Tours Grasshopper tray

The Arthropod Research Center is open by appointment to all interested researchers, societies, and the public. Display presentation space is limited in the main collection area. Contact the Collection Manager to arrange visits. Public education about insects is readily available through the live examples and exhibits in the Bug House.

Identifications and bug questions Oh my beetles tray

The Collection’s resources are available to anyone who needs information about insect and arthropod identification and biology. Our highest prioritiy is to assist researchers and students. The collection staff can offer assistance to the public with identifications for butterflies and moths (must be in good condition), beetles and some unusual or uncommon insects as time permits. However, identifications concerning household, garden or agricultural pests should first be requested from Michigan State University Extension Agents or from the Insect Diagnostician, Diagnostic Clinic Services, Michigan State University, E. Lansing, MI 48824 Ph: (517) 353-9386, e-mail: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

ExhibitsOh-my butterfly tray

“Oh-My” Collection/Displays

The Arthropod Research Collection also has 10 display drawers of “Oh-My” insects and other arthropods that are used by faculty, staff and students for various departments and Bug House outreach exhibits and events. They are also used by the Department of Entomology and other faculties in various classes on campus (see examples on this page).

Winged Jewels - Butterflies and moths Winged Jewels

ARC personnel put together an exhibit of Lepidoptera called “Winged Jewels” that was displayed at the MSU Museum from March 22 to October 5, 1998. One display from the original exhibit, consisting of a cornucopia of butterflies spread along a wall, is still on permanent exhibit in the MSU museum. Additional parts of this exhibit, now part of the Arhropod Research Center, are on display in exhibit cases in the 4th floor atrium, across from Room 401 in Natural Science.


Loans Policy and Requests

Please direct loan requests to:

Gary Parsons (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address))
Department of Entomology, Michigan State University
288 Farm Lane, Room 243 Natural Science Building
East Lansing, MI 48824-5634

  1. "Acknowledgment of receipt of specimens.
    Original invoice to be signed and returned upon receipt of specimens. Copy retained by borrower.
  2. Duration of loans.
    Unless otherwise arranged, loans are made for 2 years, renewable yearly. Primary types, if loaned, are for a maximum of 3 months.
  3. Student loans.
    Loans for graduate students will be made to their major professor.
  4. Transfers to other workers.
    Loans may not be transferred to another worker without permission of the Director.
  5. MSU labels.
    Collection identification labels are included. This label need not be removed when specimens are returned.
  6. DNA
    Given the permission of the Director, partial destruction of specimens for DNA extraction is allowed
  7. Dissections.
    Dissections are expected in revisionary work; specimens for dissection should be selected from a series when possible, and all dissected structures must be stored in a commonly accepted way that positively associates them with the specimen.
  8. Microscope slides.
    All slides prepared by the borrower must be clearly labeled for positive association with the specimen, must not be placed in the box with pinned specimens, and should be returned at the same time as the specimens.
  9. Return of specimens.
    Prompt return of specimens is expected when the research is completed or when another person needs to examine the specimens after the initial loan period. Pinned specimens should be arranged in the shipping boxes so species are clearly separated. Determination labels on all specimens would be greatly appreciated. Specimens should be returned in the original or comparable mailing containers and shipped via the same carrier used (or better). Primary types must be sent via Registered First Class or Registered Airmail (foreign). Vials, slides and other heavy objects should be segregated from pinned material. Specimens should be packed the same way they were received. See “Steyskal, G.C., W.L. Murphy and E.M. Hoover. 1986. Insects and mites: techniques for collection and preservation. USDA, ARS, Misc. Publ. No. 1443, p. 44” for guidelines on packing specimens for shipment.
  10. Designation of Types.
    All primary types designated from MSU material must be returned to MSU unless other arrangements are made with the Director. Deposition of secondary types from MSU material in other institutions is encouraged, but should be made with approval of the Director. Types must be labeled with the genus, species, and author. In some cases it may be desirable to deposit a primary type “on permanent loan” in another institution. Such cases must be approved by the Director.
  11. Retention of specimens.
    Primary types, unique specimens and previously identified specimens are to be returned unless other arrangements are made with the Director. Reasonable numbers of duplicates from series with equivalent data identified by the borrower (including some paratypes) may be retained. Exchanges that will broaden our collection are encouraged
  12. Damaged specimens.
    All specimens should be returned; any that are damaged beyond scientific value should be segregated before return.
  13. Change of position or address.
    The Director should be notified of any changes.
  14. Reprints.
    Copies of publications based in part on MSU material would be appreciated. If reprints or photocopies are not available, citations are sufficient.
  15. Visits.
    Researchers are encouraged to visit the Collection, conduct research, and hand-carry borrowed specimens

Collection director

Anthony Cognato
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
445A Natural Science
(517) 432-2369

Collection manager

Gary parsons
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
434 Natural Science
(517) 353-1630

Entomology department

Office: 243 Natural Science
Phone: (517) 355-4663
Fax: (517) 353-4354


Faculty and staff

Museum technician

Adjunct curators

Graduate students

  • Steven Nichols
    Insect Husbandry
  • Rachel Osborn

Student workers

  •  None at this time

Research contributors

The following persons through their collecting and research efforts have added a significant number of specimens over time curating parts of the Arthropod Research Center:

  • Martin Andree
  • Jason Gibbs
    Hymenoptera: Apoidea
  • Robert Kriegel
  • Mark O’Brien
  • William Taft
    Lepidoptera: Sesiidae

Research and Publications

  • Parsons, Gary L. 2008. Emerald Ash Borer: A guide to identification and comparison to similar species. Michigan State University.
    EAB web
  • Nielsen, Mogens C. 1999. Michigan Butterflies and Skippers: A Field Guide and Reference. Michigan State University Extension, Michigan State University. 248 pp. Available from MSU Extension bookstore.
    Michigan Butterflies and Skippers
  • Stehr, Frederick, W. (ed.) 1991. Immature Insects, Volume 2. Kendall/Hunt Publishing Co., Dubuque, Iowa. 975 pp.
    Immature Insects
  • Smith. S. & A.I. Cognato. 2015. Ambrosiophilus peregrinus Smith & Cognato, new species (Coleoptera: Curculionidae: Scolytinae), an exotic ambrosia beetle discovered in Georgia, USA. The Coleopterists Bulletin 65(2): 213-220.
  • DeMarco, B.B.and Cognato, A.I. 2015. Phylogenetic analysis of Aphaenogaster supports resurrection of Novomessor (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Annals of the Entomological Society of America 108(2): 201-210.
  • Smith, S., A. Cognato. 2014. Taxonomic monograph of Nearctic Scolytus Geoffroy (Coleoptera, Curculionidae, Scolytinae). ZooKeys 450: 1-82 (29 Oct 2014).
  • Metzler, E.H. & D.C. Lightfoot. 2014. The Lepidoptera of White Sands National Monument 7. A new species of the genus Areniscythrus (Scythrididae), a recently discovered iconic species from the monument. Journal of the Lepidopterist’s Society 6=8(3): 185-190.
  • Metzler, E.H. 2014. The Lepidoptera of White Sands National Monument 6. A new species of Chionodes Hubner, [1825] (Lepidoptera, Gelechiidae, Gelechiinae) dedicated to Ronald W. Hodges and Elaine R. Snyder Hodges in the year of Ron’s 80th Birthday, 2014. Journal of the Lepidopterist’s Society 68(2): 80-84.
  • Smith, S.M. & A.I. Cognato. 2013. A new species of Scolytus Geoffroy, 1762 and taxonomic changes regarding Neotropical Scolytini (Coleoptera: Curculionidae: Scolytinae). The Coleopterists Bulletin 67(4): 547-556.
  • Cognato, A.I. & M.F. O’Brien 2013. The woodlouse hunter occurs in Michigan (Araneae: Dysderidae: Dysdera crocata C.L. Koch, 1838). Great Lakes Entomologist 46(3-4): 238-239.
  • Metzler, E.H., E.C. Knudson, R.W. Poole, J.D. Lafontaine & M.G. Pogue. 2013. A review of the genus Ogdoconta Butler (Lepidoptera, Noctuidae,Condicinae, Condicini) from North America north of Mexico with descriptions of three new species. ZooKeys 264: 165-191 (06 Feb 2013).
  • Metzler, E.H. & G. Forbes. 2012. The Lepidoptera of White Sands National Monument 5. Two new species of Cochylini (Lepidoptera, Tortricidae, Tortricinae). Zootaxa 3444: 51-60 (2012).
  • Metzler, E.H. & G. Forbes. 2011. The Lepidoptera of White Sands National Monument, Otero County, New Mexico, USA 4. A new species of Schinia Hubner, 1818 (Lepidoptera, Noctuidae, Heliothinae). ZooKeys 149: 135-144 (24 Nov 2011).
  • Metzler, E.H. 2011. The Lepidoptera of White Sands National Monument, Otero County, New Mexico, USA 3. A new species of Aleptina Dyar, 1902 (Lepidoptera, Noctuidae, Amphipyrinae, Psaphidini). ZooKeys 149: 125-133 (24 Nov 2011).
  • Metzler, E.H. & G. Forbes. 2011. The Lepidoptera of White Sands National Monument, Otero County, New Mexico, USA 2. Rediscovery and description of Sparkia immacula (Grote, 1883) (Noctuidae, Noctuinae, Hadenini). ZooKeys 149: 117-123 (24 Nov 2011).
  • Smith, S.M. & A.I. Cognato. 2010. A taxonomic revision of Camptocerus Dejean (Coleoptera: Curculionidae: Scolytinae). Insecta Mundi 0148: 1-88.
  • Cognato, A.I. & S.M. Smith. 2010. Resurrection of Dryotomicus Wood and description of two new species from the Amazon River Basin (Coleoptera, Curculiondiae, Scolytinae, Phloeotribini). ZooKeys 56: 49-64 (17 Sep 2010).
  • Smith,S.M., A.I. Cognato. 2010. Notes on Scolytus fagi Walsk 1867 with the designation of a neotype, distribution notes and key to Scolytus Geoffroy of America east of the Mississippi River (Coeloptera, Curculionidae, Scolytinae, Scolytini). ZooKeys 56:35-43 (17Sep 2010).
  • Cognato, A.I., N. Barac, M. Philip, R. Mech, A.D. Smith, E. Galbraith, S.J. Storer & L. Kirkendall. 2009. The native and introduced bark and ambrosia beetles of Michigan (Coleoptera: Curculiondiae: Scolytinae). Great Lakes Entomologist 42 (3&4): 101-120.
  • Metzler, E.H., D. Bustos & G.S. Forbes. 2009. The Lepidoptera of White Sands National Monument, Otero County, New Mexico, USA 1. Two new species of Noctuidae (Lepidoptera, Noctuinae, Agrotini). ZooKeys 9: 47-62 (2009).
  • Priest, R.J. 2008. Biological notes on three newly reported leaf miners of Cacalia artiplicifolia in Michigan. Great Lakes Entomologist 41 (1&2): 86-93.
  • Hamm, C.A. 2007. Designation of a neotype for Mitchell’s satyr Neonympha mitchellii (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae). Great Lakes Entomologist 40 (3&4): 201-202.
  • Gardiner, M.M. & G.L. Parsons. 2005. Hippodamia variegata (Goeze) (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) detected in Michigan soybean fields. Great Lakes Entomologist 38 (3&4): 164-169.
  • Wilterding, J.H. 1997. Type specimens of Lepidoptera in the Tepper Collection at Michigan State University. Journal of the New York Entomological Society 105 (1-2): 65-104.


Taxonomic holdings & type holdings

The Arthropod Research Collection (ARC) contains adult and immature insects, spiders, ticks, mites and other arthropods, and nematodes. It emphasizes Michigan and the Great Lakes region, but holds many specimens from other parts of the world. Most specimens are pinned or preserved in vials of alcohol. Today, the major portion of the collection consists of nearly 1.1 million pinned adults, approximately 100,000 vials of immature and adult insects, 10,000 vials of spiders and other non-insect arthropods, and 46,000 slides. Major strengths are the Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths), Coleoptera (beetles), Diptera (flies), Hymenoptera (ants, bees, and wasps), spiders and Collembola (springtails)

The Collection has been built through extensive collecting by faculty, students and staff, selected purchases, and gifts of private collections. The largest private collection is the Dreisbach Collection of some 250,000 specimens of all orders, but with an emphasis on Hymenoptera, extensive Mexican holdings, and a premier collection of Pompilidae.

