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Entomology and the Future

Insects obviously affect all phases of human life, and in the preceding pages we have described the diverse activities of the Entomology Department in the study and control of these pests. Though many problems have been solved, there are problems both old and new that still await solution. Since World War II there have been important developments in insecticides and equipment but these very improvements have brought new and complex problems, probably the most important of which are the effect of insecticides on quality and flavor, the residue on crops at harvest, and the problem of insect resistance to the new materials. The solution of these problems requires the cooperative effort of scientists in several fields and if these intricate problems are to be solved, entomologists will particularly need to work more than ever before with the plant pathologist, the food technologist, the plant physiologist, the horticulturist, and others. Joint work with federal agencies, such as the U.S. Public Health Service and the Food and Drug Administration, and with private agencies, such as the national and regional Canners' Associations, is also necessary if realistic laws are to be enforced to prevent harmful residues on crops as well as contamination of processed foods with insect fragments or microscopic insects, for it is now evident that freedom both from residues and insects is virtually impossible in some processed foods. Joint research and cooperation is more than the accepted aim of the entomologist at Rutgers, it is also a vital necessity to a solution of the problems with which he must cope.

Increased knowledge of physiology of insects is a need fundamental to all entomological work. In order to develop the best and safest insecticides we must first know the physiology of the insect and how insecticides kill. Without this information the "tailor-made" insecticide for each insect or group of insects cannot be developed; with it the entomologist has a good chance of solving problems of quality, residue, and insecticide resistance.

In other phases of the effect of insects on man's comfort and health, entomologists need continued cooperation with other agencies such as the U.S. Public Health Service and the N.J. State Department of Health. Studies are now in progress with the first of these agencies and a study on transmission of equine encephalomyelitis in pheasants with the second agency. This work needs not only to be continued but also to be expanded. Other cooperative insect surveys are in progress. One with the N.J. State Department of Agriculture will enable the farmer to attack a harmful insect when it is at its peak and recognize and control new pests. With the N.J. Fish and Game Commission and the N.J. Department of Agriculture we are even now studying parasites of the mammals and birds of the state, new pests of crops such as alfalfa weevil and saw fly on red pine, and effects of new water impoundments on the mosquito population. Increased urbanization is focusing attention on problems of household insects, stored products insects, and structural pests; the advice of the department will be sought increasingly by the pest control operator and the local municipality in fighting these insect problems and in regulation of insect nuisances. Even at the present time we are in frequent contact with the N.J. Turnpike and Parkway Authorities on their insect problems, especially flies in restaurant facilities, and mosquitoes and drainage problems along the right-of-ways.

It is difficult to foresee all problems that will depend on the entomologist for solution. Certainly with a changing agriculture, the introduction of new pests, and changed living conditions and urbanization in New Jersey, the problems of the entomologist will reflect the changes, but in the Entomology Department of the Experiment Station, New Jersey has able students of insects to whom the state can point with pride.