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Department of Entomology History

VAMC Entomological Lab, 1890
VAMC Entomological Lab, 1890
Celebrate the Legacy of Entomology at Virginia Tech

Entomology at Virginia Tech preceeded the dedicated department we see today. Insects were part of the curriculum and research activities at the tiny Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College in the 1870s. Our first entomologist, William Bradford Alwood, started in 1888. Alwood was head of the departments affilated with entomology during his tenure (1888-1904).

Entomology department affiliations at Virginia Tech:

  • Department of Botany and Entomology (1889-1890)
  • Department of Horticulture, Entomology & Mycology (1891-1902)
  • Department of Mycology & Entomology (1902-1904)
  • Department of Biology (1904-1925)
  • Department of Zoology & Animal Pathology (1925-1935)
  • Department of Biology (1935-1959)
  • Department of Entomology (1959-present)
VAMC Faculty, 1870

Mason Graham Ellezy, M.D. was appointed professor of natural history and analytical chemistry in February 1873. A descendent of George Mason, Professor Ellezy was a biologist, medical doctor, and confederate war veteran. He was trained at the University of Virginia and VMI. Ellzey collaborated with Charles Valentine Riley, one of America's prominent pioneer entomologists. Dr. Riley was USDA's lead entomologist during this era. Ellzey was cited in the first USDA Entomology report, "Insect Life" in 1888 as providing butterfly specimens to Riley. Ellezy had a hand in creating the Virginia Tech Insect Collection. Specimens in the collection today date to his era.

William Bradford Alwood, 1888

In 1888, an assistant to Dr. Riley, left his post at USDA to become Virginia Tech's first dedicated entomologist. William Bradford Alwood created the base for which the entomology department exists today. During his 16-year tenure, Professor Alwood headed the department of horticulture, entomology, and mycology. In 1902, that department split, with Alwood heading entomology and mycology.

During his tenure, Professor Alwood authored over 60 significant publications in disciplines associated with pest management and horticulture. His work and his association with USDA established Alwood as one of the pioneer entomologists during the early era of the agricultural experiment stations in America. Alwood was credited by Harvey Price (in, Young, Harold Newell. 1975. "The Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station, 1886-1966." University of Virginia Press, Charlottesville. 221 pp.) as starting formal agricultural research at Virginia Tech. No one in college leadership at the time was experienced with organizing an experiment station or its research. When Alwood came to Virginia Tech in 1888 he arrived with this experience. He was credited with organizing and supervising the organization of the Ohio State University agricultural experiment station. Over his career, he organized and published research in association with Ohio State, USDA, and Virginia Tech.

In 1896, Professor Alwood entered into a cooperative agreement with the USDA Forestry Division to study climatic effects on several common species of forest trees grown from seed collected over a wide area of the country. The plan was to collect the seeds of each species from a number of different locations and have each state enter into cooperative tests, planting portions of the same under identical conditions for comparison. That plan, in part, fell through, after few states responded to Alwood’s proposal. After two years the work was discontinued and with permission of the USDA, Alwood published the results in Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station Bulletin Number 88 in May 1898. The title of the publication was “Growing Forest Tree Seedlings.”

Reported in the work was the planting of bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa) seed obtained from Vermont, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and Oklahoma. The bur oak seeds germinated from May to June of 1897. From seedlings stratified and germinated in the greenhouse, Alwood planted 10 seedlings from each state (40 seedlings) in an outside nursery at the station. Besides some frost damage, the seedlings grew slowly. Alwood recommended the bur oak seedlings be transplanted to their final location within two years to avoid damaging themselves from extensive root growth. A bur oak can generate as many as 30 inches of tap roots during its early years.

Alwood reported a considerable number of forest and ornamental trees (from the study) were planted on the campus and where a forest belt was desired on the station. Other species planted included walnut, chestnut, hackberry, honey locust, green ash, and white ash.