We are in the process of databasing our holdings, making them web-accessible, and serving them through portals such as GBIF. Our plan is to first capture species-level data (what species we have and how many). For this first stage, over 35,000 names have already been databased. The second stage will record and serve full label data for each specimen. We recently started specimen level data collection for our Michigan bark beetle holdings. Over 10,000 Michigan bark beetle specimens have already been databased and made web-accessible.

You can access the current database via the “Database” link below. Due to limitations of the Specify web interface, drop down menus are not available at this time. For now, you can view a list of families included in the database.

Search the Database

Holdings overview










Considerable representation from Europe, South America, and elsewhere. Large holdings of material from Chile, mostly undetermined.





Includes the Hejgaard collection of nearly 8,000 Danish moths, the Donahue collection of about 16,000 Indian butterflies, numerous Latin American specimens, 178 primary types from the Tepper collection, and others.





Extensive holdings of Tephritidae from the Guy Bush collection, some still undetermined.





North American Apoidea well represented. Includes many Mexican and South American specimens from the Dreisbach Collection.





A large collection of North American Cicadellidae.






Other Insecta






40,000 vials 27,500 slides



Currently the Snider collection, with the future accession of the Ken Christiansen collection.


5,500 vials





3200 vials 350 slides





4000+ vials



Mostly from the Arlen Edgar collection plus literature.

Plant Nematoda

Approx.12,000 specimens on 2800 slides




Additional slide collection

16,000 slides




Alcohol collection

60,000 vials



Some adults, but primarily immatures.

Type holdings

The Type Collection consists of 188 Holotypes, 18 Lectotypes, 1 Neotype and 28 Allotypes. An additional 190 specimens have very old “Type” labels, which possibly represent unconfirmed Holotypes or Syntypes. Also included are 48 species with “Holotype” labels, but which cannot be confirmed as valid names and are suspected of being only manuscript names. Most of the latter are Dreisbach specimens from foreign countries. View our current list of type holdings.

  • Specimens for systematics research are available on loan.
  • Personal visits to use the collection are encouraged and can be arranged with the Collection Manager. A microscope and workspace will be provided. Request a parking permit in advance.


Mo workingThe Arthropod Research Collection is currently housed on the fourth floor of the Natural Science Building in Collection Rooms 401a, 443,450, 451, 452, 454, and nearby offices. The pinned collection is housed in approximately 5,000 Cornell drawers in 205 metal cabinets. The alcohol collection is housed in vial racks in 15 metal cabinets. The slide collection is housed in wooden slide cabinets. A small library containing a selection of taxonomic journals and reprints is maintained in room 401, but more recent and complete holdings are present in the main MSU Library nearby. A small exhibit area in the hallway outside room 401, currently holds a display on Lepidoptera. In addition, the Bug House on the first floor of Natural Science has excellent displays as well as live specimens for viewing by the general public.

Natural Science BuildingThe ARC is open by appointment to all interested researchers, societies, and the public. Contact the Collection Manager to arrange for visits. Workspace and microscopes are available for researchers using the collection. Displays and exhibits are limited in the main collection area. Public education about insects is more readily available through the live examples and exhibits in the Bug House (for further information, call 517/355-4662). Temporary parking permits are available from the Collection Manager for visitors, but parking in the immediate vicinity of the Natural Science Building is often limited. There are a few metered parking spaces near the east end of the building, some metered parking in the nearby MSU Grand River parking ramp, and there is large public parking ramp nearby in East Lansing.


Albert John Cook, Professor of Zoology and Entomology, established the Collection of Insects at Michigan Agricultural College in 1867. By 1878 the Collection consisted of nearly 1,200 locally-collected specimens used primarily for classroom demonstration, for comparison, and as an aid in species identification for Michigan farmers. It was originally housed in the Library and Museum Building (now Linton Hall).

In 1889, U.S. Senator James McMillan purchased and donated the Fred Tepper Collection of some 12,000 moths and the Austin Collection of 40,000 beetles to the MSU collection, which raised the stature of the collection well beyond teaching. Both of McMillan’s collections were rich in type material – the specimens to which names are tied – thus greatly enhancing the Collection’s research functions. In 1890 additional gifts of Hemiptera from Charles V. Riley at the United States National Museum, a collection of Microlepidoptera from the American Museum of Natural History, a collection of Orthoptera from Dr. Lawrence Bruner of the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, and a collection of Lepidoptera from Dr. Eugene Davenport (an 1878 graduate of the College) of the University of Illinois, made the Michigan Agricultural College collection one of the best college collections in the United States at that time.

Cook Hall

Cook Hall (Old Entomology Building)

Mr. Rufus H. Pettit took over the collection in 1897, and through 1930 added many economically important specimens to the collection, many of them reared from eggs and larvae. Ms. Eugenia McDaniel joined the department in 1910 and by 1949 had added about 400 species of Coccidae, as well as many forest and ornamental tree species. Ms. McDaniel also undertook a research project, which added 8,000 specimens and 1100 species of Noctuidae to the collection between 1937 and 1941. Between 1935 and 1943 Curtis Sabrosky, then an assistant professor and subsequently a world authority on Diptera at the USNM, contributed many specimens of flies, especially of Chloropidae, to the collection. During this time the collection was transferred from the College Museum to the Entomology Department and moved into the Entomology building (now Cook Hall), where it was housed in a brick annex at the back of the building. During this time the specimens were gradually transferred from wooden blocks in insect boxes into cardboard trays placed into drawers.

Rufus H. Pettit

Rufus H. Pettit

A 1950 survey determined that the Collection contained more than 100,000 specimens representing some 350 families and 15,000 species. When the construction of the Natural Science Building was completed in 1948, space was allocated for the collection. Built-in cabinets for storage and workspace made expansion possible. In 1952 Dr. Roland Fischer was appointed as Curator of the Insect Collection. He continued in this role until his death in 1992. Dr. Fischer added significantly to the Hymenoptera holdings, his specialty, through collecting, purchases and trades. During the 1960’s the collection was significantly expanded by the accession of several large collections. Dr. Robert Dreisbach, a chemist at Dow Chemical Company in Midland, began a survey of all the insects of Michigan in 1932. He subsequently amassed a collection of over 250,000 insects, which was donated to the MSU collection upon his death. The Walter C. Stinson collection of 7,000 Michigan moths, the Arther Yates collection of 3,000 Michigan moths, the Gunnar Hjegaard collection of some 8,000 Danish moths, and the Thomas Farr collection of some 3,000 Coeloptera and Diptera were also added. Dr. Fred Stehr donated the William C. Stehr collection of 7,000 coccinellid and carabid beetles. Significant contributions were also made by former students, including Dillman S. Bullock with material from Chile, W.T. Van Velzen with material from Peru, Ron Hodges with a collection of Ecuadorian insects, H. Pergama who donated African material, and Julian Donahue, who donated a large collection of Lepidoptera from India.

Eugenia McDaniel

Eugenia McDaniel

In the 1970’s and 1980’s the collection continued to grow mainly through collecting by students and researchers. In the 1980’s the collection of Mr. John H. Newman, of South Lyons, Michigan, containing over 10,000 specimens of Lepidoptera, collected from 1941 until his death, came to MSU. Mr. Mogens C. Nielsen contributed many hours of volunteer time and thousands of specimens to the collection over the years since he was a student beginning in 1947. Upon his retirement from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources in 1988, he was appointed as adjunct curator of Lepidoptera, and continues to add significantly to the collection. Because of his and others efforts, the Lepidoptera are perhaps the most completely curated part of the collection. Dr. Fred Stehr took over as Director of the collection in 1988, and in the course of compiling his monumental 2-volume work on Immature Insects, has added significantly to the collection of immatures as well as Lepidoptera in general. Collecting trips by Dr. Stehr to Brasil, Malaysia, Borneo and New Guinea have also added significantly to our foreign species holdings. In the 1990’s. Frank and Anna West have donated significant numbers of insects from Michigan and Latin America to the collection.

In 1999, Mr. Gary Parsons was appointed as the first full-time Collection Manager. As a specialist in Coleoptera, he is working extensively on that part of the collection, which has received relatively little work in the past, and has donated his collection of about 10,000 Coleoptera, most from the western United States. Under his direction, a complete species inventory of all the holdings is being compiled, which will eventually lead to capturing and data-basing the label data for the entire collection.

In 2000, the Collections committee decided to rename the collection (formerly the Center for Arthropod Diversity Studies) to honor Professor Cook and acknowledge his contribution to this collection’s beginnings.

In 2006, Dr. Anthony Cognato joined the faculty as our new molecular systematist and was appointed the new Collection Director to replace the retired Dr. Stehr. Dr. Cognato and his student’s research focususes primarily on Scolytinae systematics. He initiated both a physical and electronic expansion of the collection. The collection was expanded into 1,750 square feet and a web-accessible searchable database was created to serve the names of the collections 35,000 species. This work was funded by the collection’s first NSF grant. Based on the success of this grant, Cognato received a subsequent NSF grant to digitally image the entire holdings of the collections. Over 40,000 slides and vials and 400 drawers have been imaged to date.

A. J. Cook with student

A. J. Cook with a student examining part of the Lepidoptera collection (circa 1890).

Summarized in part from

  • W.E. Houk. 1954. A study of some events in the development of Entomology and its application in Michigan. PhD Thesis, Michigan State College of Agriculture (Michigan State University).
  • R.L. Fischer. 24 April 1964. Report on the Status of the Entomology Museum at Michigan State University, 1954-1963 – a decade of growth.


The mission of the Albert J. Cook Arthropod Research Collection (ARC) in the Department of Entomology is to serve the people of Michigan by providing excellence in research, education and outreach. The ARC maintains a significant arthropod collection representing the biodiversity of Michigan, the Great Lakes Region, and to a lesser extent, the World. It provides expert information on identification, biology, distribution, and seasonal occurrence of arthropods, and makes this knowledge available to researchers in systematics, agriculture, natural resources, urban insect management, to extension personnel and to the general public.

In support of its mission, the ARC serves the following key functions:

  • As a “library” of authoritatively identified specimens of insects and other arthropods used for identification and verification of identifications in research and extension.
  • As an educational resource to demonstrate to students and the public the immense diversity and abundance of insects and other arthropods worldwide.
  • As a means of obtaining knowledge of the variation, distribution, and seasonal occurrence of species, with emphasis on Michigan.
  • As a resource of specimens for systematics and evolutionary biodiversity research. Faculty and graduate students here and elsewhere benefit via loans between institutions worldwide.
  • As a depository both for voucher specimens that document the species upon which research was performed, and for type specimens that document the species to which a scientific name has been given.


Gary Simmons Memorial Lecturer

Gary SimmonsDr. Gary Simmons was a forest entomologist and biostatistician in the Department of Entomology. He earned his B.S. and M.S. from Michigan Tech and his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. He was an assistant professor in Entomology at the University of Maine for four years before joining the MSU Department of Entomology in 1976. Gary always placed students first among his priorities at work and was the major professor of 13 M.S. and 6 Ph.D. candidates.

When Gary passed away at the age of 47 in January 1991, the Department established the Gary Simmons Distinguished Lecturer Series as a memorial, with a special fund to cover all expenses plus an honorarium for a speaker to be selected by the students in the Department. Every year, members of the MSU Graduate and Undergraduate Entomological Student Society (GUESS) nominate, invite and host the distinguished speaker.

Simmons past speakers

  • 2015 – Dr. Fred Poston, Michigan State University


Fred Poston and students
MSU CANR Dean Fred Poston and students at the 2015 Gary Simmons Memorial Lecture.

  • 2014 – Dr. Cesar Rodriguez-Saona, Rutgers University
  • 2013 – Dr. Claire Kremen, University of California, Berkeley
  • 2012 – Dr. Jeffrey Wells, Florida International University
  • 2011 – Dr. Steve Yanoviak, University of Arkansas            
  • 2010 – Dr. Walter Tschinkel, Florida State University
  • 2009 – Dr. Jessica Hellmann, University of Notre Dame
  • 2008 – Dr. Cameron Currie, University of Wisconsin
  • 2007 – Dr. George Weiblin, University of Minnesota
  • 2006 – Dr. Carol Anelli, Washington State University
  • 2005 – Dr. Gail Langellotto, Fordham University
  • 2004 – Dr. Peter B. McEvoy, Oregon State University
  • 2003 – Dr. Walter Leal, University of California, Riverside
  • 2002 – Dr. James T. Costa, Western Carolina University
  • 2001 – Dr. Jens Roland, University of Alberta
  • 2000 – Dr. Scott Shaw, University of Wyoming
  • 1999 – Dr. Jan Volney, Canadian Forest Service
  • 1998 – Dr. Brian a. Croft, Oregon State University
  • 1996 – Dr. Elizabeth A. Bernays, University of Arizona
  • 1995 – Dr. May r. Berenbaum, University of Illinois
  • 1994 – Dr. Tim D. Schowalter, Oregon State University
  • 1993 – Dr. Terry L. Erwin, Smithsonian Institute, Washington D.C.
  • 1992 – Dr. Jack C. Schultz, Penn State University

Award opportunities

The following awards are available to students, staff, faculty and alumni. Choose from the list below to jump down to that awards section.

