January 2015

A new year, another cooooooold start to January.  Be on the lookout for press updates, but also send us your questions!  What would you like to know about insect overwintering?


For the Win!

The Salt Institute had a strong showing at the Entomological Society of America Annual Meeting in Portland, OR.  Amy took the President’s Prize (1st place) for her 10-minute paper presentation, as well as Amanda for her poster presentation.  Former Salt contributor Anthony also won the President’s Prize in his section for his Ph.D research.  Theresa, Erica, Marissa, and Andrea also presented research.

In other awards news, Amy also received a University of Minnesota Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship and the ESA Monsanto Research Grant Award.  She will be using the funds from the Monsanto Grant to study protein-level variation in an enzyme system that has been linked to variation in insect cold tolerance.

Winter 2014-15 is here!

Well, the busy season is upon us!  At the moment, most of our Salt contributors are in Portland, OR, for the national Entomological Society of America meeting.  After Thanksgiving, we should have some updates on what everyone is working on this winter, and some updates to contributor profiles and publications.

Cold snap is no snow day for emerald ash borer management

With all this cold weather, communities in Minnesota have been asking if current emerald ash borer management practices should be adjusted.  Rob, Lindsey, and Mark Abrahamson from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture have released management recommendations, available through the Northern Research Station of the US Forest Service.

Polar Vortex 2

Another round of cold temps and snow are hitting a big chunk of the country. Check out our fact sheet to see how some insects are faring: Tough Buggers: Insect strategies to survive winter in Minnesota.

Science Friday

Be sure to check out our very own Dr. Rob Venette today on Science Friday!

Winter Is Here!

And those of us in the Salt Institute are knee deep in research and interviews.  The polar vortex has been making Minnesota colder than normal, and lots of news outlets have become very interested in our work.  Dr. Venette and I (Lindsey) were featured in a MyFox9 report on how emerald ash borer might be affected by this extreme cold snap.


One correction to the video: I don’t actually take the larvae outside to freeze them. Not sure where he got that idea, but it was a pretty rushed interview.

Be on the lookout for more interviews in the next week!

Update 1/9/2014: We made the front page of the Star Tribune!  Rob and I (Lindsey, again) are featured, and the web article includes a video.

Salt Institute at the MN State Fair!

Yes, the MN State Fair is back through September 2nd!  We’re set up with the University of Minnesota Department of Entomology in the southwest wing of the Horticulture/Agriculture Building. Bring your insect questions, take a peek at the beautiful insect displays, and be sure to pick up a copy of our “Tough Buggers” handout!


Anthony and the Ash Man!

August 2013 Events

As we begin to wrap up the summer, we’re taking advantage of some of our last warm days to talk about — what else, but — winter!  Insects and winter, that is.  The University of Minnesota Department of Entomology will have its very own booth at the Minnesota State Fair this year. You’ll be able to catch some of us from the Salt Institute manning the table on occasion, but even if we aren’t there, we will have our very first outreach publication available!  Featuring some common Minnesota insects and a few big-name invasive species, this fact sheet is a quick introduction into how insects in Minnesota spend the winter. The Minnesota State Fair runs from August 22 – September 2.  Hope to see you there!

If you’re on the UMN Saint Paul Campus on August 29, the entomology graduate student group Frenatae will have a table set up for College Day.  This booth will mostly focus on bee research, but a few of us from Salt will be there if you have any questions.

Welcome to the Salt Institute!

Huddled in parkas during yet another frigid Minnesota winter, one question plagued a group of student scientists:  How do insects manage to survive these crazy winters? Guided by our fearless leader, Dr. Rob Venette, we began a journal club and began digging into the scientific literature for answers.  Now that we are well-versed in the literature, many of us have begun our own cold hardiness research and want to share what we’ve learned.  We hope to use this site as a way to share this knowledge, our research, outreach publications, and try to answer some common questions.