IN A V- N. P I
| UN DIVERSITY OF
THE FUTURE OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA'S INSTITUTE OF increase public and private financial support, and
FOOD AND AGRICULTURAL SCIENCES (UF/IFAS) IS BRIGHT. Our continue to attract and retain excellent faculty. In
comprehensive educational and research programs addition, one of my primary goals is to increase
are ranked among the best, and our faculty are involvement of individuals and groups to help estab-
among the nation's most honored. UF/IFAS is well lish priorities, launch new initiatives and develop
positioned as a national and international leader to support for our programs.
meet new and continuing challenges. At a recent meeting of the Florida Agricultural
UF/IFAS has an impressive history of accomplish- Council, a committee was established to restructure
ments. Our statewide teaching, research and exten- and broaden the scope of the council. In addition,
sion programs have a tremendous impact in Florida, regional advisory committees are being planned to
the nation and in many other countries. Our seek more local input for identifying priorities and
"society-ready" graduates are prepared for the program initiatives. These regional committees will
professional opportunities and challenges in today's also provide increased opportunities for communi-
changing job market. Our research achievements cation with stakeholders, industry, state and county
range from developing basic scientific knowledge to leaders, and alumni. This will help UF/IFAS become
applied technologies that impact every agricultural more relevant, responsive and valued in the years
commodity and resident in Florida as well as the ahead.
natural resource base and environment. Extension We have a national and internationally recog-
education programs provide research-based infor- nized faculty, and we look to them for continued
mation to residents in every Florida county. When improvements in productivity and program quality.
it comes to county support for Extension education We must work together to develop better public and
programs, Florida leads the nation a strong indi- private support for our programs.
cation of the value of these programs to our citi- This year the legislature is considering several key
zens. Since assuming my new role, I have been initiatives to strengthen our research and educa-
impressed by the statewide support for our tional programs. There is significant support for
programs. these initiatives from our clientele. Initial meetings
These research and education programs are vital with legislators and governmental officials have also
for the continued success and sustainability of been very encouraging.
Florida's agricultural and natural resource indus- This issue of IMPACT presents examples of how
tries, life sciences, families and youth. UF/IFAS faculty and staff members provide cutting-
To become one of the top two or three programs edge research and education with local and global
in the nation, we must increase extramural support impacts enhancing our health, environment and
for research and education programs, strengthen Florida's economic well-being.
graduate education, significantly enhance facilities,
JIMMY G. CHEEK
Senior Vice President
Agriculture and Natural Resources
Li: UNIVERSITY OF
R Vv .1'~, \. ***
Ron Muraro, eft, and and the U.S. Department of Agri-
# Ron Muraro, left, and
Tom Spreen review culture (USDA).
data from their new Muraro, based at the UF/IFAS
economic study that
shows that the bene- Citrus Research and Education Center
Sits of the citrus in Lake Alfred, said specialty fruit
canker eradication would be the only segment of the
the costs eight to one. citrus industry that might experience
"a net gain in revenue associated with
While the state's citrus canker eradi- $169.2 million annually in production endemic citrus canker. The disease
cation program has been mired in costs for items such as extra bacteri- would reduce shipments of certain
controversy and legal action result- cide sprays in groves, and processing fresh fruit varieties, thereby boosting
ing in a stop-and-go approach to steps at packinghouses to grade out the market price of fruit harvested
removing infected trees a new blemished fruit and disinfect clean from canker-free groves. The net gain
University of Florida study indicates fruit for foreign and domestic markets. in prices for specialty fruit would
the benefits of the eradication pro- The eradication program also helps reduce the benefits associated with the
gram outweigh the costs. the citrus industry avoid $84.9 million canker eradication program by $44.5
"Without the eradication program, per year in lost revenues that would be million. Nevertheless, he said, an
citrus canker will become widely caused by lower fruit yields and un- endemic citrus canker situation would
established in Florida, with serious marketable fruit. By contrast, the still have an overall negative impact
long-term consequences for the state's annual cost of the eradication program on revenue for the industry.
$9.1 billion citrus industry," said Ron in 2005 is estimated to be $44 million. The two-year study, funded by
Muraro, a professor with UF's Institute "When the annual impacts are USDA, was conducted by Muraro and
of Food and Agricultural Sciences. "It extrapolated over time, the cost to the Tom Spreen, professor and chairman
would jeopardize our position in the industry would exceed $2.5 billion, of the UF/IFAS food and resource
world market." and the disease would be well on its economics department in Gainesville.
If citrus canker were to become way to destroying the Florida citrus Marisa Zansler, an economist at
endemic in Florida, exports of fresh industry," Muraro said. USDA's Animal Plant Health
fruit to Europe would likely cease, he Total cost of the current eradication Inspection Services in Washington,
said. Over the long run, the economic program, which began in 1995, is esti- D.C., contributed to the study.
loss due to an endemic canker prob- mated to be $477 million, which in- The economic analysis of the citrus
lem would be nearly $2.5 billion. cludes the destruction of infected or canker eradication program was devel-
The bacterial disease, which causes exposed trees and compensation to oped using the predicted values of the
lesions on the leaves, stems and fruit homeowners for lost trees. In 2004, benefits and the costs associated with
of citrus trees, weakens citrus trees, producers received approximately the program. The summary reports,
causing a loss in yields and higher pro- $28.4 million in compensation from FE 531 and FE 532, are available on
duction costs. Removal and burning of state and federal agencies for produc- the UF/IFAS Electronic Document
infected or exposed trees is the only tion lost to canker or exposure. The Information Source Web site:
way to stop the disease. eradication program is administered http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/.
According to the study, the canker by the Florida Department of Spreen said the study did not
eradication program saves producers Agriculture and Consumer Services measure changes in consumer demand
4 IMPACT I Spring 2005
IMPACT is published
by the University of Florida's
Institute of Food and Agricultural
Sciences and is produced by
IFAS Communication Services,
Ashley M. Wood, director.
EDITOR THE INSTITUTE OF FOOD AND AGRICULTURAL SCIENCES MAGAZINE I VOL. 21 NO. 2 I SPRING 2005
Charles T. Woods
Thomas S. Wright
STAFF PHOTOGRAPHERS NEWS UPDATES FEATU RES
Josh Wickham 4 Benefits of Canker 12 Stopping the Siege in
Eradication Outweigh Costs Santiago
DESIGNER UF/IFAS termite expert helps control
Tracy D. Zwillinger 5 The Nature Conservancy invasive pest in Chile.
CONTRIBUTORS Training Program 16 Exotic Tree Termite
Pat Bartlett Eradicated
Tim Lockette 7 Agriculture in Space
18 Managing the Mosquito
COPY EDITORS 8 Seminole County Inmates Menace
COPY EDITORS Raise "Beneficial Bugs" for
Chana J. Bird UF and USDA Researchers
Amanda K. Chambliss 26 Mission Accomplished
Mary Chichester UF/IFAS researchers declare victory in
9 Growing Satsumas in the mole cricket battle.
For information about UF/IFAS Florida Panhandle
programs, call or e-mail Donald 30 Helpful, Harmful or
"W Poucher, assistant vice president 11 A Winning Combination Harmless?
for marketing and communications, for Students! UF/IFAS entomologists say most
(352) 392-0437; email@example.com A growing partnership between insects are beneficial.
agriculture and dentistry helps
To change an address, request students who want to become
extra copies of IMPACT, or to be dentists.
added to the mailing list, e-mail
Chuck Woods, firstname.lastname@example.org, or
write Chuck Woods, P.O. Box 110025,
University of Florida, Gainesville,
IMPACT is available in alternative
formats. Visit our Web site:
On the Cover
.J :"onathan Day, a professor of entomology at the Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory in Vero Beach, evaluates
S. -'l ", \the effectiveness of various insect repellents against mosquitoes. Day recommends repellents containing the active
Ingredient DEET, and he says devices such as electric bug zappers are not effective and kill more beneficial insects
l, than mosquitoes. His research is part of a wide-ranging program at the UF/IFAS laboratory to control mosquitoes
and other medically important biting insects. COVER PHOTO BY THOMAS WRIGHT.
S COPYRIGHT 2005 BY THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA/IFAS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED I IMPACT I Spring 2005
lk, V ..".
that might occur if the citrus disease is of legal challenges that halted tree best policy when canker threatens the
not eradicated. "Although citrus removal in Miami-Dade and Broward Florida citrus industry. Outbreaks of
canker will not adversely affect human counties, the eradication program will the disease have plagued the industry
health, the mere image of consuming have to continue until January 2008, since the early 1900s but have been
a product that is visually unappealing the report says. throttled by eradication efforts in
may have a negative impact on the Spreen said the 2004 hurricane earlier campaigns. Previous programs
demand for Florida citrus," he said. season "throws another unknown into eradicated canker from the state in
"Opponents say Florida should the equation" because the disease is 1933 and 1994.
abandon the current eradication pro- spread by rain-driven wind. "If another outbreak should occur
gram and learn to live with the citrus "Our cost estimates for concluding after Florida has been certified canker-
canker problem:" Muraro said. "They the eradication program in 2008 were free, a policy will probably remain in
contend that the citrus industry will developed in June 2004 before the place for immediate eradication',
not incur losses that are big enough to storms passed through the state:' Graham said. "Stopping the disease as
outweigh the cost of the eradication Spreen said. "Now we are beginning quickly as possible minimizes the
program, but our research clearly indi- to see new outbreaks of citrus canker considerable costs of residential and
cates that this would not be the case." in Southwest Florida and the Indian grove surveillance for canker and the
The study also shows that the River area, which means the program removal of infected and exposed trees
current, expanded-phase eradication may have to continue beyond 2008." to Floridians, the federal government
program, which ramped up with re- Jim Graham, a professor of soil and the citrus industry." U
newed state and federal funding in microbiology at the Lake Alfred center CHUCK WOODS
2000, could have removed all trees who is studying the pathology of the FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
infected or exposed to the disease by disease and evaluating various control RON MURARO (863) 956-1151
the end of this year. However, because methods, said decisive action is the email@example.com
TOM SPREEN (352) 392-1826
TH E NATURE
To help meet the growing need for professionals who
Manage and protect important natural areas in Florida, The
Nature Conservancy is offering a training program in coop-
eration with the University of Florida.
The Natural Areas Training Academy the result of a
partnership between the nonprofit, international conserva-
tion organization and UF's Institute of Food and
Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) is designed for public
and private resource managers.
