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Larry Hanks

It has now been two and a half years since I moved from California to join the department, enough time to acquire five Master’s students and to get the research ball rolling. My research emphasis lies in identifying ecological factors that encourage outbreaks of phytophagous insects in ornamental landscapes. I have two students that are working with evergreen bagworm. Rob Moore is studying dispersal behavior of the first instars; whether dispersal is influenced by host plant species and intraspecific competition. Rob is also evaluating the impact of avian predators on bagworm infestations. Jodie Ellis is conducting an experiment to determine whether flowering herbs can be used to attract and encourage parasitoids of the bagworm. Another student, John Tooker, is studying the association between plant species diversity and rates of mortality inflicted by predators and parasitoids of a scale insect, pine needle scale, on ornamental pines. By understanding the ecological interactions between plants, phytophagous insects, and their natural enemies, I hope to develop methods of minimizing pest problems by manipulating plant diversity and availability of floral resources within ornamental landscapes.

I also am interested in the ecology and reproductive behavior of cerambycid beetles, in particular the role of pheromones in mate location and recognition. I have identified four basic reproductive strategies among cerambycid beetles in a chapter in this year’s Annual Review of Entomology, and intend to study the influence of larval host plants on reproductive strategy. To that end, I have another two students conducting research on two cerambycid species. Pete Reagel is studying aggregation behavior of the milkweed beetle, with the goal of determining what cues beetles use in forming aggregations and locating mates. Matt Ginzel is studying mating behavior and the role of contact pheromones in another cerambycid, the rustic borer.

Entomology Integrative Biology University of Illinois

Updated 01/26/00