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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

ARS 50th Anniversary Celebration

Logo Image for "A R S : The Future Grows Here"Agricultural Research Service
50th Anniversary

Local Event

South Atlantic Area
Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology (CMAVE)
Gainesville, FL


Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology (CMAVE)
Gainesville, FL

CMAVE is an internationally renowned research institution. Located on the campus of the University of Florida, it has more than 150 personnel, including nearly 50 doctoral level scientists. The Center began during the Second World War, in Orlando, as a unit tasked to develop methods for stopping the transmission of insect-borne diseases. Under the direction of Edward F. Knipling, it quickly demonstrated that the newly discovered DDT killed the lice that transmit typhus and the fleas that transmit plague. It has been said that this discovery saved the lives of more Allied troops and refugees during war than did penicillin. While studying mosquitoes, CMAVE now also does research directed at crop pests, including the identification of insect pheromones and attractants that can be used in traps, the production of genetically altered medflies for population eradication, the isolation of biological control agents for fire ants and crop pests, the development of innovative methods of detecting pests in stored grain, and on crop genetics and the impact of environmental changes on crops.

Since our conception, CMAVE has a history of making significant consumptions to Agriculture in the United States. A few of our achievements are:

  • First tested DEET, the world’s most effective mosquito repellent, and of its successor, A13-37220, now undergoing final evaluation by Department of Defense.
  • Discovered the attractant, trapping pheromones for Sweet Potato Weevil; Japanese Beetle; Banded Cucumber Beetle; Northern, Western & Southern Corn Rootworms; Fall, Southern & Beet Armyworms; and Heliothes moths, among others.
  • Discovered the mechanism conferring susceptibility to Southern Corn Leaf Blight, which destroyed 17% of US corn in 1970. This led to industry changes in hybrid seed production that have prevented further epidemics.
  • Developed ultra-low volume (ULV) pesticide application for mosquito control and mosquito repellent treated fabric.
  • Developed piggyBAC, the world’s most commonly used transposon for inserting foreign genetic codes into insects.
  • Invented of the world’s most frequently used Mediterranean Fruit Fly trapping system.
  • Developed widely used hormone and transgenic systems for control of Med Fly using sterile fly releases.
  • Discovered the new class of insecticide, sulfluramides, a widely used toxic baits for ants, termites and cockroaches in the world.
  • Invention of the Electronic Grain Probe Insect Counter to remotely monitor pest infestations in grain bins.
  • Developed first biological control of fire ants.



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Last Modified: 9/8/2015
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