A Prickly Situation

Initial point of entry by Cactoblastis, and hollowed-out pad, is evident in this backlighted photo of an Opuntia cactus. Photo courtesy Larry Gilbert.

Cactus moth now in Texas, eating prickly pear cactus, a vital weed needed by livestock during drought   by Dr. Mike Merchant, Professor and Extension Entomologist, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Prickly pear cactus has its detractors.  Long hated for its clusters of barbed spines, or glochids, that are difficult to remove, it has been cursed, hacked, burned and sprayed. But prickly pear is also used by a variety of wildlife and cattle and is prized as a part of the Mexican-American diet. There is even a small industry devoted to… Read More →

Kaufman named head of Department of Entomology, effective July 1

Phillip Kaufman joins Texas A&M as the head of the Department of Entomology in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Phillip Kaufman, Ph.D., will begin his appointment as head of the Department of Entomology at Texas A&M University, starting July 1. Kaufman joins Texas A&M from the University of Florida where he served as a professor in the Entomology and Nematology Department in the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. During his 15 years at the university, he helped develop and implement research programs to support Florida livestock producers, taught courses on medical and veterinary entomology and forensic entomology, as well as provided support to Florida Extension faculty… Read More →

Former Student Featured in Website Article during International Day of Women

Dr. Shavonn Whiten, former student from the Department of Entomology, has been featured in a web article about her experiences in STEM during her college career and her job.  Dr. Whiten is a Science and Technology Policy Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), placed with the United States Agency for International Development’s Bureau of Food Security (USAID). A native of Baton Rouge, La., Dr. Whiten came to Texas A&M University to work toward the Ph.D. degree in Dr. Zachary Adelman’s laboratory, where her… Read More →

Research looks to beneficial insects for pest control

by Adam Russell, Texas A&M AgriLife Communications Predator insects could reduce pesticide use in commercial production A Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service entomologist is studying how a combination of beneficial insects can help control the pests in greenhouses. Erfan Vafaie, AgriLife Extension program specialist in Integrated Pest Management, Overton, just wrapped up the second year of a three-year study looking at the use of predatory beneficial insects – mites and wasps – to control sweet potato whiteflies in commercial settings. Vafaie’s study is for his doctorate dissertation under… Read More →

Undergraduate Mentorship Symposium Showcases Quality Research

The Aggie Women in Entomology recently hosted its graduate student mentorship symposium during the 2020 Mentorship Symposium in Heep 413 on Friday, February 7. The event featured talks by undergraduate students in entomology that were mentored by a graduate mentor. Each student was given 10 minutes to talk on their research projects. This year, four undergraduates presented research ranging from striped cucumber beetle’s preferences for host-plant olfactory cues to determining the effects of nutrition on honey bee pathogen defense against the Deformed wing virus. Several awards were also… Read More →

Ph.D. Candidate Named Outstanding Graduate Student

The Department of Entomology at Texas A&M University would like to honor Ph.D. candidate Ashley Tessnow with the 2020 Outstanding Grad Student Award in the Ph.D. category. Tessnow was honored during the annual Graduate Student Recognition seminar during the annual Ph.D. recruitment week on January 30. Tessnow first came to the Department as a student participating in the National Science Foundation’s Research Experience in Undergraduate program in 2013. During her time in the program, she worked in Dr. Greg Sword’s lab which resulted in her co-authoring a publication…. Read More →

Urban Pest Management Conference Featured Talks on Termites, Pests, Business Safety

Dr. Dini Miller speaking to audience

Four hundred pest management professionals convened at the Brazos Center on January 8-10 to learn something new during the 74th annual Urban Pest Management Conference and Workshop at the Brazos Center. The three-day-long conference featured various speakers on topics on insect and other pest management, the latest entomological research, and updates in techniques for business owners and pest managers. Professor and Endowed Chair of the Urban and Structural Entomology Program Dr. Ed Vargo updated the group on the latest research activities members of the Urban and Structural Entomology… Read More →

Dagan Teague joins AgriLife Extension as integrated pest management agent

Excerpted from an AgriLife Today story by Susan Himes The Department of Entomology and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service would like to welcome Dagan Teague as the newest integrated pest management in Floydada. Teague started on January 2 and will serve Crosby and Floyd counties in District 2. Michael Clawson, AgriLife Extension district administrator, Lubbock, will be her supervisor. “As the new IPM agent for Crosby and Floyd counties, Dagan will be a welcome addition to District 2,” Clawson said. “As an undergraduate at Texas A&M, Dagan worked… Read More →

Rangel Receives COALS Dean’s Outstanding Achievement Award for Diversity

Congratulations to Dr. Juliana Rangel as she received the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Dean’s Outstanding Achievement Award for Diversity on Friday, January 10. The award was given at a special awards breakfast before the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ session at the AgriLife Conference held at the Texas A&M Hotel and Conference Center. Rangel is an assistant professor in the Department where she conducts honey bee biology research. Since joining the department in 2013, she has mentored a total of 19 undergraduate students in which… Read More →

Wharton Receives Lifetime Achievement Recognition

Congratulations to professor emeritus Dr. Bob Wharton as he received the Department of Entomology’s Lifetime Achievement Recognition. Since joining the Department in the early 1980s, Wharton was well-liked for his teaching and mentoring of graduate students and his success in teaching has resulted in a number of superbly-trained, equally passionate, and independent-thinking graduate students graduating from the Department. He has served on 4 thesis and dissertation committees for 8 consecutive years and created an atmosphere of candid discussion and self-discovery for students and promoted inquiry-driven and hypothesis- based… Read More →