- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
The annual meeting, hosted by the Entomological Society of America (ESA), is taking place Nov. 5-8 at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Md.
The theme: "Insects and Influence: Advancing Entomology's Impact on People and Policy."
At the helm of ESA this year--and influencing scientists, insects and the general public--are four women scientists:
- President: Marianne Alleyne, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
- Vice President: Jennifer Henke, Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District
- Vice President-Elect: Lina Bernaola, Texas A&M University
- Past President: Jessica Ware, American Museum of Natural History
Among the top honorees at Entomology 2023 is UC Davis doctoral alumnus Douglas Walsh, professor and Extension specialist in the Department of Entomology, Washington State University (WSU). He is one of six newly elected Fellows
"Walsh is known internationally for his research on the modes of action and resistance mechanisms of acaricides on spider mites and regionally in the Pacific Northwest for his extension and outreach efforts on specialty crops," ESA announced in a news release, citing that:
"Walsh has maintained a well-funded (more than $30 million) and productive program as the research director of the Environmental and Agricultural Entomology Laboratory located at the WSU Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center in the Yakima Valley near Prosser, Washington. Walsh is the Extension integrated pest management (IPM) coordinator for Washington State and the Washington State liaison representative to the U.S. Department of Agriculture IR-4 Project."
"Walsh has an extensive and varied integrated pest and pollinator management research and Extension program assisting regionally important commodities including hops, alfalfa, grapes, and mint. Walsh also directs environmental impact studies on alfalfa leafcutting and alkali bees, the key pollinators of alfalfa produced for seed. Walsh's efforts in IPM have resulted in the documented reduction of over 100,000 pounds of insecticide use in the Pacific Northwest annually."
Born in New York in 1963 and a resident of California since 1969, Walsh holds a bachelor's degree in biology from UC Santa Cruz (1985). He received his doctorate in entomology from UC Davis in 1998, studying with major professor Frank Zalom, who went on to become a UC Davis distinguished professor and president and Honorary Member of ESA. "He is very deserving," Zalom said. "I couldn't be more proud of all that he has accomplished." Zalom is now emeritus, but continues to do research.
"I was Frank's first PhD student," Walsh said. "Frank had one before me, Rachid Hanna. Frank picked up Rachid when Rachid was orphaned when his original professor left UC Davis. Rachid and I quibble about who was Frank's first student. I'm the first that went from start to finish with Frank."
Outstanding Graduate Student. Kaya remembers Walsh well. "He was studying integrated pest management at UC Davis and was an outstanding graduate student in Frank Zalom's lab," Kaya said. "Even as a graduate student, he published some significant papers on IPM research, and I had no doubt that he would excel in research in his post graduate years. He has not only done superb IPM research but has been a leader in the Entomological Society of America as well as other national and international organizations. He richly deserves being elected as an ESA Fellow."
Walsh joined the WSU Department of Entomology as assistant professor in 1998 and advanced to associate professor in 2003 and to professor in 2007. The author of more than 200 publications, he annually delivers more than 35 Extension presentations. He has mentored 12 doctoral students and 11 master's degree students.
Walsh served as president of the Pacific Branch of ESA (PBESA) in 2010 and represented PBESA on the ESA governing board from 2013 through 2019. Among his ESA awards: Excellence in IPM Award and he led two teams that received the IPM Team Award.
A WSU news story (Sept. 7, 2023) related that Walsh has "worked primarily on pest control issues, mostly on hops, grape vines, mint, and alfalfa. One of his first successes at WSU in 2005 involved developing a novel method for controlling cutworms, which climb up from the soil in spring to nibble on grapevine buds."
Walsh initially set out to become a botanist. “I was working in a local Extension office in California after I got my bachelor's degree," he told the WSU writer Scott Weybright. "That work involved battling spider mites on strawberries. I kind of fell into entomology, but I love the work and the creative solutions we find to help growers."
His wife, Catherine (Kikie) is a senior software engineer with Altera Digital, a hospital software firm. The couple, married 35 years, raised three children, Claire, Russ, and Jeff, all WSU grads. Claire is the lifecycle marketing manager with Niantic Labs; Russ is working toward his master's degree in teaching at WSU Tri-Cities: and Jeff is a site reliability engineer at TikTok.
Other newly inducted ESA Fellows are:
- Cassandra Extavour, Harvard University
- James Hagler, U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service
- Alvin M. Simmons, U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service
- Lukasz Stelinski, University of Florida
- Edward L. Vargo, Texas A&M University
Founded in 1889, ESA is a worldwide organization of more than 7000 members, who are affiliated with educational institutions, health agencies, private industry, and government. Members are researchers, teachers, extension service personnel, administrators, marketing representatives, research technicians, consultants, students, pest management professionals, and hobbyists.