During the past four and a half years, more than 700
participants have participated in 30 academy workshops
Sandra Vardaman, left, land manager with the Alachua County Department of that provide up-to-date, practical training and management
Environmental Protection, Peter Colverson and Geoff Parks, land manager with the strategies for protecting natural areas in Florida. Five new
City of Gainesville Department of Nature Operations, participate in a recent field
workshop presented by the academy. workshops are being offered by the academy during 2005.
IMPACT I Spring 2005 5
Peter Colverson, an associate professor who manages the the UF/IFAS statewide extension education program, he
Conservancy's training academy in Gainesville, said the said. As a result, the Conservancy is able to present its
state has added millions of acres to its protected lands scientifically based land-management values to a diverse,
during the past 15 years, which has created a need for more interagency audience.
and better-trained professionals to manage those lands. The training academy also provides university faculty and
"These professionals provide a critical service managing other personnel with opportunities to engage in natural
the state's conservation lands to ensure that important resource education, Colverson said. In 2004, for example,
biological resources are protected for future generations," the Conservancy cooperated with the UF/IFAS School of
Colverson said. "The training academy's workshops provide Forest Resources and Conservation, presenting three work-
land managers with the techniques and strategies they need shops to help private land owners adopt ecologically
to protect these valuable natural resources." friendly management practices. The close working relation-
Those who complete a series of ship also helps the Conservancy
five workshops earn a Certificate obtain grant funding from state
in Natural Areas Management Since 2000, the land-management agencies.
from the academy. Colverson said between the Victoria Tschinkel, state director
partnership between the -_ ,-
the credential has been adopted by of The Nature Conservancy in
five Florida counties as a basic Nature Conservancy and Tallahassee, Fla., said it is well
qualification for land management UF's Institute of Food and known in the conservation
work. As of March 2005, 55 Agicultural Sciences has community that acquiring land -
professional land managers have been a key factor in the while critical is not enough to
earned the certificate, which has ensure its long-term protection.
been endorsed by the Natural academy's success. 9 "Lands must be restored, if
Areas Association and used as a -PETE COLVERSON damaged, and managed over time
template to establish nationwide in order to preserve their natural
standards for conservation land- values," she said. "This can only be
management training, accomplished by well-trained people who have the neces-
"Since 2000, the partnership between The Nature sary resources. The Natural Areas Training Academy has
Conservancy and UF's Institute of Food and Agricultural shown that Florida's resource managers are interested and
Sciences has been a key factor in the academy's success;' committed to expanding their skills and taking their expert-
Colverson said. "The partnership combines the expertise of ise to a new level."
a well-respected international conservation organization While the majority of the lands the Conservancy helps
with 50 years of land-management experience and Florida's protect are in public ownership, the organization also owns
land-grant university." and manages several preserves throughout the state,
He said the academy now operates as part of the recently Colverson said. These include: The Disney Wilderness
created School of Natural Resources and Environment, a Preserve in Osceola County, Blowing Rocks Preserve on
campus-wide teaching, research and extension program Jupiter Island between the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian
hosted by UF/IFAS, which gives the academy access to a River Lagoon, Tiger Creek Preserve near Lake Wales,
large number of academic disciplines and potential Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve, and the Islands
partners. Initiative Preserve in Northeast Florida.
The academy training program is also supported by the For more information on the workshops and registration,
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the visit the training academy Web site: http://nata.snre.ufl.edu/. E
Florida Park Service, which may make the training a basic CHUCK WOODS
requirement for managers in the state park system. FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
The combination also allows the conservation organiza- PETE COLVERSON (352) 392-3210
tion to improve its reach and effectiveness by working with firstname.lastname@example.org
6 IMPACT I Spring 2005
i p ace
As the United States sets its sights
on new manned missions to the moon
and Mars, University of Florida scien-
tists are helping develop some of the
technologies needed for these chal-
lenging space programs.
In December 2004, researchers with
UF's Institute of Food and Agricultural
Sciences (UF/IFAS) gave the news
media a first-hand look at their work
"at the Kennedy Space Center's Space Kevin Folta examines plants growing under a bank of light-emitting diodes, or LEDs. He says LEDs, which are
Sciences Laboratory where they are more energy-efficient than incandescent light bulbs, could be used to grow plants on a future Moon base or
helping NASA scientists develop life- mission to Mars.
support systems for future missions to capability for a growth chamber that seeds of the Arabidopsis plant a
the Moon and Mars. would grow food, turn carbon dioxide small weed commonly used in scien-
Rob Ferl, a UF/IFAS professor of into oxygen and recycle waste":' tific research to the martian surface
molecular biology and director of UF's The challenge of developing these where they would be planted in soil
Center for Exploration of Life advanced life-support systems is being dug up from the planet's surface.
Sciences, said long-term space travel met by Ferl and other UF/IFAS re- "Each plant would be genetically
poses difficult challenges for the life searchers, including Ray Bucklin and engineered to produce a glow in the
sciences. Khe V. Chau, professors in the agricul- presence of a specific mineral or set of
"Astronauts on a future moon base tural and biological engineering de- nutrients, giving researchers vital
or Mars mission will need new, more apartment; Jean-Pierre Emond, an asso- information on the potential toxicity
efficient ways to produce food and get ciate professor in the department; and of martian soil and how well future
rid of waste;' he said. "Much is still Kevin Folta, an assistant professor in food crops might grow there;' he said.
unknown about how people, animals the horticultural sciences department. Folta said growing plants aboard a
and plants are affected by conditions To address the questions of growing space ship on an 18-month mission to
in space beyond Earth's orbit, or by plants on future space missions, Mars will require artificial grow lights,
long periods in low gravity and possi- Bucklin, Chau and their graduate stu- and he believes light-emitting diodes,
"ble radiation in space. And there is dents are building and testing models or LEDs, may be the perfect light
also the issue that missions to Mars of greenhouses that simulate growing source for space greenhouses.
could contaminate the planet with conditions in space as well as on the "We're exploring the use of LEDs as
microbes from Earth, complicating the surface of the moon or Mars. The a light source for growing plants be-
search for life there." growth chambers can create the same cause they last much longer and burn
For long missions in space lasting mixture of gases found in the martian far less electricity than standard incan-
18 months or longer astronauts will atmosphere and adjust other condi- descent light bulbs;' he said. "An LED
need to grow some of their own food tions such as atmospheric pressure, can easily last 50,000 hours, which is
because it would not be economical or temperature and sunlight to match probably more than enough to get
practical to carry tons of food and those of the Red Planet. through a mission to Mars, without
water on the spacecraft, he said. Ferl said the first step in learning having to carry spare bulbs.'
"The food needed to feed a person how to grow plants on Mars may be a Each individual LED is a tiny semi-
for a year or more presents enormous small, toaster-sized growth chamber conductor, which produces light only
storage and transportation problems;' that could be part of a future NASA in a small portion of the spectrum -
Ferl said. "It makes more sense to use robotic mission to the planet. The red, for instance, or blue. Put dozens
that precious space and transport experiment could send about a dozen or hundreds of different-colored LEDs
IMPACT I Spring 2005 7
together, and you can produce a white growth regulators in space, controlling department, the program provides
light as bright as anything that comes important processes with light. Light teachers with a two-week lesson plan
out of an incandescent bulb, he said. treatments can be controlled from on agriculture in space. The lesson
Folta is using LEDs to explore how Earth, allowing busy astronauts to plans are designed for use with
different light intensities, colors and focus on other tasks." Growing Space, a publication on space
durations affect plant growth. By ap- To help young people learn about agriculture designed for middle-school
plying the right combinations of colors space exploration, UF/IFAS has audiences. More information is avail-
at the right time, it may be possible to launched Space Agriculture in the able at the project's Web site:
tell space-borne plants when to bloom, Classroom, an educational program www.spaceag.org/.
or how high to grow or duplicate designed for middle-school children in Glenn Israel, a professor in the
perfect growing conditions on Earth. Florida and other participating states, department, said that 70 percent of
"The idea of light color affecting Last year, during its first year in opera- teachers who used the curriculum
plant growth is nothing new, but we tion, the program distributed educa- reported that the program increased
are learning how different parts of the tional materials to 395 sixth-grade interest in science for a majority of
light spectrum, both visible and invisi- teachers in five states, their students. U
ble, affect plant growth," he said. "The Developed by the UF/IFAS agricul- TIM LOCKETTE
goal is to limit the need for chemical tural education and communication FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
ROB FERL (352) 392-1928
Seminole County Inmates Raise
for UF and UDSA Researchers
Inmates at the Seminole County Correctional Facility,
who have been growing their own vegetables for more than
10 years, are now raising thousands of beneficial bugs that
attack insect pests and feed on troublesome weeds in
The insect "farming" program the first of its kind in
the nation will generate about $2,000 a year for the in- .:
mate welfare fund at the facility and help inmates develop. "
marketable skills for future employment.
"The project is the result of a new partnership with the
University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural W
Sciences (UF/IFAS) to help inmates learn about biological
control raising good bugs that prey on bad bugs and weeds Lance Osborne, left, checks papaya plants with Debra Taylor at the Seminole County
Correctional Facility in Sanford. Inmates at the facility, who have been growing their own
and reduce the need for chemical pesticides":' said Debra vegetables for more than 10 years, are also growing beneficial bugs on the plants for
Taylor, a deputy who supervises the training program at the researchers at UF's Mid-Florida Research and Education Center in Apopka and the U.S.
Department of Agriculture.
facility in Sanford, Fla. "These beneficial bugs not only help
control pests on our own veggie crops, but we are raising launched the project in cooperation with the USDA, Taylor
thousands of insects for researchers at UF and the U.S. said. UF training and certification as "insect scouts" -
Department of Agriculture." recognized by nurserymen and wholesale plant growers in
Twelve women inmates participating in the biocontrol Central Florida could help the women find employment
program receive training and certification from UF, which when they are released from the correctional facility.
8 IMPACT I Spring 2005
Lance Osborne, a professor of entomology at the UF/IFAS He said there is an increasing demand for the new banker
Mid-Florida Research and Education Center in Apopka who plant technology, which is not being produced anywhere
developed the concept, said the program was started else in the nation at this time. Banker plants are grown in
because there are no commercial biocontrol insect produc- one- to three-gallon containers that sell for $10 to $15 per
ers in Florida. plant.
