Ernest Delfosse

Ernest Delfosse

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Professor Emeritus
Department of Entomology



See a list of Ernest Delfosse's publications on Google Scholar.

Delfosse Lab


I am responsible primarily for research, teaching and mentoring activities. My research involves classical biological control of the brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB), Halyomorpha halys (Stål). I have introduced into quarantine a platygastric wasp endoparasite (Trissolcus japonicus Ashmead) of BMSB eggs for host-specificity testing against native Pentatomoidea. My other research interests include risk analysis, chemical ecology of phytophage-plant-arthropod relationships, biosafety and bioterrorism, and ethics of science. I teach Biological Control of Insects and Weeds, and am developing courses on Metapopulation Ecology, Risk and Ethics in Science, Risk Analysis, Biological Control of Weeds, and Design and Operation of Quarantine Facilities. I teach Responsible Conduct of Research for the department and for the Entomological Society of America (ESA). I am the Director of the department’s BSL-2Ag quarantine/containment facility, which is federally certified. An important part of my work is mentoring undergraduate students, graduate students, technicians, and a post-doctoral research associate. I was President of the ESA in 2011, Global President of the International Organization for Biological Control from 1992-96, and have have held seven other elected offices in scientific societies.   

Current assignment: Teaching 30% | Research 70%

Program Description


As Chairperson (2008-13), I lectured in ENT 848 (Biological Control of Insects and Weeds) in 2009, 2011 and 2013, and in ENT 844 (Insect Ecology) in 2008 and 2010. Starting in 2015, I will teach ENT 848 I initiated teaching Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) for the department in 2012, and have taught it 2-3 times each year ever since to faculty, staff and students. This is a required certification course that meets the standards of NSF and other groups. I have also taught RCR at annual meetings for the ESA for the last four years to groups of national and international undergraduate students, graduate students, post-docs and faculty, mostly from groups that do not teach RCR. Finally, I am training students in biological control research, and how to work in a quarantine environment.


My research is on classical biological control of the brown marmorated stink bug, the first primary classical biological control program that the department has ever conducted. I redesigned one of my labs as a quarantine/containment facility, and worked with USDA-APHIS to get approval of the design and obtain a permit for its operation. I received permits to import for host-specificity testing T. japonicus, and to move BMSB interstate from anywhere in North America. I received Farm Bill grants over the last four years from USDA-APHIS to conduct host-specificity testing of T. japonicus. I supervise one full-time technician, one part-time technician, one post-doc, and eight undergraduate students (2-3 at any given time). Results to date indicate that T. japonicus will attack several genera of native stink bugs, but that ecological parameters may mediate this attack.


  • Biological Control
  • Tritrophic Ecology
  • Metapopulation Ecology
  • Risk Analysis
  • Ethics of Science

Professional Experience

  • 2013-Present - Professor, Dept. of Entomology, Michigan State University
  • 2008-2013 - Professor and Chairperson, Dept. of Entomology, Michigan State University
  • 1997-2008 - Senior National Program Leader, USDA- ARS
  • 2007 - Acting Center Director, USDA-ARS National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research, Peoria, Illinois.
  • 2001 - Acting Laboratory Director, USDA-ARS Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory, Sidney, Montana
  • 1991-97 - Director, National Biological Control Institute, USDA-APHIS, Riverdale, MD.
  • 1997-91 - Research Scientist and Research Leader, CSIRO Division of Entomology, Canberra, Australia

Selected Publications

  • Delfosse, E.S. 2005. Risk and ethics in biological control. Biological Control 35:319-29.
  • G. L. Anderson, E. S. Delfosse, N. R. Spencer, C. W. Prosser, and R. D. Richard. 2003. Lessons in developing successful weed control programs. Journal of Range Management 56:2-12.
  • Delfosse, E.S. 2000. A North American Perspective on Risk Assessment for Biological Control Introductions. In: Symposium on Risk Assessment for Introductions of Exotic Natural Enemies. XXI International Congress of Entomology, 20-26 August 2000, Iguassu Falls, Brazil.
  • Delfosse, E.S. 1996. New directions in biological control of gypsy moth: Where do we go from here? Proceedings of the 1996 USDA Interagency Gypsy Moth Research Forum, 16-19 January 1996, Annapolis, Maryland.
  • Delfosse, E.S. 1996. Options for Changes in Biological Control Regulations and Guidelines in the United States: A Strawman for Comment. U.S. Department of Agriculture, APHIS, 23 p. (NOTE: This is the first scientific document placed on the Internet for peer review.)
  • Hasan, S. and E.S. Delfosse. 1995. Susceptibility of the Australian native, Heliotropium crispatum, to the rust fungus, Uromyces heliotropii, introduced to control common heliotrope, Heliotropium europaeum. Biocontrol Science and Technology 5:165-74.
  • Delfosse, E.S., R.C. Lewis and S. Hasan. 1995. Release of Uromyces heliotropii in Australia: A key agent in the integrated pest management system for common heliotrope. Proceedings of the VIII International Symposium on Biological Control of Weeds, 2-7 February 1992, Christchurch, New Zealand. Delfosse, E.S. and R.R. Scott (eds.). DSIR/CSIRO, Melbourne, 329-36.
  • Sheppard, A.W., R.C. Lewis and E.S. Delfosse. 1993. The establishment of Uromyces heliotropii Sred., a biological control agent of Heliotropium europaeum. Proceedings of the Australian Weeds Science Society, Brisbane, Australia.
  • Scott, J.K. and E.S. Delfosse. 1992. South African plants naturalized in Australia: A review of weed status and biological control potential. Plant Protection Quarterly 7(2):70-80.
  • Delfosse, E.S. 1990. Biological control and the cane toad syndrome. Australian Natural History 23:480-9.
  • Delfosse, E.S., R.C. Lewis and C.S. Smith. 1987. Effect of drought and grasshoppers on establishment of Dialecticascalariella (Zeller) (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae), a potential biological control agent for Echiumplantagineum L. Journal of the Australian Entomological Society 26:279-80.
  • Corbet, S.A. and E.S. Delfosse. 1984. Honeybees and the nectar of Echiumplantagineum L. in southeastern Australia. Australian Journal of Ecology 9:125-39.
  • Delfosse, E.S. and B.D. Perkins. 1977. Discovery and bioassay of a kairomone from waterhyacinth, Eichhorniacrassipes (Mart.) Solms-Laubach. The Florida Entomologist 60(3):217-22.
  • Delfosse, E.S. and E.U. Balsbaugh, Jr. 1974. Effects of ULV organophosphates on horn flies and face flies of cattle, and on the bovine coprocoenosis. Environmental Entomology 3:919-22.