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                                                   NEWSLETTER                                                      WINTER 2001

Urban Entomology – A UC Connection
By Michael Rust, Professor of Entomology
    Urban entomology as a research approach and now a sub-            cockroaches, and termites. Baits have advantages including
discipline of entomology owes much of its development to a            safety and specificity, and are generally much more
strong UC connection. One of its first proponents, Arnold             environmentally compatible. Even though there are numerous
Mallis, author of the classic Handbook of Pest Control, spent his     commercial ant baits, most are ineffective because they are not
formative research years in the 1930s and 40s in the pest control     attractive or the toxicant works too quickly. Dr. Linda Hooper-
operations at UCLA. Probably the single most significant and          Bui (now Assistant Professor at LSU) explored how various
seminal contribution to urban entomology was UCLA professor           foods and toxicants are transferred from one ant to another. This
Walter Ebeling’s Urban Entomology text in 1975. Dr. Ebeling’s         process of social feeding, referred to as trophallaxis, is one of the
classic text permanently established urban entomology as a            major social characteristics in the life of ant and termite colonies.
distinct research area. Upon Walter’s retirement in 1975, his         By altering the composition of sugars and proteins, she was able
urban entomology program                                                                                       to alter the route that food
moved from UCLA to UC                                                                                          was       passed      among
Riverside.       At UCR the                                                                                    workers,      larvae,    and
program       has    emphasized                                                                                queens.
integrated pest management                                                                                         Termites, like ants also
(IPM) of the four major                                                                                        feed one another. While he
structural pests in California,                                                                                was student at UCR, Dr.
namely ants, cockroaches,                                                                                      Brian Cabrera, now an
fleas, and termites.                                                                                           Assistant          Extension
    To appreciate the evolution                                                                                Specialist at Univ. of
of urban entomology and its                                                                                    Florida, determined that the
current directions of research it                                                                              food flow in drywood
is necessary to understand some                                                                                termite     colonies     was
of the historical background.                                                                                  considerably slower and
With the advent of synthetic                                                                                   less efficient than that
chemicals such as chlordane                                                                                    found in ants. Termite
and chlorpyrifos in the 1940s                                                                                  workers fed both soldiers
and 1950s, the pest control                                                                                    and reproductives, but less
industry had inexpensive and readily accessible chemicals that        than about 5-10% of the food was transferred. Does this occur in
effectively controlled ants, cockroaches, fleas, and termites.        subterranean termites?       How important is trophallaxis in
These chemicals, the equipment used to apply them, and their use      subterranean termites and can toxicants effectively spread
patterns would dictate the control practices and philosophy of the    throughout a colony? These are some of the areas of research
pest control industry and public for the next 40 years. However,      that graduate student Karl Haagsma is pursuing. A better
major developments in the 1980s changed this picture and              understanding of the social interaction and feeding in
created a revolution that helped establish the science of urban       subterranean termites will permit us to develop better baits and
entomology. Widespread ecological effects associated with the         control strategies.
use of mirex and chlordane to control red imported fire ants and          Under the direction of Eileen Paine and Don Reierson, we are
termites began to change public attitudes concerning what had         conducting insecticide degradation studies to minimize pesticide
been benign neglect. The discovery of a slow-acting metabolic         use and understand how best to use soil treatments to control
poison, hydramethylnon, resulted in effective ant and cockroach       subterranean termites. Factors such as soil type, irrigation, and
baits. Lastly, the cancellation of chlordane’s registration for ant   the species of subterranean termite are being tested in this study.
and termite control stimulated research into alternative control      This applied research is extremely important because it is likely
strategies. The 1990’s signified a search for least toxic             that homeowners in the arid southwest will continue to use soil
approaches to pest control.                                           treatments to protect their homes for the foreseeable future.
    In recent years one of the focuses of the urban entomology            Ants, especially invasive species such as the Argentine and
research at UCR has been trying to develop baits to control ants,     red imported fire ant, are major threats to urban, natural, and
agricultural areas in California. Some ant species pose a threat to     insecticide resistance may be developing to the new topical
ground nesting sea birds such as the California least tern (CLT).       treatments applied to cats and dogs. Dr. Marco Metzger
Don and Eileen have spearheaded the project around San Diego            (California State Department of Public Health) developed some
harbor to protect nesting California least terns from predatory         novel nest boxes that permitted the study of fleas of the
ants. Argentine ants, fire ants, and certain field ants attack eggs     California ground squirrel. His research provided the first
and chicks and are believed to be one of the major threats to this      detailed information concerning the biology of Oropyslla
endangered seabird. They found that suppressing problem                 montanus, the primary vector of plague in California.
species during critical times during the tern breeding season               American cockroaches are a major pest of sewers systems in
rather than colony elimination may not only be sufficient for           California and Arizona. Their close association with human
optimal development of the birds, but may also be desirable in          waste makes them an important mechanical vector of human
maintaining species diversity, including the offending ants. This       disease. We are currently conducting a baiting/parasitoid release
spring Vanessa Higbee (future MS candidate) will also join the          program for the suppression of cockroaches in the City of Santa
team to look at effects of disturbing native vegetation for CLT         Monica while at the same time improving reclaimed or dumped
nesting sites on the ants and the impact of the plant communities       water quality. Baits containing imidacloprid and fipronil have
on ants. By physically altering the site, the composition of the        looked very promising.
plants, and possible food sources for the ants, we can hopefully            Some of the challenges ahead for urban entomology include
protect the birds without the use of insecticides.                      issues related to water quality in our urban wastewater treatment
    Summertime is ant season in Riverside and that means about          systems, streams, and watersheds. Invasive species such as the
100 local homeowners will join forces with our program to               red imported fire ant, German yellowjacket, and Africanized
control Argentine ants. Argentine ants are the most important           honeybee will always be important because of the amount of
pest species in urban areas throughout most of southern                 national and international trade and commerce between large
California. Stephanie Vega (now with the Coachella Fire Ant             urban centers. For some insects such as the German cockroach,
Control Program) found that these ants are capable of foraging          cat flea, and housefly the development of insecticide resistance
up to 250 feet and this greatly affected control programs.              will be a continuing problem. The urbanization of tropical
Another reason that Argentine ants are so difficult to control is       undeveloped countries is occurring at a rapid pace and this will
that they form numerous satellite colonies. The factors that            be a major challenge for urban entomologists in this century.
influence the development of these satellite colonies are the           Urban entomology has come a long way in the last 25 years and
subject of Albert Lee’s research (MS candidate). Understanding          UC will continue to have a strong connection.
the factors that promote budding of the colony may lead to novel
strategies to control them.
    The Urban Entomology program at UCR has always been                  For a complete listing of Entomology faculty, staff, postdocs, graduate
known for its research program dealing with cat fleas. Currently,        students and access to all of the latest news in the department, check
Marcella Waggoner and Dr. Nancy Hinkle are directing the UCR             out our website:
portion of an international effort to monitor resistance in cat fleas
to Advantage (imidacloprid). There is some indication that

