When planning your next picnic, make sure you leave the tunaat home. University of Georgia entomologists have found severalant species prefer tuna over other foods they tested.”We did this study to find out what food products nativeants like best,” said Mark Brinkman, a research scientistwith the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.Unlike picnickers, entomologists want to attract ants. “We want to find out how many species of ants are present in Georgia,” Brinkman said. “Using food baits to collect ants is the first step in this project.”Tuna and Honey: The Top ChoicesFor the study, Brinkman narrowed down the ant menu to tunain oil, uncooked eggs, honey and peanut oil. “Peanut oilis a fat, honey is a sugar, egg is a protein and tuna is a protein in oil,” he said. “I chose these foods to representseveral food groups.”Brinkman said he decided to test eggs as a food bait becauseof his observations in nature. “I have often seen them eating bird eggs that have fallen out of nests,” he said.After testing the food baits last summer, Brinkman found tunain oil to be the top choice of ants in Georgia. Of the more than5,000 ants collected during the study, 4,594 were caught usingthe tuna bait. Honey was the second favorite food bait attractingsome 355 ants and egg was the third choice attracting some 294ants. Only 50 ants were caught in the peanut oil baits.”The majority of the ants collected with tuna baits werefire ants,” Brinkman said. “It’s not that other speciesdon’t like tuna, too. Once fire ants show up, they monopolizea food bait.”There’s More Than One Way to Catch AntsBrinkman’s study helps UGA entomologists lighten their loadwhen collecting ant species for research. “Now instead oftaking all these different food baits along, we take the tunabaits,” he said.Food baits, like the tuna one used by UGA researchers, mayprove to be very effective tools for attracting ants, but UGAentomologists can’t rely on it alone. “We attracted 13 species of ants with the food baits and there may be a couple of hundred species in Georgia,” Brinkman said.To collect as many species as possible, UGA entomologists alsouse pitfall traps to collect ants. “Basically, you drilla hole in ground, insert a vial and the ants fall in,” Brinkman said.Researchers actively search for ants in nature, too, and collect them in leaf litter samples. “We collect leaf litter, putit in the top of a large funnel and heat it up,” he said.”The ants fall down into a collecting station.”
Joann Milam, public service extensionMilam, an extension agent in Washington County, has planned and conducted issue-driven programs in family and consumer sciences for the past 11 years. Her educational programs are often the only training on chronic disease and nutrition, parenting, food safety, child care training and financial management the residents in the rural counties receive. She has reached nearly 600 clients through a 5-hour diabetes education and management program.In 2009, she presented her programming efforts in diabetes at the Fifth Annual Health and Obesity Conference in the United Kingdom. She has written or co-written grants and proposals that have generated more than $800,000 in funding. She is also responsible for saving her clients more than $327,000.Yao-wen Huang, global programsHuang is an internationally-known scholar in the areas of food safety, microbiology and new food product development. In 1982, his international activities began with his appointment to the UGA Marine Extension Service. He was the first scientist to use rapid processing technology to convert the cannonball jellyfish, a south Atlantic nuisance, into a value-added edible product. After joining CAES, he continued to provide assistance in seafood safety and processing technology to developing countries like China, Thailand, Argentina, Mexico and Egypt. He has served as major professor for many international students and visiting scholars, and helped establish partnerships between UGA and foreign institutions.CAES staff and faculty members were also recognized at the award ceremony. Scott Gold received the faculty award for diversity and staff member Kisha Shelton and MANNRS (student organization) were also recognized for diversity efforts. Five University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences faculty members were awarded the highest honor the college bestows on Tuesday, Oct. 5 in Athens, Ga., at the annual D.W. Brooks Lecture and Faculty Awards for Excellence.The program is named in honor of Gold Kist Inc. founder D.W. Brooks. A CAES alumnus, Brooks advised seven U.S. presidents on agriculture and trade issues. He was the youngest professor at UGA (he started teaching agronomy when he was 19) and one of the oldest, still lecturing into his late 90s.Brooks’ dedication to agriculture continues to live on through the awards, and the company he founded lives on under the name Pilgrim’s Pride, which purchased Gold Kist in 2007.The 2010 award winners were Ignacy Misztal, for excellence in research; T. Dean Pringle, teaching; Eric Prostko, extension; Joann Milam, public service extension; and Yao-wen Huang, global programs.“This college is both a local and national powerhouse,” said Scott Angle, CAES dean and director. “While a team effort, it is ultimately the quality of our faculty and staff that make this college great. Our D.W. Brooks winners today represent the best of the college, and we could not be more proud of their accomplishments.”Ignacy Misztal, researchMisztal, an animal and dairy scientist and professor, is best known for research on computing algorithms in animal breeding. His methodologies are used for research and genetic evaluation by numerous organizations. Misztal has conducted research across animal species, and his work is sponsored by major dairy, beef, and pig organizations.He has written 146 journal papers and more than 200 other publications. Misztal is also a popular speaker and teacher and has given presentations in 28 countries and taught short courses on six continents. He regularly teaches classes in mixed models, computing in animal breeding and advanced animal breeding.T. Dean Pringle, teachingPringle, also an animal and dairy science professor, serves as co-undergraduate coordinator for his department. He began teaching in 1995 and has instructed more than 1,700 students. He coordinates the departmental internship program and advises graduate students and about 100 undergraduates each semester.His research focuses on developing and assessing critical thinking skills in animal and dairy science undergraduate students and understanding factors that influence student engagement. Pringle also studies beef and swine meat quality and works to enhance consumer acceptability through improvements in meat tenderness and carcass composition.Eric Prostko, extensionProstko, a UGA Cooperative Extension weed specialist, is responsible for statewide weed science programs in field corn, peanut, soybean, sunflower, grain sorghum and canola. Since 2000, he has provided 54 in-service training programs for Georgia extension agents and has made educational presentations at 367 crop production meetings.Additionally, Prostko was one of the first extension specialists to formally develop an Internet-based training program for county agents. He has made more than 128 invited extension presentations to allied agricultural industry groups like BASF, Syngenta, Southern States, Valent, Georgia Crop Production Alliance, Southern Peanut Farmers Federation and the Mississippi Weed Science Society.