Department Awards

These awards are awarded annually to the Department’s students and staff, provided a suitable candidate is nominated. All award applications are due March 15.

Dreisbach Award

Awarded to a PhD student for outstanding achievement in total PhD program.
Eligibility: MSU Entomology Ph.D. candidates who have passed the Oral Comprehensive Examination or the Final Oral Examination during the previous calendar year.
Required Application Materials:

  • Students must be nominated by their major professor
  • One additional letter of support
  • Curriculum Vitae

Wooley Award

Awarded to a MS student for outstanding achievement in total MS program.
Eligibility: MSU Entomology M.S. students who have completed their MS degree during the previous calendar year.
Required Application Materials:

  • Students must be nominated by their major professor
  • One additional letter of support
  • Curriculum Vitae

McDaniel Award

Awarded to a graduate student for excellence, dedication and achievement in teaching.
Eligibility: Student must be a currently enrolled Entomology graduate student or a student that graduated during fall semester of the current academic year.
Required Application Materials:

  • Nominations can be made by any Entomology faculty member
  • One additional letter of support
  • Curriculum Vitae

Guyer Award

Awarded to a graduate student for outstanding achievement in Extension.
Eligibility: Student must be a currently enrolled Entomology graduate student or a student that graduated during fall semester of the current academic year.
Required Application Materials:

  • Nominations can be made by any Entomology faculty member
  • One additional letter of support
  • Curriculum Vitae

Bath Award

Awarded to an administrative or research staff member for outstanding achievement and morale among staff.

  • Excellence in overall job performance, outstanding interpersonal skills and working relationships, and contributions to the department/program that lead to efficiency, effectiveness, and other accomplishments
  • Entomology CT, AP, APSA employees

Required Application Materials:

  • Nomination by direct supervisor
  • Two additional support letters from faculty, staff or student members of the Department of Entomology
  • Previous award winners are eligible to be nominated for this award more than once

Distinguished Alumnus Award

Awarded to an alumnus of the Department who made outstanding achievements in the entomology field or related sciences. For more information, see: MSU Entomology Distinguished Alumnus Award.

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Entomological Society of America (ESA) awards

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University awards

  • Honorary DegreesNominees should be a: distinguished graduate of MSU (any field); distinguished scientist, humanist, scholar of the arts, or distinguished member of one of the professions (law, medicine, etc.); distinguished person in public life or business.
  • Distinguished Alumni Award: Given annually to alumni who have distinguished themselves by obtaining the highest level of professional accomplishment, etc.
  • Philanthropist Award: Presented to an individual, family, association, corporation or foundation with a proven record of providing major, ongoing financial support and leadership to MSU.
  • Alumni Service AwardPresented to MSU alumni who have demonstrated continuing outstanding volunteer service to MSU and/or meritorious public service on a local, state, national or international level.
  • Honorary Alumni Award: Given annually to candidates who have demonstrated continuing outstanding volunteer service to Michigan State University on a local, state, national or international level, etc.
  • Young Alumni AwardGiven to candidates who have distinguished themselves by obtaining a high level of professional accomplishment and who possess high standards of integrity and character, etc.
  • Honorary DegreesNominees should be a: Distinguished graduate of MSU (any field); distinguished scientist, humanist, scholar of the arts, or distinguished member of one of the professions (law, medicine, etc.); distinguished person in public life or business.
  • William J. Beal Outstanding Faculty AwardMade each year to members of regular faculty for outstanding total service to the University.
  • Teacher-Scholar Awards: Made to six members of the tenure system faculty who early in their careers have earned the respect of students and colleagues for teaching.
  • Community Engagement Scholarship AwardsProvides University-wide recognition of highly engaged community-based research collaborations, etc.
  • Distinguished Academic Staff AwardsRecognizes outstanding achievement of those professionals who serve the University in advising, curriculum development, outreach and teaching.
  • Robert F. Banks Award for Institutional Leadership: Designed to recognize the commitment and dedication that MSU faculty, academic staff and support staff leaders demonstrate by their extraordinary and sustained efforts.
  • Quality in Undergraduate TeachingNominations are based on commitment to and evidence of outstanding undergraduate teaching including but not limited to 100- and 200- level courses.
  • University Distinguished Professor Designation: Details will be added when call for award goes out.
  • Jack Breslin Distinguished Staff AwardOverall excellence in job performance, supportive attitude and contributions to the unit or University that lead to improved efficiency or effectiveness, etc.
  • Clerical-Technical Recognition AwardSelection criteria include respect & concern for all members of campus community, diligence in daily work, etc.
  • Honorary DegreesNominees should be a: distinguished graduate of MSU (any field); distinguished scientist, humanist, scholar of the arts, or distinguished member of one of the professions (law, medicine, etc.); distinguished person in public life or business.

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College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) awards

College of Natural Science (CNS) awards

(Nominations for All-University Awards can also be nominated for individuals with CNS appointments.)

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Alumni Profiles

Gloria DeGrandi-Hoffman

Gloria DeGrandi-HoffmanGloria DeGrandi-Hoffman is the research leader and center director for the USDA-ARS Carl Hayden Bee Research Center in Tucson, AZ. The Center conducts research to optimize honey bee colony health through improved nutrition to maximize production of honey bee-pollinated crops.

When did you graduate from MSU? I earned a PhD in Entomology in 1983 with Roger Hoopingarner as my lead professor.

How did MSU prepare you for your career’s success? MSU taught me how to be a mathematical modeler and look at things in a systems format. I worked with Roger to build the first interactive pollination and fruit-set model ever as part of my dissertation. Learning the tools of simulation modeling was extremely helpful. It’s a unique way of thinking, especially when studying apiculture and bees. It’s also an effective way to run research programs. Other influences were Jim Miller, who had a great impact on my thinking as a scientist and how you build a research program, Stuart Gage as a modeler himself and Frank Dennis in horticulture taught me a lot about apples.

Why did you choose entomology? I was one of those kids that played with bugs and knew I wanted to be an entomologist at a very young age. In elementary school, I caught an insect and tried unsuccessfully to look it up. I really wanted to identify it. My mom took me to Harrisburg, PA, to the state agriculture department. A very kind entomologist looked at the bug and identified it, and explained what he did in his job. I looked around the room and saw people working with bugs, and I realized ‘you could get a job doing that!’

At Penn State, my master’s project was with honey bees and pollination in birdsfoot trefoil. I also worked hourly in Zane Smilowitz’s lab. Dr. Smilowitz did research in biocontrol of plant pests and he was a modeler. His graduate student happened to be Mark Whalon. I would tell Zane that in my field plots, there would be different numbers of bees and plants each day, everything changing with time and I felt like the variation in the day-to-day was where the interesting information was. He told me to learn simulation modeling so I could capture how systems change with time. I was very excited about learning how to build simulation models, and that the best graduate program for that was at MSU. I applied to the MSU Entomology Department, and Mark Whalon, who was by then on the faculty, probably helped me a lot in getting accepted.

What are your best memories as an entomology student? Some of the best are of playing a lot of racquet ball with the guys in the Department. Jim Bath was department chair and he really knew how to build community and prepare grad students for careers. The Department is really dedicated to grad student education. Roger taught me a lot about bees and how to conduct yourself as a scientist. He still sends me papers and I continue to learn from him. Being out in the apiary and going through colonies with Roger were great times. I have so many memories; those were wonderful years.

Any advice for current students? Never stop learning, never stop taking chances and never be afraid to fail. If you have an idea, run forward with it. Never be discouraged. Let it continue to evolve and be true to it. It might be a good idea and the world just hasn’t caught up with it yet. Roger and I built the pollination model for apples and published it in the mid-80s. I always dreamed that Washington State, the country’s lead producer of apples, would be interested and adopt it. Models were on computer mainframes at that time and were not portable. We did some work with the model here in Arizona and Michigan, but the model and all the papers sat for almost 30 years. A few months ago I got a call from Washington State saying they have a Decision Aid System for apple growers and were looking for apple pollination and fruit set models. The only publications they found were the ones that were mine and Rogers’. I went to Washington State last week to work on updating the apple pollination model with their team. We talked exactly about what Roger and I talked about in grad school. Hold onto your great ideas!

My husband was in the MSU medical residency program while I was a grad student and we both had a terrific experience at MSU. We look back with great fondness and think what a wonderful University we were lucky enough to attend. I can’t say thank you enough for all that was done for us at MSU.

Jan Nyrop

Jan NyropJan Nyrop has been a senior associate dean in Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. This summer, he is transitioning to director of the Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station.

When did you graduate from MSU? I earned a master’s degree in entomology in 1979 and worked simultaneously on a master’s in systems engineering and a Ph.D. in entomology, both completed in 1982.

Why did you choose entomology? I choose entomology because insects fascinated me and I could do work that I felt would benefit society. I received a B.S. in wildlife ecology from the University of Maine. Gary Simmons was a professor there and became my mentor. He taught an introductory statistics course that got me interested in quantitative sciences. I took other math and modeling courses after that and it provided a framework for my entomology studies. Eventually, I ended up at MSU as did Gary Simmons. He guided me in both of my entomology degrees. Jeff Granett, also at Maine when I was an undergraduate, was another influence. Jeff and Gary pushed me academically and this encouragement was very influential. I felt especially fortunate that my committee at MSU included Dean Haynes, Stuart Gage and Tom Edens, all excellent mentors. I also had lots of discussions with Rich Merritt that were very meaningful.

How did entomology contribute to what you do today? I continue to do some research and teach a course on invasive species in a global world with Ann Hajek, so on one level I am still an entomologist. Now in my career I have other opportunities to grow intellectually that are less discipline oriented. I feel that my education at MSU really prepared me well, not just for a career in entomology, but for the type of college administration I do now. Entomology at MSU is very special because it is an interdisciplinary hub of biologists, economists, engineers and more. MSU Entomology really embraced a systems perspective. This provided me with a  paradigm for looking at issues and understanding the world that really helped as I moved from thinking and working on my research within a department structure to thinking about the whole college. Now I ask, how can programs across the college function as a system to positively impact peoples’ lives and how can we continue to evolve that system to improve what we do? My background at MSU taught me to think in a formal and structured way that has been very helpful.

Any advice for students? I chose to begin college with studying wildlife ecology because I pursued the things I liked. If I have a message for young people, that would be it. First and foremost, you need to  enjoy what you do, which I have. Obviously you also need to earn a living, but if you enjoy what you do, you will excel, and the financial gain will come. I’ve been very fortunate about that. I’ve not always been completely purposeful. I’ve been presented with opportunities that offered me different ways of making a contribution, so I’ve taken those opportunities.

Best memories as an entomology student?

I met my wife and got married while at MSU. We had a wonderful community of students who did things outside of work. It’s a unique time of your life when you are a grad student. You have an incredible freedom to pursue what it is you’re passionate about and you are unlikely to ever experience it again. My wife and I developed a passion for cycling and it remains – we just biked the Texas Hill country. Those years at MSU also included the 1979 basketball NCAA championship win. That was huge.

How does your work impact people’s lives? When I was working as an entomologist, my motivation was to improve crop protection and make it more sustainable. I was influenced by IPM (Integrated Pest Management) programs at MSU and their development. I approached my research from an engineering perspective. Here’s a problem, let’s research it and find a solution and make things better. I liked fundamental questions, but they were always influenced by how we could improve or better manage growing a crop. Then when I began to have opportunities with leadership roles, I was motivated by taking the particular unit – department, college, experiment station – and doing things that will benefit people on a lot of levels. How can we keep the organization as strong as it can be in resources, people and constituencies? If you firmly believe in the organization, you have to think about how to make it stronger, which is measured in many ways including scholarship, student education and direct societal impacts.

Kirsten Pelz-Stelinksi

Kirsten StelinskiKirsten Pelz-Stelinski is faculty at the University of Florida’s Citrus Research and Education Center in central Florida.

When did you graduate from MSU? I earned my masters with Rufus Isaacs and Larry Gut in 2004 and my doctorate with Mike Kaufman and Ned Walker in 2008.

Why did you choose entomology? You can do a lot of different types of science all within entomology, from the smallest molecular interactions to observing insect behavior. As a researcher, you can also manipulate your host more than in many other types of science.

