Caribbean crazy ants, tick-borne diseases and organic farming are on the agenda for the 2012 Joint Meeting of the Southeastern and Southwestern branches of the Entomological Society of America on March 4 through 7 in Little Rock, Ark.

“Whether beneficials, like honeybees and other pollinators, to house- and crop-devouring pests, insects have a multibillion-dollar impact on America’s economy,” said John Hopkins, Extension urban entomologist with the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture. “This meeting offers professionals from across the South the opportunity to hear new research and share their own findings.”

Among the topics to be discussed at the meeting:

  • Insect pests of cotton, corn, soybeans, citrus, sugarcane, wheat, sorghum, vegetables, turfgrass and ornamental plants.
  • Invasive species such as the spotted wing drosophila, Caribbean crazy ant, imported fire ant, and the Formosan subterranean termite. 
  • Biological control (using insects to control pest insects or weeds).
  • Diseases transmitted by ticks.
  • Medical and veterinary entomology.
  • Transgenic crops, or GMOs.
  • Organic farming.
  • Integrated Pest Management.

In addition, the two branches will host student competitions, an awards ceremony, an Insect Photo Salon and the Linnaean Games, a lively question-and-answer, college bowl-style competition on entomological facts played between university-sponsored student teams.

"This special joint meeting is a great opportunity to share information and network with fellow entomologists," said Norm Leppla, president of the ESA Southeastern Branch. "The meeting will have symposia on important topics and informative presentations."

Allen Knutson, president of the ESA’s Southwestern Branch, said the meeting would provide “a unique opportunity to meet and network with colleagues, both current and new, and to share information on entomological topics of interest across the southeastern and southwestern U.S."

More information, including the entire program, is available at http://bit.ly/yLEmAD and http://entsoc.org/press-releases/southern-insect-scientists-meet-little-rock.

The Entomological Society of America is the largest organization in the world serving the professional and scientific needs of entomologists and people in related disciplines. Founded in 1889, ESA today has more than 6,000 members affiliated with educational institutions, health agencies, private industry, and government. Members are researchers, teachers, extension service personnel, administrators, marketing representatives, research technicians, consultants, students, and hobbyists. For more information, visit http://www.entsoc.org.