Entomologist to Present History of Vegetable Pests, Points to Collaboration (Vegetable Growers News)

Entomologist to Present History of Vegetable Pests, Points to Collaboration

About the time Hugh Smith was a graduate student in entomology and nematology at the University of Florida, his academic department was housed on the top floor of McCarty Hall in Gainesville. Steinmetz Hall, the department’s current location, was a construction site.

Now, about 30 years later, Smith is a vegetable entomologist for UF/IFAS, and Steinmetz houses the department on the southwest edge of the Gainesville campus.

Three decades later, many bugs have plagued Florida farmers. For example, the silverleaf whitefly had recently made its home in Florida. Among other pest issues, problems with thrips were confined primarily to western flower thrips in the Panhandle. Pepper weevils and diamondback moths could not be controlled effectively with insecticides.

“UF/IFAS entomologists responded to these and other threats by developing protocols to monitor and scout the insects, evaluate chemical, biological and behavioral approaches to managing the pests and by collaborating with plant breeders on the development of virus-resistant varieties when appropriate,” Smith said.

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