What are your best memories as an entomology student? I can’t say enough about the Department - the people were fabulous, particularly my professors. I have great memories of field seasons travelling all over Michigan and interacting with growers and the staff at the research stations. George Ayers influences how I teach, he was a great teacher. Rich Merritt’s aquatic entomology and Jim Miller’s Nature and the Practice of Science were highlights.

What is your current appointment and work at the University of Florida? I’m an associate professor with a 15% teaching/85% research split. My program focuses on insect microbial ecology, particularly the microbiome of the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP), which transmits pathogen responsible for citrus greening disease. Currently, we are investigating the use of insect endosymbionts, such as Wolbachia, to reduce pathogen transmission by ACP.

What keeps you engaged in your work? I enjoy exploring nature from the smallest molecular scale up to the big scale to discover how and why something happens; for example, determining how a bacterium can manipulate an insect for its benefit. It is also fulfilling to work on something the growers urgently need. Our work on citrus greening has immediate direct impact for the 9 billion dollar citrus industry in Florida.

Any advice for current students? Make sure you have a broad understanding of biology, from ecology to the molecular basis of physiology. You never know when those skills will be helpful.

What is it like when a marriage includes two entomologists? Overall, it is really positive and we certainly enjoy sharing ideas with each other, although it can at times present challenges. You may be experiencing the same stresses but you are also uniquely positioned to understand what the other person is going through. That is very valuable.

Last comments? Having a breadth of knowledge has been really important for me. I didn’t intend to do applied science but delved into that with my masters’ study. I focused on insect vectors and medical entomology throughout my doctoral studies. But then it made sense to be in Florida and here I am, working on a pathogen in citrus in a way that brings all my experience together. I’m an advocate for cultivating as many tools as you can in your scientific toolbox.

Lukasz Stelinski

Lukasz StelinskiLukasz Stelinski is faculty at the University of Florida’s Citrus Research and Education Center in central Florida.

When did you graduate from MSU? I finished my masters with Oscar Liburd about 2001 and continued with doctoral studies and a post-doc with Larry Gut and Jim Miller. I left MSU for University of Florida in 2006.

Why did you choose entomology? I always had an inclination for biology and for some reason insects. At first I thought medicine, but then while at Kalamazoo College I was fortunate to take entomology and ethology courses with Dr. David Evans. After that, I knew what I wanted to do. For my senior thesis, I contacted Larry Gut and he, along with Oscar Liburd and John Wise, agreed to let me work on my project at Trevor Nichols Research Center. That was my introduction to MSU.

Anyone with special impact on you and your career? Along with my graduate committee mentors, there was George Ayers. I worked with George over several years assisting and co-instructing courses. He had a big impact on me personally and on how I teach. I also had the opportunity to briefly interact with Ke Dong as one of my committee members. I never thought my career would include toxicology; however, three of my former post-docs are now industry toxicologists.

What are your best memories of MSUI was amongst a great cohort of peers, who are all very successful. We built lasting friendships. Also, every time I go back I have to get a burger at Crunchy’s.

Describe your current work. My appointment is 80 percent research, 20 percent extension. I love my job. I typically have a large lab with 2 or 3 students, 4 or 5 postdocs, 2 or 3 permanent staff scientists and a bunch of undergrads. People enjoy coming to work and collaborating on serious challenges. I never thought I’d be working on insect pathogen interactions and toxicology – it’s been transforming. I enjoy working with citrus growers. It’s great to see my work in high impact journals, but seeing growers implement my findings is also rewarding.

How does your work impact people’s lives? Citrus is a huge part of the Florida economy. Economists tell me some of our low volume pesticide treatment methods are saving the industry $40 million dollars per year.

Any advice for current students? I would tell every student to be as broad as possible and take some molecular biology. Right now it is hard to exist as a biologist without the ability to apply molecular techniques to your science. My lab routinely does research that involves molecular techniques from simple PCR to  next generation pyro-sequencing. I’ve had to learn many aspects of applying molecular biology from scratch. Also, if you’ve found a place where you are succeeding, don’t be pressured to go to multiple institutions. It made my life more normal to stay at MSU and I don’t regret it.

Any comments about how you’ve juggled dual careers and a family? Every time Kirsten and I finished one degree there was opportunity for the other. We felt fortunate to have someone offer us funding.  There’s nothing we complain about being in dual careers. The tricky part is we can become saturated with what is happening professionally and then need to be careful not to burden one another with that at home. 

Mark “Shep” Sheperdigian

Mark SheperdigianMark “Shep” Sheperdigian recently agreed to represent the Department of Entomology on the MSU College of Agriculture and Natural Resources’ Alumni Board. We spoke with Shep on the phone recently to thank him and learn about his experiences with a degree in entomology.

When did you graduate from MSU? I earned a bachelor’s of science in Entomology in 1982.

Why choose entomology? I took Roland Fisher’s introductory entomology course along with Fred Stehr’s systematics class, and became convinced entomology was the major for me. I worked in Ed Grafius’ lab and Roger Hoopingarner was my advisor, so they were certainly guiding influences. In reality, I had no idea what an entomologist does. After graduation, I moved to Georgia thinking I might go to graduate school, but the economy did not improve, and instead, I applied for a job with a small urban pest management firm. I didn’t know the field of urban pest management existed before moving to Georgia and it combines two of my favorite things: insects and people! Eventually, I applied to work at larger companies with more mobility and, by 1987, I joined Rose Pest Solutions where I am now Vice President of Technical Services. We are a regional company with offices in Michigan, Ohio, and northern Indiana. We do a bit of work in Kentucky, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

How does your work impact people’s lives? In urban pest management, we have daily exposure to the public. We are in factories where everything is made as well as in the wealthiest homes and the poorest neighborhoods. It is an amazing journey through humanity to see everything that happens. One of the problems is that so few people know much of anything about insects. They know they are bigger than the insects, but they don’t know how to control them. You can talk to these CEOs who handle millions and millions of dollars but can’t handle a thousand cluster flies. It’s a very powerful feeling.

Any advice for current students? Along with the fundamentals of entomology or another field, the most important skills you need to learn are communication skills. If you can’t get your point across—I don’t care how smart you are – you must learn to communicate. If you shy away from the limelight, you’ll really cut back on the opportunities open to you.

How have you used communication skills in your work? Many ways. I do a lot of training, mostly adult education, like how to be a good client in a pest management program. I’m also speaking to groups about bed bugs. There is a tremendous knowledge gap related to bed bugs and we are hurrying to bring people up to speed as the populations explode. The resurgence of bed bugs is the most amazing development I’ve seen in my career. I, and others at Rose Pest Solutions, do programming with kids. The general populace has little understanding of science. We need to teach kids to think with a science mind or we’ll be blown to and fro as change occurs in our world. Rose promotes science education from elementary school on up. We help with bug rodeos for summer camps where kids catch insects out in the field and then pin and identify them. Science education is vital to the well-being of the country.

Bugged Newsletters

Bugged serves as an overview of our Department’s research, teaching and outreach successes. See what we’ve been up to in the latest and past issues of Bugged!

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Featured students

October 2015


Name: Charles CoslorCharles Coslor

Hometown: Sedro Woolley, Washington

Major professor: John Wise

What are you researching? My research is expanding trunk injection methods for control of foliar pests in Michigan apple orchards. I am injecting mature apple trees as well as nursery trees, and taking residue samples of nectar and pollen to assess the potential impact on pollinators.

Future career plans: I will seek a position in the agricultural industry.

What do you wish other people understood about entomology? How interdisciplinary it really is. Entomologists work in a wide range of fields including genetics, ecology, agriculture, behavior modeling, molecular biology, chemistry and more. When I was first getting seriously interested in entomology, people asked me what I would do with a degree, and I didn’t really know how broad the field was at the time.

Was there ever a time when you didn’t like insects? No! I’ve been bitten and stung but keep coming back for more.

Although you work with insects, is there any particular insect or arthropod you do not like and why? I have a healthy respect for giant centipedes. I think it’s because they remind me of venomous snakes, like it’s an invertebrate mimicking a vertebrate. Despite that, the centipede in the Bug House is fascinating.

What is your opinion on entomophagy (eating insects), as practiced in other world cultures? In many parts of the world it is culturally normalized and also makes economic sense. I think it will take several steps before entomophagy switches from being a novelty to commonplace in the United States. There’s already a lot of good products if you look around though! I have eaten insects on many occasions, and they can really be quite tasty. Especially the giant water bugs in chili paste. I’d recommend entomology students taste their research insect at least once if possible, just for the experience.

What is your favorite activity outside of your studies and entomology? I like working on DIY/maker crafts such as small electronics projects. I am also really interested in 3D printing and I’ve been incrementally building a 3D printer of my own.


Name: Jessica KalinJessica Kalin

Hometown: Onsted, Michigan

Future study or career plans: Either working with Monarchs at the Kalamazoo Nature Center or going to graduate school to work with invasive species.

What is your major? Fisheries and Wildlife, with a concentration in wildlife biology and management. I’m earning a minor in entomology.

Why add a minor in entomology to your major? Honestly, it was a little late to change my major. But I thought it would be a good addition to my skill set.

Why study entomology? Why not? They’re the most diverse group of animals on the planet! It’s a very interdisciplinary field, so there’s a lot to offer to prospective students. 

What or who inspired your interest in entomology? My parents often encouraged me to be interested in nature and science. My earliest memory of being interested in entomology is getting a toy microscope for my birthday and pulling the wings off of flies to look at them!

What has been your best experience with entomology? My position in the Landis Lab has been one of the best opportunities of my undergraduate career. I’ve met so many wonderful people and been part of a lot of cool projects over the last few years. I actually look forward to going to work!

What is your opinion on entomophagy (eating insects)? I love it! I wish it was a more accepted practice in Western culture because it’s a lot more sustainable than other farmed animals. Given the chance, I would definitely try it.

What is your favorite way to spend your time outside of your studies? I try to go camping or hiking as much as possible. I chose my field of study mostly because I love being outside. So even after a long week in the field, I’m probably spending my weekend lost in the woods.

June 2015


Adam IngraoName: Adam Ingrao

Hometown: Yucaipa, California

Major professor: Zsofia Szendrei

What are you researching? Developing biological control strategies for pests in Michigan asparagus. I am interested in how we can use volatile chemical cues of asparagus induced by herbivore feeding to recruit natural enemies into production fields from border habitats.

Future career plans: Once I complete my PhD at MSU, I hope to move to a position in the private sector where I will continue researching sustainable pest management solutions for agricultural producers.

Why study entomology? The vast majority of Earth’s species are insects. They have survived major extinction events and some are so perfectly adapted that their morphology hasn’t changed in hundreds of millions of years. What better way to understand our planet than to study one of its most successful organisms?

What or who inspired your interest in entomology? Biological control pioneer Charles Valentine Riley. I grew up in the citrus-rich communities of southern California where his work in controlling cottony cushion scale through importing and releasing Vedalia beetles saved the California citrus industry from total collapse in the late 1800s. I often reminisce how the Vedalia beetles I grew up seeing were the progeny of those his teams originally brought over from Australia.

What has been your best experience with entomology? Coming to MSU’s Department of Entomology! Our faculty and resources are incredible and I feel like the education I am getting here is second to none.

What do you wish others understood about entomology? It’s not just about insects! Entomologists are some of the most well rounded scientists out there because we study organisms that inhabit nearly every system on the planet.

What is your opinion on entomophagy (eating insects)? I believe entomophagy may be a way to address protein demand while mitigating environmental factors. I eat insects every chance I get and following graduation I hope to travel to Bangkok, Thailand, specifically to explore culinary insect delights of Asia.


Katie DemeuseName: Katie Demeuse

Hometown: Caledonia, Michigan

Future study or career plans: Pursue a Master’s degree studying vector biology.

Why study entomology? There’s so many topics you can research, and bugs are everywhere (and they’re always going to be there, so that’s good job security)!

What or who inspired your interest in entomology? I started working in the Vegetable Entomology Lab on campus and the people in the lab were so enthusiastic about what they were learning and researching, that they converted me from a Fisheries and Wildlife major to an Entomology major. It ended up to be a great decision!

What has been your best experience with entomology? Working in two different entomology labs has been my best experiences. By working in these labs, I was able to see how research is done and how my love of insects could translate into a career. 

What do you wish other people understood about entomology? I wish other people understood that entomologists don’t just “play with bugs all day.” Sure, there’s a little of that, but the research that is being done in places like MSU is so important. 

If you could be an insect, which insect would you be and why? Honey bees are probably my favorite insects. They are just so cute and their honey is pretty great too.

Was there ever a time when you didn’t like insects? Growing up, I was never really afraid of insects. Spiders, on the other hand, did tend to scare me away. Thankfully, I mostly grew out of that!