Two of the bur oaks are still alive today (2022). One is located in the Grove around the university President’s home. Another, planted outside the old station building formerly located on the approach to what is now Burruss Hall (1936), is the prominent oak on the Drillfield today. In 2011, that bur oak was dedicated as the " Alwood Oak." Ironically, Alwood had recorded the oak as " Tree #66 -- bur oak" in his photographic inventory of campus trees. Plaques and a memorial were located near the tree, by the department, to honor Professor Alwood. The monument, known as the " Alwood Plaza," was built and dedicated in 2012. Red roses, Alwood's favorite, were planted at the site along with some Hokie daylillies. The plaza was designed for the public to sit and view the oak and enjoy this prominent location on campus.

Professor Alwood mentored and taught some of Virginia Tech's first graduate students. They went on to serve as entomologists, horticulturists, and mycologists. The state entomologists designated with an asterisk (*) were employed by the state crop protection commission. In 1906, Alwood was listed as a consulting entomologist to the State Board of Crop Pest Commissioners. He resigned as state entomologist in September 1904.

Alwood's Notable Student Advisees (15 graduate students; many undergraduate students, including Julian Burruss, President of VPI, 1919 to 1945).

  • Harvey Lee Price - became Alwood's assistant, head of the horticulture department (1902); and dean of agriculture at VPI for 40 years.
  • R. H. Price - professor of horticulture and horticulturist at the Texas Agricultural College and Experiment Station (over ten years).
  • William Alphonso Murrill - became director of the New York Botanical Garden. First to identify the fungus causing the Chestnut blight epiphytotic in North America.
  • William M. Scott* - became state entomologist and pathologist of Georgia; USDA plant pathologist, Bureau of Plant Industry, Washington, DC.
  • William A. P. Moncure - became instructor of mycology and mycologist at VPI and Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station (1903-1908); captain (career military), veteran WWI, chemical warfare school (1930); diabled in the line of duty.
  •  J. F. Strauss - USDA Entomologist working with fruit insects. Strauss was a talented scientific illustrator. He was photographed in 1904 working as an artist for the USDA Forest Entomology section. In 1916, he published entomological works at USDA as L. O. Howard’s entomological assistant working with deciduous fruit insect investigations.
  •  J. L. Phillips - became Alwood's assistant and state entomologist of Virginia.
  • A. A. Girault - USDA entomologist, worked with the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC on parasitic wasps and sawflies.
  • Harper Dean, Jr., - Assistant state entomologist of Georgia, subsequently of Louisiana, and eventually first assistant state entomologist of Virginia.
  • W. J. Price - Assistant state entomologist of Virginia.
  • E. E. Cole - USDA agent.
  • J. F. Chapman - USDA agent.
  • C. C. Chase - Assistant state entomologist of Georgia.
  • A. H. Rosenfield - Assistant state entomologist of Illinois, USDA, and first assistant entomologist of Louisiana.
  • Julian Ashby Burruss - president of State Normal and Industrial School for Women (now, James Madison University) (1908-1919); president of VPI (1919-1945).
  • C. P. Miles - coach of the 1905 VPI football team, which lost only one game to Navy 12-6, still ranks as one of Tech’s all-time greats. Miles’ most important contributions were in the foundation and direction of the Virginia Tech Athletic Association and of the Southern Conference, of which he was the first president. Miles Stadium, where Tech played its intercollegiate football games from 1929-64 was named in his honor and it was Miles who initiated scholarship assistance to deserving athletes at Virginia Tech.
  • J. T. Keister - Assistant chemist. USDA Bureau of Chemistry - 1903-10. M. S. VPI, 1903. Pharm. D. George Washington University, 1907.
  • T. G. Woods - M.S., VPI, 1903. Assistant instructor and associate in agricultural, horticultural, and biological departments, assistant commandant, VPI, 1902-08. Director, Agricultural and Industrial School, Fourth Congressional District, Cooperative Creamery Association, Burkeville, VA, 1908-10. President, agriculture department, Virginia State Teachers Association, director, agricultural and industrial education, Sixth Congressional District of Virginia, New London Academy, 1910.

 

Alwood left Virginia Tech in 1904. He continued to support the university as a leader in viticulture and pomology, and as a prominent Virginia fruit grower and leader. In 1923, Virginia Tech honored Alwood with the VPI Certificate of Merit. In 1927, Alwood donated his very large pest management, entomology, and horticulture book collection to the university. This significant contribution proved a valuable addition to the library for years to come. Even today books signed by Alwood can be found in the library collection. His most prominent donations are protected as part of the Newman Library Special Collections archive.

