Entomology Student Research, Publications, and Undergraduate Research Symposium

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This collection contains undergraduate research papers, presentations and projects by students in the Department of Entomology. The represented works reflect reviewed quality research in the field of Entomology.


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Now showing 1 - 20 of 125
  • ItemOpen Access
    First Time Detection Of Brome Mosaic Virus Associated With Other Wheat Viruses In Kansas Wheat Using Nanopore Sequencing
    (2021-10-27) Ranabhat, Nar B.; Fellers, John; Bruce, Myron; Rupp, Jessica
    Kansas wheat production has been threatened by Wheat streak mosaic complex of three viruses including Wheat streak mosaic virus (WSMV). Triticum mosaic virus (TriMV), and High Plains wheat mosaic emaravirus (HPWMOV). In 2017. Kansas wheat producers lost 19.2 million bushels of wheat worth $76.8 million due to wheat streak mosaic. Infection of a single plant with multiple viruses is common in wheat fields. Other common wheat viruses have been recorded from Kansas but not the Brome mosaic virus (BMV) Diagnosis of virus like symptoms in plants has been mostly dominated by targeted-specific methods with known antibodies, primers, and probes. These targeted methods identify only already known viruses and virus combinations Next generation sequencing techniques such a Nanopore sequencing technology has great potential for identifying novel and multiple potential plant pathogens in a single analysis. Reliable diagnostic methods are needed to identify the risks in plant health to develop appropriate plant protection strategies.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Can the Gram-negative bacterium Escherichia coli colonize the gut of Lone Star Tick (Amblyomma americanum)?
    (2018-12-14) McKenzie, Taylor; Vanderree, Tessa; Maldonado-Ruiz, Paulina; Park, Yoonseong; Zurek, Ludek
    Ticks are obligate blood feeding ectoparasites and vectors of several mammalian pathogens (Williams-Newkirk et al, 2014). In addition to pathogens they also carry a bacterial community with commensal and symbiotic relationships (Bonnet et al, 2017). Using a culture-dependent approach we previously reported a high prevalence of Gram-positive bacteria in the gut of field collected lone star ticks (Amblyomma americanum). These results suggested that epithelial immunity functions to control Gram-negative bacteria in A. americanum. In this study, we used a culturing and non-culturing approach to measure the outcome of E.coli (Gram-negative) when fed to female adult lone star ticks (n=16). Results showed a significant reduction of E.coli at Days 1, 3 and 7 post bacterial feeding. qPCR of 16S rDNA confirmed reduction of bacterial rDNA when compared to water fed ticks (n=16). Our results suggest that there is a midgut epithelial immune response in place, which mainly targets Gram-negative bacteria!
  • ItemOpen Access
    Tick Sweats
    (2018-12-14) Arnsperger, Alyssa; Fatehi, Soheila; Park, Yoonseong
    Ticks are obligatory ectoparasites of many vertebrate hosts including human. Osmoregulatory functions of ticks are crucial for the survival, especially, in the off-host ticks in arid area. We found that injection of water in the body cavity of tick immediately triggers excretion of solution through the exoskeletal cuticles, like sweating. This response occurred in a bilateral asymmetric manner; the injection on left side of the body induced the sweating on only the left half, while the injection into right side did not induce sweat. The sweating response was reduced in the injections of high osmolar Naci (1 M). This is the first description of sweating physiology in maintenance of water homeostasis in the Lone star tick.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Oviposition Behavior of Indianmeal Moths With and Without Synthetic Pheromone
    (2018-12-14) Idell, Amanda; Gerken, Alison
    Plodia interpunctella, commonly known as the Indianmeal moth, is a pyralid moth that is a pest of stored food products (Mohandrass, 2007). While there are many known factors that influence oviposition, like food odor and type of food available (Mohandrass, 2007), the effect of extra sex pheromones is not known. We tested progeny output to see if femaleP. interpunctella will produce less progeny when there is a large dose of synthetic pheromone in the environment. Our research did not show any significant difference between the females exposed to the pheromone and those that were not exposed, in both the total number of progeny produced and weight of the progeny. This experiment is important due to the quantity of pheromone-baited traps that are a major part of pest management for P. interpunctella (Mullen, 1998). This suggests that the widespread use of this pheromone to attract and trap male P. interpunctella does not also have an additional effect on females, which would have been a hidden benefit of this method of trapping and pest control.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Can the Gram-negative bacterium Escherichia colicolonize the gut of Lone Star Tick(Amblyomma americanum)?
