What is in this article?:
• The recent retirement of entomologists, and the loss of others to neighboring universities, has left the North Carolina State program significantly under-staffed to handle grower needs.
RETIRING North Carolina State University Entomologist Jack Bacheler talks about stink bugs at a recent cotton meeting .
Behind the scene
The Virginia Tech scientist says most people don’t realize that a big part of university research and Extension leader’s job is to write reports, grant proposals and many other similar documents. “Over the years, I’ve come to really respect Jack’s communication skills in addition to his skills as an entomologist,” Herbert says.
The recent retirement of entomologists, and the loss of others to other universities, has left the North Carolina State program significantly under-staffed to handle grower needs.
“One of my biggest challenges is to be sure our university understands the critical role insect management plays in our agriculture industry,” Bacheler says.
In recent years long-time North Carolina State Entomologists J.R. Bradley and John Van Duyn have retired. Now, with Bacheler’s retirement and the departure of Extension Entomologist Mark Abney to the University of Georgia, the Extension Entomology staff in particular is down several key positions.
For example, current North Carolina State Extension Entomologist Dominic Reisig will be left to cover eight crops and 4 million acres.
“I know from my own experience that one person, no matter how dedicated he or she is, can’t handle that level of demand, especially in combination with all the other academic demands,” Bacheler says.
Though he is best known professionally as a cotton entomologist, Bacheler is becoming well-known in a whole different field of crop production — pumpkins. This past year, he won the North Carolina State Fair largest pumpkin award, topping 800 pounds with his entry.
“Growing competitive pumpkins is something I got interested in a few years back and in the past few years have spent time learning all I can about growing them,” Bacheler says.
From a national perspective, he says too little daylight in the growing season and a lack of cool nights will likely prevent him from coming close to the two-ton pumpkins that now compete for the national title.
Throughout his career at North Carolina State, Bacheler set a standard for excellence in entomology that is every bit as world class as his prowess as an Olympic runner. His legacy of helping growers prevent and solve insect-related problems and efforts in furthering the science of entomology with regional and national colleagues will be long remembered.