"Raising insects for biocontrol is labor intensive and Inmates also are raising thousands of beetles (Gratiana
expensive, which makes the project ideal for inmates in boliviana) that will be released in pastures across Florida to
correctional facilities," he said. "With the help of a grant control tropical soda apple. The weed is so invasive that
from USDA's Animal, Plant Health Inspection Service, we other plants cannot grow around it.
launched the pilot project in cooperation with the Seminole To combat the pest without using harmful herbicides,
County facility." UF/IFAS researchers traveled to South America where the
He said inmates in Seminole County are now producing weed originated and found a natural predator that feeds
two different kinds of beneficial insects. One is an insect solely on the plant. After conducting extensive studies with
predator that controls pests on ornamental plants in green- USDA, UF/IFAS researchers have begun releasing the
houses, and the other is a beetle that feeds on the leaves of beetles in pastures across the state to eliminate the weed.
tropical soda apple, one of the most troublesome weeds in "Despite positive test results, we do not have enough
the state, beetles available for release," Osborne said. "That's why we
In order to manage the whitefly pest problem in green- turned to the inmates in Seminole County to help raise
houses where vegetables, herbs and ornamentals are grown, these beneficial insects; their work will be an essential part
Osborne developed a biocontrol system that relies on the of our program to control this noxious weed."
production of "banker plants" for Central Florida growers. Taylor said the guidance and instruction offered by UF
"A banker plant is a plant that has been infested with both enhances the existing inmate agricultural program at the
the target pest and its natural predator," he said. "For in- Seminole County facility, and the new biocontrol program
stance, papaya plants attract the papaya whitefly and a para- has the potential to generate revenue that will benefit
sitic wasp that controls the whitefly on the papaya host inmates and support additional training programs.
plants, as well as silverleaf whitefly on other greenhouse "If this USDA pilot project is successful, it could develop
plants. As a result, an infested papaya plant becomes a bank into a system where inmates could help society by reducing
of beneficial insects that can be placed in greenhouses to reliance on pesticides and save tax payers millions of dollars
control ornamental pests, such as the whitefly, without in the fight against new invasive pests," Osborne said. U
applying pesticides." CHUCK WOODS
Osborne feels that the wasp is the "best natural enemy" of FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
the silverleaf whitefly pest in greenhouses. But the wasp LANCE OSBORNE (407) 884-2034
was not being commercially produced in large numbers, LSOsborne@ifas.ufl.edu
which is one of the primary reasons for starting the banker
plant system at the Seminole County facility.
In tie heart of the Florida Pan-
hiand l, hundreds of miles north of
orhr:. citrus production areas in the
state Mack Glass is growing cold- George Hochmuth, left, and Mack Glass
hardy Satsuma oranges and says check flower buds on Glass's Satsuma orange
crop. About three years ago, Glass decided to
Jackson County could regain its title as start growing the cold-hardy citrus to diver-
the Satsuma Capital of the World. sify his farming operation because of lower
"target prices in the federal farm program for L ,
"Back in the early 1900s, before a traditional crops such as corn, peanuts and .K
1935 freeze wiped out the 3,000-acre soybeans.
citrus crop in the Panhandle, our "What makes us optimistic about entire state with 33 stations linked to
county was known as the Satsuma growing Satsuma oranges in the Pan- computers at UF in Gainesville. Each
Capital of the World, and annual handle is that we now have production solar-powered station collects weather
Satsuma festivals in 1928 and 1929 technologies from UF's Institute of data and transmits it to Gainesville
attracted 35,000 people," said Glass, Food and Agricultural Sciences that every 15 minutes. The network
who is growing five acres of the simply did not exist back in the early includes monitoring stations near
Mandarin orange on his farm near 1900s or even 20 years ago," Glass Marianna.
Marianna. said. "We came through several freezes The stations measure temperatures
He expects to harvest his first crop this year without any damage to our at two, six and 30 feet above ground,
of oranges in the fall of 2005 and said trees, thanks to a microirrigation and soil temperature, wind speed and
two other Jackson County growers system that puts out 24 gallons of direction, rainfall, relative humidity,
Nolan Daniels and Herman Laramore water per hour for freeze protection:' barometric pressure, leaf wetness and
- are also planning to start commer- solar radiation, he said.
cial production of the orange. Glass said FAWN is a valuable
Glass said he expects brisk local production tool because regular
sales of the tasty oranges, particu- W Back in the early 1900s, weather forecasts for cities may be
larly at fund-raising events for before a 1935 freeze wiped misleading for farmers. "Heat
churches and schools. His Satsuma out the 3,000-acre citrus trapped in concrete and asphalt
crop flowers in late April and early can make cities 10 degrees warmer
May, and fruit can be harvested crop in the Panhandle, our than farms in rural areas. When
from mid-October through the county was known as the cold weather moves through the
second week of November. Satsuma Capital of the Florida Panhandle, the difference
A partner and manager of the World, and annual Satsuma can be devastating to citrus and
Cherokee Ranch of North Florida other cold-sensitive crops:, he said.
Ltd. in Jackson County, he began festivals in 1928 and 1929 Growers and others interested
growing Satsuma oranges about attracted 35,000 people. in the weather data can access the
three years ago to diversify his -MACK GLASS system 24 hours daily by telephone
farming operation. He said the at (352) 846-3100 or the FAWN
idea to grow Satsumas came from Web site: http://fawn.ifas.ufl.edu/.
Wayne Sherman, a professor of He is working closely with George Dick Sprenkel, a professor of
horticulture with the University of Hochmuth, director of the UF/IFAS entomology and associate director of
Florida's Institute of Food and North Florida Research and Education the Quincy center, said there have
Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) in Center in Quincy, and Ed Jowers, been few insect and mite problems on
Gainesville. UF/IFAS Jackson County extension Glass's citrus trees.
"It's no secret that we're having director, to solve various cold protec- "Overall, Mack's crop has had fewer
some marketing problems here in the tion, pest control and other produc- insect pests than I normally see on
Panhandle because the new federal tion problems. dooryard citrus:' he said. "This is prob-
farm program has lowered target Glass said the Florida Automated ably due at least in part to the better
prices for traditional crops such as Weather Network (FAWN), which quality trees that he planted and the
corn, peanuts and soybeans," Glass provides real-time weather data 24 higher level of management that the
said. "Peanuts used to be our main hours daily to producers around the grove has received. At this time, I am
crop, generating about $780 per ton, state, helps him keep track of ap- optimistic that any insect problems
but now we're getting about $335 per preaching cold fronts and schedule his that are encountered can be economi-
ton." irrigation system to prevent freeze cally managed." N
He said weather and pest control damage. CHUCK WOODS
are the only challenges they face in John Jackson, a UF/IFAS Lake FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
producing Satsuma oranges, but these County extension agent who helped GEORGE HOCHMUTH (850) 875-7100
have been largely solved with the help establish FAWN in 1997, said the email@example.com
of UF research and extension experts, weather network now covers the
10 IMPACT I Spring 2005
for STU DENTS! ..
Agriculture and dentistry may seem
like an unusual combination of disci-
plines, but a growing partnership
between UF's College of Agricultural
"and Life Sciences (CALS) and UF's
College of Dentistry is proving to be
ideal for students who want to become
The Honors Combined Bachelor of David Beach, a graduate of the program, is currently finishing a two-year residency in endodontics. "The program
Sciences/Doctor of Medical Dentistry saved me the tuition expenses for a year of undergraduate studies, and it was a quicker way to achieve my goal
of becoming a dentist."
Program allows outstanding students to of becoming a dentist."
graduate with professional degrees a year earlier than tradi- their freshman year, she said. Applicants must satisfy a set of
tional programs in the dental college. rigorous admissions criteria, including a minimum 3.8 overall
"Students accepted into the program receive their bachelor high school grade point average and a minimum Scholastic
of science and doctor of dental medicine degrees in seven Aptitude Test (SAT) score of 1310. Qualifying students must
years instead of the usual eight years;' said Jane Luzar, asso- also have taken two college-level science courses and received
"ciate dean of CALS, which is part of UF's Institute of Food an overall grade point average of at least 3.75 (out of a possi-
and Agricultural Sciences. "Saving a year is a big benefit for ble 4.0) during their freshman year at UF.
students:' Students admitted into the program also receive provi-
During their senior year in CALS, program participants sional early acceptance into the dental program, which is
transfer to the freshman class in the dental college. Credits attractive to students at a time when the admissions process
from the first year of the professional degree are used toward at dental schools across the country is becoming more
participants' bachelor's degrees, which are awarded after the stringent.
first year of dental school. "Getting into a good dental program is getting extremely
"I knew in high school that I wanted a career in dentistry" competitive:' said Andrew Cooper, a program participant who
said David Beach, a graduate of the program who is currently is now attending dental school. "Knowing that I was already
finishing a two-year residency in endodontics. "The program accepted took a lot of pressure off of me as an undergraduate.
"saved me the tuition expenses for a year of undergraduate I still had to work hard, but I was able to be more focused and
studies, and it was a quicker way to achieve my goal of enjoy all of the interesting things that UF has to offer."
becoming a dentist:' Luzar said that the honors program is one of several
Launched in 1992, the program now admits eight to 10 combined degree programs tailored to motivated students
students per year, Luzar said. The program offered only interested in professional or graduate degrees. According to
through CALS was developed to help students who have Luzar, these programs are not only a good opportunity for
shown exceptional ability and interest in a dental career. students, they are good for the university, too.
"We have a number of students who want to pursue a "Our B.S./D.M.D. program is gaining national recognition
career in dentistry, and they demonstrate their commitment now, as students call from all over the nation to talk to us
to this goal through the quality of their academic work and about applying":' Luzar said. "Our combined degree programs
activities such as volunteer work," Luzar said. "We wanted to are becoming a big draw for students of the highest caliber
offer these students a program that recognizes their interest from Florida and out of state:" '
and experience, and puts them on a more linear track toward JULIE WALTERS
their goals:' FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Students majoring in microbiology and cell science or food JANE LUZAR (352) 392-2251
science and human nutrition may apply to the program in EJLuzar@ifas.ufl.edu
IMPACT I Spring 2005 11
SIEGE in SANTIAGO
by Chuck Woods
___ .# ..
First identified in Chile in 1986, subterranean termites have spread over more
than 18,000 square miles, causing widespread damage to structures in
Santiago, Valparaiso and surrounding areas.