What is your opinion on entomophagy (eating insects) as practiced in other world cultures?  Would you try insect cuisine if given the opportunity? I think insects are a great protein source! I have yet to try an insect dish, but would love a chance to try it.

What is your favorite activity/way to spend your time outside of Entomology? I enjoy biking, watching sports and playing with my cat.

February 2015


Courtney LarsonName: Courtney Larson

Hometown: Plymouth, Minnesota

Major professor: Eric Benbow

What are you researching? I am interested in the effect of outside sources of organic matter on headwater stream communities of macroinvertebrates and microbes. I’m particularly interested in the effect of the emerald ash borer invasion and subsequent ash tree death on the stream community.

Future study or career plans: After earning my PhD, my goal is to work in academia doing research and teaching in aquatic entomology and invasive species ecology. This will ultimately further the science of aquatic ecology and benefit society by giving insight on better protection of aquatic resources.

Why study entomology? Insects are very diverse and interesting. They’re extremely abundant, yet so much is unknown about them. A lot of discoveries are waiting to be made in the field of entomology!

What or who inspired your interest in entomology? I grew up taking trips with my family to our cabin in northern Minnesota. The opportunity to explore the lakes and streams with a net in one hand and a field guide in the other inspired me to continue to study these systems.

What has been your best experience with entomology? The relationships I’ve built with other entomologists. The innovative research that other entomologists are doing, especially at MSU, inspires me to become a better scientist.

What do you wish other people understood about entomology? That entomology really isn’t just about bugs. Insects are important in our changing society. They have implications toward sustainability, health, globalization, economics and the well-being of our planet. When we study bugs, we are actually studying much, much more.

If you could be an insect, which insect would you be and why? A dragonfly because they are fast and get to live by beautiful lakes and streams.

What is your favorite way to spend your time outside of Entomology? Enjoying the outdoors, especially at U.S. National Parks. My lifelong goal is to visit every national park in the United States. 


Jessica KansmanName: Jessica Kansman

Hometown: Lowell, Michigan

Future study plans: Currently applying to Entomology graduate programs researching tri-trophic interactions and semiochemcials to be utilized in IPM. I plan to finish with a doctorate and potentially end up in academia.

Why study entomology? The major is incredibly diverse and has real world impacts and applications. There are so many insects in the world and so many research opportunities with them.

What or who inspired your interest in entomology? I started looking into the major after taking the insect-centered ISB course with Gabe Ording. It was while sitting in ENT 404, when Chris DiFonzo prefaced her lecture with “These images may be a little gross to some of you, but I am an entomologist so I poke dead things all the time,” that I knew I was in the right place. 

What has been your best experience with entomology? Last summer I was working on an independent field research project on a commercial celery farm with Zsofia Szendrei. While checking my traps, Zsofia had me check the grower’s onions for thrips and communicate with him directly about thresholds. It was great to experience extension work first-hand and to directly help a grower. 

What do you wish other people understood about entomology? Most people don’t understand the role entomologists have in agriculture or human medical research, and I have to explain “what can you even do as an entomologist” in most introductions.  

If you could be an insect, which insect would you be and why? I’d like to be an assassin bug because they are so vicious and adorable. Plus, they are great natural enemies. 

Was there ever a time when you didn’t like insects? I used to be very afraid of spiders, mostly because they are sneaky. Now, I am a Bug House volunteer, own a tarantula, and I plan to collect a couple more in the future. 

Although you work with insects, is there any particular insect or arthropod you do not like and why? I am not a huge fan of harvestmen, especially in groups. 

What is your opinion on entomophagy (eating insects) as practiced in other world cultures? I am so for this! Entomophagy is a great answer for sustainable agriculture. I am planning to experiment with cricket flour this semester, and I fully advocate eating insects.

What is your favorite activity/way to spend your time outside of Entomology? I am the president of the graduate/undergraduate secular and science registered student organization “Center for Inquiry.” Outside of this, I play the ukulele and participate in a campus choir.

August 2014


Shahlo SafarzodaName: Shahlo Safarzoda

Hometown: Ishkashim, Tajikistan near the Afghanistan border.

Major professor: Doug Landis

What did you research? Before receiving my M.S. in spring 2014, I was a graduate student with the Central Asia IPM Project. I studied biological control of cereal aphids in wheat. We were mostly interested in natural enemies of cereal aphids. We found that the natural enemy community was very effective in suppressing cereal aphid populations. The ground-dwelling predators in the early season were more effective than predators that typically forage in the canopy.

What or who inspired your studies? My dad was an agriculturalist and a veterinarian, and he was my first inspiration. Secondly, in Tajikistan they use a lot of chemicals and don’t have information to use them safely. They are expensive and unlabeled. Biological control is cheaper and safer for farmers. Dr. Karim Maredia inspired my interest in biological control. I met him while helping with a meeting and translating for a field visit. He told me about MSU and the work in the Landis lab.

What is your favorite activity outside of entomology? I like dancing. I do the Tajik national dance and I like to bowl, which I learned here.

Most exciting part of your studies? Counting aphids!

Future plans? I will return to Tajikistan and help students at the Institute of Farming. I’ll be assisting a professor with field studies about natural enemies and biological control. I look forward to continuing a network with those who have been a part of the IPM CRSP Central Asia project.

What would you like Americans to know about Tajikistan? I would like them to know its beautiful nature and about the rocky Pamir Mountains, the highest mountains in Central Asia.

What would you like Tajiks to know about Americans? People are very friendly and willing to help. I especially enjoy celebrating Thanksgiving and would like them to experience that.

Anything else you’d like to say? I would like to thank all of the IPM CRSP project team for supporting me and making me feel like MSU is my home. 


Kelsey KruschinskaName: Kelsey Kruschinska

Hometown: Lake City, MI

Future study plans: I would like to go on to get my master’s in entomology and possibly even my doctorate.

Why study entomology? Insects are awesome! There are so many of them and they are very different and have different purposes in the world.

What or who inspired your interest in entomology? Casey Rowley and Dr. Walter Pett

What has been your best experience with entomology? In Dr. Pett’s class, we were able to put honey bees in the Children’s 4-H Garden located on campus.

What do you wish other people understood about entomology? Not all insects are gross and out to get you.

If you could be an insect, which insect would you be and why? I would be a monarch butterfly because, like a monarch, I was raised in Michigan, and after graduation I intend to head south and then return to the Midwest come time to settle down.

Was there ever a time when you didn’t like insects? The only insects that I have ever disapproved of are ones that can inflict pain upon me.

Although you work with insects, is there any particular insect or arthropod you do not like and why? I do not like wasps because they will sting you more than once. I also don’t care for mosquitos because they can give you many different diseases. 

What is your opinion on entomophagy (eating insects) as practiced in other world cultures?  Would you try insect cuisine if given the opportunity? I think that eating insects is a very practical thing to do. There are so many of them and they are free to catch. I would definitely try insect cuisine!

What is your favorite way to spend your time outside of Entomology? I enjoy curling up on the couch with a movie and a bowl of ice cream.

April 2014


Name: Rob MorrisonRob Morrison

Hometown: Mesa, Arizona

Major professor/advisor: Zsofia Szendrei

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.

September 2013


Bernice DeMarcoName: Bernice Bacon DeMarco

Hometown: Lakewood, Ohio

Major Professor: Anthony Cognato

What are you researching? I am using DNA and morphology to elucidate the possible evolutionary history of the ant genus Aphaenogaster and to provide identification keys to species in this genus.

Future career plans: I would like to determine the relationships between currently described species worldwide and create a comprehensive key to identify them. I would also like to continue my involvement in the Bug House to promote children’s interest in insects.

What or who inspired your interest in entomology? I began college at Purdue University as a general biology major, with no specific career goal in mind. I always liked insects, and when nothing else fit my sophomore schedule, I took an introductory entomology course taught by Dr. RC Dobson. He was enthusiastic about the subject and gave me a number of suggestions about what I could do with a B.S. in entomology. By the end of that semester, I had changed majors.

What has been your best experience in entomology? I landed my dream job right out of college at the Smithsonian Institution. I was chosen out of 100 applicants because I was the only one with museum experience. After working there for six months, an opportunity came up to travel to the Amazon with Dr. Terry Erwin and two other curatorial assistants to Manaus. We were in the Amazon for six weeks fogging trees with pyrethrum in forested areas that were scheduled to be demolished. We collected in three very different habitats, and brought back 200,000 insects to be curated and added to the collection at the Smithsonian. The story doesn’t end there. After I started graduate school at MSU, Sarah Smith, a recent MSU entomology graduate, visited the Smithsonian to look at bark beetles in their Coleoptera collection. She discovered two new species of beetle from the material I had collected in the Amazon over 20 years ago, Camptocerus igniculus and coccoformus.


Stephen IrelandName: Stephen Curtiss Ireland

Hometown: Detroit, MI

Future plans: I’m hoping to join a Master’s program for the fall 2014 semester, and after that make a quick transition from academia into private industry while maintaining involvement in community IPM activities.

Why study entomology? There are lots of good reasons. I particularly like the notion of developing efficacious molecular pest solutions that also minimize harmful environmental externalities, so the results are good for us and good for the environment. Also, as an entomologist, our research subjects are highly usable model organisms. Finally, there are a number of compounds still unknown in insects that could potentially have applications in many areas of technology.

Who inspired your interest in entomology? My list of heroes is long, but Richard Feynman, Barbara McClintock and Niel deGrasse Tyson are a few standouts. All share an unmistakable veneration for the world as it is, and I think it’s in that spirit that I am inspired to pursue my own inclination: entomology.

What has been your best experience with entomology? A toss-up between a study abroad in Gainseville, FL and a summer Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) spent in up-state New York. The Florida trip was part of the MSU Forensic Entomology (ENT 401) directed study and took place at the University of Florida’s Department of Entomology. It was a great first step into insect study and was a chance to meet some pretty amazing people and tour the entomology department. The REU was a Summer Research Scholars program at the Cornell Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, NY. This was a chance to see what others are doing in agricultural research and meet many new people.

June 2013


Duncan SelbyName: Roger Duncan Selby, although I go by Duncan

City of Origin: Oakville, Ontario, Canada

Major Professors: Mark Whalon and Stuart Gage

What are you researching? The central theme of my thesis research is to enhance alternative controls of the plum curculio, a pest of many tree fruits. The term “alternative” is used because the methods I work with are designed to replace existing methods that are effective, but controversial enough that their use has recently been curtailed by federal regulation. My research has three aspects: developing automated camera traps that precisely monitor insect activity in field conditions; lab and field observation of plum curculio behavior to improve trap and control efficiency; and extending and improving weather-based models used to predict and control increases in plum curculio populations.

Future career plans: Many academic and industry careers are attractive to me.

Why study entomology and what do you wish people understood about entomology? In my experience, people stereotype entomologists as hunters of miniature fauna. We’re either running around with nets and kill jars looking for rare or beautiful specimens; or we’re seeking out a destructive and ugly foe to smother with our arsenal of chemicals. However, I entered entomology because insects offer a vast array of study possibilities. Their impact on our lives and planet is extensive; pollinators, pests and predators influence the plants we depend on for food, bloodsuckers plague us, butterflies entrance us, fruit flies help us understand how genes can work, and ants help us understand how societies works.

What is your opinion on entomophagy (eating insects) as practiced in other world cultures? I have tried insect cuisine before, and highly approve of the concept for ecological and economic reasons, as long as the bug is disease-free and cooked. I confess I’ve only tried food using larvae, where the defining flavor tends to be the added spice, and the cooked insect resembles a harmless beansprout. I would probably think twice before eating a cooked adult arthropod that had legs and wings attached. In that scenario, I probably would do something silly like detach all the legs to eat them separately.


Chelsea RaweName: Chelsea Rawe

Hometown: Clarkston, MI

Future plans: May be interested in something related to medical entomology, human health and international development.

What or who inspired your interest in entomology? When I first arrived at MSU I did not even know that entomology was its own field, however, as a freshman I was searching for a field that was both scientific and had reasonably direct, real-world impacts. I happened upon entomology. After a meeting with Walter Pett and Chris DiFonzo, I was hooked. I enjoyed my first summer working in the turfgrass lab with Terry Davis, and then I was set on studying entomology.

What do you wish other people understood about entomology? Many people don’t realize that insects impact their daily life. When I tell people I am an entomologist, people often take a few minutes to consider how that might fit into the world as a whole. I think entomology is an important field to study because insects impact food production, human health, economics and they are a beautiful example of diversity in the animal world. I hope others have the pleasure of being introduced to the field of study like I have been.

