Department of
Entomology

Department of Entomology - University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Study reveals unique physical, chemical properties of cicada wings

Scientists, including entomology professor Marianne Alleyne, are exploring the structural and chemical characteristics of cicada wings. This work, in part, is supported by a grant from the U.S. Army, as mentioned in a recent interview on NPR's All Things Considered.

Biological structures sometimes have unique features that engineers would like to copy. For example, many types of insect wings shed water, kill microbes, reflect light in unusual ways and are self-cleaning.

Model predicts where ticks, Lyme disease will appear next in Midwest states

By drawing from decades of studies, scientists created a timeline marking the arrival of black-legged ticks, also known as deer ticks, in hundreds of counties across 10 Midwestern states. They used these data – along with an analysis of county-level landscape features associated with the spread of ticks – to build a model that can predict where ticks are likely to appear in future years.

Pollinators not getting the 'buzz' they need in news coverage

A dramatic decline in bees and other pollinating insects presents a threat to the global food supply, yet it’s getting little attention in mainstream news.

That’s the conclusion of a study from researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, published this week in a special issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study was based on a search of nearly 25 million news items from six prominent U.S. and global news sources, among them The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Associated Press.

Unexpected similarity between honey bee and human social life

Bees and humans are about as different organisms as one can imagine. Yet despite their many differences, surprising similarities in the ways that they interact socially have begun to be recognized in the last few years. Now, a team of researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, including Gene Robinson, are building on their earlier studies and have experimentally measured the social networks of honey bees and how they develop over time.

Brain gene expression patterns predict behavior of individual honey bees

An unusual study that involved bar coding and tracking the behavior of thousands of individual honey bees in six queenless bee hives and analyzing gene expression in their brains offers new insights into how gene regulation contributes to social behavior. The study, reported in the journal eLife, reveals that the activity profile of regulator genes known as transcription factors in the brain strongly correlates with the behavior of honey bees, the researchers said. A single transcription factor can induce – or reduce – the expression of dozens of other genes.

Professors Alison Bell and Alex Harmon-Threatt recognized for leadership and research

Four professors in the College of LAS have been named Richard and Margaret Romano Professorial Scholars for their leadership and research.

Richard Romano (BS, ’54, chemical engineering) and his wife, Margaret, established the program, which provides faculty members with $25,000 per year for their work. This year’s scholars include Alex Harmon-Threatt and Alison Bell.

Featured Photo

A fossilized pygmy grasshopper in amber.
Baeotettix lottiae (Orthoptera: Tetrigidae)
Photo: Jared Thomas/Sam Heads