Nan-Yao Su, left, Teresa Rivas and Jim Smith discuss termite damage in In residential areas such as Cerro Navia, extensive use of wood construc-
the municipality of Cerro Navia in Santiago, Chile. Rivas, whose property tion usually in direct contact with the soil provides easy access for
received extensive subterranean termite damage, said she replaced termites. About 15,000 homes are severely infested with termites, and
wood furniture, fences and other construction materials with concrete the destruction is spreading rapidly.
and metal to stop the damage.
12 IMPACT I Spring 2005
.. ..... .. :":
WHEN AN INVASION OF SUBTERRANEAN TERMITES
recently became a problem in Chile, researchers with the country's Ministry of Agriculture
turned to a University of Florida termite expert for help. Nan-Yao Su, a professor of entomology
with UF's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, is internationally recognized for his
expertise on termites and is frequently called upon to help stop the destructive pest.
In Santiago and other urban areas the problem has gone from bad to Ripa said. Others then use the
near the sprawling capital of Chile, an worse, discarded wood to build or repair their
invasion of subterranean termites is "You can see it in the faces of people homes and fences not knowing the
gnawing away on thousands of homes, who are worried about the destruction wood is already infested with subter-
causing fear and confusion among resi- of their homes," says Renato Ripa, an ranean termites.
dents who don't know how to stop the entomologist with the government's Popular remedies such as pouring
destruction. Institute de Investigaciones bleach or kerosene on infested wood
Subterranean termites were not a Agropecuarias (INIA). "It's taken about are ineffective because termite colonies
problem until the pest was first identi- 40 years for the problem to reach this are underground, often hundreds of
fied in the country in 1986, probably point, and most people don't know feet from the infested structure.
introduced from the United States anything about termites or how to About 15,000 homes are severely
through the port city of Valparaiso. control them." infested with termites, and the destruc-
Since then, the termite has spread over In a desperate attempt to stop the tion is spreading rapidly, Ripa said.
18,600 square miles in the region destruction, people remove damaged While the problem affects people
around Valparaiso and Santiago, and wood and throw it out on the street, from all socioeconomic levels in the
IMPACT N ISing 2005 13
Top: Nan-Yao Su, left, and Paola Luppichini check a
Sentricon termite baiting system in Valparaiso,
SChile. The termites probably found their way into
Sithe country through the port city about 40 years
SBelow: Nan-Yao Su, left, and Renato Ripa inspect
subterranean damage in Valparaiso, Chile.
working with Ripa and Su on the
"The goal of our research was to test
the four commercial pesticide treat-
C K iD ,e ments now on the market and develop
recommendations for controlling
severe termite problems in the region":
For their research, Ripa and Su
selected two test sites in Valparaiso
SI and two sites in the town of Quillota to
compare barrier and bait treatment
methods. Barrier treatments include
chemicals applied to soil to prevent or
repel termites from entering the struc-
n ture. Bait treatments include chemicals
That termites feed upon and carry back
to their underground nests, causing the
entire underground colony to slowly
The barrier treatments are Termidor,
"manufactured by BASF, and Demon,
"made by Syngenta Corp. The bait treat-
ments are FirstLine, made by FMC
Corp., and Sentricon, made by Dow
region, it's particularly troublesome in with government agencies in many In the early 1990s, Su helped
poor urban neighborhoods, he said. countries. In the United States, he develop the Sentricon Termite Colony
Extensive use of wood construction, recently helped the National Park Elimination System in his research
usually in direct contact with the soil, Service stop termite infestations at the program at the UF/IFAS Fort
provides easy access for the wood- Statute of Liberty in New York, the Lauderdale Research and Education
hungry insects. The termites also French Quarter in New Orleans and Center. At the time, industry experts
attack and kill trees, the Christensted National Historic Site called Su's system the biggest advance
Ripa, based at the INIA research in St. Croix. in pest control in more than 50 years.
station in the town of La Cruz about With the help of funds from the Su's bait system has a chemical
60 miles from Santiago, said he did not Chilean government, Ripa and Su initi- called hexaflumuron, a growth regula-
have a lot of experience with subter- ated several research projects in Chile's tor that prevents termites from
ranean termites, which prompted him fifth region, which includes the molting, thereby reducing the ability of
to seek the advice of Nan-Yao Su, a nation's second largest city of the worker population to sustain the
University of Florida termite expert. Valparaiso. Chile is divided into 13 colony. The chemical has a low toxicity
Su, a professor of entomology with government regions extending more to humans and the environment. Less
UF's Institute of Food and Agricultural than 2,500 miles from north to south than one gram kills an entire colony
Sciences (UF/IFAS), is internationally along the Pacific. containing millions of termites.
recognized for his expertise in control- Paola Luppichini, an agronomist at "In Chile, after two years of anlayz-
ling subterranean termites and works the INIA research station in La Cruz, is ing results from our field tests
14 IMPACT I Spring 2005
Nan-Yao Su, left, and James Smith check termite
damage to a wood fence in Cerro Navia, one of
many municipalities in the Santiago metro area
that are being attacked by the pest.
comparing the barrier and bait
systems, we found that the barrier w
treatments do help protect homes and
other structures from subterranean
termites, but these treatments do not
provide complete protection:' Ripa
said. "Termites are clever they still
find ways to go around barrier treat- develop new building codes to prevent is aggravated by the fact that almost all
ments to feed on wood in the struc- future damage." low-income housing is built with wood
ture. It looks like the termites are just in the ground, creating a haven for
avoiding the repellants.: SANTIAGO SIEGE subterannean termites.
Ripa said tests on one of the two In Santiago, the nation's largest city "Some people just give up and think
baiting systems did not show effective with more than five million residents, they're going to have to live with the
control. "We saw little or no feeding Su is working with James Smith, an destructive pest, but we are saying, 'no,
activity by subterranean termites on entomologist and commercial pest that's not true,'" Smith said.
the FirstLine bait, and the control operator, to battle the termite "So the first thing we need to do is
damage was the same as the educate people and some 30
untreated areas," he said. municipal governments in the
"However, the Sentricon When you consider a system Santiago area about the
baiting system provided total such as Sentricon, which can growing threat," Smith said.
control of the termites at all eliminate the subterranean "Then we need to show them
four test sites in about one effective control measures
year." termite problem in Chile, you that local governments will
Su said the long-term solu- also need to remember that the support."
tion to controlling and eradi- cost of controlling the pest is far To demonstrate how subter-
cating subterranean termites in less than the cost of repairing or ranean termites can be
the region is to kill the under- stopped with the Sentricon
ground colonies, and Sentricon replacing damaged homes, system, Smith and Su initiated
is the only way to achieve this businesses and other test projects in two relatively
kind of result. "Otherwise, structures later on. poor areas of the city the
you're just chasing termites -NAN-YAO SU municipalities of Cerro Navia
around with barrier or repel- and Las Condes. Smith's
lant chemicals:' he said. company installed the under-
Ripa said the next step is to make ground baiting stations and
their research data available to govern- problem that now affects all areas of monitored termite activity at the test
ment agencies, pest control operators the city. When subterranean termites sites, comparing results with adjacent
and consumers, started causing widespread damage neighborhoods that were not treated.
"Based on our test results, we are seven years ago, Smith and Su started In Cerro Navia, the demonstration
recommending the Sentricon system developing solutions for area-wide project includes 108 homesites, with
to eliminate underground termite management of the problem. half of the $100,000 cost being paid by
colonies and chemical barriers to Smith, who owns Terminator the Chilean government and half being
protect structures,' he said. "We are Systems in Santiago, said termite con- covered by Smith's firm. In Las
seeking additional government funds trol may not be a high governmental Condes, which includes two different
to continue developing termite priority in the poorer areas of the city sites with 30 homes each, the muni-
controls in the region. We also want to where people worry about feeding and cipal government is paying for 96
work with government agencies to caring for their families. The problem
IMPACT I Spring 2005 15
percent of the cost and homeowners ity of Las Condes in Santiago, said the "When you consider a system such
are paying for 4 percent. Sentricon system solved their termite as Sentricon, which can eliminate the
"When the Cerro Navia project problem, but he expressed concern subterranean termite problem in Chile,
started, 75 percent of the homes in the that the issue is not being addressed by you also need to remember that the
six-block test site had severe termite various government agencies on a cost of controlling the pest is far less
problems, and we were able to bring regional level, than the cost of repairing or replacing
that down to just 3 percent in a year "The nice thing about our project in damaged homes, businesses and other
and a half achieving 95 percent Las Condes is that it brings all people structures later on," Su said.
control of the pest:' Smith said. together to solve a problem," Valdez "We have demonstrated that there is
"In Las Condes, municipal inspec- said. "The public sector is working an effective way to stop this invasive
tors said the demonstration site was with private business and residents in pest in Chile, and we hope the govern-
'eaten up' by subterranean termites:' he the area to show a need and respond to ment and other community leaders
said. "We installed the baiting system it in an effective way." will find creative ways of bringing this
in September 2002 and there were no Su said the long-term cost of not pest control technology to the people:'
termites zero by June 2003:' controlling the pest in Chile will far he said. E
Raul Valdez, an urban pest manage- outweigh the cost of taking corrective FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
ment specialist for the the municipal- measures now. NAN-YAO SU (954) 577-6339
I arml 1 03nS a Bh .3. n Brrn 31d 1.,)unly Th
[rm i p n a nd ,orj*e 31 .,r 3bv mhe B., 1 h l
University of Florida experts and state officials have eradi- ties, homes and boats in dry dock were already infested.
cated a newly introduced termite species in South Florida, "Because it damages buildings, this pest ranks right up
and they say it's the first time an invasive pest like this has there with citrus canker in terms of the economic damage it
ever been stopped, could do:' said Rudolf Scheffrahn, a professor of entomology
First discovered in Broward County almost four years ago, with UF's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
the tree termite could have caused as much as a billion (UF/IFAS). "We believe we've eliminated all of the colonies
dollars in property damage if it had become established in of tree termites in South Florida, stopping the pest from
the state. Eighteen structures, including commercial facili- gaining a permanent foothold here."
16 IMPACT I Spring 2005
Brian Cabrera holds a nest of tree termites in his
laboratory at the UF/IFAS Fort Lauderdale Research
and Education Center. He believes the pest found
its way into Florida by ship.