What is your opinion on entomophagy (eating insects) as practiced in other world cultures? I think eating insects makes a lot of sense. They are high in protein and readily available even to people with little economic power. When presented the opportunity, I have eaten several insects – both living and cooked – including several species of grubs and ants. The ants tasted much better than I had expected them to.




The Graduate and Undergraduate Entomology Student Society (GUESS) is a service-oriented organization that revolves around the membership’s common interest in entomology. Our mission is to support worthy entomology-related projects and issues. In the past, we have empowered undergraduates financially to go to the meeting of the Entomological Society of America. We also get together for numerous non-academic activities such as camping and just hanging out. Each year GUESS is responsible for coordinating the Simmons Memorial Lecture. Membership in GUESS is automatic for undergraduates with a declared major in Entomology and all Entomology graduate students.

Visit the GUESS Facebook page.

2013 fall GUESS camping trip

Group Casey

Rebeca Baho

GUESS hosts the annual department spring picnic

The annual GUESS picnic.

Guide to graduate study

One of the most important resources for an entomology graduate student is the Guide to Graduate Study (updated October 2015). Please send any corrections or suggestions to improve this guide to Heather Lenartson-Kluge at lenartso@msu.edu. Your input is very valuable.

Forms for all MS and PhD Entomology Graduate Programs

Forms for MS Programs

Forms for PhD Programs



GroupThe Department of Entomology strives to develop not only skilled entomologists, but also capable scholars. Our students are assisted in selecting courses and research programs that round out their knowledge and bring it to a level where they can work creatively in the field.

Students choose between a PhD in Entomology and a dual PhD in Entomology and Ecology, Evolutionary Biology and Behavior (EEBB). Visit the EEBB web site for details on this interdisciplinary graduate program.

Requirements for earning the Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Entomology

A specific number of course credits is not required, but early in the student’s program the guidance committee in consultation with the student develops a list of proposed courses and a tentative dissertation subject (24 dissertation research credits are required). The student is expected to acquire a broad knowledge of entomology and to demonstrate competence in each of the following areas:

  • Applied entomology
  • Insect systematics-morphology
  • Physiology-toxicology, and
  • Ecology-behavior.

The student must pass a doctoral qualification examination which primarily consists of the defense of a dissertation proposal. Written and oral doctoral comprehensive examinations are required on philosophical issues and in the three or more areas of study specified by the guidance committee. Participation in the department’s teaching program is highly encouraged.

In addition to the program developed by the guidance committee for a research specialty, the student must acquire an area of knowledge separate and distinct from those research competencies. This is called the Enrichment requirement and is earned with a minimum of 9 credits or its equivalent. The guidance committee and the student must unanimously agree on the area selected for enrichment and it must be approved by Entomology’s Graduate Committee.

Application requirements and procedures

A master’s degree including a thesis in an appropriate field of study is desired, but is not required to pursue a Ph.D. degree. The student’s past record must indicate maturity, reliability, and high scholarly potential.

  1. Fill out the “Application to Graduate Study” from the Office of Admissions. If you are a domestic student, the on-line application is preferred. You can access the application at www.admissions.msu.edu or www.grad.msu.edu. The printed version of the application can also be found at the Graduate School web site. You are required to pay a $50, non-refundable, application fee before your application will be processed.
  2. Three letters of recommendation. Please be sure that the “Recommendation for Admission” form accompanies all letters.
  3. Curriculum Vitae or Resume.
  4. Official transcripts from all degree granting institutions. International students should note that MSU requires all transcripts to be in English. If your transcripts are not in English, an official translation of your transcripts must accompany them.
  5. Official GRE scores
  6. Official TOEFL scores (for international students only)
  7. Chinese Graduate School Applications. Prospective students applying from China must not only supply original transcripts and graduation certificates but also obtain verification of these documents from the China Academic Degrees and Graduate Education Development Center (CDGDC). Please request that the CDGDC sends verification of grades and degrees directly to:
    Heather Lenartson-Kluge, Graduate Secretary
    Department of Entomology
    288 Farm Lane, Room 243
    East Lansing, MI 48824
  8. Personal Statement and Academic Statement - these are identified as optional portions of the application; however they are required by the Department of Entomology. It is also helpful if you send an additional copy of these statements in either a Word or PDF file to our Graduate Secretary for your application file in case they do not come through with your on-line application.

Only your application goes to the Office of Admissions. All other required materials, including letters of recommendation, must be sent directly to:

Heather Lenartson-Kluge, Graduate Secretary
Department of Entomology
Natural Science Building
288 Farm Lane, Room 243
East Lansing, MI 48824-1115

In order for a graduate application to receive full consideration, it should be completed no later than December 1.

In addition to having an excellent application package, having funding in place is essential to being accepted to MSU. Please go to the Directory link of our web site and go to our professors section of the directory. From there, you can access our Faculty’s Profile Pages by clicking on a professor’s name to learn his or her research interests, and who may have interests that match yours. Here, you can also get information to contact our faculty directly to see if they have space in their research labs and funding available.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Heather Lenartson-Kluge via email at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or by phone at (517) 355-4665.


Woman holding cornOur Masters of Science (MS) graduates are successful in finding careers in research, education, regulation and commercial businesses as well as continuing their studies toward a Doctor of Philosophy. Students choose between an MS in Entomology and an MS in Entomology with a specialization in Ecology, Evolutionary Biology and Behavior (EEBB). Visit the EEBB web site for details on this interdisciplinary graduate program.

Requirements for earning the Master of Science Degree in Entomology

Both Plan A (with thesis) and Plan B (without thesis) are available but students planning to earn a doctoral degree must follow Plan A. Students must complete a total of 30 credits for the degree under either Plan A or Plan B.

Courses and thesis topics are planned on an individual basis by the student with his or her major professor and guidance committee. A final oral examination covering course work, research, and philosophical issues is required.

Application requirements and procedures

A bachelor’s degree with a 3.00 grade-point average for the last two years of study is required for admission to the master’s program. Although the applicant need not have an undergraduate major in entomology for regular admission, training should have been received in the physical and biological sciences equivalent to that required of an undergraduate entomology major at Michigan State University. Graduate Record Examination General Test (or GRE) scores are required. Applicants with a good academic record but with deficiencies in physics, chemistry, mathematics, or the biological sciences may be accepted on a provisional basis until deficiencies have been rectified by collateral course work.

  1. Fill out the “Application to Graduate Study” from the Office of Admissions. If you are a domestic student, the on-line application is preferred. You can access the application at www.admissions.msu.edu or www.grad.msu.edu. The printed version of the application can also be found at the Graduate School website.
  2. Three letters of recommendation. Please be sure that the “Recommendation for Admission” form accompanies all letters.
  3. Curriculum Vitae or Resume
  4. Official transcripts from all degree granting institutions. International students should note that MSU requires all transcripts to be in English. If your transcripts are not in English, an official translation of your transcripts must accompany them.
  5. Official GRE Scores
  6. Official TOEFL Scores (for international students only)
  7. Chinese Graduate School Applications. Prospective students applying from China must not only supply original transcripts and graduation certificates but also obtain verification of these documents from the China Academic Degrees and Graduate Education Development Center (CDGDC). Please request that the CDGDC sends verification of grades and degrees directly to:
    Heather Lenartson-Kluge, Graduate Secretary
    Department of Entomology
    288 Farm Lane, Room 243
    East Lansing, MI 48824
  8. Personal Statement and Academic Statement - these are identified as optional portions of the application; however they are required by the Department of Entomology. It is also helpful if you send an additional copy of these statements in either a Word or PDF file to our Graduate Secretary for your application file in case they do not come through with your on-line application.

Only your application goes to the Office of Admissions. All other required materials, including letters of recommendation, must be sent directly to:

Heather Lenartson-Kluge, Graduate Secretary
Department of Entomology
Natural Science Building
288 Farm Lane, Room 243
East Lansing, MI 48824-1115

In order for a graduate application to receive full consideration, it should be completed no later than December 1.

In addition to having an excellent application package, having funding in place is essential to being accepted to MSU. Please click on the “Directory” link at the top of our web site and go to our Faculty directory. From there, you will be able to access our Faculty’s Profile Pages (by clicking on “more info”) to find out what our Faculty’s research interests are, and who may have interests that match yours. We strongly encourage you to contact our faculty directly to see if they have space available in their research labs and funding available.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Heather Lenartson-Kluge via email at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or by phone at (517) 355-4665.

Academic & Outreach Staff

Professors emeriti


Molecular entomology

Our strengths include the molecular basis of mosquito reproduction, insect molecular virology and pathology, insect molecular toxicology, and molecular systematics and evolution.

Faculty and staff

Pesticide education and policy

The department is a national leader in the area of pesticide education and policy. Faculty members consult with government agencies and lawmakers on pesticide policy issues, host conferences for federal agencies and have an excellent track record of funding in the areas of Food Quality Protection Act, worker exposure/safety and community pesticide education.


Integrated Pest Management research/extension programs

''The Entomology Department is globally recognized for excellence in IPM as evidenced by the high degree of international participation in our graduate and post-graduate training programs. Regionally, we are the host institution for the North Central Integrated Pest Management Center, and within the state we have an outstanding reputation for delivering applied research and Extension programs to our diverse clientele. The department is in the top three for number of joint programs with Extension educators. Major programs address apiculture, Christmas trees, field crops, floriculture, forestry, fruit, greenhouse, medical, nursery, turf, and vegetables. All programs have close interaction with the A.J. Cook Arthropod Research Collection, MSU Diagnostic Services, and the MSU IPM Program.

Faculty and staff

Insect toxicology

The department has an excellent national and international reputation in this area, particularly for studies of the modes of action and selective toxicity of insecticides and natural products that affect insects, and of mechanisms of insecticide resistance. We have produced the Pest Resistance Management Newsletter biannually since 1992, which offers research articles and reviews and has a circulation of over 2,000 worldwide. This group works closely with other faculty members in IPM to develop pest resistance management concepts and strategies.

Faculty and staff

Insect systematics

Utilization of multiple sources of data to improve insect systematics, taxonomy, and phylogenetics.

Visit the Holistic Insect Systematics laboratory.

Faculty and staff


Drs. Anthony Cognato and Milos Knizek (Czech Republic) meet in Beijing before heading to examine bark beetle infestation in Qinghai, China.

Fruit entomology - nematology

''A team of prominent faculty serves Michigan’s highly diverse fruit industries with expertise in developing and implementing novel and sustainable means of managing insect and nematode pests of fruit. Their work has special emphasis on the chemical ecology of key fruit pests and resulting control techniques using behavior-modifying compounds.

Faculty and staff

Insect-nematode ecology, behavior and spatial dynamics

The MSU Department of Entomology is internationally recognized for its expertise in basic and applied insect and nematode ecology in both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Programs range from insect-nematode behavior and evolution to ecosystem management, and vary in scale from local to regional in scope. Prominent themes include insect-nematode dispersion, habitat conservation, landscape management, bio-monitoring, non-target issues and trophic interactions.

Faculty and staff

Forest entomology

A strong program on forest insect ecology and management, augmented by the on-campus location of a USDA Forest Service North-central Research Station, gives the department a strong presence in forest entomology. Together, these scientists are national and international leaders in the area of invasive species detection and management.


Faculty and staff

Adjunct faculty


The Department of Entomology is at the forefront of MSU’s efforts to provide solutions for the world’s most challenging problems through research and extension. A recent survey indicated that 24% of the department’s collaborators are international.

Where we work: Partial listing of MSU Department of Entomology collaboration

Click image to view larger map.

Doug Landis Alicia Bray
(Left photo): Doug Landis, right, discusses using native, medicinal plants to attract beneficial insects with Mustapha El-Bouhssini, directory of entomology at ICARDA in Allepo, Syria, and a grad student. (Right photo): Michigan native Alicia Bray chose to return to Michigan to earn her masters degree at MSU. The experience was so positive that she opted to stay for her doctoral studies with Jim Smith. “All of the professors are very open to helping any student,” she says. “And it was an opportunity to save millions of trees!” Bray studied the genetics of emerald ash borer to determine its country of origin and the natural enemies of this invasive species. Her research took her to Japan, Korea and China.