In 1966, the horticulture department named a variety of grapes after Professor Alwood. The Alwood variety was a table grape similar to the Concord variety and is still being sold today.

In 1987, the W. B. Alwood Entomological (student) Society was named in honor of Professor Alwood. The society has contributed to thousands of outreach events and students over the years.

The Hokie BugFest (2011) , Hokie BugCamp (2012) and the Alwood Extension Award (2012) are presented each year to honor his leadership in outreach, research, and teaching in the early days of our discipline at Virginia Tech.

Alwood is credited with starting the VPI insect collection in 1888. Although Professor Ellezy had a hand in creating a collection, Alwood started the collection we know today. His writing on early labels from the late 1800s matches the writing in his laboratory notes as can be seen in the images below. The collection represents a historical record of the department's people and activities. In addition to Professor Alwood's contributions to the collection are those of many of the other individuals listed in the department history pages.

Alwood insect specimen in VPI collection from 1891

The specimens in the VPI insect collection document the history of the department and its people since 1888.

Insect specimens from the VPI collection are historical.

After Professor Alwood left Virginia Tech, the designation of entomology in the name of a department essentially disappeared into obscurity. From 1904 to 1959, the discipline basically continued under the department of biology. The agricultural experiment station also contributed a great deal to the survival of entomology. There was a number of very talented entomologists who worked for the station during this era. Many continued the work of Professor Alwood.

Here is a list of entomologists "hired" during this era (several continued employment into the Grayson years):; state entomologists employed by the state crop protection commission are designated with an asterisk (*).