    (2018-12-14) Vanderree, Tessa; McKenzie, Taylor; Maldonado-Ruiz, Paulina; Park, Yoonseong; Zurek, Ludek
    Ticks are obligate blood feeding ectoparasites and vectors of several mammalian pathogens (Williams-Newkirk et al, 2014). In addition to pathogens they also carry a bacterial community with commensal and symbiotic relationships (Bonnet et al, 2017). Using a culture-dependent approach we previously reported a high prevalence of Gram-positive bacteria in the gut of field collected lone star ticks (Amblyomma americanum). These results suggested that epithelial immunity functions to control Gram-negative bacteria in A. americanum. In this study, we used a culturing and non-culturing approach to measure the outcome of E.coli (Gram-negative) when fed to female adult lone star ticks (n=16). Results showed a significant reduction of E.coli at Days 1, 3 and 7 post bacterial feeding. qPCR of 16S rDNA confirmed reduction of bacterial rDNA when compared to water fed ticks (n=16). Our results suggest that there is a midgut epithelial immune response in place, which mainly targets Gram-negative bacteria!
  • ItemOpen Access
    Oviposition Decisions by Red Flour Beetle [Tribolium castaneum]
    (2018-12-14) Curtright, Taylor; Campbell, James
    The red flour beetle [Tribolium castaneum] and the confused flour beetle [Tribolium confusum] are very important flour pest. We tested if the red flour beetle can discriminate between flour infested by the same species or congeneric species and lay different number of eggs. Results of the choice tests were inconclusive, because oviposition across all the treatments was very low. Future research will be needed manipulating the female age and the length of time in the arenas to be able to address the proposed question. With this future research, it will hopefully help us better understand how these beetles exploit flour patches and improve management in flour mills.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Horseweed (Marestail) Resistance
    (2018-12-14) Lester, Alec; Rains, Larry; Dille, J. Anita
    Horseweed has documented resistance to EPSPS inhibitors, PSII inhibitors, ALS inhibitors, and PSI inhibitor (Heap, 2018). Glyphosate resistant horseweed moves the herbicide into a vacuole preventing the herbicide from damaging the plant (Ge, 2010). The objective of the this experiment was to determine if nine different horseweed populations were resistant or not to six different herbicide. Experimental design was a randomized complete block with six herbicides, nine locations, and five replications. Heights were recorded for each population before spraying. Each herbicide was sprayed on October 5, 2018, and rates were paraquat (840 g ai/ha), glyphosate (1260 g ae/ha), glufosinate (738 g ai/ha), Atrazine (560 g ai/ha), chlorimuron (13.1 g ai/ha), and dicamba (560 g ai/ha). Horseweed showed the most resistance to atrazine and glyphosate across all locations, and paraquat in some locations. No herbicide had total control fourteen days after spraying. Dicamba had the greatest control of horseweed across all nine locations. Resistance was difficult to identify because horseweed plants were too mature to effectively be control.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Assessing the long-distance repellency of long-lasting insecticide netting to a suite of post-harvest insects
    (2018-12-14) Alonso, Alicia Amairani; Wilkins, Rachel; Morrison III, William R.