Countries of recent collaboration

Area of expertise

Bauer, Leah


Detection and control of bark beetles and woodborers

Chen, Zhongxiao


IR-4 Program

Cognato, Anthony

Austria, Brazil, Czech Republic, China, Denmark, Guyana, Mexico, Norway, Russia, Thailand, Vietnam

Insect systematics

Delfosse, Del

China, Canada, France, South Africa

Biological control, IPM, invasive species and policy

Dong, Ke

China, France, Germany, Israel

Insect toxicology and neurophysiology

Haack, Robert


ChineseAcademy of Forestry - detection and control of bark beetles and woodborers

Hollingworth, Robert

Burkina Faso, Germany

IR-4 Program

Huang, Zachary

Australia, China, France, Germany, Taiwan

Honey bee biology and insect hormones

Isaacs, Rufus


Berry crops entomology

Jess, Lynnae

Australia, Canada

US North Central IPM Center

Landis, Doug

Argentina, Australia, Kyrgyzstan, Netherlands, Syria, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan

Landscape ecology and biological control

Landis, Joy

Kyrgyzstan, Mexico, Syria, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan

IPM Communications

Maredia, Karim

Africa, Central Asia, India, and many global projects

International IPM

McCullough, Deborah

New Zealand

Forest entomology

Merritt, Rich

Brazil, Ghana, Benin

Aquatic and medical entomology

Miller, Jim

Africa, Australia, Saudi Arabia

Insect chemical ecology/behavior

Olsen, Larry

Nicaragua, Peru

IPM extension

Ording, Gabriel

Canada, Kenya, Malaysia, New Zealand, Switzerland, Virgin Islands

Study abroad programming

Pett, Walt

Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, South Africa, Uzbekistan

Vegetable/potato entomology

Poland, Therese

Canada, China

Forest Service - insect pest management, detection and control of bark beetles and woodborers

Smitley, David


Landscape/turfgrass entomology

Whalon, Mark

Australia, Canada, Korea, New Zealand, Scotland, Turkey

Fruit tree, IPM and organic orchard management

Wise, John

Chile, Mexico, Rwanda

Fruit entomology

Arthropod research collection

Welcome to the Albert J. Cook Arthropod Research Collection (ARC) website. The Collection was started by Professor Albert J. Cook in 1867 and later named in his honor. The ARC now houses close to 1.5 million specimens mounted on pins, slides or stored in alcohol, which are used for research, education, extension services and outreach. The collection is located in the Natural Science building at Michigan State University and is managed by the Department of Entomology. Currently 18 faculty, staff and students help oversee its operations.

What’s New?

See what’s new with the Albert J. Cook Arthropod Research Collection (ARC) by checking out the ARC News page.


Useful links

Biomedical entomology

Our internationally recognized and diverse program features ecology and behavior of medically important arthropods, especially biting flies and ticks. Our research emphasizes landscape ecology and epidemiology of vector-borne disease in national and international settings, insect/microbe interactions, feeding behavior and studies of target and non-target interventions.

Faculty and staff

Rich Merritt

Rich Merritt working on Buruli Ulcer disease in Ghana with help from Ghanaian village children.



Promotion and tenure

Department forms

Seminars and meetings

  • Fall 2015 Seminar Series
  • The Entomology faculty meetings for the 2015/2016 academic year have been set:
    September 18
    October 16
    November 20
    December 18
    January 15
    February 19
    March 18
    April 15
    May 20

This year, the faculty meetings will be held on a new date and time. Meetings are scheduled for the third Friday of the month from 10 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. unless otherwise noted. Meetings will take place in the Gordon Guyer Conference Room, 244 Natural Science. If a meeting date needs to be changed or cancelled, you will be notified as soon as possible.

Lab safety

Laboratories in the department are inspected every 1 to 2 years by the MSU Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) office. A pre-inspection checklist should be filled out by individual labs prior to an inspection. This checklist provides a quick way to see if your lab is in compliance in a few key areas. EHS inspectors use a more detailed checklist when they inspect labs.

If you have questions about lab safety and regulations, the MSU Chemical Hygiene Plan provides detailed information about PI and employee responsibilities, training, safe operating procedures in labs, safe handling/storage/disposal of chemicals, and emergency procedures. At the end of the plan, appendices list specific chemicals that require special handling or hazard labeling due to flammability, corrosiveness, cancer hazard, etc. EHS-approved hazard labels are below. All of these labels are designed to print on an Avery 5160 address label or similar sheet, except for the small bulk hazard diamonds. These print on a solid label sheet.

Hazard labels

Entomology courses

The following list of courses is for general information only and is not an official listing. Please see the MSU Descriptions of Courses website for an official list of currently offered courses in Entomology. Clicking on an entry below will take you to the MSU Descriptions of Courses entry for that course number. Not all courses are offered every semester. For detailed information on course availability and subject matter consult the Descriptions of Courses website or contact the course instructor directly. Students are expected to check with their advisor each semester to discuss program planning and course selection.

Undergraduate courses

  • ENT 205 Pest Society and Environment
  • ENT 319 Introduction to Earth System Science
  • ENT 364 Turfgrass Entomology
  • ENT 401 Directed Studies
  • ENT 404 Fundamentals of Entomology
  • ENT 407 Diseases and Insects of Forest and Shade Trees
  • ENT 410 Apiculture and Pollination
  • ENT 422 Aquatic Entomology
  • ENT 469 Biomonitoring of Streams and Rivers
  • ENT 470 General Nematology
  • ENT 477 Pest Management I: Pesticides in Management Systems
  • ENT 478 Pest Management II: Biological Components of Management Systems
  • ENT 485 Tropical Biology

Graduate courses

  • ENT 812 Graduate Seminar
  • ENT 815 Insect Behavior
  • ENT 818 Systematics, Morphology, Biology: Adults
  • ENT 838 Systematics, Morphology, Biology: Immatures
  • ENT 844 Insect Ecology, Evolution and Conservation
  • ENT 848 Biological Control of Insects and Weeds
  • ENT 850 Insect Physiology
  • ENT 851 Molecular Entomology
  • ENT 870 Nematode Management in Crop Systems
  • ENT 890 Independent Study
  • ENT 898 Master’s Research
  • ENT 899 Master’s Thesis Research
  • ENT 999 Doctoral Dissertation Research

Graduate studies

Graduate degree advising

Graduate students work primarily with their major professor for their advising needs. Questions on policies and procedures regarding graduate degree programs can be directed to Dr. Suzanne Thiem, Entomology’s Graduate Program Director, or Heather Lenartson-Kluge, Entomology’s Graduate/Undergraduate Secretary.

Graduate Program Director
Dr. Suzanne Thiem
517-432-1713 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Graduate/Undergraduate Secretary
Heather Lenartson-Kluge
517-355-4665 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Useful resources

Funding opportunities

Travel and research support

Jeremy JubenvilleWe are very proud that graduate students have access to several special funding resources and continual travel support from our endowment funds. Each year we help support travel to a professional meeting for all students. We also help support international travel once in the degree program. We have research grants for both M.S. and Ph.D. students, and we support other special initiatives, such as student-selected guest lecturers and specialty courses with distinguished guest speakers from other institutions.

The Ecology, Evolutionary Biology and Behavior Program offers a second (joint) Ph.D. degree with Entomology and other departments. Students are urged to consider this excellent option. In addition to department resources, the EEBB Program also funds summer research up to $1,000 and partial annual travel support to professional meetings.

Photo: Jeremy Jubenville, a Master’s student at the Szendrei lab, recieved the Gene Rhodes Thompson Fellowship at the Entomology Department’s annual spring picnic in 2014.

The Gordon E. Guyer Fellowship in Aquatic Entomology

This fellowship was established by Gordon E. Guyer, a former faculty member and Chairperson of the Department of Entomology, as well as a former president of Michigan State University. This fellowship helps support a graduate student in the Department of Entomology whose graduate program is focused on Aquatic Entomology.


  • MSU Entomology graduate students studying aquatic entomology.
  • Minimum 3.0 GPA.

Required application materials

  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Personal statement
  • Two letters of recommendations; one must be from a major professor.

The Rhodes (Gene) Thompson Memorial Fellowship

Gene Thompson, a former Acting Division Director for the Michigan Department of Agriculture, died in July 1997. In his memory, Sigurd and Sheila Nelson, close friends who knew Gene from his student days, have established a recruiting fellowship in support of an entomology student in applied entomology (which covers pretty much everything entomologists do).


  • New or current MSU Entomology graduate student studying applied entomology.
  • Outstanding academic record.

Required application materials

  • Statement describing research project
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Two letters of recommendation

Roger and Barbara Hoopingarner Endowed Graduate Fellowship in Entomology

This fellowship was established by Roger Hoopingarner, a faculty member of the Department for 38 years who retired in 1997. The fellowship helps support a student enrolled in the area of apiculture or honey bee science.


  • MSU Entomology graduate students enrolled in the area of apiculture, honey bee science or pollination.
  • Minimum 3.0 GPA

Required application materials

  • Must be nominated by major professor and one additional letter of support.
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Personal statement

Mark and Kathleen “Scriber Scholar Award in Butterfly Biology and Conservation”

This award was established by Mark and Kathleen Scriber to foster continued research and/or public science education outreach in butterfly biology and conservation. Awards will normally be effective for summer or fall semester following selection. Awardees must be enrolled the semester in which they receive the award. 


  • MSU graduate or undergraduate students in Entomology, Integrative Biology, or EEEB.
  • Focus on research and public science education outreach in butterfly biology and conservation.
  • Minimum 3.0 GPA

Required application materials

Ray and Bernice Hutson Memorial Entomology Endowment Fund Research Proposal


  • MSU Entomology graduate and undergraduate students
  • Minimum 3.0 GPA

Required application materials

Ray and Bernice Hutson Memorial Entomology Endowment Fund Travel Proposal


  • MSU Entomology undergraduate and graduate students
  • Must be in good academic standing
  • One request per academic year for domestic travel
  • One request during degree program for international travel 

Required application materials

  • Letter to chairperson at least 30 days in advance of the travel, including the name of the professional meeting, location, total cost and benefit of attending.

Travel awards can be requested at any time during the academic year.

Current students

Undergraduate advisors

Graduation December 2013Drs. Walt Pett and Chris DiFonzo advise all undergraduate students in our undergraduate degree program. They are happy to respond via email or phone:

Dr. Walter Pett
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Dr. Christina DiFonzo
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Graduate degree advising

Graduate students work primarily with their major professor for their advising needs. Questions on policies and procedures regarding graduate degree programs can be directed to Dr. Suzanne Thiem, Entomology’s Graduate Program Director, or Heather Lenartson-Kluge, Entomology’s Graduate/Undergraduate Secretary.

Graduate Program Director
Dr. Suzanne Thiem
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Graduate/Undergraduate Secretary
Heather Lenartson-Kluge
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Useful links


Undergraduate studies

Gabriel KingThe undergraduate program in Entomology leads to the Bachelor of Science degree. Courses are designed to give the student an understanding of the structure, classification, identification, function, biology, ecology, and management of beneficial and harmful arthropods, and the communities and ecosystems where insects occur. 

There are opportunities for undergraduate Entomology students to carry out research projects in department laboratories. Students may also gain work experience in the diverse areas of entomology through employment. Internships and study abroad opportunities are also available, and are strongly encouraged.

Interested? Apply now! Visit the Office of the Registrar for information on the requirements for a B.S. degree in Entomology and the requirements for an Entomology Minor.

Opportunities for students

Entomology students have access to many opportunities outside of the classroom, including research projects and paid summer jobs in many entomology faculty programs. Some companies, such as Rose Pest Solutions, also offer summer internships to department undergraduates.

Undergraduate students are eligible for departmental funding to support travel to scientific meetings, such as the annual National Entomological Society meeting, or for Study Abroad Programs.

Using your degree

Insects are everywhere, and so are people who work with insects! Insects are important in careers that involve agriculture, natural resources, human & veterinary medicine, forensic investigation, ecology, biomonitoring, genetics, molecular biology, and toxicology. Careers may involve many activities, including teaching, research, public outreach, regulatory inspection, pest scouting and control, and insect rearing. Entomologists work for schools and universities, museums, parks, and zoos, agribusiness, pest control companies, non-profit organizations, government agencies, and the military.

Contact information

Undergraduate information
Dr. Walter Pett
517-353-7191 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Dr. Chris DiFonzo
517-353-5328 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Undergraduate Secretary
Heather Lenartson-Kluge
517-353-4665 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)




Donating to the Bug House is easy! Go to MSU‘s donation site and contribute to the Bug House’s operations and activities. Enter the amount you want to give in the gift cart box. Click Proceed to Checkout and follow instructions.

Thanks for your contributions!

Science Fest 2013


Girl with bugThank you for choosing the Department of Entomology’s Bug House. On a trip to the Bug House, your guide will introduce you to the fascinating world of insects. Each guide is a graduate student in the Department of Entomology and has a diverse knowledge of insects and the interesting things they do. Each guide’s tour is slightly different depending on their particular area of interest and presentation style.