  • Ellison A. Smyth, Jr. (1891-1925) - Virginia Tech’s father of biology; Smyth played a key role in the biological sciences at the university in its early days including working with insects and other arthropods. He was the curator of the VPI insect collection from 1891-1925.
  • W. R. Karr* (1897-1898) - 1897 alumnus; assistant in horticulture; went on to pursue a degree at Vanderbilt University.
  • W. M. Scott* (1897-1898) - assistant to the state entomologist; later became state entomologist of the state of Georgia.
  • John L. Phillips (1899-1910) - M.S., 1897; state entomologist and plant pathologist; one of Alwood’s former students and assistants; Phillips took over Alwood's role as state entomologist after Alwood's resignation in 1904.
  • Harvey Lee Price* (1899-1900) – M.S., 1898; one of Alwood’s former students and assistants; Price took over when Alwood left and continued as a professor, head of horticulture, and later dean of the college of agriculture and life sciences for 40 years.
  • W. J. Phillips* (1903-1904) – B.S., 1902; M.S., 1902; agriculture; assistant state entomologist, Virginia Crop Commission; later (1904) assistant entomologist, USDA, Washington DC; and University of Illinois, Urbana.
  • J. C. Stiles* (1904-1909) - B.S., 1904; fruit insects; assistant entomologist; professor of agriculture at the Agricultural High School, 3D Congressional District; Chester, VA.
  • Harper Dean, Jr. (1904-1905) - assistant to state entomologist and pathologist; also worked as assistant field entomologist in Georgia and Louisiana.
  • W. J. Price, Jr*. (1905-1918) – assistant to the state entomologist and plant pathologist;
  • Ernest Adna Back (1910-1912) – state entomologist and plant pathologist; he later finished his career at USDA Bureau of Entomology and Plant Quarantine where he worked with stored grain insects.
  • W. J. Schoene (1913-1956) - state entomologist of Virginia; worked with fruit insects and quarantine of invasive pests; was in charge of the insect collection from 1925 to 1953.  One of our more colorful stories evolved when Schoene became the subject of a US Supreme Court case centering around his quarantine work. It was cited as follows:  Miller v. Schoene, 276 U.S. 272 (1928) -- Julia Miller owned land with many red cedar trees. The trees were thought very scenic, but they had little commercial value. Her red cedar trees also carried a plant disease that was fatal to nearby apple trees. In 1914, Virginia passed a law requiring persons who owned red cedars to cut them down after the state entomologist determined that they were a threat to local apple orchards. When ordered by W.J. Schoene, the state entomologist, to cut down her trees, Miller filed a lawsuit. The local trial court rejected her claim that the state decision to prefer apple trees to red cedars took property without compensation in violation of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments. After that decision was sustained by the Supreme Court of Virginia, Miller appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States. Justice Harlan Stone upheld the state statute.
  • M. T. Smulyan (1915-1916) - assistant entomologist, Virginia agricultural experiment station; went on to be assistant entomologist, bureau of entomology, USDA, Washington, DC.; later (1936) entomologist (taxonomist) with the US National Museum, Smithsonian Institution.
  • Louis Agassiz Stearns (1918-1924) - associate state entomologist, fruit insect research, particularly that on the oriental fruit moth, codling moth, and plum curculio. He later finished his career at Cornell and other institutions.
  • Grover William Underhill (1918-1954) – Underhill was a giant in his profession. professor of entomology in the Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station. He worked with fruit and field crop insects. He married Clara M. Swoope on November 6, 1937, in Blacksburg, Virginia. Underhill died March 24, 1970, and is buried alongside his wife in the Westview Cemetery in Blacksburg.
  • C. R. Willey (1920-1926) – assistant entomologist; Virginia agricultural experiment station, working with garden and truck crops.
  • W. S. Hough (1921-1963) – assistant entomologist; first director of the Winchester Agricultural Fruit Station (now, Alison Smith Agricultural Research and Extension Center (AREC)); key person to building that center to what it is today. His research centered around the codling moth and testing insecticides for fruit insect control.
  • L. R. Cagle (1924-1964) – assistant entomologist; Virginia agricultural experiment station; worked on fruit insects including the biology and ecology of some important phytophagous mites.
  • Archibald M. Woodside (1927-1970) – associate professor; Shenandoah Valley Research Station, Steeles Tavern, full-time research on corn and forage crop insects.
  • Marvin L. Bobb (1933-1973) – professor; fruit and forest entomology, full-time research on peach insects and biological control, located at Piedmont Fruit Research Laboratory (Charlottesville).
  • Roland N. Jefferson (1934-1946) - instructor; he later worked at UCLA as a professor of entomology under the division of agriculture (entomology courses taught at Berkeley); research involved insects of flower crops.
  • James A. Cox (1936-1945)  – assistant entomologist; worked with fruit insects and fungal diseases of these organisms including mealybugs and other insects in orchards and other crops.
  • James McDonald Grayson (1937-1979) – professor, department head; research (75%), teaching (15%), Extension (10%); Specialty, insect resistance to insecticides; Extension program administration, first head and founder of a formal Virginia Tech department of entomology (1959); Grayson, along with Alwood, could be considered the father of Virginia Tech entomology.
