Sunday, December 18, 2016

Hello all,

My name is Lauren and I am a currently a graduate student of Entomology here at The University of Nebraska Lincoln. I have my bachelors degree in Environmental Policy, Institutions, and Behavior from Rutgers New Brunswick with a minor in Public Health. I have always been a super environmental advocate, volunteering for NJPIRG, The Edison Wetlands Association, The Lawrence Brook Watershed Partnership, and many more. I started my career as a health inspector for a health department in NJ where they asked me to also help at their mosquito commission. I soon became their Mosquito Identification Specialist learning all about IPM, mosquito biology, control, and disease transmission. I became fascinated with mosquitoes and insects as a whole, so I decided to get my Masters in Entomology. Currently I am interested in the field of Forensic Entomology. They have a class at Montclair University in NJ over the summer that is specific to hands on forensic entomology, and I am super excited to check it out. Oh and I am totally going to go to one of those body farms this summer too. For now though I'll tell you about my career as a mosquito biologist.
I work for Camden County Mosquito Commission in NJ where we do water management to reduce mosquito larval populations (mosquito larva require water to lay their eggs in, grow, pupate, and emerge as adults). This is done by either simply dumping the container over (ex. kids toys, tarps, buckets, garbage cans, tires, literally anything that can hold water), or by treating the water with an insecticide (ex. abandoned pools, woodland pools, retention basins, etc). We also use mosquito eating fish as a biological control whenever possible (Gambusia, Sunnies, and Fathead minnows). We also do surveillance (my job!), when we collect larva in different locations and identify and monitor the species present, because different species of mosquitoes transmit different diseases. We also have several light traps throughout the county where we collect dead adult mosquitoes for the same type of species surveillance. Lastly, we have gravid traps that we set throughout the county where we collect live adult mosquitoes that I then identify, sort by species, and send to the state lab for disease testing. The field inspectors then go out and spray adulticide to kill adult mosquitoes. It has been a really fun job and I thoroughly enjoy it and am excited to learn more and more about the field of entomology!
Our Facebook page is @NJMCA if anyone is interested.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Media Short on Biocontrol of Weeds with Insects


I wanted to share this short piece of media I made for an Insects in Education class. It's not a great piece of production, but hey, I'm an entomologist not a filmmaker! (And I was able to do it for free at

Controlling Exotic Pests with their Natural Enemies: One Kind of Biological Control

Monday, December 12, 2016

Insect Ecology

Hi everyone!

I’m Stella, and I’m an undergraduate majoring in Biology here at UNL. I will soon be adding a minor in Fish & Wildlife. Once I graduate, I plan to attend grad school and focus on ecology. The intricate links between organisms and their environment is what drew me to ecology in the first place, and the sheer abundance and diversity of insects makes insect ecology especially interesting to me.

I’ve always been fond of insects, and so the decision to take Insect Ecology was an easy one. I previously took an entomology course called Management of Horticultural Crop Insects, and my positive experience with that course further drove me to take Insect Ecology.

I spent several weeks at Cedar Point Biological Station this summer, and while I was there I worked on a project with damselflies. The project involved studying factors that influence damselfly functional response, including prey type and predator size. We are currently writing up a paper on the results of this study, and I look forward to sharing it with you all once it is published.

Thanks for a great semester!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Hello Everyone!!

            My name is Debora and I am a Ph.D. student. I am from Brazil and I started my “bug life” back in college when I was a biology student and this guy came to me with an Acrocicnus longimanus in a bucket asking me what was that? I haven’t seen a bug like that before and I started reading about it and how amazing and important bugs are. It was the beginning of a love history <3   
            After finishing biology I started my Masters in Biotechnology where I studied the biology of some species of Spodopteras occurring in Brazil. Spodoptera spp. are a very important corn pest, also important here in the United States, mainly in the Corn Belt. That is why I had the opportunity of studying my Ph.D. at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln; we have “some” corn around here. Ok, Back to the cool part of bugs, corn pests can be boring sometimes. Even though I am a Ph.D. student in Entomology, other day I saw this “ Cool Entomology Facts” that some of them I did not know about… And they are really cool. That is why I decided to write here today, to share it with you all, I hope you enjoy, have fun reading =)

Most abundant: Macroterms, an East African termite, has a queen that lays an egg every two seconds… or 4,300 every day. Termite’s queens may live 50 years!
 Fastest: Large dragonfly may reach a speed of 60 MPH… and yet their flight is noiseless because their wings beat too slowly to produce a hum.

