The field of Biological Control was born in Riverside and the rest of Southern California in 1887-1889, with the successful introduction of the Vedalia beetle for the control of the cotton cushiony scale, an insect pest on citrus. Many point to this event as the start of entomology here as well. This technique saved the infant citrus industry in this region, and over 100 years later, the beetle still controls these former citrus pests.
The University of California began entomological research in southern California in 1906 when Professor Henry J. Quayle was appointed to the staff of the Southern California Pathological Laboratory at Whittier. In 1915, after the closing of the Whittier Laboratory, Professor Quayle was transferred to the Citrus Experiment Station, then located near Mt. Rubidoux in Riverside, where he was appointed first Chairman of the Department of Entomology.
In 1917, the Department moved into the Citrus Experiment Station main building that was newly constructed as part of an expanded agricultural experiment station and Graduate School of Tropical Agriculture. In 1932, separate quarters were provided for the Department in a newly constructed Entomology Building. Under Henry Quayle's leadership up to his retirement as Department Chairman in 1943, much of the basic knowledge on the biology and control of citrus and other subtropical fruit pests was developed. In 1949, an Entomology Annex Building was completed during the chairmanship of Professor Alfred M. Boyce.
In 1961, a teaching program leading to a B.S. degree in agricultural sciences with specialization in Entomology was established. A graduate program in Entomology was also inaugurated for which nine students were enrolled. Added to the complex of buildings for Entomology were the Insecticide Compounding Building in 1954, the Stored Products Laboratory in 1958, the north wing of the Entomology Building in 1960. Later building additions include the Entomology Research Museum in 1994, and the new Insectary and Quarantine Facility and a new Entomology Building which were both completed in 2002.
We currently have 35 faculty that bring their individual and collective expertise to bear at the molecular, cellular, organismal and population levels. Our current research specializations include: arthropod vectors of plant pathogens, biological control, insect behavior, chemical ecology, ecology, morphology, pathology, pest management, physiology, insect-plant interactions, systematics, toxicology, insecticide resistance, medical/veterinary entomology, molecular entomology, neuroscience, and urban entomology.
In early 2002, the Department moved into the new Entomology Building, a $22,000,000 state of the art building which contains 39,000 ft2 of office and laboratory space. This building houses 20 research groups spanning a range of interests from molecular entomology through population biology to systematics. This new building also houses the Department's administrative space and conference rooms for meetings and some class instruction. The Entomology Research Museum provides space for medical entomology and urban vector ecology, the 3-million-specimen insect collection, and a teaching laboratory classroom. Currently, the Department is housed in seven buildings, including Boyce Hall, Chapman Hall, the Stored Products Insects Building, Boyden Laboratory, and College Building North.
A unique and indispensable facility to the research mission of the Department, is the new Insectary and Quarantine Facility. It permits us to process, study, characterize, and propagate foreign parasites and predators that have been collected abroad and sent to California for the purpose of releasing them to control introduced exotic insect pests. This unique building has receiving rooms, five research labs, 10 greenhouses and 52 rearing rooms at Biosafety Levels 1, 2 and 3. The physical containment facilities enable scientists to safely investigate exotic parasites, microorganisms and predators, as well as genetically engineered organisms such as more potent microbial insecticides.
With three new buildings completed in the past ten years, the Department of Entomology at UC Riverside has one of the most modern research facilities worldwide.