History of this laboratory

Our program is a component of the USDA-ARS, Insect Biology and Population Management Research Laboratory, and has developed over a 30 year span. In the earlier years we focused on uncovering the role of olfactory signals, primarily close-range contact cues, play in host searching by parasitoids, including reporting the first isolated and chemically identified kairomones for both larval and egg parasitoids. In the 1970's we demonstrated that artificially applied kairomones could be used to enhance the field-plot performance of beneficial insects. In the early 1980's, extensive collaborative studies were begun with Drs. J. H. Tumlinson in Gainesville, FL and J. C. van Lenteren and L. E. M. Vet of Wageningen, The Netherlands. These cooperative interactions have led to studies with a strong multi-trophic interactions perspective, including elucidation of the roles of plant signaling, learning by parasitoids, importance of food resources and visual cues, and landscape ecology. Also, these studies have shaped the view that sustainable pest management will require a systems approach to understanding and maximizing inherent strengths of natural enemies and other natural strengths as the first line of defense.
An international string of Post Docs, Graduate Students, and Visiting Scientists have played vital roles in these cooperative studies including:

USA: M. Beevers, F. Eller, M. Keller, W. Martin, P. McCall, J. H. McLoughrin, G. Morrison, T. Mueller, P. Pare, J. Ruberson, W. Sheehan, J. Strong-Gunderson, D. Whitman.

The Netherlands: A. Datema, Y. Drost, W. van Giessen, L. Noldus, J. O. Stapel, T. Turlings, F. Wackers, O. Zanen.

France: A. M. Cortesero, F. Herard, G. Prevost.

Brazil: C. DeMoraes, A. O. Gerk.

Japan: K. Takasu.

Sweden: H. Alborn.

United Kingdom: P. McCall

Poland: J. Dmock.

Chile: M. Altieri.

Germany: U. Rose.


The laboratory

The insect rearing room. Parasitoids are held in the plexiglass cages and the
parasitized caterpillars are kept in diet cups on the racks in the back.

Testing parasitoids for their cotton odor preference in the windtunnel



Dr. Joe Lewis on line

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