 The largest insect that ever lived: Ancient dragonflies were the largest insects that ever lived. Some fossil specimens from Kansas had a wingspan of three feet. A reconstruction of one of these giants may be seen in the Paleobiology Gallery in Morril Hall - University of Nebraska – Lincoln

Diversity: There are about one million described insect species. Based on studies in the canopy layer of tropical rainforest, there may be as many as 10-30 million different species of insects! The entomology collection contains approximately 44,000 species or about 4.4% of the world`s insect diversity. The entomology Collection contains many more species that are new to science.

Performance: A flea can jump 13 inches high. That would be equivalent to a human jumping 275 feet straight up!

Insect discovery: Curators and students in the division of entomology collect insects and explore jungles and cloud forest every year for research. On each expedition, “Team Scarab” discovers several species that are new to science.

Economy: The annual economic benefits resulting just from honeybee pollination of plants is about U$20 billion, and it is greater than all kinds of insect damage combined, what is U$5 billion in the United States.

Nebraska insects: There are 84 species of mammals in Nebraska. Based on current estimates, there are roughly 21,000 species of insects in Nebraska, that is 250 times more insects than mammals in Nebraska!!

That is a lot of specimens: If all of the specimens in the Entomology Collection were placed end to end, they would measure 11 football fields in length!

Most Massive: The most massive specimen in the Entomology Collection is the rhinoceros beetle, Megasome actaeon, which weight about 3.5 oz (or 100 grams). It would take about 28 prairie shrews to equal the weight of one of these beetles!

Smallest: The smallest specimen in the Entomology Collection is a feather-wing beetle that measure less than 1/32nd of an inch (or 0.34mm). Feather-wing beetle are so small that they can float in the air like dust particles.

Brett Ratcliffe - University of Nebraska - Lincoln
Reference 3

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Entomology Career Hints

        Careers in Entomology extend far beyond the traditional scope of research, professorship, and laboratory work. For instance, did you know that the United States Army employs entomologists? Or that the United States Fish & Wildlife Service, due to an increase in pollinator conservation and the listing of species such as the American burying beetle, also have entomologists within their ranks? In the ever increasing competitive world of job hunting it is important as you move towards graduation to research any and all potential job options that exist.  

        For federal jobs, most positions are listed on, including positions with the United States Department of Agriculture, United States Fish & Wildlife Service, the National Parks Service, United States Forestry Service, and the Bureau of Land Management to name a few. A simple search into the database will pull up jobs all across the country, and sometimes even in outlying U.S. territories such as Puerto Rico. The key to USAjobs is to make sure that you upload your resume and all of your transcripts, as well as read through the entirety of the job posting as each job listing will be different and will ask for different requirements in order to apply. For example, one position that I applied for before being hired on as a Park Ranger with the United States Fish & Wildlife Service asked me to provide a breakdown of every job that I had worked by hours worked per week. This tiny bit of information was listed at the bottom of the job listing, in small type, but the job listing stated that without this piece of information that my application would not even be looked at!

