The Michigan State University Department of Entomologyexcels in research, extension and teaching to address the issues that confront the people of Michigan, our nation and the world. MSU’s entomologists look for systemic solutions across disciplines to address critical issues. We offer B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in entomology and consider graduate student education and postdoctoral experience to be one of our highest priorities. Many of our undergraduates further enrich their studies through working in research labs, volunteering in the Bug House and taking entomology or related study abroad courses.
Barb Stinnett passed away Sunday, July 6, 2014. A cherished member of the Department’s outreach efforts, we asked Gary Parsons to describe how Barb made a difference through her work with MSU Entomology, which is shared below. You can donate to the Bug House in Barb’s honor.
Entomology Professor Deborah McCullough was quoted in a June 30, 2014, article in the New York Times about the future for ash forests. McCullough led a study of ash trees in in Lower Michigan that included checking the effects of the past severely cold winter on emerald ash borers. “We didn’t find a single dead larva,” she notes in commenting about the cold-hardiness of the pest.
Dale Mutch has been selected by the North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (NCR-SARE) to be a 2014 NCR-SARE Hero. This recognition honors the leadership, vision, contributions and impact made in the field of sustainable agriculture by those who have made lasting impacts to sustainability in the North Central Region and beyond.
What are you researching? I’m interested in sustainable, long-term solutions that lessen agriculture’s footprint on the landscape and allow it to fulfill multiple ecosystem services. I am researching integrated pest management of the asparagus miner through developing a degree-day model to predict important phenology; creating a foundation for a conservation biological control program; investigating the spatial distribution of the pest and elucidating the semiochemicals emitted by asparagus and how those may alter interactions with arthropods.
Future career plans: My ultimate goal is to be a faculty member with a research and teaching or extension appointment. I have a post-doctoral research position with the USDA Appalachian Fruit Research Station in Kearneysville, WV, where I will work on an attract-and-kill approach for controlling brown marmorated stink bugs in apples and peaches using the BMSB aggregation pheromone.
If you could be an insect, which would you be? I would undoubtedly be an ant as they are eusocial insects that are highly efficient in monopolizing resources through complex chemical communication, and are the numerically dominant organism in most ecosystems.
Is there any particular arthropod you do not like? Definitely bed bugs. A single female can lay up to 500 eggs. If one fertilized individual makes it to a new home, the infestation can quickly get out of control. In addition, traveling to hotels and different countries increases risk, and nothing is quite as horrifying as having bed bugs infest one’s suitcase or suck one’s blood during the night. Combined with the fact that eradication is difficult, it’s the perfect combination of “ick factor” and insidiousness.
What is your favorite activity outside of entomology? My two favorites are cooking and photography. They are very different ways of thinking from how I usually have to think in science: cooking is loose, improvisational and intuitive, while photography is intuition-based and focuses mostly on aesthetics and beauty in the world, an aspect that some scientists forget to incorporate in their work.
Name: Ian James Eldred
Hometown: Westland, MI
Future study plans: Graduate school
Why study entomology? Without insects we wouldn’t be here. Most people don’t directly see the impact insects have on our world and the wonders that they provide. I want to show others how truly amazing insects really are and the doors they can open for us.
What or who inspired your interest in entomology? I have always been fascinated by insects since I was a little kid catching lightning bugs. I took a course through Dr. Pett and then met with Dr. DiFonzo to discuss pursuing a degree in Entomology. They both were a big impact on me and really inspired me to pursue a career in entomology.
What do you wish other people understood about entomology? Many people don’t realize how important insects are and the roles that each little insect plays in the world.
What is your opinion on entomophagy (eating insects) as practiced in other world cultures? I love it! it is just another source of protein for people. I have already tried a cricket lollipop, but I wouldn’t mind trying other types of insect cuisine.
What is your favorite way to spend your time outside of Entomology?I enjoy engaging in outdoor activities. I hunt, fish and enjoy pretty much anything outside.
Undergrad tells how entomology changed her life in speech at College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Commencement.
Grad student Rob Morrison produces video on an IPM approach for asparagus miner.
Ke Dong and colleagues are working to combat resistant mosquitoes.