Featured Entomology graduate student Adam Ingrao

Interview with Featured Entomology graduate student Adam Ingrao.


Name: Adam Ingrao

Hometown: Yucaipa, California

Major professor: Zsofia Szendrei

What are you researching? Developing biological control strategies for pests in Michigan asparagus. I am interested in how we can use volatile chemical cues of asparagus induced by herbivore feeding to recruit natural enemies into production fields from border habitats.

Future career plans: Once I complete my PhD at MSU, I hope to move to a position in the private sector where I will continue researching sustainable pest management solutions for agricultural producers.

Why study entomology? The vast majority of Earth’s species are insects. They have survived major extinction events and some are so perfectly adapted that their morphology hasn’t changed in hundreds of millions of years. What better way to understand our planet than to study one of its most successful organisms?

What or who inspired your interest in entomology? Biological control pioneer Charles Valentine Riley. I grew up in the citrus-rich communities of southern California where his work in controlling cottony cushion scale through importing and releasing Vedalia beetles saved the California citrus industry from total collapse in the late 1800s. I often reminisce how the Vedalia beetles I grew up seeing were the progeny of those his teams originally brought over from Australia.

What has been your best experience with entomology? Coming to MSU’s Department of Entomology! Our faculty and resources are incredible and I feel like the education I am getting here is second to none.

What do you wish others understood about entomology? It’s not just about insects! Entomologists are some of the most well rounded scientists out there because we study organisms that inhabit nearly every system on the planet.

What is your opinion on entomophagy (eating insects)? I believe entomophagy may be a way to address protein demand while mitigating environmental factors. I eat insects every chance I get and following graduation I hope to travel to Bangkok, Thailand, specifically to explore culinary insect delights of Asia.

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