Department of
Entomology

Department of Entomology - University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Following the sounds of prairie cicadas

When I arrive at the Loda Cemetery Prairie Nature Preserve, Katie Dana is already out there. She’s wearing knee-high boots to ward off chiggers and ticks, and she’s carrying an insect net. Dana is on the prowl for cicadas: the loudest insects on the planet. On this hot summer day, they do not disappoint. The males are in full chorus.

Building a prairie & watching for bees with ESA Fellow Alex Harmon-Threatt

Join us in celebrating Entomology's Alexandra Harmon-Threatt, elected as a 2020 Early Career Fellow by the Ecological Society of America (ESA) for her critically important research in the ecology and conservation of native bee species: training the next generation of ecologists, providing public outreach, and enhancing diversity in science.

Read more about her research:

It’s early evening as I follow the researchers to their work site on the Phillips Tract, just east of Urbana. When we get there...

Amplifying expertise in the news

Four LAS faculty members receive Public Voices Fellowships

As a way to amplify voices of expertise on pressing issues, a national program called the Public Voices Fellowship will allow professors from across the country to pair up with journalists and learn more about how to discuss ideas with a broad audience. Four of the professors are from the College of LAS, to include Alex Harmon-Threatt.

Have you become obsessed with bugs or hummingbirds? In the pandemic, you’re not alone.

In the midst of the grief, confusion and anger of the past few months, many Americans have developed a new obsession with the creepy little things in life, by which I mean bugs.

I’ve never heard so many people talking about bugs as I have through this spring and summer, never seen so many social media posts dedicated to tiny critters that buzz and crawl and sting.

Group genomics drive aggression in honey bees

Researchers often study the genomes of individual organisms to try to tease out the relationship between genes and behavior. A new study of Africanized honey bees reveals, however, that the genetic inheritance of individual bees has little influence on their propensity for aggression. Instead, the genomic traits of the hive as a whole are strongly associated with how fiercely its soldiers attack.

The findings are reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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.

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.

Featured Photo

An undescribed species of bumble bee from Honduras.
Bombus new sp. (Hymenoptera: Apidae)
Photo: Michelle Duennes