Welcome to the First Detector Entomology Training Project

From Bugwoodwiki



Welcome to the First Detector Entomology Training Project for Master Gardeners!

This general entomology course is designed for Master Gardeners and homeowners. It provides a general overview of entomology and helps home owners:
1) recognize the common arthropods (pests and non-pests)
2) confirm the identification of pest problems
3) recognize and report suspect unusual, exotic, or invasive species. (Visit Invasive Species CoP to learn more about specific invasive species.)

Course Chapters

The First Detector Entomology Training Project consists of several wiki pages that provide a good overview of arthropods in general, insects, and entomology.

Topics Covered:

Introduction to Arthropods here
How to Photograph Insects here
How to Collect Insects here
How to Preserve Insects here
Spiders and other Arachnids here
Basic Insect Biology here
Brief Introduction to the Major Different Kinds of Insects (Orders) here

Ants (Formicidae): Ants are easily recognized by their geniculate (elbowed) antenna and the one or two nodes between their thorax and gastor. Modified from Imms 1934.

Order Pages

Some major insect orders get their own wiki page where specific examples of commonly encountered species (pests or non-pests) are highlighted.

True Bugs – Hemiptera
Grasshoppers, etc. – Orthoptera
Thrips – Thysanoptera
Beetles – Coleoptera
Butterflies and Moths – Lepidoptera
True Flies – Diptera
Bees, Ants, and Wasps – Hymenoptera
Termites –Isoptera
Cockroaches – Blattodea
Lice – Phthiraptera
Fleas – Siphonaptera


The First Detector Entomology Training Project is still in development and consists of three phases.

1) Develop Bugwood WikiIPM webpages that will educate Master Gardeners and other plant pest specialists on how to identify members of insects and other arthropods (these pages).

2) Develop corresponding scripted PowerPoint slideshows for educators to use during group presentations. When completed these will be freely available on the NPDN training site here.

3) Development of a series of 12 e-learning modules over the wiki material. When completed modules will be freely available on the NPDN training site and available for use here.

First Detectors

First Detectors are defined as anyone who may encounter a potential invasive species during the course of their daily lives, but much of First Detector training to-date (2003-current) has included county extension agents, crop consultants, and inspectors. The NPDN training program, has largely been a train-the-trainer program. Anyone interested in First Detector training can complete the existing NPDN crop biosecurity e-learning course, or special topic training available through NPDN or NPDN partner programs on topics such as chilli thrips, emerald ash borer, Ralstonia solanacearum race 3 biovar 2, Asian citrus psyllid and citrus greening, redbay ambrosia beetle and laurel wilt, the giant African land snail, an overview of invasive species affecting plants, spotted wing drosophila, and plant biosecurity for various ages and target audiences.

Statement of Potential Impact

The broad impact of our project will be improved insect diagnostics in all systems including agronomic crops, specialty crops, nurseries, home gardens, and any other environments in which Master Gardeners may encounter arthropods. Although Master Gardeners are the primary target audience, small producers will also benefit, because the general public will be more likely to submit unusual, exotic pests to local diagnostic clinics or extension offices once this training is released. This will lead to early detection of exotic, invasive species. Additionally, county extension agents throughout the U.S. will be better prepared to screen and identify common pests. Increasing skill levels of county extension agents, who do not have an extensive entomological background in most cases, will result in submission of priority pests of concern to appropriate clinics.

Our project addresses the 3rd and 5th goals of the 10201 Implementation Plan goals: we primarily address Goal 5) Outreach and Education. Land Grant Universities (LGUs) throughout the U.S. will be able to link to the training and educational materials. Various LGUs will also be engaged in face-to-face, traditional delivery of content through the National Plant Diagnostic Network.

Our objective is to develop entomology focused trainings that will introduce Master Gardeners to the insect orders and will specifically emphasize identification of key invasive species. Upon deployment of the content, educators are able to adapt scripted presentation materials on an as-needed basis, as appropriate for their local area. The trainings will be structured to encourage an understanding of key characteristics to identify insects to order and family, particularly emphasizing exotic and invasive species. Program participants will become highly trained in insect identification including identification of invasive species and other exotic insects. These training modules will be made available to all first detectors.

We encourage you to utilize these modules for county agent trainings, master gardener trainings and advertise them to the general public at garden shows and other appropriate venues.

Our project also addresses Goal 3) Pest identification & technology enhancement. We have developed an advanced Master Gardener entomology training that may also be of value to border inspectors and others who lack a background in entomology. Furthermore, specialty and other crop needs have been addressed. The structure of our training emphasizes insect identification to the level of order, and sometimes family, in all environments – including specialty crops, other agricultural commodities, and urban environments. Images of insects that are invasive species on specialty crop groups have been included as examples in the training.


Funding for this project was provided through USDA, National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA), in conjunction with the USDA-APHIS-PPQ and Sec 10201 of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008.

Development Team

This project was a team effort that was led by Natalie Hummel (Associate Professor, LSU AgCenter) and Michael L. Ferro (Associate, LSU AgCenter). Other team members include Chris Carlton (Professor, LSU AgCenter), Krisanna Machtmes (LSU AgCenter), Alan Morgan (Professor, LSU AgCenter), Karen Nix (formerly LSU AgCenter), Dennis Ring (LSU AgCenter), Mark Abney (Assistant Professor, North Carolina State University), Hannah Burrack (Assistant Professor, NCSU), Matt Bertone (formerly NCSU), Amanda Hodges (Assistant Extension Scientist, SPDN [1] Associate Director & NPDN [2] Training and Education [3] Program Area Manager, University of Florida), Stephanie Stocks (Assistant-In, Extension Scientist & Protect U.S. Coordinator [4], University of Florida), Keith Douce (Professor, University of Georgia, CISEH, Bugwood), Joe LaForest (University of Georgia, Bugwood), Frank Hale (Professor, University of Tennessee).

First Detector Entomology Training Project