Scheffrahn, based at the UF/IFAS Fort Lauderdale "At the time, we were not sure that we could eradicate the
Research and Education Center, identified the bug as termite because a new population is usually well established
Nasutitermes coriger, a pest commonly found throughout by the time it's discovered:' Scheffrahn said. "However, the
the Caribbean region and in Central and South America. tree termite is different because the nests, tubes and
This species was also recently discovered in New Guinea by damage are usually obvious. Until now, no one had ever
a Belgian scientist, eliminated an exotic termite after establishment on land."
Unlike most termite species in the United States, which When Scheffrahn and Cabrera surveyed the area in 2001,
spend most of their lives underground, the non-native they estimated the tree termite had been in Dania Beach for
termites build their nests above ground, usually at the base at least eight years before it was discovered. But the infesta-
of trees, and travel on or above ground in search of wood. tion appeared to be limited to an area of one square kilome-
This posed a problem for local pest control operators hoping ter about a third of a square mile a relatively small area
to stop the insect, for an eight-year-old infestation. The finding raised the
"Most termite control methods were developed for possibility that the task force might be able to eliminate the
subterranean termites," Scheffrahn said. "When you apply a entire infestation, Scheffrahn said.
pest control agent to the ground around a house, the ter- With a $30,000 grant from the state, the UF researchers
mites pass through or feed on that agent and carry it with found that a pair of widely used pesticides would kill the
them. Tree termites travel above ground, like ants, so those termites when sprayed on nests or infested trees. After three
methods are not effective." treatments with the pesticides and the fumigation of several
While most homeowners in the termite's native range buildings, a survey of the area in July 2004 revealed only
have been fighting the insect for centuries, their experience three remaining populations, which have since been
offered little help, said Brian Cabrera, an assistant professor treated. With volunteers from the pest control community
of entomology and extension specialist who worked with and logistical support from the state agriculture depart-
Scheffrahn on the termite control project, ment, the researchers say the tree termite has effectively
"This termite is found in many areas of the developing been defeated.
world, where pest control services are not available or [are] Scheffrahn said the program saved the state from a poten-
very expensive, so people will attempt to control the pro- tially costly pest at little cost to state government. For
blem with whatever they have on hand:' Cabrera said. their efforts, the Tree Termite Task Force received a 2004
"Usually, replacement of damaged wood is the only option." Davis Productivity Award that recognized the team's innova-
To limit the spread of the new termite in South Florida, tive and cost-cutting approach. The $500 award was
Steve Dwinell, assistant director at the Florida Department donated to victims of the 2004 hurricanes. U
of Agriculture and Consumer Services, created an emer- TIM LOCKETTE
agency task force in 2002, which includes Scheffrahn and FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Cabrera as well as other state officials, pest control opera- RUDOLF SCHEFFRAHN (954) 577-6312
tors and pesticide manufacturers. firstname.lastname@example.org
IMPACT I Spring 2005 17
by Chuck Woods
A female black salt marsh mosquito (Ochlerotatus taeniorhynchus) emerges from the pupal skin. This
species is a major pest in Florida coastal areas because large numbers of adults frequently emerge from
aquatic habitats in salt marshes and mangrove swamps, and then they fly several miles in search of a
blood meal. (PHOTO BY JAMES NEWMAN)
18 IMPACT I Spring 2005
THE FLORIDA MEDICAL ENTOMOLOGY
LABORATORY IN VERO BEACH isoneofthe
world's largest facilities devoted to understanding and controlling mosquito-borne
diseases such as West Nile virus, St. Louis encephalitis, eastern equine encephalitis,
dengue fever and malaria. The lab part of UF's Institute of Food and Agricultural
Sciences provides vital, research-based information to mosquito control districts,
public health agencies and consumers in Florida and the nation.
IMPACT I Spring 2005 19
With summer on its way and mosquitoes beginning to
Ever since West Nile virus first appeared in North
America in 1999 and Florida in 2001, it has upended early Tabachnick said birds are the natural host of the virus,
assumptions that it is a mild disease that only affects the which was first identified in 1937 in the West Nile region of
elderly. The virus has the potential to cause massive human Uganda in Africa. Mosquitoes, which become infected after
epidemics on a scale not seen in the United States in the biting infected birds, can infect humans, animals and unin-
past 100 years, according to researchers at the Florida fected birds with their bites.
Medical Entomology Laboratory in Vero Beach. In its mission to control mosquitoes and other disease-
In fact, West Nile epidemics have already hit Illinois, carrying arthropods, the Vero Beach lab works closely with
Colorado and Arizona during the past five years. Every state Florida mosquito control districts, health departments, the
except Alaska, Hawaii and Oregon has experienced human Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services,
cases or animalmer on infections. In 2003, the numbeginnir of human and other government agencies, including the Centers for
buzz,cases across the nat of West Nile and othe9,800 more tan double Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of
the previous year. The death toll in 2003 was 262, slightly Health (NIH) and the World Health Organization.
lower than the 284 in 2002. Tabachnick said researchers at the lab are working on
Healthese blood-f officials believe most infected people show no more than a dozen different projects that will help alert and
signs of the illness, but some ext hot experience flulike symposquito-bornems protect Florida and the nation from mosquito-bornet to collect mosquito larvae and
such as fever, headache and body aches. In some cases, the epidemics. Work is being done on West Nile, St. Louis,
virus may cause encephalitis or meningitis that can be fatal eastern equine, and dengue in the water of a stormwatetheir catch basin.
Ever since there is no vaccine virus first Nile, prevention is vectors, and new strategies for their control. AlthoughNorth
America in 1999 and Florida in 2001, it has upended early bachnFlorida, studies a the laboratory include interna-
"Although Florida has been spared so far, we certainly tional projects in Belgium, Brazil, Israel, Peru and
have allssumption the ingredies for a mild diseassive West Nle epidemic, he which was first identified in 1937 in the West Nile region of
whelderly. The virus has the potential to cause massiction eve human Uganda in Africa. Mosquitoes, which become infected after
epidemics on a scale not seen in the United States in the biting infected birds, can infect humans, animals and unin-
past 100 years, according to researchers at the Florida fected birds with their bites.
more critical Entomology Laboratory in Vero Beach. In its mission to control mosquitoes and other disease-VIRUSES
Beach lab. "Th Nile epidemicsuld have a severe impact Illinois, carryinthia Lord, an associate professor of entomolosely who
healthorado and well-being during the past five years. Every state Florida mosqfaculty team at the lab working on a five-yeartments, $2.5
except Alaska, Hawaii and Oregon has experienced human Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services,
hit thcases or animal infections. In 2003, the number of human and other government, said their research project include Centers three
20 IMPcases across the nation exceeded 9,800 more than double Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes ofT I Sring 2005
the previous year. The death toll in 2003 was 262, slightly Health (NIH) and the World Health Organization.
lower than the 284 in 2002. Tabachnick said researchers at the lab are working on
Health officials believe most infected people show no more than a dozen different projects that will help alert and
signs of the illness, but some experience flulike symptoms protect Florida and the nation from mosquito-borne disease
such as fever, headache and body aches. In some cases, the epidemics. Work is being done on West Nile, St. Louis,
virus may cause encephalitis or meningitis that can be fatal. eastern equine, and dengue viruses, malaria, their mosquito
Since there is no vaccine for West Nile, prevention is vectors, and new strategies for their control. Although
crucial. focused in Florida, studies at the laboratory include interna-
"Although Florida has been spared so far, we certainly tional projects in Belgium, Brazil, Israel, Peru and
have all the ingredients for a massive West Nile epidemic, Uzbekistan. The research has worldwide implications.
which makes accurate surveillance and prediction even
more critical," says Walter Tabachnick, director of the Vero M OSQUITO-BORNE VIRUSES
Beach lab. "The disease could have a severe impact on the Cynthia Lord, an associate professor of entomology who
health and well-being of Florida residents and visitors, and leads a faculty team at the lab working on a five-year, $2.5
hit the state's tourist industry hard." million NIH grant, said their research project includes three
20 IMPACT I Spring 2005
major components: mathematical modeling to understand The Vero Beach laboratory research focuses on the ability
factors that affect mosquito outbreaks, laboratory research of different mosquito species to transmit West Nile virus
on how well different mosquito species can transmit the and how the age of these mosquito populations affects
virus, and field experiments to measure transmission rates transmission rates. Current research is aimed at measuring
by mosquitoes. She is using data from all three components virus transmission by two common species of mosquitoes:
to construct models that best predict the epidemiology of Culex nigripalplus and Cx. quinquefasciatus. These mosquitoes
West Nile. can be long-lived, so the effect of age on transmission is
"This multidisciplinary approach will improve risk assess- important. Another important question being addressed is
ment for West Nile and utilize state-of-the-art information the relationship between the number of mosquitoes that are
to develop new strategies to reduce the risk of this and infected and the number that are able to transmit the virus.
other arthropod-borne pathogens to public health," Lord Faculty members working to characterize mosquito West
said. Nile transmission capability include Tabachnick and Chris
She said these viruses are maintained in nature by cycling Mores, Roxanne Rutledge and Chelsea Smartt, assistant
between the mosquito vector and wild birds. Her mathemat- professors of entomology.
ical models on the transmission cycles of West Nile virus The field component of the research, led by Jonathan Day,
and St. Louis encephalitis demonstrate how the natural a professor of entomology, uses sentinel chickens to detect
cycle functions and how to improve surveillance and virus transmission by mosquitoes. Mosquito collections at
control efforts. the same sites are used to determine the age structure of
"Outbreaks of West Nile virus could become more cyclical natural populations and how it affects transmission.
in different areas of the United States over time dying Rutledge also serves as liaison to mosquito control districts
down one year and flaring up the next," she said. "It is a to locate field sites and mosquito populations. George
common pattern for viruses transmitted by arthropods such O'Meara, a professor of entomology, provides ecological
as mosquitoes, sandflies and ticks"' information on the primary mosquito vectors of West
Lord said these are very complex transmission cycles, Nile virus.
which can be difficult to understand and control. Under-
standing the cycles, however, is crucial to predicting the risk
of large-scale epidemics and human disease.
Roxanne Rutledge, left, holds a scale model of a mosquito used in her extension education programs. The
model demonstrates how mosquitoes feed on blood, how the blood is digested, and how mosquito-borne
diseases are transmitted to humans and animals.
Walter Tabachnick, below, extracts DNA genetic material from mosquitoes at the Florida Medical
El i r- I ;; il .- .
SThese tiny containers, above, allow researchers to observe the growth and development of mosquito larvae
feeding on genetically modified yeast cells that produce TMOF. Cells that produce TMOF starve the larvae to death.
