K-State Research and Extension
More about the Department of Entomology

The department has 18 permanent faculty, four office staff, 23 postdoctoral and technical support staff, 32 graduate students, and several temporary personnel and students involved in research. In 2013 ,our faculty was greatly enhanced by the addition of Assistant Professor Sarah Zukoff, who is located in Garden City and has an appointment that is 60 percent extension and service, and 40 percent research. We also recently added a new half-time insect diagnostician, Eva Zurek, who provides insect identification services for homeowners, producers, extension personnel, and commercial clients at no charge. Our department provides research, teaching, and extension to support the critical functions of the land-grant mission. Additional information is available on our department website (http://entomology.k-state.edu/).

 

A few departmental highlights:

  • Several mobile pest management apps and tools have been developed for producers: 1) BugSpot (www.thebugspot.org) a free trapping network to monitor arthropod activity. (2) A website (iwheat.org) to help field-specific management of key insect pests, weeds, and pathogens. (3) SoyPod DSS (www.soypod.info) to aid treatment decisions for soybean aphid.

  • Numerous studies evaluated novel pesticides and rates against alfalfa insect pests, wheat pests (Hessian fly and aphids), and pests of corn, sorghum, soybeans, and sunflowers. These included foliar and seed treatments, as well as Bt-transgenic varieties in corn. Researchers in our department also recently identified a key susceptibility gene in wheat that can be knocked out to confer resistance to all known biotypes of the Hessian fly.

  • Developed and published the first and only extension publication available on horticultural pesticide mixtures and use.

  • A biodiversity Web portal for the entomology museum and herbarium is online at http://biodis.k-state.edu. The database includes more than 237,000 insect specimens.

  • Collaborative efforts with USDA, the University of Nebraska, and the University of North Texas provide important insights into how aphids and Hessian flies feed, and how feeding affects soybean and wheat plants.

  • Continued research on fumigation alternatives comparable to methyl bromide in efficacy for storage pests. Nonchemical protectants and IPM monitoring tools have been developed for ham mite, a serious pest of dried meats and cheeses. Co-edited a new book, “Stored Product Protection,” that will be the standard reference for the grain, food, and pest control industries.

  • Collaborative international and multidisciplinary work has developed molecular methods of identifying resistance to wheat curl mite, as well as wheat streak mosaic virus. Similar work has been done with Dectes stem borer in soybeans. This will facilitate resistance screening and cultivar development. Early barley planting coupled with use of resistant cultivars can yield Russian wheat aphid reductions comparable to use of insecticides on susceptible cultivars.

  • Continued studies into the role of bacteria in manure and feces for growth of immature house and stable flies and in transmission of human and animal pathogens, with the intention to develop novel control strategies for these flies.

  • A gall mite introduced to the state 20 years ago to control field bindweed is now established, but spottily distributed. Infestations are most frequent, and possibly have greatest impact, in areas with low rainfall, suggesting that mites may have an impact in western Kansas, but be of less value in the wetter eastern region.

  • Identified a new brain protein in several unrelated insect species that was determined to be important for controlling mating and egg production. This novel discovery will open entirely new avenues for managing a broad range of pests with high safety to non-arthropod organisms.

 

 

Return to Main Page