Department of
Entomology

Entomology News

Termite threats on the big screen at Insect Fear Film Festival

This soldier termite and related species are called nasutes. Their mouthparts are fused to form a projection that squirts defensive chemicals to repel marauders attacking the colony, in contrast to other types of termites that have long, swordlike mandibles. Termites are the theme of the annual Insect Fear Film Festival on Feb. 23.

A new partnership for the bees: Illinois teams with Anheuser-Busch for bee research

There’s plenty of sweet irony in a new partnership between Illinois and St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch, LLC, that will raise money for bee research at the university.

Anheuser-Busch has pledged $5,000 to The Healthy Bee Fund at Illinois. In addition, the company will donate $1 to the fund for every case sold of b, a new alcoholic honey beverage scheduled to go on sale in the Northeast U.S. in March.

Dracula ants possess fastest known animal appendage: the snap-jaw

The mandibles of the Dracula ant, Mystrium camillae, are the fastest known moving animal appendages, snapping shut at speeds of up to 90 meters per second.

Caterpillar, fungus in cahoots to threaten fruit, nut crops

New research reveals that Aspergillus flavus, a fungus that produces carcinogenic aflatoxins that can contaminate seeds and nuts, has a multilegged partner in crime: the navel orangeworm caterpillar, which targets some of the same nut and fruit orchards afflicted by the fungus. Scientists report in the Journal of Chemical Ecology that the two pests work in concert to overcome plant defenses and resist pesticides.

Berenbaum named PNAS editor-in-chief

Entomology professor and department head May Berenbaum has been appointed editor-in-chief of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Study finds potential benefits of wildlife-livestock coexistence in East Africa

A study of 3,588 square kilometers of privately owned land in central Kenya offers evidence that humans and their livestock can, in the right circumstances, share territory with zebras, giraffes, elephants and other wild mammals – to the benefit of all.

Honey bee researcher Gene Robinson elected to National Academy of Medicine

Illinois entomology professor Gene Robinson was elected to the National Academy of Medicine “for pioneering contributions to understanding the roles of genes in social behavior.”

Eating insects could help fight world hunger

Insects could be a game changer in the race to combat food insecurity and achieve zero hunger.

Eating insects can help fight hunger and food insecurity. They are a fantastic source of nutrients—like protein—and food at times when the production of commonly eaten staple African food crops, like maize, fails due to the changing climate, droughts, or insect pest damage.

Genomic study ties insect evolution to the ability to detect airborne odors

A new study from Illinois entomology professor, Hugh Robertson, and colleagues at the University of California, Davis, reveals that all insects have odorant receptors that enable them to detect airborne chemicals.