Cynthia Lord, left, uses a pipette to collect mosquito larvae for a research project at the Florida Medical
Entomology Laboratory in Vero Beach.
Below: Cynthia Lord, left, Walter Tabachnick, George O'Meara, Roxanne Rutledge, Jonathan Day and Chelsea
Smartt review plans for various research projects at the Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory.
UF/IFAS FILE PHOTO
M OSQUITO M APPING controlling mosquitoes, and the devices end up killing more
In another project, Day is working with state and federal beneficial insects than mosquitoes.
agencies to predict outbreaks of mosquito-borne diseases.
Using the St. Louis encephalitis virus as a model, he has TIGER M OSQUITOES
developed a reliable system for predicting outbreaks in Researchers at the Vero Beach lab are also studying inva-
Florida, and he works closely with state and national sive, disease-carrying pests such as the Asian Tiger mosquito
mosquito control districts and other public and private (Aedes albopictus) that invaded Florida in the late 1980s.
groups to disseminate the information. Native to East Asia, the mosquito is now one of the most
By combining weather information from the Florida prevalent biting pests in the warmer regions of North and
Division of Forestry and the National Oceanic and Atmo- South America, Europe and Africa.
spheric Administration, data on sentinel chicken surveil- To learn more about the health risks associated with this
lance from the Florida Department of Health and reports aggressive mosquito in Florida and South America, scien-
from local mosquito control districts, Day has developed a tists at the lab are working on an NIH-sponsored project in
forecasting system for Florida that is now available as a risk cooperation with Illinois State University, Yale University
map, with accompanying explanation, on the lab's Web site: and the Oswaldo Cruz Institute in Brazil. This project was
http://eis.ifas.ufl.edu/. originally supported by NIH, which provided $1.5 million
"The map changes as various indicators for encephalitis for a four-year project. Funding was recently renewed by
show up or disappear across the country," he said. NIH, which provided an additional $2 million to continue
He posts the current-year maps in January and updates the project for five more years.
them monthly through June, after which updates become Phil Lounibos, a professor of entomology at the Vero
weekly through the end of mosquito season. Beach lab who leads the project, said their goal is to learn
Day's other research and education work which has more about the ecology and genetics of the Asian Tiger
attracted national media attention includes studies on mosquito, which can transmit several diseases. He said the
mosquito attractants and repellants. Recently, he warned mosquito is a good model for studying invasive mosquito
consumers that electric bug zappers are not effective in species. The significance of learning why certain mosquito
22 IMPACT I Spring 2005
species make excellent invaders is critical for protecting the NUTRIENT-RICH IN4OSQUITO
United States from new pests. The project is receiving inter-
national recognition. BREEDING SITES
onathan Day, right, counts mosquitoes collected in igh t t rap set on the grounds of dengue O'Meara, along with Jorge Rey, a professor of entomology,
virus, which infects millions of people annually but is and Sheila O'Connell, a biological scientist, are examining
Entomology Laboratorlly not fatal Lounibos said. "Dengue is epidemic in mosquito production in nutrient-rich aquatic systems, espe-
BrazilDov Borovsky, below, examines Petri dishes we're trying to understand how inva- cially those created by human activities.
arrival of dengue virus into Florida and the U.S. We must stormwater catch basins and above-ground habitats, particu-
know more about the mosquitoes capable of transmitting larly stormwater and wastewater treatment areas," O'Meara
dengue if we hope to reduce the impact of this disease." said.
"In research on the population dynamics of mosquitoes, "Large numbers of mosquitoes, including those that trans-
O'Meara, another member of the team, found that the Asian mit West Nile virus and other disease-causing organisms,
Tiger mosquito forced the common Aedes aegyptidemic in mosquito an develop in these nutrient-rich habitatic syst he said. "The
out of its native habitats in Florida causing that mosquito primary goal of our research is to develop information for
to disappear in many areas of the state. The distribution of designing and maintaining stormwater and wastewater
these mosquitoes is key to determining the risk from habitats that are less likely to generate mosquito problems."
dengue, since both species are capable of transmitting stormwater and wastewater treatment areas O'Meara
dengue virus to houmans.o r e te i t of t d
O'Meara also found that a new mosquito (Culex biscaynen- Researchers at the Vero Beach lab are also developing
sis) in South Florida occupies habitats that Asian Tiger environmentally friendly ways of controlling mosquitoes
mosquitoes would normally colonize. This and other native without pesticides. One solution: rugged little crustaceans
mosquito species that live as larvae in bromeliads fill one of that attack mosquito larvae with a vengeance.
to disappear in many areas of the state. The distribution of designing and maintaining stormwater and wastewater
dengue virus to humans. BIOLOGICAL CONTROL
"the habitats where Asian Tiger mosquitoes could breed.
IMPACT i Spring 2005 23
The eastern treehole mosquito (Ochlerotatus triseriatus) can often be found in water-holding cavities of live oak, hackberry and other types of trees. This mosquito
is engorged with blood.
"We're using the native organisms to control mosquitoes Rey's research shows that the copepods are easy and inex-
when they breed in standing water, usually in ponds, tires pensive to raise and deliver to target areas. Large numbers
and other open containers," Rey said. "By adding tiny crus- of copepods can be reared in small plastic pools, plastic
taceans called copepods to the water, we can kill mosquito garbage cans and other inexpensive containers. Copepods
larvae before they become adults that may spread West Nile thrive in warm climates but can survive freezing tempera-
and other diseases, tures for short periods. Pesticides commonly used for
"Tests at our lab show that the copepods (Macrocyclops mosquito control do not kill the copepods.
albidus and Mesocyclops aspericornis) feed on mosquito He said more research is needed on ways to distribute the
larvae at an amazing rate, killing up to 90 percent of the copepods in the environment for effective mosquito larvae
larvae," he said. control.
His research shows the copepods prefer young mosquito "Standard spray equipment can be easily modified to
larvae, usually those not older than four days. But they will dispense copepods," Rey said. "Since they can withstand
attack older larvae when the number of young larvae almost dry conditions, storage and transportation will not
declines, require large quantities of water:'
He said copepods are native to Florida and common He said biocontrol techniques, such as using copepods for
throughout the world. They pose no danger to people, controlling mosquito larvae, are attractive for developing
animals or plants. However, copepods do not exist in every countries where human resources usually are more available
body of water and would have to be introduced in order to than money for expensive control alternatives.
be effective on a wide scale. Rey, Rutledge, O'Connell and Richard Escher, a biological
Once the copepods become established, they reproduce in scientist, have developed mosquito copepod kits for Florida
high numbers for effective natural control or teachers. The kits contain all the materials needed to estab-
biocontrol of mosquito larvae, Rey said. Copepods survive lish cultures of copepods that are predators of mosquito
so well because they feed on a wide range of insect prey in larvae.
the natural environment. "With the kits, students can study the complete mosquito
"Over the years, a variety of other biological control life cycle," Rutledge said. "The kits, available free to Florida
agents ranging from viruses to fish have been tried for teachers, also contain a CD with illustrations and back-
mosquito control, but nothing seems to work as effectively ground information on mosquitoes and copepods."
as this microscopic natural predator," Rey said. For ordering instructions, visit
Current restrictions on pesticides, along with the growing http://fmel.ifas.ufl.edu/kits/.
problem of insect resistance to many chemicals, make
biocontrols such as copepods increasingly attractive, he said.
24 IMPACT I Spring 2005
lAMES 1JEW ,IAN".
In Florida, this species of mosquito (Culex nigripalpus) plays a major role in the transmission of disease-causing viruses. This mosquito is engorged with blood.
BIOTECHNOLOGY agricultural applications against other insects, relying on
similar molecules to control their digestive enzymes,
Research on mosquito biochemistry and molecular
biology at the lab has resulted in a promising new pest
control method that is efficient and safe for the
environment. EXTENSION EDUCATION
Dov Borovsky, a professor of entomology, has developed a Scientists at the Vero Beach lab also provide a variety of
mosquito "diet pill" that alters their digestion, making it education programs through the statewide UF/IFAS exten-
impossible for them to feed, lay eggs or survive. sion service, local and district mosquito control organiza-
He discovered that the TMOF (trypsin modulating oosta- tions, the Internet and other venues.
tic factor) hormone can stop digestion in mosquito larvae, Under Rutledge's leadership, faculty at the Vero Beach lab
causing them to die of starvation. And he is using biotech- train more than 300 mosquito control and public health
nology to incorporate the TMOF hormone into a variety of professionals annually. A course on mosquito identification
microorganisms that mosquitoes eat. offered by Rutledge and Richard Darsie, a courtesy professor
"As a result, the same pond scum that nourishes young of entomology, is internationally recognized by mosquito-
mosquitoes can now deliver their death blow," Borovsky control professionals. Over the past five years, more then
said. "We have genetically engineered the aquatic organism 150 people have completed the two-week course, including
chlorella found in marshes as a means to help to control students from throughout the United States and as far away
mosquito larvae that eat chlorella and algae. After eating the as New Zealand and Turkey.
chlorella, the larvae cannot digest food, and they die from Information on the lab's outreach programs is available at
starvation." http://mosquito.ifas.ufl.edu/. This site, which receives more
He has also genetically engineered yeast to produce than 200,000 hits annually, provides information for profes-
TMOF. The recombinant yeast can be mass-produced, dried, sionals in public health and mosquito control as well as the
formulated and sprayed over large areas like other pesti- general public. U
cides. The recombinant yeast starves the mosquito larvae to FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
death after they eat the cells. WALTER TABACHNICK (772) 778-7200
What's more, Borovsky is engineering other plants to email@example.com
produce TMOF and control agricultural pests. "TMOF tech-
nology that started with mosquitoes can be used in
IMPACT I Spring 2005 25
by Chuck Woods
AFTER A LONG FIGHT AGAINST MOLE CRICKETS, UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
RESEARCHERS ARE DECLARING VICTORY AGAINST THE INVASIVE PESTS THAT
CAUSED $94 MILLION IN DAMAGE TO TURF AND PASTURES EACH YEAR. THE
MOLE CRICKET RESEARCH PROGRAM IS A PRIME EXAMPLE OF HOW UF'S
INSTITUTE OF FOOD AND AGRICULTURAL SCIENCES IS USING BIOLOGICAL
CONTROL TO MANAGE PESTS WITHOUT CONVENTIONAL PESTICIDES.