  • L. A. Hetrick (1938-1946) - assistant entomologist, Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station. Beyond Virginia Tech, he was employed in a teaching fellowship at LSU (1931-1934), an entomology inspector and technician position at the Louisiana Department of Agriculture (1934-1938), and research assistant, Ohio State University (1946-1947). He was hired by the University of Florida (1947-1951) as an assistant professor, prior to receiving his Ph.D. at Ohio State (1951). From 1951 to 1959 he was associate professor, and he served as full professor from 1959 until retirement in 1972.
  • Clarence B. Dominick (1939-1975) – associate professor; full-time research on tobacco insects and subterranean insects of corn. Located at Bright Tobacco Research Laboratory (Chatham).
  • E. H. Glass (1940-1942) - field researcher, Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station at Chatham working with tobacco insects. He was later listed as ESA president in 1979; worked at Geneva station, Cornell University.
  • Melvin Joseph Janes (1944-1946) – assistant entomologist; briefly listed as a faculty member at Virginia Tech. Later, completed his career at the University of Florida working with vegetable crop and livestock insects.
  • William Don Fronk (1945-1948) – assistant entomologist; worked with cultural and biological control of field crop insects including Southern corn root worm; Later worked in Iowa, Wyoming and Colorado; listed in 1967 as acting assistant dean of the college of agriculture at Colorado State University.
  • John O. Rowell (1945-1970) – professor; first full-time, Extension entomologist, project leader of Extension entomology program. Specialties included field crops, stored grains, livestock, household, vegetable gardens, and ornamental pests. Assisted with 4-H club program.
  • Clarence Howell Hill (1946-1980) – professor; full-time research on fruit insects. Located at Winchester Fruit Research Laboratory.
  • Richard N. Hofmaster (1947-1974) - field entomologist; worked with truck crop insects at Virginia Truck Experiment Station (Norfolk).
  • D. E. Greenwood (1956) - field entomologist; worked with truck crop insects at the Virginia Truck Experiment Station (Norfolk).
  • John M. Amos (1949-1970) - associate professor; full-time Extension specialist working with fruit insects, beekeeping, home and garden insects, and rodent control. Also assisted with 4-H club program.
  • W. H. Howe (1951-1953) - field entomologist; Tidewater AREC, Holland; later worked with Lepidoptera species including serving as the editor of the classic book "Butterflies of North America."
  • T. B. Davich (1953-1956) - field entomologist; Tidewater AREC, Holland; later (1959, 1966) cited as director of the boll weevil research lab, economic research division, USDA/ARS research division, State College, Mississippi.
  • E. Craig Turner, Jr. (1953-1992) - professor; research (85%), teaching (15%); Dr. Turner was the founding father of Virginia Tech medical and veterinary entomology. He taught classes in medical and veterinary entomology, arthropod disease carriers, immature insects, aquatic entomology, systematic entomology, and the literature and history of entomology. Turner's research cast a wide net in these fields. He became an internationally recognized authority on Culicoides, publishing several regional taxonomic keys, as well as early works on host preference, mating, and overwintering.
  • Arthur Allen Muka (1954-1956) - assistant entomologist; teaching and research; After completing his bachelor’s degree in entomology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and his master’s and doctoral degrees at Cornell, Muka taught briefly at Virginia Tech before returning to Cornell as an assistant professor in 1956. He conducted research and trained growers on insect control strategies for vegetable, field, and forage crops in New York and throughout the Northeast.
  • A. P. Morris (1954-1960) - state (Extension) entomologist (1958). Authored the 1959 USDA Economic Insect Report.
  • E. M. Raffensperger (1955-1961) - assistant professor; In charge of insect collection in 1954. Later, he joined the Cornell University entomology faculty as associate professor and was promoted to full professor in 1977.
  • William G. Evans (1956-1958) - assistant entomologist; teaching and research; Later, faculty, department of entomology, University of Alberta, CAN; worked with beetles.
  • Donald G. Cochran (1957-1995) - professor and department head (1985-86); research (90%), teaching (10%); He worked with cockroach genetics and cytogenetics, growth, and reproductive biology. He collaborated with his long-time colleague, Dr. Mary Ross; together, they maintained more than 60 genetic strains of German cockroaches. Cochran provided significant contributions to insect biochemistry and physiology including early work on insect flight, and reactions that enable insects to use certain biochemicals efficiently. His work on nitrogen metabolism increased the understanding of the utilization and excretion of nitrogen-containing compounds. Don enjoyed an international reputation, collaborated with numerous scientists in a variety of sub-disciplines, and shared his knowledge and expertise in a number of review articles.
  • G. M. Boush (1949-1950; 1957-1965) - associate professor; full-time research on peanut and field crop insects. Located at Tidewater AREC (Holland).
  • J. L. Bishop (1958-1967) - associate professor; research (85%), teaching (15%); Worked with forage crops and insect toxicology, this included working with alfalfa weevil control and insecticide resistance in cockroaches.
James Grayson, Father of Today's VT Entomology Department
Dr. James McDonald Grayson, father of today's Virginia Tech Department of Entomology.