 Dr. Patrick "Pat" Vail is the Director of the USDA-                    Laboratory on the U.C. Riverside campus. His research on this
Agricultural Research Service’s Horticultural Crops Research            virus changed classical views about the specificity of
Laboratory, Fresno, California, a position he has held since 1982.      baculoviruses. He also developed in vitro methods for its’
Pat received his BA and MS degrees from California State                production and plaque assay. The virus is used in agriculture
                             University, Fresno, and his Ph.D           research and as an expression vector for the production of unique
                             from U.C. Riverside in 1967 and            biologically active compounds of importance to human and
                             was among the first graduate               veterinary medicine and biology. Gross annual revenues from the
                             students in Entomology. Pat has            baculovirus based expression system exceed $1 billion dollars
                             been with the USDA since 1962.             annually.
                                 Pat is a nationally and                    Pat has been a research scientist and program manager as a
                             internationally recognized authority       Research Leader and Laboratory Director at several ARS
                             in the fields of entomology, insect        locations during the 39 years of his professional career. He has
                             pathology, microbial control of            published over 200 articles in scientific journals and other media.
                             production and postharvest pests,          During Pat's career he has provided technical leadership for
                             entomogenous        viruses,     mass      complex, comprehensive, and productive research programs on
                             rearing, in vivo virus production,         vegetable, cotton, and postharvest insects (fresh fruits and
                             basic biology, pest management,            vegetables and dried fruits and nuts). Under his direction and
                             insect ecology and has also                leadership, outstanding accomplishments and progress have been
personally conducted research on other alternative methods of           made in the area of developing new non-chemical alternatives for
insect control such as induced sterility, pheromones, and cultural      insect control in both the pre and postharvest areas. Pat was head
practices as they might be used in pest management systems in           of the Insect and Pest Control Section of the Food and
either the pre or postharvest situation. He discovered the              Agriculture Organization of the United Nations/International
nucleopolyhedrovirus isolated from the alfalfa looper in 1966           Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna, Austria, from 1975–78 with
while a staff member of the USDA-ARS Boyden Entomology