Tawny mole cricket Beneficial wasp parasitzing a tawny mole cricket
It's been an historic struggle dating "Dramatic reductions have occurred which is indigenous to the state, is not
back to 1978, but an invasion by South during the past 12 years as populations closely related to the three South
American mole crickets is being of the introduced natural enemies American invaders, and it is not trou-
stopped, thanks to a University of increased and began to have a spectac- blesome because native wasp and
Florida research program that pits ular effect on the mole cricket pests," nematode species in Florida keep it
natural enemies against the destruc- said Howard Frank, a professor of under control.
tive pests. entomology who has coordinated the Unfortunately, the three invasive
The successful release of three mole cricket research program at UF's mole cricket species are not affected
biological control agents wasps, Institute of Food and Agricultural by native wasps and nematodes in
nematodes and flies imported from Sciences (UF/IFAS) since 1985. Florida, he said.
South America has reduced mole Frank said four species of mole Accidentally introduced to the
cricket populations in the Gainesville crickets are found in Florida: north- Southeastern United States more than
area by 95 percent, and these controls ern, short-winged, southern and 75 years ago, the pest mole crickets
are spreading throughout Florida. tawny. The northern mole cricket, quickly became a problem for Florida
26 IMPACT I Spring 2005
vegetable growers. Arsenic baits By 1978, mole cricket damage on After the Brazilian wasp stings the
provided poor control of the pests pastures had become a major problem pest mole cricket and lays an egg, the
while pesticides such as DDT proved for Florida cattle ranchers when the wasp grub (larva) begins feeding on
to be more effective. However, when most effective pesticide chlordane the mole cricket and kills it within two
the Environmental Protection Agency was banned by EPA. Ranchers asked weeks.
(EPA) banned DDT and similar pesti- the Florida Legislature for help, and From 1981 to 1983, the Brazilian
cides in the 1970s, the pests became a the mole cricket research program was wasp was released at several South
nuisance once again, born. Florida locations, but it did not thrive
"When the three invasive mole Tom Walker, a professor of entomol- and failed to provide effective control
crickets left their natural enemies ogy (now retired) who coordinated the of the pest mole crickets.
behind, there was nothing to stop mole cricket research program from Undaunted, UF/IFAS researchers
their population boom here," Frank 1979 to 1985, said it was mandated by found a tougher strain of the same
said. "These pest mole crickets, which the state legislature and became the wasp in the higher elevations of
tunnel into the ground and feed on top priority in the UF/IFAS entomol- Bolivia, releasing it in the Gainesville
plant roots, are now found from North ogy and nematology department for area during 1988 and 1989.
Carolina to Texas, and they continue many years. "By late 1993, it was evident that
to spread north and west." "Early research on the three invasive the Bolivian strain of the wasp had
Of the three, the tawny mole cricket pests showed how mole crickets, like become established," Frank said. "Four
is the most destructive, eating grass moles, burrow into soil around plant years later, the population had spread
Nematodes emerging from dead mole cricket Beneficial fly
roots in Florida pastures and turf as roots and prevent them [roots] from at least 20 miles east and west of
well as the roots of tomatoes, absorbing water," Walker said. "We Gainesville. By 2002, it seems to have
cabbages, eggplants and bell pepper also realized that permanent control of spread 135 miles northwest and
seedlings, Frank said. these pests could only be achieved perhaps as far south. In time, it is
He said the pest crickets have a real with a classical biological control likely to occupy all of Florida."
affinity for Bahiagrass, Florida's most program, and we began looking for To help feed the growing number of
common pasture grass, which covers natural enemies in South America." wasps, Frank began recommending
more than 2.5 million of the state's 35 that residents plant southern larra-
million acres. Like the pest crickets, BENEFICIAL WASP flower (Spermacoce verticillata), a wild-
Bahiagrass was imported from South The first stop was Brazil where flower preferred by the wasp, as a
America, and it provides the insects researchers found a native wasp (Larra source of nectar for energy. Other
with an almost endless food source. bicolor) that attacks the pest mole wildflowers are still being
These mole crickets also eat crickets, but does not threaten investigated.
Bermudagrass on Florida golf courses. Florida's native northern mole cricket.
IMPACT I Spring 2005 27
The next stop in the battle against
the mole cricket invasion was
Uruguay, where a parasitic nematode
0 Light-colored areas show Florida a tiny, worm-like animal was
counties where the beneficial wasp found and brought to Florida for mass
(Larra bicolor) is now established. rearing and release.
0 Small dot in Broward County "While other natural enemies of
indicates 1981 release of beneficial mole crickets live above ground, nem-
wasp that was not effective. atodes dwell in the soil where the
crickets do most of their damage -
that's the real advantage of this para-
site:' said Grover Smart, a professor of
nematology (now retired) who
brought the nematode to Florida in
1985. "The nematode does not affect
Florida's native northern mole
crickets, but it does attack all three
invasive mole cricket pests."
Once the parasitic nematode
(Steinernema scapterisci) enters the
body of a mole cricket to mature and
BENEFICIAL NEMATODE reproduce, it kills the cricket within
The beneficial nematode 48 hours, Smart said. Young nema-
(Steinemema scapterisci) is todes emerge from the dead cricket
established in all light-colored todes emerge rom the dead cricket
Florida counties. about a week later seeking new hosts.
Once infected, mole crickets can
At least 2 billion nematodes spread the nematode to new areas by
were released in the lightest-colored
counties, and less than 2 million flying, crawling or burrowing.
nematodes were released in the Between 1989 and 1992, scientists
medium-colored counties. W working on the mole cricket research
program released more than 16 billion
.. -- nematodes in 21 Florida counties. "We
just don't see a lot of mole crickets any
more in areas where we have released
this parasite:' Smart said.
"UF holds three patents on the
organism, which is now available
commercially as a biopesticide
marketed as Nematac S by MicroBio, a
biotech firm owned by Becker
The beneficial fly (Ormia Underwood Inc. in Ames, Iowa.
The beneficial fly (Ormia
depleta) is present year-round Norman Leppla, a professor of ento-
in the light-colored counties. mology and coordinator of integrated
The fly occurs only during the pest management (IPM) programs for
*The fly occurs only during the
fall in the medium-colored counties. UF/IFAS, brokered the licensing agree-
ment between UF's Office of
Technology Licensing and MicroBio.
He said sales and use of Nematac S
now help advance the goals of the IPM
28 IMPACT I Spring 2005
Howard Frank, left, and Tom Walker check a two-part trap that uses synthesized mole cricket calls to monitor both mole crickets and the beneficial flies that locate
their hosts by sound. The trap plays the calls much louder than the mole crickets actually sing and may attract hundreds, even thousands, of mole crickets in a
single evening. The beneficial flies are trapped in the screen cage above, and the mole crickets fall through the netting below where they are shunted into a sand-
filled bucket. From August 1979 until the end of July 2004, several trapping stations near Gainesville provided a wealth of research data on the pests. "About three
years after the biocontrol agents were released, the catches of mole crickets started to fall, and the decline became greater every year," Walker said. "By the early
2000s, the numbers were 95 percent lower than they had been in the 1980s."
"If the nematode has not spread to their larvae on or near the singer," seem to survive permanently north of
your land, it will eventually get there," Frank said. "The larvae burrow into the Orlando area.
Frank said. "If you want to speed up the crickets and feed, killing the host "In counties where the fly is estab-
its arrival, apply the biopesticide. It within a week." lished, surveys show significantly less
will kill a large portion of your pest He said entomologists in the mole damage by pest mole crickets on golf
mole crickets year after year." cricket research program found and courses, but we expect to do even
reared the Brazilian fly, releasing a few better when we have researched the
BENEFICIAL FLY hundred flies in Gainesville and nectar sources the adult fly uses;'
The third effective biocontrol is a Bradenton in 1988. From 1989 to Frank said.
beneficial fly from Brazil (Ormia 1992, researchers released more than For more information on the mole
depleta) that is attracted at night to 10,000 flies across the state in cooper- cricket research program, visit:
two species of the pest mole crickets ation with golf courses and the Florida http://molecrickets.ifas.ufl.edu/. U
by the sounds they make. TurfGrass Association. By 1994, the fly FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
"Like little guided missiles, the flies had spread to 38 of Florida's 67 coun- HOWARD FRANK (352) 392-1901
home in on singing crickets and lay ties, but the tropical insect does not firstname.lastname@example.org
IMPACT I Spring 2005 29
30 iiic 2005
A MILO IFRN
G- mor tha an ote cls of
anml or plnt on Eat -t'
hard to knw hihonsr
hepfl hamul or juthrmes
ronmen. Only a smal numerar
pet. acorin to entGD olgisD
wi' UF Intiut of Foo and
by Chc Wood
Because Florida's warm, humid climate is such an ideal CYCAD AULACASPIS SCALE:
environment for insects and other arthropods, one of the Found in Miami in 1996, this
nation's largest concentrations of entomologists is based at P armored scale insect
the University of Florida. (Aulacaspis yasumatsui) is
spreading rapidly throughout
John Capinera, chairman of the entomology and nematology South Florida where it threat-
department at UF's Institute of Food and Agricultural ens sago palms and other cycad
Sciences (UF/IFAS), said the department has statewide plants. Although scale insects
teaching, research and extension programs designed to help may be spread short distances by wind, long distance spread
agricultural producers, pest control operators and residents is by movement of infested plants. Damage appears as
manage everything from cockroaches and termites to mos- chlorotic spots, but most of the palm fronds eventually
quitoes and fleas. become brown and desiccated. Highly infested cycads (see
photo) are almost completely coated with a white crust that
"Our faculty are involved in a wide range of projects, with a includes scales of living and dead insects. This scale insect is
strong focus on integrated pest management programs," he difficult to control, but repeated applications of horticul-
said. "IPM is the combined use of cultural, biological and tural oil alone or in combination with insecticide, or certain
chemical methods for effective, economic pest control with systemic insecticides applied alone, can provide control.
little effect on nontarget organisms and the environment." (PHOTO BY LYLE BUSS)
Capinera said the department also cooperates with agencies EARWIG: Some earwigs
such as the Florida Department of Agriculture and s (Dermaptera: Forticulidae)
Consumer Services and the USDA's Agricultural Research --- --- are crop pests, but many
Service. Scientists from these agencies frequently work to- ..... others are considered bene-
gether to solve pest management problems. ficial because they feed on
chinch bugs, mole crickets
To help keep track of the many insects that thrive in the and other insects in the
Florida environment, Thomas Fasulo, an extension entomol- soil. They also feed on de-
ogist in the UF/IFAS entomology and nematology depart- caying plant material. The
ment, maintains two popular Web sites. Detailed informa- forcepslike appendages at the end of the abdomen are used
tion on many of these arthropods is available on the for defense and cannot harm people. Despite their name,
Featured Creatures Web site at http://creatures.ifas.ufl.edu/. earwigs do not get into people's ears.