    Insects are our main competitors for food on the planet (1). In fact, growers lose 10-30% of crops during storage, processing, and marketing after harvest each year to stored product insects (2,3). Challenges to current management include increasing insecticide resistance to phosphine (4), which is the most common insect fumigant. Another challenge has been an increasing demand for organic or low insecticide-input products by consumers (5). To meet these challenges we came up with an alternative management approach, a long lasting insecticide netting (LLIN). Insecticide-treated nets have been widely used as a tool for malaria vector control in tropical regions since the early 1990s (6). These nets are typically treated with a pyrethroid insecticide, such as permethrin or deltamethrin, which repel, incapacitate, and kill mosquitoes that land on the nets. Researchers have recently begun exploring the use of LLINs for management of agricultural pests in high value specialty crops (7). More recently, work with LLINs in post-harvest settings has demonstrated that this tool can induce mortality, as well as significantly decrease the movement and dispersal capacity of post-harvest insects (8). Some possible uses for LLIN include being used to line windows, vents, eaves, or other openings into food facilities. However, anecdotal evidence from IPM practitioners has suggested that pyrethroids, which the LLIN contains, may be repellent to specific groups of insects. In order for LLIN to be an effective tool at intercepting and preventing infestation by stored product insects, we must demonstrate that the netting is not repellent to a range of post-harvest insects.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Behavioral responses of Tribolium castaneum to mycotoxin contaminated wheat
    (2018-12-14) Fifield, Adriane; Gerken, Alison; Scully, Erin
    Red flour beetles are major pests of stored grains throughout the world. Since the females can lay up to 300-400 eggs in their lifetime, an infestation can get out of control quickly (Brown et al, 2009). Although ingestion of stored product insects is not associated with any major health risks to humans or animals, infested products can have a pungent odors and are often unsuitable for consumption (Smith et al, 1971). To understand what may attract the beetles to a food source, we tested to see how they would react to mycotoxin deoxynivalenol (DON), a common mycotoxin found in stored grains that have been contaminated with mold (Sobrova et al, 2010). Red flour beetles routinely feed on grain that has been contaminated with mold; however, it is unknown if red flour beetles follow volatile cues from mold to find food sources. This research is to find out if red flour beetles are attracted to wheat that has been contaminated with the mycotoxin deoxynivalenol (DON). The results show that the male beetles avoided the mycotoxin and that the females show neither an attraction or an avoidance of the volatile. Ultimately, identifying compounds that attract or repel stored product insects can help us develop novel behaviorally based-strategies to prevent insects from locating food sources.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Effect of Selected Essential Oils on Brown Recluse Spider Control
    (2018-12-14) Kragelund, Ashley; Ewing, Robert; Whitworth, Jeff
    Loxosceles reclusa isconsidered a pest throughout its range in the US due mostly to the effects of its venomous bite (Sandidge and Hopwood, 2005). Management techniques include the use of pesticides to target this dangerous synanthropic organism. Essential oils, commonly used for various health benefits, have been previously used as a method of pest control (Koulet al, 2008). Studies have shown varying results when tested on different insects and pests (Regnault-Roger et al, 2011). Their effect on L. reclusa is still undetermined. Thus, we tested the potential of essential oils as an effective method of control for L. reclusa. Results from our experiment indicated that the selected essential oils had a varied effect with overall low mortality.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Preferences of Indian Meal Moth Larvae for Different Dog Foods
    (2018-12-14) Schmidt, Tanner; Aikins, M. Jamie; Phillips, Thomas W.
    Indian meal moths (IMM), Plodiainterpuntella, are persistent pests to our foods (Fasulo et al.1998; Plunkett’s Pest Control 2018). When IMMs infest a a food product the resulting value loss is the result of contamination by larvae that leave droppings and silken webs in grain and grain products (Jacob and Calvin 2001). The IMM is an important pest of high-value dog foods and the grain components of these food may influence their infestation. Experiments were conducted with eggs of the IMM to determine if moth larvae would choose and infest the grain-based dog food in comparison to dog foods with a higher meat content. IMM laboratory rearing diet was included for comparison. No-choice and choice tests confirmed the IMM diet to be the most preferred and best for larval development. Forced infestation of 50 IMM eggs on the four different dog foods found difference among them. In two-choice test that require newly hatched larvae to walk to and infest either lab diet or a dog food, the highest proportion of larvae selecting any of the dog foods was on product C, which was a medium quality, grain-free food. These results suggest that IMM infestations in warehouses or consumer’s homes could be prevalent on some dog foods more than others.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Effect Of Orius insidiosus (Hemiptera: Anthocoridae) And Spinosad (Conserve®) On Western Flower Thrips, Frankliniella occidentalis (Thysanoptera: Thripidae), Populations In Transvaal Daisy Flowers
    (2018-12-14) Motolai, Gergely; Cloyd, Raymond A.; Herrick, Nathan J.
