ATLANTA – The 2012 National Conference on Urban Entomology, held May 20-23 in Atlanta, was the 16th occasion for the bi-annual gathering of pest management professional and scientists in industry, academia and government.
“The conferences are held for a number of reasons, including to discuss the future of our science, and to honor undergraduate, master’s and Ph.D. students for their work in urban entomology,” said NCUE Treasurer Dr. Roger Gold, Texas A&M University.
In attendance at this year’s NCUE was consultant Dr. Austin Frishman, who also attended the first NCUE, held 26 years ago in Baltimore. Frishman recalled that the NCUE was born out of neglect – that the Entomological Society of America (ESA) did not deem urban entomology worthy of having much of a presence at ESA’s annual meetings. Frishman recently stumbled upon notes he had taken from that first meeting, and he recalled that “What struck me was the love these people had for their work. Imagine spending 10-plus years in one lab, carefully seeking the identity of a pheromone which could open a new leaf in the successful control of roaches. These men and women excite me and they deserve to be recognized.” Frishman added that on the other side there are the pest management professionals, and they too need to be reminded and recognized for their hard work. “Where would we be without urban pest management?” he said.
The first NCUE was comprised primarily of members from academia, but the pest management industry has gradually increased its participation and the event has truly become a forum to facilitate open communication of information among the various entities involved in structural pest control. More than 200 people attended this year’s NCUE, a three-day event in which more than 80 papers were presented on topics covering a variety of household, structural and public health arthropod pests.
As in years past, the conference began with the Arnold Mallis Memorial Award Lecture, which is given by the recipient of the Distinguished Achievement Award in Urban Entomology; this year’s recipient (and lecturer) was Dr. Shripat Kamble, University of Nebraska-Lincoln (click here to watch a video interview with Kamble). Kamble was recognized for his contributions to research, extension and teaching in the field of urban entomology. He gave a forward-looking lecture titled the “Science of –omics in Urban Entomology,” in which he reviewed how entomology has evolved throughout the years. He noted that, “In the olden days, in our program, it was about working with the whole insect; today, it is about working with one single cell.” Kamble says it’s important that the next generation of entomologists understand the “-omics,” meaning a field of study in biology ending in -omics, such as: proteomics; genomics; functional genomics; structural genomics; and comparative genomics. Kamble, for example, encourages his students to take courses such as:
• Molecular Biology
• Insect Biochemistry
• Insect Molecular Genetics
• Molecular Phylogenetics
• Signal Transduction
• Gene Expression and Replication
An important goal of the NCUE is to promote the “next generation of urban entomologists” and every NCUE recognizes scholarship award winners. At this meeting, three student scholarship award winners were recognized and they also presented their research in a 15-minute paper format:
Bachelor of Science Award – Mark Janowiecki, Ohio State University. Janowiecki’s research explores the population growth dynamics of early colony develop in R. flavipes.
Master’s of Science Award – Ashley Roden, University of Georgia. Roden’s paper was titled “Extraction efficiency of Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus from several substrates using two techniques”
Ph.D. Award – Margie Lehnert, Clemson University. Lehnert’s research involves studying the effect of high temperatures on residual insecticides used for bed bug treatments.
In addition to these presentations research was presented in the following formats: submitted paper presentations (general topics, termites, ants, beg bugs); and organized symposia on a variety of topics, including green chemistry; skin infestations; invasive pests; and arthropod-related allergens. (PCT will have additional coverage of the NCUE in future issues of PCT magazine.).
Attendees also were treated to a reception hosted by Orkin at the company’s training facility. The 2012 NCUE was sponsored by: Orkin; Bayer; Syngenta; BASF; Terminix; Scott’s; Dow AgroSciences; DuPont; MGK; FMC; Susan McKnight, Inc.; Steritech; Rockwell Labs Ltd; Pest Control Technology magazine; and Pest Management Professional magazine.