        As with applying for any job, when applying for federal positions the hiring department will often ask for you to describe your experience in previous positions. Unlike many other agencies or companies, a large part of your application and hiring process will be done through your computer, and you may not meet face to face with your supervisor until the day you actually report to work, as the interview may even be done by phone. In fact, the timeframe in which you are asked to describe your past experiences may actually occur while you are uploading your resume, CV, and transcripts, in the form of a questionnaire. If this is the case, be thorough with how you answer the questions, and if you have had experience in a certain area then say so- however, under no circumstances lie about having experience on a subject no matter how much you want the position! Every year there are stories in which someone writes on their questionnaire that they have done a biological procedure or laboratory test only to find when they arrive on the first day of their job that their supervisor expects them to show their knowledge or hop right into their role. If you cannot perform the job description duties and you take the position under false pretenses, because it is a federal position not only can you be immediately dismissed, you could also serve time in jail as there are oftentimes moving costs and incentives rolled into federal jobs. Be honest! If you haven't had experience yet in an area, answer the question truthfully and move on. There is always another position that you are better suited for waiting for you!

        In closing, always be on the lookout for unique career opportunities and do not be afraid to think outside of the box when it comes to hunting for jobs. While you are still in school, be sure to build your resume, and take internships and volunteer work to help build a network that will help you when you walk away from college with your degree in hand. If you are interested in internships, I suggest looking into Americorps as well as the Student Conservation Association, which provide awesome opportunities, a stipend, and living quarters while you gain invaluable knowledge and experience in your field. Good luck, and remember to stay positive during your searches!

Friday, December 2, 2016

My little Entomology passion!

I am Eduardo Valentin, formally the Dry Bean Breeding technician from the PHREC-UNL. I have a B.S degree in Agronomy with a concentration on Crop Protection from the University of Puerto Rico. Started my career at the Experimental Agriculture Station from UPR working with dry bean breeding, and in addition I worked with the USDA-Tropical Agriculture Research Station.
                My entomology passion begun when I was in my last undergraduate year, were I met a professor that was working on insect toxicology. We started talking about my summer practice until he mentioned what he was doing. I heard that very interesting so I asked him to work on any research about insect toxicology. That is where all begun! Dr. Gallardo quickly show me a very little friend, the Cylas formicarius or well known as the worst weevil for the sweet potato in Puerto Rico.
                My research was about searching for a lethal doses using an entomopathogenic fungus, Beauveria bassiana. As a result my Entomology passion grew. As soon I started working in my first job, I looked for any opportunity on working with insects. The breeder from the program mentioned that one of his graduated student was studying resistant of dry beans to the bean weevil Acanthoscelides obtectus and he may need help rearing the insect. So I agreed!

                Thanks for all that experience, I am currently working on my Online MS Degree in Entomology with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln; were I am conducting a research on beneficial insects focusing on pollinators. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Hi, my name is Elijah Hall and I am in the Insect Ecology online class. I am a full time student and also work full time aside from that. I am currently in the Missouri Air National Guard, after separating from active duty my wife and I moved to Council Bluffs Iowa where she attends the School of Dentistry at Creighton. I go to UNL as a full time student and also work as a heavy equipment operator at a dredging and excavating company. I also have a small farm that I hope to one day become a full time farmer and drastically expand. The reason I am interested in insect ecology is because I believe it has and will help me with my understanding of insects in the farming world.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

With the current Zika scare, it's important to remember a few things:

"Zika Mosquitoes" are not permanent water mosquitoes.  They do not utilize swamps, wetlands or vernal pools.  There are two species referred to loosely as "Zika Mosquito" -  Aedes aegypti which came to the Americas with the slave trade, also known as the Yellow Fever Mosquito, and Aedes albopictus which arrived in the United States with the shipment of tires, and is also known as the Asian Tiger Mosquito.  Both of these species are tree-hole mosquitoes in their native range, and because they utilize such tiny and transient pockets of water, have adapted very well to our urban landscapes. 

The first step in any Integrated Pest Management regimen is to gain a deeper understanding of the relationship between the pest and the habitat.  There is no chance of pest outbreak without the presence of suitable habitat and ample food, and an outbreak is the insect's natural response to the extra provisions.