In 1959, a dedicated department of entomology was established through the leadership of Dr. James Grayson. Dr. Grayson headed that department for over 20 years. He and Alwood are prominent as the "shoulders on which we stand" today as a department at Virginia Tech.

Entomologists hired during the Grayson Era:

  • Mary Harvey Ross (1959-1997) - professor emeritus; research (50%), teaching (50%). Internationally recognized for her research with the German cockroach, the most common of all cockroaches. For nearly 30 years she studied the insect in the same laboratory, where shelves were stacked high with containers of wiggling bugs. Her career at the university spanned 38 years. Specialties included insect genetics and cross resistance.
  • W. A. Tarpley (1960-1965) - assistant professor; Extension entomologist; Extension (75%), research (15%), teaching (10%). Specialties included insect survey and insect ecology. He worked for the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services; he was hired as a professor at East Tennessee State University in 1964; working there teaching biology and entomology (among other things, including being the first pre-med advisor for the medical school when it first started) until he retired in 1990. During this time, he authored a book entitled, “Glossary of Ecology and Environmental Biology.”
  • Robert L. Pienkowski (1961-1995) – professor emeritus, acting department head (1986-87); research (85%), teaching (15%); specialties included ecology and biological control of forage and stored grain insects. Taught insect pest management and insect ecology courses. 
  • Michael Kosztarab (1962-1993) - professor emeritus; teaching (75%), research (25%). Highly renowned entomologist working with coleoptera; Specialized in insect taxonomy and systematics. In 1963 he was noted as the principal teacher in the department, teaching insect morphology, life and history of entomology, and systematic entomology. In charge of insect collection during his tenure.
  • H. M. Kulman (1962-1966) - assistant professor; joint appointment in the entomology and department of forestry and wildlife; Full-time research on forest insects. Specialties included ecology and biological control of forest and shade tree insects. He later added 10-15% teaching time. Resigned Oct. 15, 1966 to join faculty in the department of entomology, fisheries, and wildlife at the University of Minnesota.
  • G. C. Rock (1963-1966) - assistant professor; worked full time with fruit insects; Located at Winchester Fruit Research Laboratory (Allison Smith AREC). Resigned Dec. 31, 1966 to join faculty of the department of entomology at NC State University.
  • S. D. Carlson (1965-1969) - assistant professor; he continued his career at the University of Wisconsin; he is known for his monumental work in insect vision having published over 130 publications including working with the anatomy of the honeybee.
  • O. W. Isakson (1965-1967) - instructor, Extension (survey) entomologist; replaced Tarpley, but resigned two years later and was replaced by Bill Allen. His work included insect survey and insect ecology.
  • John C. Smith (1965-1989) - associate professor emeritus, Extension entomologist; Tidewater AREC at Suffolk. Smith worked with peanut and soybean insect pest management.
  • Herman Jack Heikkenen (1967-1991) - professor emeritus; teaching and research. Taught forest entomology and forest protection courses. Authored classic book, "Principles of Forest Entomology."
  • Rodney D. Hendrick (1967-1972) -assistant professor, research, teaching; biological control, forage crop insects; led research involving travel abroad extensively searching for thistle consuming insects and doing the initial groundbreaking research on the boll weevil eradication program in the United States. He continued his career as an Extension agent working for the LSU Ag. Center in Baton Rouge.
