September 6, 2018


Thank YOU to the community for your support!

I wanted to share the thank you that our team received for working on the mange condition in black bears in Pennsylvania.

Our team recognized the need for this research and all collaborators, Penn State and the Game Commission, are working towards the same mission. 


Receiving this note reminded me that the community plays a big role in all wildlife conservation efforts. Their concern over the welfare of these animals is what drives research and protects them from being at the mercy of other human policies, or even at times just nature. 

We would like to extend a thank you to the wildlife community, both professional and private wildlife lovers, and a special thank you to the Jacobs family for caring and rest assured that we will do everything we can to learn more about this condition and help these animals. Your support means the world to us!

Long overdue update

I guess an update is in order! 

Tick-host association project: To date we have trapped and processed 483 mice and collected 1,342 ticks and 59 fleas. Several of these mice were brought back to the laboratory for dissection and hematology analysis. 


Black bear project: Currently we have 17 bears online of our target 36. We are still looking for several more bears with mange as we go forward in to August and September.  Throughout this summer we have collected many samples on healthy bears and bears with mange that were unsuitable to collar, so our data pool is pretty big! 

Beauveria presence in poultry: After collecting for two months, we have nearly 100 fly samples that are potentially infected with entomopathogenic fungi, including Metarhizium spp. on what might end up being two new host records. 

There are a couple other lab and field studies going on as well that are generating some good data. Hopefully we will have more updates soon! 

May 2018

Field season has started! We have several projects starting up from mice, to bears, to grouse, to flies. Follow along as we post updates on our progress. 

Welcome Hannah Greenberg! Hannah will be starting her PhD in the fall, but is getting a jump start on her project investigating the ecology of mange in black bears in Pennsylvania. A big thanks to Penn State for the media coverage on the black bear project. 

Our paper on protection of Sherman traps from non-target disturbance was also accepted by the Wildlife Society Bulletin 

Roden-Reynolds, P.  G. H. Hummell, E. T. Machtinger, and A. Y. Li. Development of non-target wildlife exclusion devices for small mammal trap protection. Wildlife Society Bulletin. Accepted


April 2018

Black bear cub that was processed during the den checks this year. 

Black bear cub that was processed during the den checks this year. 

Our paper "Repellency and toxicity of five ant defensive compounds against the lone star tick, Amblyomma americanum (Acari: Ixodidae)" has been accepted to Applied Entomology and Zoology.  Many thanks and congrats to my co-authors! 

We have also received funding from the Summerlee Foundation to support our work on the ecology of mange infection of American bears. This project will start this month. Erika was able to assist the PA Game Commission on a few den checks this year. What a fantastic experience! However, we were faced with several cases of mange in just the 6 dens that we did visit. This project is addressing an important issue in black bear management and we are looking forward to starting to collect data. 

January 2018

Happy New Year!

As we move through the winter month planning for summer field work is getting in to full swing. Several projects will be starting this summer including the black bear and mange project, West Nile surveys in woodland habitats, analysis of tick distribution on white-footed mice in Centre County, and house fly collection and biopesticide development. 

Erika was recently asked to be interviewed by the Early Professional Committee of ESA. You can see the interview here


Erika also just returned from participating in the Multi-state S-1060 meeting. This fantastic group works to control flies in livestock and poultry facilities. We are getting ready to start out next 5 year project. Look for more updates soon! 

Group photo taken of our multi-state hatch project "Fly Management in Animal Agriculture Systems and Impacts on Animal Health and Food Safety" this month in Orlando, FL. 

We would also like to thank the Summerlee Foundation for funding our proposal "Mange infection of black bears of the Northeastern United States: Achieving a better understanding of the ecology to improve treatment and management."

November 2017

The VEL is back from ESA in Denver, CO. After seeing some great talks (and congrats to all the students!) it is time to get to business and start planning for the spring and summer projects. 

Some exciting news was also passed on to us that The VEL was recently awarded a NIFA-sponsored project working with microbial control of filth flies in poultry facilities. I am currently looking for a Master's student to participate in the project. Please see the opportunities page for more information. 

Finally, our manuscript "Evaluation of four commercial natural products for repellency and toxicity against the lone star tick, Amblyomma americanum (Acari: Ixodidae)" was accepted in Applied and Experimental Acarology.