If you live within the current Zika mosquito range, they are likely breeding in your yard - it's as simple as that.  The tricycle seat where water gathers after a rain, the little folds in your tarps, wheel barrels, buckets, garden tools, watering pails, rain gutters, used tires, tire swings.  The water collecting trays under your potted plants are a favorite - turn those things over. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Hello! I am Tugce Karacoban from Turkey. I am new master's degree student at Entomology Department and my specific interest is Bee's diseases. Before interesting with bee, I was working at the surgery and orthopedic animal hospital as a veterinary medicine after my undergraduate education. When I had a chance to get a master's degree in the USA , I , immediately, had decided to change my field of study. Because bees are more important for our world and I really would like to learn most of things about them and I want to focus on their diseases. So, being in here is perfect and I am so glad to change my field.

The Minds of Insects

Hello everyone, Tyler Stading here. I am a biology and psychology double major at UNL!

It may seem odd that someone with a psychology focus would be interested in insects. But you might be interested to know just how intertwined the two are. For instance, one of psychology’s most famous sexuality researchers Alfred Kinsey began his scientific career as an entomologist studying hymenopterans, specifically gall wasps. He was notorious for his methodical nature and meticulous attention to detail, which made his work in psychology all the better!

Some arthropods, such as arachnids, have helped psychologists more directly. For instance, researcher Peter Witt better used common garden spiders to better understand the effects of psychoactive drugs on behavior. By giving spiders appropriate doses of drugs such as LSD, marijuana, speed, sedatives, and even caffeine, Witt could later observe how the drugs affected the spider’s web construction the next morning.

Insects can also help us better understand something as complex as memory! In particular, the eusocial honey bee demonstrates complex learning and communication with its unique waggle dance that helps communicate flower position to other bees. This learning behavior is extremely impressive, especially when you consider that bees have about 100,000 x’s fewer neurons than humans (9.6 105 vs 8.6 1010).

More than anything though insects are fascinating, they are one of the most diverse and successful animal clades on the planet! Whether they’re a pet, a pest, or ending up on your dinner plate, everyone has a reason to be interested in these amazing and ubiquitous animals!

Entomology Career Podcast

Here is a great podcast from entomologist and curator of the Field Museum in Chicago Corrie Moreau about career paths in Entomology. Check it out!!

Also, a thank you to all the students who have been contributing blogs! We love hearing about your interests and experiences.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Mosquito Control

Hello, I am Austin Stacey a senior biology major. I plan on pursuing dental after undergrad but I will have a semester gap before I attend dental school. I will be living in Florida during next semester and I have taken interest in mosquito control, since it is a huge problem in Florida. I know there are bug control agencies and even government departments that spray for mosquitos and is required in your taxes in certain counties. I hope to get a seasonal job for mosquito control and spraying to control the pests. Many agencies hire people and with me having a biology degree it will certainly help to get that position. My job if i get it would be to travel to many neighborhoods in a county and spray pesticides to limit mosquito growth. This will help protect plants, trees, and limit mosquito bites that could cause zika or other infections. This class has taught me about pest control and how insects survive in different environments. I hope this class has helped prepare me for pest control.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

My Journey In Becoming An Insect Science Minor

Hello! My name is Whitney Lovegrove, and I am a senior agronomy major with an entomology minor. I grew up on a farm near Geneva, Nebraska, so agriculture has always been something I've been interested in. For my agronomy requirements, I needed to take a crop pest management course. I loved it so much, I went on to be an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) scout for DuPont Pioneer for two summers. Those experiences inspired me to want to become an insect science minor. After making an insect collection and having my first pet as a Madagascar hissing cockroach, I realized how much passion I have for Entomology and how excited I get when I talk about it to friends and family! These realizations helped land me a job in the department as a lab worker for western corn rootworm research. In the lab, we test for resistance to pyrethroid insecticides amongst various beetle populations from different parts of Nebraska. Part of this research is also learning how to successfully rear beetles from egg-larva-pupa-adult and what their lifecycle needs to thrive (sweet corn because they are a significant crop pest). This job has been nothing but rewarding, and I have had the opportunity to meet almost everyone in the department. As I finish my last semester as an undergrad at UNL, I have been on the lookout for one more defining internship experience. Specifically, I have applied for a summer position in Yakima Valley, Washington as an IPM scout in hops production. As I continue to search for jobs, I hope I am able to take this job as it would provide me with experience outside of Nebraska. It would be neat to see the pest variability in Washington and to observe agricultural production that is not typically seen in Nebraska! After an internship, I am considering a masters in entomology. I love agronomy, but I think I am a bit more of a bug nerd! 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016


