Dr. Tom Kuhar
- B.S. (1992), Towson University
- M.S. (1996), Virginia Tech
- Ph.D. (2000), Virginia Tech
- Associate editor for Focus on Tomato – Plant Management Network
- Associate editor for Journal of Integrated Pest Management
- Ecological Society of America
- Entomological Society of America
- Plant Management Network
Tom is the vegetable entomology specialist at Virginia Tech. He has a 75% Research: 25% Extension appointment in the Department of Entomology. Tom also has a close affiliation with the Virginia Tech Eastern Shore Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Painter, VA. He investigates the biology and control of arthropod pests, and uses this knowledge to develop and deliver useful pest management information to agricultural clientele and the scientific community. The overall goal of his program is to develop, evaluate, and help implement sound integrated pest management practices on vegetable crops, which can enhance the profitability and sustainability of vegetable production in Virginia, as well as improve food and environmental quality by minimizing the use of toxic pesticides.
Current Graduate Students
Kyle Bekelja – Masters Candidate
Kyle is a native Pennsylvanian, and became fascinated with Entomology through fly fishing, exploring benthic habitats by curiously flipping over rocks in Pennsylvania mountain streams. From a job summer job at the Appalachian Research Center, USDA-ARS, in Kearneysville, West Virginia, he connected with Drs. Tom Kuhar and Sally Taylor at Virginia Tech. He is now co-advised by them and is studying relationships between various insects, pesticides, and Insecticide Resistance Management (IRM) strategies in transgenic, Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) field corn.
Kadie Britt – Ph.D. Student
Research: Kadie’s doctoral research is focused on insect pest management in industrial hemp. Hemp is a new crop to Virginia, and insect pest management strategies must be developed to help growers in the future.
Hayley Bush – Masters Candidate
Research: Hayley is studying brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) IPM strategies in bell peppers and overwintering structures. Her objectives include testing the efficacy of deltamethrin-incorporated netting as a management approach in peppers, developing a trap-based action threshold, and determining the effectiveness of tactile repellents on overwintering shelters.
Katlyn Catron – Ph.D. Student
Research: Katlyn is investigating southwestern VA soldier beetles (Chauliognathus spp.), which are predaceous as larvae and eat a variety of vegetable pests. Katlyn is interested in determining their role in agricultural ecosystems, and potentially exploiting their natural predation habits for use in integrated pest management.
Tony Dimeglio – Masters Candidate
Research: Anthony (Tony) is developing a trap-and-kill device for managing harlequin bug populations. This work could one day lead to a method that interrupts aggregation pheromone production, which therefore, in theory, could increase harlequin bug attraction to a pheromone baited trap or trap crop.
John L. Few IV – Masters Candidate
Research: John is researching the use of lambda-cyhalothrin and chlorantraniliprole in sweet corn. He is evaluating each insecticide’s control of lepidopteran pests as well as their impact on beneficial insects over various planting dates.
Adam Formella – Masters Candidate
Research: Adam studies a number of aspects of the brown marmorated stink bug’s phenology. He is currently working on when and where the BMSB lays its eggs, what vegetables it can complete development on, and what causes the red-bellied phenotype observed in various BMSB populations.
James Mason – Masters Candidate
Research: James is studying the population dynamics of two flea beetle species and their feeding injury effects on cabbage and eggplant. He is also investigating the effectiveness of traditional and non-traditional control methods for flea beetles, including deltamethrin screen as a row cover.
Current Research Technicians
Andy Dechaine – College Graduate
Mika Pagani – Undergraduate
Mika is studying environmental science while assisting MS student Hayley with her research on brown marmorated stink bug repellents. Among other things, she enjoys maintaining the stink bug colonies and engaging in the department’s youth outreach and education programs.
Emily Rutkowski – Undergraduate
Emily Rutkowski is a senior in the College of Natural Resources and the Environment, earning a BS in Sustainable Biomaterials and a minor in Entomology. As a lab technician she has been involved in beekeeping, data collection, fieldwork as well as assisting Kadie Britt in her studies with industrial hemp. She completed an undergraduate research on industrial hemp in 2017 and founded the Virginia Tech student chapter of the Virginia Industrial Hemp Coalition.
Former Research Technicians
Liz Fread – College Graduate
Katlin Mooneyham – College Graduate w/Masters
Katlin received her B.S. degree in Natural Resources from N.C. State University in 2011. She finished her M.S. in Entomology in 2015 working on biological control of the hemlock woolly adelgid. She has been working for Dr. Kuhar since May 2015 and is excited to continue learning about entomology as it relates to not only agriculture, but also all aspects of the natural world. In her free time she enjoys riding horses, hiking and identifying trees.
Hallie Harriman – Undergraduate
Hallie Harriman happened upon the Kuhar Lab in the spring of 2015 when an opening for a lab technician became available. Since then, Hallie has been rating Mexican bean beetle damage, getting poked by the occasional unruly eggplant, searching for the best soft serve joint in Blacksburg, and raising a colony of the friendliest stinkbugs around! Anyone who has the slightest interest in entomology feel free to contact Hallie or any of the fine graduate/undergraduate students involved with this program to learn more about how you can get involved!
Madeleine Kahle – Undergraduate
Madeleine Kahle is a sophomore with the hopes of achieving an Agricultural Business Management major with a Leadership and Medicine in Society minor. She is working towards obtaining her paramedic certification by the time she graduates. In the future, she plans to use the certifications and her degree to become a professional firefighter/paramedic. Entomology came into her life this past summer (2015) when she started as a technician for Ames Herbert at the Tidewater extension center in Suffolk, Virginia. She has since transferred over to Virginia Tech this past semester (Fall of 2015) and has started to work for Tom Kuhar. Madeleine has thoroughly enjoyed working for both of these labs and would encourage anyone to seek interest into the entomology department here at Virginia Tech.