in the field and learned about the local cultures in both Trinidad and Tobago, and in Costa Rica. At the end of the program, the students turn their research into a paper that… Read More →

Rise of the grasshoppers: New analysis redraws evolutionary tree for major insect family

Grasshoppers are one of the most ubiquitous groups of insects in the world, found everywhere from grasslands to tropical rainforests to isolated mountain ranges to sandy deserts. And now, thanks to a decade-long analysis of grasshoppers’ genetic relationships, scientists have the clearest picture yet of the evolutionary pathways grasshoppers have followed to attain such diversity–and the findings put the birthplace of the broadest lineage of grasshoppers in South America, not Africa, as previously thought. These findings were published in the latest issue of Insect Systematics and Diversity. Led… Read More →

Professor Uses Radio Tracking Technology to Locate Elusive Kissing Bugs

Kissing bugs are about to get a lot more visible thanks to a research team at the Texas A&M Department of Entomology, and modern radio telemetry technology. In a new study published in the Journal Medical of Entomology (, researchers led by Dr. Gabe Hamer, successfully attached miniature radio transmitters to the bugs and tracked their movements. The bugs, also known as triatomine bugs, are sucking insects that are found in Latin America and the Southern United States and are responsible for transmitting the pathogen that causes Chagas… Read More →

Entomologists, Extension Specialists Learn Latest Research at National Conference on Urban Entomology

Several members from the Department of Entomology joined more than 200 entomologists to share their research during the 2018 National Conference of Urban Entomology and Invasive Pest Ant Conference in May at the Embassy Suites in Cary, North Carolina. The four-day-long conference helps to bring urban and medical entomologists, pest control specialists, and members of the pest control industry together in a common setting to share information and search for new and innovative ways to help control pests that threaten people’s homes and health. During the conference, several… Read More →

Texas A&M is ‘go to’ authority on controlling international fire ant invasion

by Steve Byrns, Texas A&M AgriLife Communications COLLEGE STATION – South Korea has asked Texas A&M University for help in stopping an alien pest new to their country, but all too familiar to most Texans, officials said. “The red imported fire ant has invaded Asia over the last few years, but the South Korean invasion is brand new,” said Dr. David Ragsdale, Texas A&M entomology department head at College Station. The red imported fire ant has made its way into South Korea where officials have asked Texas A&M… Read More →

Resistant varieties, beneficial predators can help producers win sugarcane aphid battle

by Kay Ledbetter, Texas A&M AgriLife Communications AMARILLO – While sugarcane aphids have been difficult to suppress in past years due to their natural traits and limited insecticide options, a Texas A&M AgriLife Research study shows resistant sorghum varieties and beneficial predators could provide a solution. Dr. Ada Szczepaniec, AgriLife Research entomologist at Amarillo, recently authored  “Interactive effects of crop variety, insecticide seed treatment, and planting date on population dynamics of sugarcane aphid and their predators in late-colonized sorghum” in the Crop Protection journal. The full article can… Read More →

Professor Uses Insects Encased in Resin to Improve Public Education Programs

Texas A&M Entomology Assistant Professor Gabe Hamer is working to make it easier for training the next generation of medical entomologists by mounting arthropods in resin. In a paper that was recently published in the Journal of Insect Science featured with the journal’s cover image  and on Entomology Today, Hamer’s lab created protocols for encapsulating medically important arthropods in resin for educators to use in educating the public on various arthropods that can vector dangerous diseases, such as Chagas disease, Lyme disease, and Rickettsiosis.  The work was led by graduate student… Read More →

Students, Postdoc Receive Awards During TAMU Research Competitions

The Department of Entomology has received a lot of recognition this spring as several students and one postdoctoral research associate received honors for their research during Student Research Week and the Ecological Integration Symposium in March and April. The first set of awards were awards were given during Student Research Week in March. Ph.D. student Pierre Lau and undergraduate students Sydney Tippelt and Makaylee Crone as they received awards during the university’s Student Research Week. Lau received Second Place Oral in Graduate Sciences Category for his presentation titled… Read More →