News and Reviews

New Biological Control Position in Illinois

The Illinois Natural History Survey recently filled a professional staff position in biological control which will emphasize studies on parasitoids and/or predators. Since 1955, the Illinois Natural History Survey has employed an insect pathologist, but Illinois has never had a position specifically devoted to the study of parasitoids and predators.

Dr. Robert N. Wiedenmann was hired for this biological control position on May 1, 1994. He received his BS in Ecology and his Ph. D. in Entomology from Purdue University, and just completed a postdoctoral position at Texas A&M University. Rob's current research focuses on the biological control and biology of the parasitoids of stalk boring insects. He is now the official representative to NCR-125 and has already participated in the Summer Short Course and Extension Biological Control Workshop. Rob plans to take an active role in regional biological control activities, and will offer a course on parasitoids and predators at the University of Illinois. The Midwest is fortunate to have someone with Rob's abilities and enthusiasm as a part of our growing commitment to biological control. The staff at MBCN is looking forward to his contributions to this newsletter!

New Computer Software on Whiteflies

WHITEFLYA hypertext knowledgebase of the sweetpotato whitefly, Bemisia tabaci, and other important whiteflies. This new software is an excellent resource for extension specialists, educators, greenhouse managers, and vegetable growers. It provides current detailed information about sweetpotato, silverleaf, greenhouse, and bandedwinged whiteflies, and how to manage them. The software takes advantage of the hypertext environment to provide background on complex subjects without distracting the reader from the main point of the section. Definitions of complex terms and illustrations that clarify the text are available at the click of a mouse. Extension educators may want to use this program to introduce growers to the new ways of learning with a computer.

Highlights of the program include a pictorial key to whitefly eggs, nymphal stages, pupae and adults, illustrated with line drawings, scanning electron micrograph (SEM) images, and color photos. Key terms used in the key are linked to illustrations or definitions in the hypertext environment. Other highlights include SEM images to show differences between a pupa with an adult emergence hole and a pupa that has been parasitized. Sections on management and life history provide information that ranges from basic definitions of terms like species and parasitoid, to a list of suggestions for managing whiteflies.

Although the software is extremely user friendly, growers and extension educators who are unfamiliar with computers may want a warm up session to orient them to the program before they go off on their own to explore. The use of hard drives, and not CD drive technology, limits the clarity of the color photos when displayed on desktop, laptop, and color panels. However, the judicious use of SEM images and line drawings more than make up for this shortcoming. For more information on this software program, contact:

- Reviewed by Cliff Sadof, Purdue University

Extension Biological Control Conference Held in Nebraska

The second annual Biological Control of Insects: A Conference on Beneficial Natural Enemies and Their Use in Pest Management, October 31-November 3 in Lincoln, Nebraska was as successful as the first conference in Madison last year. There were approximately 60 attendees, including extension agents, crop consultants, and other agriculture professionals. General sessions provided background information on insects as pests, the different types of natural enemies, and an overview of the approaches to and implementation of biological control. Breakout sessions gave the opportunity to address the specifics of biological control in corn, alfalfa, grain sorghum, livestock, turf/ornamentals and horticultural crops.

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