Department of
Entomology

Entomology News

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.

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.

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.

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...

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.

How Humanity Unleashed a Flood of New Diseases

What do Covid-19, Ebola, Lyme and AIDS have in common? They jumped to humans from animals after we started destroying habitats and ruining ecosystems.

Gene Robinson named interim dean of the College of LAS

Renowned scholar, teacher, and administrator begins role July 1

Gene Robinson, a professor of entomology and director of the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, has been named interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences.

Cicadas Are Delightful Weirdos You Should Learn to Love

As Brood IX takes flight for the first time in 17 years,
cicada lovers have their ears open.

Around this time of year, Marianne Alleyne hosts dozens of houseguests in her basement. Far from using camping equipment or cots, they sleep upside-down, clinging to a curtain. The entomologist at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign has collected cicadas, those bizarre and misunderstood cyclical insects, for four years.

Genetically modified mosquitoes could be released beginning this summer

silver bullet or jumping the gun?

This summer, for the first time, genetically modified mosquitoes could be released in the U.S. within the states of Florida and Texas.

On May 1, 2020, the company Oxitec received an experimental use permit from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to release millions of GM mosquitoes (labeled by Oxitec as OX5034) every week over the next two years in Florida and Texas.

SIB's Commitment to Diversity and Equity

Dear SIB Community,

This past weekend, Chancellor Jones sent out an email with a powerful message of unity for this campus - we must come together and care for one another. He reminds us that the University of Illinois is a "community committed to the scholarship, engagement, equity, inclusion and leadership that dismantles systems that utilize power, privilege and violence to disenfranchise, diminish and destroy."