                                                                                                                             The Buzz Page 2
responsibilities for Agency tsetse fly and tropical fruit fly                 Award in 1995 "For first isolating and then conducting basic and
programs.                                                                     applied research on a virus exceedingly important to insect
    Pat has been invited to present the results of research directed          pathology/ microbial control, genetic engineering, and human
by him, as well as provide technical advice regarding the needs,              and veterinary medicine" and the United Nations Environmental
development and initiation of research programs. by international             Programme Certificate of Appreciation in 1995. In 1996 he
organizations, such as the United Nations International Atomic                received the United States Department of Agriculture Award for
Energy Agency and Food and Agriculture Organization, the                      Personal and Professional Excellence for "Sustained international
International Center for Insect Physiology and Ecology in                     contributions to entomology, insect pathology/microbial control,
Nairobi, as well as the Entomological Society of America                      and human and veterinary medicine" from the Secretary of
(national and branch), American Association for the                           Agriculture. In 1997 Pat received the School of Natural Sciences
Advancement of Science, National Science Foundation, U.S.-                    Distinguished Scholar Award from California State University,
Israeli Binational Agreement for Research and Development,                    Fresno. As a member of The Japan Varietal Testing World Trade
industry and private agricultural groups, commodity marketing                 Organization Group, Pat received the Secretary of Agriculture’s
orders, Environmental Protection Agency, USDA-Animal and                      Honor Award for Personal and Professional Excellence for
Plant Health Inspection Service, U.S. Department of Energy,                   exceptional performance, creativity, and perseverance in
California Department of Food and Agriculture, Department of                  successfully challenging, in the World Trade Organization,
Defense, National Cotton Council and Cotton Incorporated,                     Japan’s long-standing varietal testing trade restrictions, June
postharvest groups, and universities. Pat has held many positions             1999.
in regional and national societies and was the President of the                   In his spare time, Pat enjoys traveling with his wife Susan,
Pacific Branch of the Entomological Society of America in 1989.               and visiting his three daughters who live in Miami, Lake Tahoe
    For his efforts on behalf of research and agriculture, Pat                and Los Angeles. Pat plays tennis, fishes, and constructs large,
received the USDA-ARS Distinguished Scientist of the Year                     scale radio controlled airplanes.

