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Extension entomologists, graduate students honored by entomological society

By the U of A System Division of Agriculture
April 5, 2017

Fast Facts:

  • Division of Ag entomologists recognized for achievements and research
  • Dale Bumpers grad students win top honors in paper and poster presentations

(593 words)

(Newsrooms: with art of Hopkins at and Seiter at
(This story can be also be downloaded as a MS Word document here.)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Two extension entomologists with the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, along with four graduate students in the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences, were recently honored at a meeting of the Southeastern Branch of the Entomological Society of America. 



The meeting, held in Memphis, Tennessee, recognized John Hopkins, associate professor and extension urban entomologist with the Division of Agriculture, with the Distinguished Achievement Award. 

During Hopkins’ tenure with the Division of Agriculture, the urban entomology program has grown into a program that addresses the needs and concerns of diverse stakeholders such as homeowners, regulators, landscapers, master gardeners, extension personnel and pest management professionals. 

Hopkins said he felt much of the recognition was owed to his work on termaticides (pesticides specifically aimed at termites).

“We’ve worked with commercial horticulturists, master gardeners and other groups to address this and other problems,” Hopkins said.

Hopkins has been recognized for many notable advancements in horticultural research and study in the state, including his discovery, along with extension horticulture specialist Jim Robbins, of the crape myrtle bark scale phenomenon in 2014.

“Jim and I were the first to figure out what we were seeing attack crape myrtles in the state, and we’ve been developing management strategies ever since,” he said.

Nick Seiter, assistant professor and extension entomologist with the Division of Agriculture, received the Early Career Award. Organizers of the awards event noted that Seiter, who joined the Division of Agriculture in June 2014, has shown an aptitude for balancing and excelling at extension, research, and teaching activities. His program is dedicated to providing science‐based insect pest management recommendations to Arkansas growers, with an emphasis on the crops and insects such as the kudzu bug and sugarcane aphid that are most relevant to the southeastern portion of the state.

“When we see new pests emerge in our row crops, oftentimes management recommendations aren’t established,” Seiter said. “It becomes our mission to establish them, so that growers are equipped to deal with these new challenges.”

Graduate students with the Dale Bumpers College were awarded two first-place finishes and one second-place finish in oral presentation competitions, as well as one first‐place finish in the poster presentation competition.

Aaron Cato, a doctoral student, won first place with his paper, "Evaluation of rice stink bug, Oebalus pugnax, damage to maturing rice kernels." The paper was co‐authored by Cato’s advisor, Division of Agriculture extension entomologist Gus Lorenz, and a committee member, Jarrod Hardke, extension rice agronomist for the Division of Agriculture.

Joseph Black, a master's degree student, won first place with his paper, "Horizontal transmission of Helicoverpa armigera nucleopolyhedrosis virus (HearNPV) in soybean fields infested with corn earworm, Helicoverpa zea." Lorenz is also Black’s graduate adviser, and co-authored the paper.

Dylan Cleary, a master's degree student, placed second with her paper titled "Occurrence of select parasites and pathogens in Arkansas honey bee;" co‐authored by her adviser, Allen Szalanski, and a committee member, Donald C. Steinkraus, both of whom are professors of entomology with the Division of Agriculture.

Mary‐Kate Williams, also a master's degree student, won first place in the MS poster competition. Her poster was titled "Molecular survey for the honeybee Trypanosome parasites crithidia mellificae and Lotmaria passim." Szalanski is also Williams's advisor and co‐author.

The Entomological Society of America is the world’s largest organization serving the professional and scientific needs of entomologists and individuals in related disciplines. The Southeastern Branch includes Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. The 2017 ESA‐SEB meeting took place in Memphis, Tennessee, on March 12‐15. 


The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

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Media Contact: Mary Hightower
Dir. of Communication Services
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
(501) 671-2126

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