Bug House hours

The Bug House is open to the public during the following 2015 open houses:

  • Fall Open House: Monday, Dec. 14 from 5:30-7:30 p.m.
  • Holiday Open House: Sunday, Dec. 27, 1-4 p.m.

View the rest of our upcoming events.

All other tours must be prearranged by reservation only. Tours are designed for all ages in groups of 30 or less. There is a fee associated with this program. To make a reservation, call the Entomology Business Office at 517-355-4662 or e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

FeesGirls looking at bugs

The Bug House relies on fees for tours and events along with donations to cover our costs.

Bug House Tours - $50 for a 1 hour educational program with 2 guides—limit 30 children/adults.

Special Open House Events for the General Public - (Halloween, Christmas, and summer events in June, July, August). Admission is free, but a donation is greatly appreciated.


We greatly appreciate your patronage and sincerely hope that you will continue to enjoy our outreach programs. Thank you for your support.

Where are we located?

The Bug House is located in rooms 146-147 of the Natural Science Building (click for map) on the Michigan State University campus.

Department of Entomology Bug House
Natural Science Building
288 Farm Lane Room 147
East Lansing, MI 48824

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

View our open tour times.



Girl with netMSU has lots of great places to visit for educational purposes—or just to have fun! Below are links and contact information to some child-friendly resources here on campus.

  • MSU Museum (517-432-1472): The wonders of the natural world and world of cultures are yours to discover. Three floors of exciting permanent collections and changing special exhibits featuring anthropological, biological, geological and historical displays. Check out their web site for more information.
  • 4-H Children’s Garden  (517-355-5191): Designed especially for children and completely handicap accessible. Open April 1 - November 1. Indoor Children’s Garden will fly butterflies in March and April. Call for exact dates and check out their web site for more information.
  • Girls with netsMSU Tour Consortium (517-353-9300): Take advantage of our tour packages, specifically designed with your student in mind, to paint a picture of all that life on a Big Ten campus offers. You’ll deliver an enriching day with a small price tag and see why hundreds of teachers return to our campus with students, year after year.
  • MSU Dairy Store  (517-355-8466): Delicious ice cream and more. Please call or visit their web site for current open hours and events.

Insect resouces

Lunchtime Baltimore Butterfly
Left, Australian Walking Sticks devouring their lunch. Right, One of our newest residents, the Baltimore Butterfly.

Girl looking at bug


People often ask about these insects. Here are our quick links to information about: brown marmorated stink bugsbed bugs,spotted wing Drosophilaemerald ash borermulti-colored Asian lady beetles, and boxelder bugs. For more information about these insects or others, ask one of our entomology Extension contacts by area.

Pollinator Webinar insect pest updates screen shot
(Left photo):
Watch a webinar on smart gardening for bees conducted by MSU entomologist Rufus Isaacs. (Right photo): Read our faculty insect pest updates for agriculture as well as gardening and the Green Industry at msue.msu.edu.

Services and programs

 Insect-specific web sites

Home and yard

Insects and crops

Biological control

Other web sites of interest by MSU entomologists

Extension publications

Order publications from the MSU Extension Bookstore, or call the bulletin office at 517-353-6740.

Extension newsletters


Tree fruit team

Above, some faculty, staff and students meeting for summer tree fruit work.

Get to know some of our faculty and staff by watching a PowerPoint slideshow presented at our ESA booth.

New: Check out these award opportunities available to Entomology faculty, staff, students and alumni.


The Department of Entomology’s areas of research and study

''Entomology is a far reaching science and our research touches an incredibly diverse range of topics. Below, faculty and resources are grouped by specialization. Additional information about specific faculty members is available through their listings in the directory.


Empower MSUThe College of Agriculture and Natural Resources seeks to raise $225 million in the Empower Extraordinary campaign. We will achieve this goal with a mix of endowment and annual funds. Read more about the Empower Extraordinary campaign and how you can give.

Donate to the Entomology general fund

Donating to your department of entomology is easy! Visit MSU‘s donation website to contribute to Entomology’s operations and activities. Contributing to this general fund gives us flexibility to use funds as needed. You may also select a specific named fund if you wish. Below are some of the named funds that support Entomology’s activities. Thanks very much for supporting your department of entomology! 

Donate to a specific named fund

MSU Department of Entomology has funds and endowments designed to provide greater graduate study and outreach opportunities for our students and community. Simply click on the fund of your choice from the list below to donate. Scroll to the bottom of this page to read descriptions of some of the funds. To mail a donation, see the instructions at the bottom of this webpage.

More about these funds

  • Bug House operations and activities.
  • Department of Entomology Endowment. Long-term financial support from interest on invested funds for the Department, Bug House, scholarships, and the AJ Cook Arthropod Research Collection.
  • Entomology Scholarship Fund for the department’s undergraduate and graduate students as well as for the Insect World Science Camp held in July each year for youth.
  • Enviro-weather service. Enviro-weather links MSU’s weather data with tools for decision-making. The web-based tools help farmers, landscapers and gardeners with decisions such as: the potential for plant disease or insect pest occurrence; whether frost damage is likely; and best time to plant, spray, irrigate, or harvest. Our weather data also helps with natural resource management such as determining potential for forest fires.
  • Gene Thompson Memorial Fund. Thompson was a former acting director of the Plant Industry Division at the Michigan Department of Agriculture. This fund was established in his honor to purchase Cornell drawers and cabinets for the AJ Cook Arthropod Research Collection. During his lifetime, Gene’s special interest was noctuidae in Michigan. He greatly appreciated the excellent reference collection that the AJ Cook Collection provided. Each drawer purchased bears a plate with the following inscription: In memory of Gene Thompson, Gift of [name of donor].
  • Merritt Endowed Fellowship in Entomology. This endowment provides fellowships for graduate students in Aquatic Entomology.
  • Ray and Bernice Hutson Scholarship Fund. This Endowment supports graduate and undergraduate student travel to professional meetings, student research grant programs, student facilities, computers and other necessities.
  • Scriber Scholars in Butterfly Biology and Conservation. An endowment providing scholarships to undergraduate, graduate and post-doctoral students involved in basic butterfly/moth research and outreach activities. Also may be used to assist with travel for these purposes.

How to mail a donation

Gifts may also be mailed to:
University Development
Michigan State University
300 Spartan Way
East Lansing, MI 48824-1005

Please make your check payable to “Michigan State University” and be sure to include the name of the fund you wish to support on the memo line of your check. Thank you for helping us help others!

Bug House

Come visit MSU’s Bug House, where you can see, touch or even hold some real creepy crawlers!Bug House

  • Did you know there are more kinds of beetles in Michigan than there are varieties of birds on Earth?
  • Did you know that a cricket’s ears are on its knees and flies have taste buds on their feet?
  • How about that an ant can lift 50 times its own weight, the equivalent of a human lifting two small cars?

A visit to the Bug House will explain all these fascinating facts and more. In addition to viewing the amazing pinned displays, you’ll have the opportunity to interact with a whole room of insects, including walking sticks and tarantulas! Don’t forget to visit our Facebook page to see lots of great photos and keep up-to-date with events and information. You can also view our calendar to see upcoming events. Don’t forget to print our flier.

Tours are offered with an appointment Monday through Friday and are designed for all ages in groups of 30 or fewer. There is a $50 fee for a one-hour tour of 30 or fewer participants. The MSU Bug House is located in rooms 146-147 of the Natural Science Building (click for map).

Department of Entomology Bug House
Natural Science Building
288 Farm Lane Room 147
East Lansing, MI 48824

Make your reservation today by calling the Entomology Business Office at 517-355-4662 or e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). View our open tour times.

What’s new?

See what’s new with the Bug House by checking out the Bug House News page.

2015 Events

  • Fall Open House: Monday, Dec. 14 from 5:30-7:30 p.m.
  • Holiday Open House: Sunday, Dec. 27, 1-4 p.m.

View the rest of our upcoming events.

MSU students can volunteer

If you are an MSU Entomology undergraduate or graduate student, you can volunteer to help staff the Bug House by assisting with visitors and working with the insects. For more information and to volunteer, email Gary Parsons at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


Bugged: MSU Department of Entomology newsletter

See past issues of Bugged.

Award opportunities

Check out these award opportunities available to Entomology alumni, faculty, staff and students. (Newly added: Distinguished Alumnus Award)

News of alumni and retirees

Gloria DeGrandi-HoffmanGloria DeGrandi-Hoffman is the research leader and center director for the USDA-ARS Carl Hayden Bee Research Center in Tucson, Arizona. Read more about DeGrandi-Hoffman in the Alumni Profiles section.

Chad Pastor (MS 2004, Gut) is a business development manager with MBI (Michigan Biotechnology Institute), a non-profit company committed to accelerating biobased and sustainable technologies to commercialization through its innovative derisking process. Pastor directs the corporate services group to provide process development and scale-up services to researchers, governmental agencies and companies in the areas of biopesticides, specialty chemicals, polymers, nutraceuticals, biorefineries and other drop-in chemicals via fermentation. 

Lingxin Wang (PhD 2013, Dong) has joined the Neuroscience Therapeutic Research and Development Center of GlaxoSmithKline, a British pharmaceutical company based in Shanghai, China. As an electrophysiologist, Lingxin will conduct research and development of therapeutics for human chronic pain diseases and epilepsy.

Mary Gardiner (PhD Landis Lab), associate professor at The Ohio State University, has published the book “Good Garden Bugs,” available through Amazon.com.

Emily May (MS 2015, Isaacs) is working from Vermont for the Xerces Society as a member of its Project Integrated Crop Pollination. She supports outreach and farm education for a multidisciplinary group of university research partners, farmers and federal agencies, who are collectively developing science-based systems for ensuring crop pollination.

David Epstein (PhD, Gut; academic faculty) is a senior entomologist with the USDA-ARS Office of Pest Management Policy. He played a key role as an author in developing the nation’s new strategy on pollinator health, which was announced this spring by President Obama.

Bernice DeMarco (PhD Cognato Lab) graduated this spring and will continue to contribute to the MSU Entomology Museum as adjunct curator and to Entomology’s Outreach Program.

Megan Woltz (PhD Landis Lab) will be an assistant professor of biology at Lindenwood University starting this August. The position is primarily teaching and advising and also involves conducting research with undergraduates. Woltz reports she plans to examine local and landscape factors influencing arthropod-mediated ecosystem services in urban gardens in St. Louis, Missouri, and how to enhance those services for community gardeners. 

Jason Schmidt (Postdoc, M Grieshop, Z. Szendrei) has accepted a tenure-track assistant professor position at the University of Georgia. He will work on biological control of pest insects in various crops.

Rob Morrison (PhD 2014, Z. Szendrei) is now a postdoc with the USDA in West Virginia.

Aaron Smith (PhD 2014, A. Cognato) joined the faculty of the Department of Biological Sciences at Northern Arizona University as a tenure-track Assistant Professor. He is also a Curator of the Colorado Plateau Museum of Arthropod Biodiversity. His research on beetle systematics is summarized at Smith Insect Biodiversity Lab.

We love to hear from our alumni

Please send us your news - promotions, job changes, life milestones and just general fun interactions with entomology. Images are welcomed, too. News can be sent to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or:

MSU Department of Entomology
Michigan State University
Natural Science Building
288 Farm Lane Room 243
East Lansing, MI 48824

If you’d like to share your email address with us, we’ll send you an email link to future Bugged newsletters.


Undergad students

Don’t miss the departmental seminar series. Join the rest of the department throughout the academic year at our fall 2015 seminar series.

Meet past and current students through our featured students section. Also, get to know some of our faculty and staff by watching our 2014 PowerPoint slideshow, presented at our ESA booth.


Our department excels in research, extension and teaching to address the issues that confront us today and into the future. Our expertise serves the people of Michigan, our nation, and the world.

The Department of Entomology is based in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) and the College of Natural Science (CNS). We offer Bachelor of Science, Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees and consider graduate student education and postdoctoral experience to be one of our highest priorities. Many of our undergraduates gain experience as employees in our research labs.

Leadership: Bill Ravlin, Department Chair, and Christina DiFonzo, Associate Department Chair. Departmental Advisory Committee: Larry Gut, Deb McCullough and Ke Dong.

Find our department offices on campus
MSU Interactive Map. Type our building “Natural Science” into the search, or pick from these other map options.

Map of MSU Campus

Contact Us

MSU Entomology Department:
Natural Science Building
288 Farm Lane Room 243
East Lansing MI 48824
Phone: 517-355-4663, Fax: 517-432-7061



See our list of entomology Extension contacts by area.
Entomology Faculty and Staff



The Michigan State University Department of Entomology excels 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. View a photo presentation featuring faculty and their students.

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