  • John A. Weidhaas (1967-1990) - professor emeritus, Extension specialist; working with insects affecting nursery and floral crops, ornamentals, Christmas trees, forest, and shade trees. Highly renowned insect photographer. He published his photographs in and authored a highly regarded classic publication. “ Insects That Feed on Trees and Shrubs“.
  • William A. Allen (1968-1983) - professor emeritus; research and Extension. IPM coordinator, Extension project leader. Much of his work was in insect survey and detection, soybeans and corn. Later, director of Virginia Cooperative Extension and associate dean, VT CALS.
  • Ralph A. Alls (?-1969) - 
  • John L. Eaton (1969-1998) - professor emeritus; research and teaching. Replaced Carlson in 1969; later, administrator as associate dean of the graduate school.
  • James E. Roberts (1969-1989) - professor emeritus; Extension project leader and entomologist; At various times in his career he was responsible for field crops, vegetables, 4-H, poultry, and livestock insects. Much of his work was concentrated in poultry, grain, corn, and livestock insects.
  • Robert I. Rose (1969-1969) - survey entomologist; worked six months in the insect survey and detection program. Later, worked as an arthropod biotechnologist with the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
  • William H. Robinson (1970-1998) - professor, urban entomologist and Extension specialist; head of urban entomology laboratory; research included the biology and control of cockroaches, wood-infesting beetles, boxelder bugs, pest management programs, and insecticide application technology.
  • Loke T. Kok (1972-2016) - professor emeritus, department head; teaching and research on biological control of insects and weeds. He also studied the major lepidoperous pests of cruciferous crops and their natural enemies leading to biological controls.
  • Donald E. Mullins (1973-2015) - professor emeritus, acting department head (1992-94); worked in teaching to enable the expansion of this role in the department at the time. He specialized in insect physiology. pesticde waste disposal, and biochemistry. His innovative research in pesticide disposal used organic absorption and microbial degradation to develop methods for practical on-farm implementation.
  • Robert L. Horsburgh (1974-1994) -professor, IPM specialist; worked with tree fruit insects at the Shenandoah Valley Research Station at Steeles Tavern and later superintendent of the Alison Smith AREC at Winchester.  
  • Paul J. Semptner (1974-2014) - professor emeritus; extension and research; worked with tobacco and other regional crops at the Southern Piedmont AREC at Blackstone. 
  • J. Reese Voshell, Jr. (1976-2014) - professor emeritus; aquatic entomologist and environmental entomologist; this was primarily a teaching position. Taught aquatic entomology, introduction to entomological research, and insect biosystematics. His research involved the ecology of aquatic insects, the impacts of environmental pollution, and natural resource management. 
  • Robert M. McPherson (1978-1987) - Extension specialist working IPM in small grains and soybeans; located at Eastern Virginia AREC in Warsaw.
  • Richard D. Fell (1979-2010) - professor emeritus, acting department head (2009); initially hired in a teaching position to establish an apiculture program; he taught courses in insect biology, bees and beekeeping, insect behavior, and sections of the agricultural technology program. His  program also included significant Extension and research activities including the Extension apiculture program and multiple projects in apiculture and pollinator research. 
  • Sidney Lamarr Poe (1979-1985) - professor and department head; research on insect physiology and taxonomy; later, professor, department of entomology and nematology, university of Florida.
  • Peter B. Schultz (1979-2017) - professor emeritus, director of the Hampton Roads AREC; working with ornamental and landscape insects in commerical nurseries and greenhouses. His researh involved biological studies of native parasites of scale insects on urban trees, and insect-plant interactions with lace bugs and azaleas and pyracanthas.