Bugs! They have never really been much interest to me until I started studying about them. I have taken a couple classes through UNL about insects and one of the classes I took I was supposed to keep different kinds of bugs alive. I thought to myself I have been able to keep my 3 year old son alive surely I can keep these bugs alive. Yeah who was I to know how to take care of bugs. It took a lot of research in order to find out what the bugs ate and how they liked the temperature to be in their area. I was a little nervous how I would be able to do this project successfully but surprisingly it was really fun and I was able to learn a lot about bugs that I never would have known before. Studying insects would be really fun and very interesting!

Have a great Wednesday!!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Who I am!

Hello my name is Mollie Taylor ( Mollie Bose) was my maiden name I recently got married last November. I am an online student through UNL where I will be receiving my bachelors degree in Applied Science. I went to the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture in Curtis and I received my Associates degree in Ag Business. While I was there I took a couple of horticulture classes and really enjoyed them. I have never really been good at keeping plants alive only my indoor plants. The more I try to plant flowers the better I am getting.

I am very excited to write more on the blog and see what everyone else is up to!!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

How did you get into bugs?

"How did you get into bugs?" I've been asked this question more time than I can count. For some people, they just don't get how insects could be interesting. They most certainly don't understand why I would choose to go to places where there are lots and lots of them. Typically, I will tell people that I just "grew interested." However, it's much more complicated than that. It all began while I was going to school and trying to build my resume. The local health department had an opening for a West Nile Virus Surveillance intern and I figured the health department would look really good on an Environmental Health resume. Little did I know, this would peak my insect interest and pave the way for my future. I spent the next 3 months catching, identifying, freezing and testing mosquitos. All summer I drove to the same remote locations to collect my week's harvest. In the rain, sun or tornados, I battled raccoons, deer and rabbits to gather my samples. Needless to say, after graduation I became a health inspector. My west nile virus surveillance came in handy, I would still get to dabble in it by collecting dead crows or sparrows from throughout the county I covered. But then I got into the real fun-- cockroaches. I loved hunting down roaches in a restaurant. I knew the diseases they could carry and the ramifications this could have for an unsuspecting consumer and ultimately, I wanted to protect people's health. I got so good at finding roaches, I could walk into a place and smell them. It was fun, it was interesting. I then met the love of my life, my husband. He lived near St. Louis and as our relationship progressed, I knew I needed to make a change. I was moving to St. Louis. If you know me personally, you know not only am I fascinated with insects but I LOVE DOGS! Dogs are the best!! And what's better in St. Louis for a dog lover than the largest manufacturer of pet food in the US...nothing. So I meticulously combed the Purina website for months looking for any and everything I could possibly be qualified for and applied immediately. Rejection after rejection was heartbreaking but then I got it. I got a call from their HR department. They wanted to interview me on a job that wasn't posted but they had seen my resume and thought I might be a good fit. I was ecstatic! I didn't even care what the job was, I wanted it. Come to find out, the job was in Food Safety!! I was over the moon excited. I nailed the phone interview and they set me up for an in person interview the following week. When I got there, I discussed in detail my likes, my dislikes, my previous work, who I was and where I wanted to go. At the end of my interview, my now boss said to me, "Well, we'd really like it if you'd become a Board Certified Entomologist too." And I've been in the Retail Food Safety department with Purina for the last 3 years with all the resources I could ever want to expand my insect knowledge. I love learning and I never want to stop, especially about insects.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Come visit all the insects (and entomologists) on Sunday at Bugfest!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Come to #UNL Bugfest, Sun. Sept. 11, 1-4 pm. Department of Entomology Open House, Entomology Hall, East Campus

Free admission and parking north of the building.
Kids are welcome!

