Secret Site Map
Monday, May 25, 2015

Home News UF Workshop to Address Threat of Insect-Based Terrorism

UF Workshop to Address Threat of Insect-Based Terrorism

Pesticide Issues

A workshop at the University of Florida May 20-22 will look at the possibility of an unusual but potentially massive form of insect-based terrorism that could be launched in Florida.

| May 17, 2010

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A workshop at the University of Florida May 20-22 will look at the possibility of an unusual but potentially massive form of insect-based terrorism that could be launched in Florida. This workshop, titled “Counteracting Bioterrorist Introduction of Pathogen-Infected Vector Mosquitoes,” deals with the use of pathogen-laced mosquitoes to spread a deadly disease.

Former Gov. Bob Graham, co-author of one of the most authoritative studies of terrorist threats against the United States, “World at Risk,” will give the plenary address at the event, discussing the overall bioterrorism threat. Though attendance at the workshop itself is by invitation only, the public is invited to attend Graham’s address at 7 p.m. May 20 in Pugh Hall’s MacKay Auditorium, Room 170.

How real is the threat? Many of the world’s most dangerous pathogens already are transmitted by arthropods, the animal phylum that includes mosquitoes. But so far the United States has not been exposed to a large-scale spread of vector-borne diseases like Rift Valley, chikungunya fever or Japanese encephalitis. But terrorists with a cursory knowledge of science could potentially release insects carrying these diseases in a state with a tropical climate like Florida’s, according to several experts who will speak at the workshop.

Co-sponsored by UF’s Emerging Pathogens Institute, the Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory and the USDA Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology, the two-day workshop will bring together experts from a wide variety of disciplines at the state and national level to assess the threat of using mosquitoes as weapons and the preparations the state could take to stave off such an attack.

Currently, there is no organized plan at any governmental level to develop the resources for mosquito control that would prevent such an attack.

Graham’s plenary address will also be streamed live on May 20 at

The Bob Graham Center for Public Service provides students with opportunities to train for future leadership positions, meet policymakers and take courses in critical thinking, language learning and studies of world cultures. Its mission is to foster public leadership and solve issues related to the Americas and homeland security. It also serves as a magnet to attract distinguished scholars and speakers to Florida.

Top news

Fastest Growing U.S. Cities in West And South, Census Bureau Reports

Most cities with populations above 100,000 in those regions grew significantly between 2000 and 2010, and 2010 and 2013, according to the bureau's report, which was released last week.

New Bee Survey Released

Losses of managed honey bee colonies were 23.1 percent for the 2014-2015 winter but summer losses exceeded winter numbers for the first time, making annual losses for the year 42.1 percent, according to preliminary results of the annual survey conducted by the Bee Informed Partnership, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Apiary Inspectors of America.

Terminix Announces Top Mosquito Cities Based on Twitter Complaints

According to research by Terminix, the worst whining about mosquitoes came from Goodland, a small town in the northwest corner of Kansas. Terminix searched through approximately 200 billion tweets posted in 2014 to determine which United States city is most pestered by mosquitoes.

White House Releases Pollinator Action Plan

The Strategy, released last week, and its accompanying science-based Pollinator Research Action Plan outline needs and priority actions to better understand pollinator losses and improve pollinator health. These actions will be supported by coordination of existing Federal research efforts and accompanied by a request to Congress for additional resources to respond to the pollinator losses that are being experienced.

Legislative Day Video Coverage

More than 325 pest control industry professionals traveled to our nation’s capital in March for NPMA Legislative Day 2015, lead-sponsored by FMC Professional Solutions. In the day-plus of activities, PCOs attended sessions on important industry-related issues and heard from prominent national speakers before heading to Capitol Hill to meet with their congressional representatives. In addition to news articles, PCT’s coverage includes video interviews.