After Grayson, the department went through a series of changes. Leadership included Poe, Cochran, Pienkowski, Payne, Mullins, Mack, Kok, Fell, and today, Dr. Kring. The department has grown, has added a strong molecular research component, international service, and increased student numbers. Entomology is spread out among five buildings on campus and multiple ARECs. The primary location is Price Hall - a location where it has been since the building's dedication in 1907.  Faculty hired after the Grayson Era (1980-) and not listed or listed as emeriti on the current department website directory include:

  • John Luna (1980-1992) - assistant professor, Extension specialist; worked with IPM project at Virginia Tech; later, associate professor, Oregon State University department of horticulture.
  • Ed G. Rajotte (1980-1984) - research associate; worked with the economics of IPM and information management, pollinator and bee behavior; led project to evaluate national Extension IPM programs. Later, professor emeritus, Penn State University department of entomology.
  • F. William Ravlin (1980-1998) - professor, IPM coordinator; besides IPM, he worked with the gypsy moth project, served as Extension project leader after Jim Roberts retired; taught IPM and population modeling courses; later, professor and chair of department of entomology at Michigan State University.
  • Michael J. Weaver (1980-2021) - professor emeritus; director of Virginia Tech Pesticide Programs; Extension project leader (Virginia Extension pesticide safety education program), entomology Extension project leader after Ames Herbert retired. Taught chemical application (agricultural technology program) and pesticide usage courses. Started and managed the Hokie BugFest, Hokie BugCamp, and the Alwood legacy project honoring Professor Alwood, including naming the Alwood Oak, building the Alwood Plaza (adjacent to Burruss Hall), and establishing the Alwood graduate student award.
  • Dan Sharrod (1982-1984) - research scientist; Eastern Shore AREC; later, product development manager at DuPont Crop Protection.
  • Shelby Fleischer (1987-1991). research scientist, GIS systems and IPM; later, professor emeritus, department of entomology, Penn State University.
  • Thomas Payne (1988-1992) - professor and department head; research on sensory physiology and behavior of olfaction in insects, control of southern pine beetle; later, vice chancellor and dean emeritus, University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources.
  • Geoff Zehnder (1988-1991) - assistant professor; research and Extension specialist; vegetable crop insects, at Eastern Shore AREC, Painter, VA;  professor and coordinator, IPM & Sustainable Ag Programs, Clemson University.
  • D. Ames Herbert (1988-2019) - professor emeritus, Extension specialist, IPM coordinator, Extension project leader; Extension and research on insects of soybeans, peanuts, and small grains; Tidewater AREC; and Virginia Tech department of entomology.
  • Jesse A. Logan (1988-1992) - associate professor; research scientist; working with the gypsy moth project; later, professor emeritus, department of entomology and forestry, Washington State University.
  • Heather Wren (1988-1995) - research scientist; working with bacterial symbiosis in cockroaches, michondrial DNA research, and novel insect controls. She also worked with ultrastructure of muscle tissue and membrane configuration and evolution of bacterial endsymbionts.
  • Roger (Rod) Youngman (1988-2003) - professor, Extension specialist; Extension and research. Virginia Tech department of entomology; worked with IPM programs in field corn, small grains, livestock, poultry, and turf insects.
  • Jeffrey Bloomquist (1989-2009) - associate professor; working with neurotoxicology of insecticides and non-metabolic mechanisms of insecticide resistance. Later, professor of vector management, emerging pathogens institute, department of entomology and nematology, University of Florida.
  • Gerald L. (Skip) Jubb, Jr. (1989-2018) - assistant director of the agricultural experiment station and professor; research in small fruit IPM, primarily grapes. managed the Hatch project system for the university and 12 field stations. Later, dean of the university of Arizona South.
  • Lukas Stone (1989-1992) - research scientist; working on the gypsy moth project with Bill Ravlin and with expert systems with Nick Stone's research.
  • Nicholas D. Stone (1989-2003) - associate professor; worked with population ecology, IPM, simulation modeling and expert systems, and farm-level management. Later, director, National Capital Region Operations at Virginia Tech.
  • Patricia A. Hipkins (1989-2018) - Extension associate, assistant coordinator; Virginia Tech Pesticide Programs (Virginia Extension pesticide safety education program); taught chemical applications course in agricultural technology program. 
  • Timothy Mack (1994-2003) - professor, former department head, Virginia Tech department of entomology; later, VT CALS administration.
  • Brian Nault (1998-2000) - assistant professor; Virginia Tech’s Eastern Shore AREC; Later, professor, Cornell University department of entomology.
  • Edwin Lewis (1998-2004) - associate professor, working in Extension and research with landscape and turf insects; later, professor, co-director of Institute for Health in the Human Ecosystem, University of Idaho.
  • Carlyle Brewster (1999-2018) - professor; teaching insect behavior and ecology, research & information systems, research in the life sciences, and design & analysis of agricultural experiments;  current chair of the department and professor of entomology, Clemson University.
  • Zachary Adelman (2006-2016) - associate professor; later, associate professor and presidential impact fellow, department of entomology, Texas A&M University
  • Kevin Myles (2006-2016) - associate professor; later, professor of entomology, Texas A & M University.
  • Troy Anderson (2010-2018) -assistant professor; research with toxiciology and pharmacology and neurophysiology of insecticide action, pollinator and honey bee physiology; taught insect physiology, insecticide toxicology. Later, professor of insect physiology, department of entomology, University of Nebraska/Lincoln.

Written by m.j. weaver, 2023; the section on W. B. Alwood is copywritten under Weaver's biography of the professor, 2023.

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GoldenJubilee_Entomologist.pdf