Tour the research labs and meet the professors, and more!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Our Bugmasters program was a success! Given the last two Fridays, the training prepared participants to do outreach, pollinator, Emerald ash borer, and bedbug programs! Instructors were Erin Bauer, University of Nebraska--Lincoln Dept of Entomology, Jonathan Larsen, Extension Educator in Douglas County, and Jody Green, Extension Educator in Lancaster County.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Ah, what a hot summer! Have you ever wondered how bees keep their hives cool? Read this recent article on the subject! Very timely to go along with the 90 and 100 degree temps we've had here in Nebraska!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

We have a youth outreach and science literacy program here at the UNL Department of Entomology. After all, we want to encourage all those budding entomologists! We are always looking for help in conducting the programs, as we receive a lot of requests! We are giving a program in July that will teach adults more about insects and how to conduct insect programs. Register if you're interested or pass along to anyone who may be!

BugMasters Volunteer Program

Thursday, May 26, 2016

We have some great conservation efforts going on here at UNL! I am a Chinese Mantis, and am not endangered, but some of my fellow predators, like the Salt Creek Tiger Beetle, are not so lucky. They only survive on a tiny salt marsh near Lincoln, NE. Here is a great article about what the university is doing to save these important insects.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Hello everybody, my name is Drew Kendall.  I am a graduate student at UNL taking classes so that I can renew my teaching license.  I chose to take entomology classes as a combination of what was available and what was interesting.  Insects are all around us and I thought that by taking the class I could understand them better and help my future students understand them better.

Although, I have discovered something odd.  Nebraska, like other states, has a series of standards for the general ideas that should be taught and at what grade.  So with something as important as insects, you'd think they would be all over that right?  Not really.  The only time the word insect even shows up is in Life Science: Characteristics of Living Things: 3-5: "SC5.3.1.b Identify how parts of plants and animals function to meet basic needs (e.g., leg of an insect helps an insect move, root of a plant helps the plant obtain water)."

I substitute teach, or at least I did, I'll be a full-time teacher in the fall, so I've had a chance to talk to a few science teachers.  The amount of time they spend on insects varies from barely at all to a couple weeks, but they all told me basically the same things:
1.) "They aren't on the standards." (A sad commentary on how the Standards can stifle education, but you don't want to get into that argument.)
2.) "They need to know they are part of the Animal Kingdom and they are Arthropods."
3.) "Insects show up in food webs/chains as part of the flow of energy."

So basically everything a student needs to know by the time they graduate can essentially be summed up in the following sentence: "Insects are a form of insect, specifically a type of Arthropod, that can consume either a plant or an animal and in turn is consumed for food."

I think in the future, I'm going to spend more time on insects than just the minute it would take for my students to write that sentence down.  Maybe I'll keep the template for the pest profile and give it to them one day for a project.  :)


Wednesday, May 4, 2016

     My name is Kaitlin and I am freshman studying Advertising/Public Relations and Spanish. I'm taking this class to fulfill an ACE requirement. I decided to take Entomology 115 because I heard how great it was through a friend, and I am glad that I did. At the beginning of the semester I really hated insects, but now after learning how essential they are to survival-- I still think they are creepy-- I appreciate them much more. I also had no idea that some (although very few) insects live in the water. I didn't take this class with the lab (Entomology 116), but wish I would've because I think I could have absorbed the information better. I never knew how interesting insects could be, and how many different types there are. I think the classification system of insects is a great organization system, being an ADPR major I love when things are organized. I honestly couldn't see myself having a career in Entomology, but I respect those who do and I will think twice about squashing a bug next time I see one.

-Kaitlin VanLoon