    Western flower thrips (WFT), Frankliniella occidentalis (Pergande) (Thysanoptera: Thripidae), is a major insect pest of greenhouse-grown horticultural crops. Greenhouse producers typically apply insecticides to suppress WFT populations. However, continual reliance on insecticides can lead to the development of resistant in WFT populations. The insidious flower bug, Orius insidiosus (Say) (Hemiptera: Anthocoridae), is a commercially available predatory bug of WFT that offers an alternative to using insecticides for WFT suppression. Therefore, we investigated the efficacy of one or two O. insidiosus adults compared to spray applications of the standard insecticide, spinosad (Conserve®) in suppressing WFT adult populations in transvaal daisy (Gerbera jamesonii), cut-flowers under greenhouse conditions. Percent adult WFT mortality was significantly lower when one or two O. insidiosus adults were released into the flowers (mean range: 32 to 34%; n=747), compared to the untreated and water control (8 to 9%; n=431). The highest percent mortality of WFT adults was associated with the spinosad (Conserve®) treatment (100%; n= 203).
  • ItemOpen Access
    Beecoming Modern
    (2018-12-14) Maue, Ellie; Marshall, Jeremy
    As an architecture student I am constantly looking at nature for design inspirations, and my search often leads me to the structure and design of bees. These tiny creatures are some of the best builder, but their habitat is being destroyed day after day by human development. To combat this, “bee blocks” are often used to provide shelter for the bees, so that they can hibernate and remain undisturbed. However, these blocks lack the ingenuity and complex design ability that bees used to place in their structures. So, in order to regain what they lost, I decided to reimagine the traditional bee block. ! Accomplish this goal involved researching the previous man-made and bee-made structures was crucial, along with finding out key elements required to build this structure so that it is safe for bees. After doing this research, I then worked on redesigning it in a way that drew inspiration from original bee structures, without losing its actual functionality. This ended with a sculpture like design, that is fully functional, and relatively easy to build; making it a structure both worthy of the bee’s presence, easy for the average individual to build, and perfect in helping preserve future bee populations.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Effects of Genetics and Environment on Red Flour Beetle Aggregation
    (2018-12-14) Toothaker, J. E.; Marshall, Jeremy
    Red Flour Beetles are major pests for farmers storing grain and cause large profit losses. These beetles infest grain stores and their presence leads to mold growth (Baldwin). Learning the cause of aggregation groupings in Red Flour Beetles will help with pest control and would be a great step in the Nature versus Nurture Debate (Breed). Males produce a pheromone to attract females that seems to influence social behaviors (Boake). The effects genetics and environment have on aggregation behaviors of Arkansas and Brazilian strains have never been evaluated. This project was designed to fill this research gap by assessing the impacts of genetics and environment on aggregation groupings of Arkansas and Brazilian strains of Red Beetles. The results of the study show that environment has the largest influence on groupings on the first day, but then genetics has the largest influence in the days following. This leads to the implication that genetics has a deeper effect on aggregation than environment overall; but environment has a stronger effect for a short amount of time.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Potential for Chemical Repellents Against the Mite Tyrophagus putrescentiae to Prevent Infestation of Country Hams
    (2018-12-14) Ciesielski, Cadence; Manu, Naomi; Phillips, Thomas
    Tyrophagus putrescentiae (Shrank), commonly known as the ham mite, is a cosmopolitan pest found of various stored food commodities, including aged hams and cheeses (Amoah et al. 2017; Campbell et al. 2017). Recent research suggested methods to deter T. putrescentiae from infestation of country hams using different types of food-safe chemicals (Abbar et al. 2016). In this experiment, four chemicals were tested to ascertain their effectiveness in deterring T. putrescentiae from ham infestation. Repellency tests used a piece of ham and a group of mites placed on opposite sides of a Petri dish with a black construction paper floor. A test barrier of a test compound or solvent control was deposited on a white filter paper strip bisecting the dish at its center. The chemicals Nootkatone, Propylene Glycol, Glycerol and a fatty acid blend called “C8910” prevented more mites from contacting the ham compared to strips with solvent. These results suggest the potential for using one or more of these food-safe compounds to prevent ham mites form infesting hams in aging rooms.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Red Flour Beetle Response to Traps with Prior Captures
    (2018-12-14) Smith, Colton; Campbell, James
