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When you find an insect in your home, what do you do?

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Jeff Hahn

Jeff Hahn

Jeff Hahn's answer may diverge from that of most people: "I get the camera and take a picture of it. Then I put it in my collection."

As an Extension entomologist, that answer makes plenty of sense. Specimens like these make excellent teaching aids in Hahn's workshops on urban entomology, the study of insects in and around buildings, gardens, and landscapes.

As a member of the horticulture team, Hahn has a 100 percent Extension appointment. His presentations and courses, such as the Master Gardener core course, provide practical knowledge so people can identify insects and understand whether they're friend or foe.

The hot topic right now? "Boxelder bugs," said Hahn. "People see them in their homes and assume they're reproducing inside. In reality, they just overwintered and are now becoming more active with warmer temperatures."

The insects that crop up have changed over the years since Hahn started at Extension in 1984. Emerald Ash Borer was unheard of not long ago. There have been surprises over the years too--such as the occasional exotic spider or cockroach. (It's worth noting that Hahn characterizes these as good surprises.)


Photo credit: Jeff Hahn

Brown marmorated stink bug

Hahn contributes to the online diagnostic modules (What insect is this? and What's wrong with my plant?), which continue to be powerful and popular features of Extension's website. Hahn is also a frequent writer on the Yard and Garden News blog, where you'll learn more about what is going on in the insect world--including new sightings of invasive insect pests like the brown marmorated stink bug.

Now that the weather has improved, keep an eye out for Hahn with his camera around campus or at the Landscape Arboretum. "I like to see what problems are out there. I walk around campus with my camera. Getting outside is a great part of the job."

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