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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

You are here: South Atlantic Area Home / Gainesville, Florida / Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology / Insect Behavior and Biocontrol Research Unit
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Handler, Alfred M
Research Geneticist (Insects)
(352) 374-5793
1700 S.W. 23RD DRIVE
Gainesville FL 32608

The mission of the Insect Behavior and Biocontrol Research Unit is to characterize, describe and analyze the behavior of pest and beneficial insects and to develop tactics for managing lepidopterous and fruit fly pests utilizing semiochemical based technology, natural enemies, and molecular manipulations. The ultimate objective is to provide alternative methods to conventional pesticides for control of crop, vegetable and tree fruit insect pests. Research focus is on sex pheromones and semiochemicals that mediate reproduction, feeding and host finding; development of behavior modifying chemicals to monitor and manipulate pest insects and their parasitoids and predators; development of artificial rearing methods for parasitoids and predators; and identification of behavioral traits of pest and beneficial insects that may be amenable to biological, cultural orgenetic manipulation. Principles of behavior are applied to development of control tactics useful in sterile insect release programs for fruit fly and lepidopterous pests; habitat management to preserve, manipulate, and increase populations of natural enemies; mating disruption and attract and kill technologies to suppress pest populations; and integration of these biological based tactics into local or area wide pest management schemes.

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