    The red flour beetle (Tribolium castaneum) is a major pest of food facilities such as flour mills and is often monitored using pitfall type traps with a food oil and pheromone attractant. Previous research had indicated that prior captures of beetles could increase beetle behavior captures in a trap. Here we used a more realistic bioassay to evaluate how the number of beetles previously captured include beetle captures in traps. Results showed no significant impact of prior captures on the number of red flour beetles captured in a trap. There were some trends suggested in the results that warrant further study to investigate, perhaps by focusing on individual beetle behavior at traps rather then using groups of beetles.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Genetic Effects Influence Grouping Behavior in Beetles
    (2018-12-14) Sharp, Haelea; Marshall, Jeremy
    We studied the behavioral patterns of Red Flour Beetles. They are a common pest of stored grain products. This experiment tested the grouping behavior of two strains of Red Flour Beetle to see if observed grouping behavior could have a genetic or environmental influence. We hypothesized that if different strains were closely associated for two weeks their environment would encourage them to demonstrate grouping behavior together. When observing the specimens we could not confirm the hypothesis. Beetles of the same line tended to group together while unrelated individuals did not tend to associate even after two weeks in the same jar. For these two strains, an environmental effect on grouping is not supported. This could potentially be used in further research on effective control methods and how to tailor them to specific strains.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Habitat Influences Arthropod Biodiversity
    (2018-12-14) Priest, Aleece; Choo, Hannah; Ruberson, John R.
    Biodiversity is an important indicator of environmental health. Insects are very interconnected ecologically, very adaptable, and highly diverse, making them excellent indicators for environmental health. Human interference tends to disrupt ecosystems to make them less diverse (Benton et al. 2003). A greater variety of plants should be expected to support a greater variety of insects, aiding environmental health (e.g., Diniz et al. 2010). We tested the effect of degree of habitat disturbance/plant diversity on insect diversity in 6 habitats over three dates, expecting to see greater insect diversity where there is greater plant diversity. We calculated insect biodiversity using Simpson’s Index of Diversity, and found greater insect abundance and diversity in more diverse habitats. Insect diversity is important for habitat health, so as insect diversity declines, other animals in those ecosystems suffer as well, as the food web is disrupted (Kemp and Ellis 2017).
  • ItemOpen Access
    Potential repellency of cedarwood oil from a novel extraction method to stored product insects
    (2018-12-14) Albin, Chloe E.; Quellhorst, Hannah; Campbell, James; Eller, Fred; Morrison III, William R.
    Producers lose 10-30% of crops during storage, processing, and marketing after harvest each year to stored product insects (1,2). Globally, there has been a rise in insecticide resistance to phosphine, the most common fumigant for these pests (3). As a result, producers need to diversify post-harvest IPM methods to preserve existing tools. One alternative strategy is push-pull, whereby a repellent is used to “push” an insect away from the commodity of interest, while also simultaneously “pulling” the insects to an alternate location away from the commodity using an attractant (4)(Fig. 1). This system notably requires a long-distance repellent. One potential repellent includes cedarwood oil, which has shown repellency to termites and ants (5,6). A novel extraction process for this compound has been developed, which leaves many of its main constituents intact (7). However, to date, this compound has never been assessed for repellency to post-harvest insects.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Grouping of Red Flour Beetles using two Different Strains
    (2018-12-14) Henery, Caroline; Marshall, Jeremy
    In this research project I studied how the Red Flour Beetle grouped over a 10 day time period with two different strains of the Beetle. One strain was the Canadian Red Flour Beetle and the other was the Manhattan, KS Red Flour Beetle. The grouping of the beetles is a behavior that is being tested in this experiment and can be greatly effected by both environment and genetics (Breed & Sanchez, 2010). Thus for this experiment I ask if different strains of the Red Flour Beetle aggregate differently and hypothesize that they will end up aggregating differently. After testing this question and hypothesis I found that The different strains do aggregate differently and this could be due to the different climates at which they are normally found. The Canadian lives in an overall lower temperature year round unlike the Kansas beetle (Baldwin & Fasulo, 2014). With this knowledge grain facilities will be able to better prevent infestations of this particular beetle (Gerken, Scully, &Campbell, 2018).