New developments on insect and nematode pests, and
diseases are available on the Pest Alert Web site at EASTERN LUBBER GRASSHOPPER: (photo on pages 30 and
http://pestalert.ifas.ufl.edu/. 31) When present in large numbers, the eastern lubber
grasshopper (Romalea guttata) can cause serious damage to
Following are brief descriptions of some of the many arthro- citrus, vegetable and landscape plants, especially lilies. It's
pods that thrive in the Florida environment, the most distinctive grasshopper species in the Southeastern
United States. The colorful insect, which cannot fly, jumps
SBED BUG: These blood- over short distances and is essentially harmless to humans.
"feeding insects have not Adults can be up to three inches long.
been a serious problem in
/ the United States since FORMOSAN SUBTERRANEAN
the 1940s, but they are TERMITE: More destructive
now becoming trouble- ,than native subterranean
some due to increased termites, the Formosan "super
Movement of people and termite" (Coptotermes
goods across international formosanus) was found by
borders. The resurgence of the bed bug (Cimex lectularius) is UF/IFAS researchers in
also linked to recent changes in pest management programs Miami-Dade and Broward
for other insects, particularly the use of insect baits and counties in the 1980s, and the
growth regulators instead of sprays. While some people pest is now well established
associate bed bugs with unsanitary living conditions, the along the Southeast coast of
pest can survive in many environments including upscale Y the state. Infestations have
hotels. Difficult to eradicate, bed bugs can live up to six
months without feeding. (PHOTO BY DAVID ALMQUIST)
32 IMPACT I Spring 2005
been found in 14 other counties: Citrus, Collier, Duval, An MEXICAN BROMELIAD WEEVIL:
Escambia, Hillsborough, Lee, Leon, Marion, Martin, -:.' Known to bromeliad lovers as
Orange, Pasco, Palm Beach, Putnam and Volusia counties. the "evil weevil," this insect
The pest is also spreading throughout the Southeastern (Metamasius callizona) feeds
United States. Fortunately, UF/IFAS researchers have devel- exclusively on bromeliads,
oped a new baiting system that destroys the pest's under- threatening bromeliad species
ground colonies. The system is marketed worldwide as the in South Florida that exist
Sentricon Termite Colony Elimination System. (PHOTO BY nowhere else in the United States. Identified in 1989 in Fort
JOSEPH SMITH) Lauderdale, the weevil probably arrived on shipments of
Mexican bromeliads. UF/IFAS entomologists are attempting
LADYBUG: Members of one of to rear natural enemies to control the pest. (PHOTO BY
Florida's most beneficial insect JAMES CASTNER)
groups, adult lady beetles (and
their larvae) come in many PINK HIBISCUS MEALYBUG: A
shapes and colors. The twice- serious pest of many plants in
stabbed lady beetle (Chilocorus tropical and subtropical
stigma) is valuable be-cause it regions, the pink hibiscus
feeds on many pests, including mealybug (Maconellicoccus
aphids, mealybugs, mites and other soft-bodied insects. hirsutus) was discovered in
(PHOTO BY MARISOL AMADOR) Broward County in 2002. As
the pest becomes established
LOBATE LAC SCALE: This insect in Florida, it could attack
no bigger than a pinhead many crops including citrus,
has been found on more than vegetables and ornamental
200 species of plants in South plants. If growers attempt to
Florida, including many orna- manage mealybug populations
mental and fruit trees. A with pesticides, crop produc-
native of India and Sri Lanka, tion costs will be increased,
lobate lac scale (Paratachardina and the chemicals may disrupt the effective natural enemies
lobata) may eventually spread of other crop pests. For more information on this pest, visit:
to other areas of Florida. http://mrec.ifas.ufl.edullsolPinkMealybug.htm/.
Evidence of their sap-sucking
destruction includes blackened -".-r i PREDACIOUS MITE: Although
leaves and branches, branch dieback and even death for fedi' many mites are important
susceptible shrubs and trees. UF/IFAS researchers are seek- pests for crops and animals,
e that feed on pest mites. A
LOVEBUGS: The infamous number of predatory species
lovebug (Plecia nearctica) are commercially available to
"shown as a mating pair with control pest species. (UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA PHOTO)
the female on the left -
invaded Florida from Louisiana PREDACIOUS STINK BUG:
in the 1940s. Adult lovebugs, Many stink bugs are plant
which do not sting or bite, feeders, and therefore pests,
swarm in the spring and late summer. While most people but many others are predators
consider the flies pests, the larvae (immature stage) feed on of destructive insects. In this
decaying plant material and help reduce thatch in roadside photo, a predacious stink bug
grassy areas. Controlling them with insecticides is impracti- (Alcaeorrhynchus grandis) is
cal because large populations occur over vast areas of the feeding on a caterpillar. Predatory stink bugs, characterized
state. The story that this insect is the result of a research by sharp spines at their "shoulders:' may remain active
project that went awry is a persistent myth. (PHOTO BY JAMES during the winter if temperatures stay above freezing.
CASTNER) (UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA PHOTO)
IMPACT I Spring 2005 33
RED IMPORTED FIRE ANT: Fire TWOSPOTTED MITE: A major
ants clamp onto their targets pest on more than 200 species
with powerful jaws and sting of plants including fruit,
their victims repeatedly, inject- ornamental and vegetable
ing a dose of venom that crops the twospotted mite
causes a burning sensation. In (Tetranychus urticae) is a
sensitive victims, the stings worldwide problem. These tiny
can cause shock or even death. mites (about 0.5 to 0.8 millimeter long) generally have two
The red imported fire ant large black spots on either side of their bodies, hence the
(Solenopsis invicta) was introduced into the United States in common name. (UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA PHOTO)
the 1930s or 1940s, probably through Gulf Coast ports.
Since then, it has become a major pest in the Southeast, WHITE-FOOTED ANT: A tiny
invading home lawns, golf courses, parks and other recre- white-footed ant
action areas. Feeding activity causes major damage on crops 9. (Technomyrmex albipes) with a
such as corn, cabbage, citrus, potatoes, peanuts and big appetite for sweets is the
soybeans. UF/IFAS and USDA researchers are developing latest nuisance pest for South
new biological control methods to stop this exotic pest. Florida residents, but a bait
(PHOTO BY DAVID ALMQUIST) developed by a UF/IFAS
researcher may help stop the home invaders. Named for
Southern pine beetle from Indonesia. They probably found their way into Florida
(Dendroctonus frontalis) is the via shipping containers or imported plants. About the size
most important pest of pine of a gnat, the ants do not bite, sting or cause any known
forests in the Southern United structural damage. (PHOTO BY RUDOLPH SCHEFFRAHN)
States, causing more than two
billion dollars in damage since YELLOW FLY: Members of the
1960. Favored hosts of these same Tabanidae insect family
beetles (male on the left and female on the right) include as horse flies and deer flies,
loblolly and shortleaf pine trees. The attack is initiated by yellow flies are fierce biters of
adult females, which bore into the tree and released eI humans and animals. Like
pheromones to attract large numbers of male and female of mosquitoes, the female yellow
beetles. If a sufficient number respond, they overwhelm the .. fly (Diachlorus ferrugatus)
defenses (the resin system) of the host tree, and then the inflicts the bite. Males are
attack moves to adjacent trees. Left untreated, the infesta- mainly pollen and nectar feeders. Florida's mild and humid
tions cover thousands of acres. The Gainesville area experi- climate provide good breeding areas for the pest. Although
enced serious outbreaks of the pest in 1994 and 2001. there are no effective biological controls for the fly, a
UF/IFAS researchers say good forest management practices trolling deer fly trap has been developed by a UF/IFAS
including proper planting densities and thinning of tree researcher. For more information on the trap, visit
stands can minimize the frequency and severity of http://ufinsect.ifas.ufl.edu/. (PHOTO BY JAMES CASTNER)
outbreaks. (PHOTO BY DAVID ALMQUIST)
1(Our faculty are involved in a wide range of projects, with a strong focus on
integrated pest management programs. IPM is the combined use of cultural,
biological and chemical methods for effective, economic pest control with
little effect on nontarget organisms and the environment.
34 IMPACT I Spring 2005
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Goat?," "Roy Bass," "Slept with Their Feet to the Tree" and IFAS EXTENSION campus in Gainesville, or
"42 Shots to Get a Deer." It also showcases Platt's musical order online at http://www.ifasbooks.com. Call
talents as he plays the "The Fox Hunt" on his beloved (800) 226-1764 or Fax (352) 392-2628. E-mail the book-
harp or harmonica. DVD 579, $24.95 store at email@example.com
http://www.ifasbooks.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
(800) 226-1764 Fax (352) 392-2628
IMPACT I Spring 2005 35
V UNIVERSITY OF NON-PROFIT ORG.
"r FLORIDA U.S. POSTAGE PAID
PERMIT NO. 94
IFAS GAINESVILLE, FL
SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT
AGRICULTURE AND NATURAL RESOURCES
The University of Florida
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
PO Box 110180
Gainesville, FL 32611-0180
Thomas Emmel, an affiliate professor of entomology with UF's
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences and director of UF's
new McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity, examines
the green pupal stage and brown larva of a tropical butterfly. The
large insect on the left is a Troides birdwing butterfly from the
"The McGuire center, which is part of the Florida Museum of
Natural History, has the nation's largest collection of butterflies, second in the world to The Natural
History Museum in London.
In an effort to establish a new, self-sustaining colony of Miami Blue butterflies in South Florida,
Emmel recently coordinated the release of several thousand butterflies bred and reared in captivity.
He said the critically endangered Miami Blue butterfly is one of the rarest insects in North America.
"At one time, it was common in the coastal areas of South Florida, but coastal development caused
the population to drop to low levels," Emmel said. After Hurricane Andrew swept through the area in
1992, Emmel and other researchers thought the Miami Blue was extinct, and they were surprised to
find a small colony of the insects in the Florida Keys. N
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
THOMAS EMMEL (352) 392-5894
". .1 -..s:- isi e l S