ByTim Paine, Department Chair

                              As I mentioned        whether they are detrimental pests or              the regulatory cascade that controls
                          in the last edition of    beneficial insects brought in as biological        vitellogenesis in mosquitoes. In the process,
                          The      Buzz,      we    control agents. Considering the numerous pest      he has isolated and characterized numerous
                          recently completed        management studies in our Department that          mosquito genes involved in this process.
                          two         successful    incorporate      biological      control,    Dr.   These have ranged from the yolk protein genes
                          recruitment efforts.      Stouthamer's interests and molecular expertise     themselves to genes encoding transcription
                          We are very proud         provide a much-needed complement to our            factors and receptors.        His group has
                          and      excited     to   current strengths. Moreover, in addition to        successfully utilized genetic transformation
                          announce            the   their utility for developing new knowledge         techniques in both Drosophila and Aedes to
                          appointments of Dr.       about introduced species, the models and           examine the function and regulation of some
                          Richard Stouthamer        techniques that Dr. Stouthamer is developing       of these genes.         In a recent major
                          and Dr. Alexander         can be used to study rare and endangered           breakthrough, his group developed the first
                          Raikhel      to     our   native species, an important field of              genetically modified strains of Aedes that may
faculty. Dr. Stouthamer is a proven innovative      conservation biology. Dr. Stouthamer will          be resistant to the transmission of avian
scientist of remarkable breadth. He will bring      join the Department on July 1, 2001.               malaria.       They accomplished this by
a dynamic research program of demonstrated              Dr. Alexander Raikhel is an outstanding        transforming the mosquito to express a
excellence to the Department of Entomology, a       scientist and teacher. He is a recognized world    defensin gene, which may block the malaria
program that will strengthen us by filling          leader in the field of insect molecular biology.   parasite reproduction in the insect host.
critical programmatic needs in molecular            The focus of Dr. Raikhel’s research program is     Expression of the defensin gene has been
population genetics and by complementing our        the elucidation of the control of vitellogenesis   placed under the control of the vitellogenin
existing strengths in programs focusing on          (the formation of yolk in developing eggs) in      promoter, which is activated as part of the
parasitic Hymenoptera.       Dr. Stouthamer's       insects, specifically mosquito species that are    hormonal cascade leading to egg production
principal research interests are in population      vectors of human disease such as Aedes             following a mosquito blood meal (the point at
genetics and the evolution of parasitic             aegypti.     Vitellogenesis in mosquitoes is       which malarial parasites are acquired by the
Hymenoptera, particularly with respect to the       important since it absolutely dictates the need    insect vector). Dr. Raikhel’s research program
role     that    endosymbionts,      particularly   for female mosquitoes to acquire blood meals       is comprehensive, state-of-the-art, and held in
Wolbachia, play in population structure. These      from human and livestock hosts. The blood          the highest esteem amongst his colleagues. He
are related fields in which he is pioneering the    meal is broken down in the mosquito gut and        will join the Department January 1, 2002.
development and use of molecular methods,           the ingested amino acids, fats, and
including genomics, to study population             carbohydrates form the developing eggs of the
structure and evolution. Parasitic Hymenoptera      next generation. Vitellogenesis is therefore the     IN MEMORIUM
comprise the primary arsenal for biological         ultimate physiological basis of disease              Dr. William H. Ewart passed away February
control, a historical and continuing area of        transmission in vector mosquitoes. Thus,             3, 2001. Dr. Ewart was at the University from
major emphasis within our Department, and an        understanding      the     genetic    basis   of     1945-1980 and was Head of the Div. of Econ.
important category of exotic and invasive           vitellogenesis in mosquitoes should lead to the      Ent. from 1969-1975. Dr. Ewart was 89 years
arthropods. Dr. Stouthamer is using parasitic       development of new strategies for the control        old. He is survived by his wife Alyce Ewart,
hymenopterans as a model system to study the        of mosquito-borne human and veterinary               two sons, and one daughter. He was living in
population genetics and dynamics of invasive        disease.      Dr. Raikhel has successfully           Marietta, Ohio when he passed away.
species. His research serves as a basis for         employed contemporary biochemical, genetic,
studying other introduced insect species,           and molecular biological techniques to unravel
                                                                                                                                   The Buzz Page 3
                                                        Dave Hawks and colleague Ronald Cave (Pan-Am School of Agriculture in
Dick Goeden received the 2000 International             Honduras) were featured in the cover story “jewel scarab” beetles in the
Organization for Biological Control Distinguished       February issue of National Geographic.      For the full story go to
                               Scientist Award at the
                               Joint Annual Meetings
                               of the Entomological     UCR's Linnaean Team captured their second National Championship at the
                               Society of Canada and    joint Entomological Society of America / Entomological Society of Canada
                               the      Entomological   meeting in Montreal, December 3-6, 2000.
                               Society of America at        In their first match-up, UCR defeated Missouri to advance to the semi-
                               Montreal, Canada, in     finals where they trounced Nebraska. In the final game, UCR was quite
                               December, 2000. This     evenly matched against the University of Massachusetts, but managed to
                               honor is bestowed on     gain the lead and triumph over their Amherst opponents.
                               individuals who have                                                        In addition to Kristin
made significant contributions to Biological Control.                                                  Michel, Connell Dunning,
In addition, the tephritids formerly comprising the                                                    and Stuart Wooley, UCR
North American Nearctic species of the genus                                                           brought back two former
Urophora were redescribed last year, in Dr. Goeden’s                                                   players,      with    remaining
honor, as belonging to the genus Goedenia.                                                             eligibility, to compete on this
The Carl Strom/Western Exterminator Co.                                                                year's team. Dr. Michael
Scholarships in Urban Entomology 2001 will be                                                          Gates, who had completed his
presented to John Darbro, Karl Haagsma, Albert                                                         Ph.D. and assumed a position
Lee, Ryan Williams (graduate students) and                                                             with the National Museum of
Vanessa Higbee (undergraduate) at the 10th UCR                                                         Natural         History      in
Annual Urban Pest Management Conference on              Washington D.C., rejoined his teammates, as did Hannah Gould, currently
March 29, 2001. This scholarship is an ongoing          pursuing a Ph.D. at Yale.
fund in support of both graduate and undergraduate          The 2000 Championship team continues UCR's winning tradition,
studies relative to urban pest management. This         representing the ESA's Pacific Branch in the national Linnaean Games for
year’s recipients will be awarded $500 each.            six years running and having won their first National Championship in 1998.

 Department of Entomology
 University of California
 Riverside, CA 92521


    Send address changes, comments or
    suggestions to Helen Vega (909) 787-5294
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