Kyle Koch Named New Insect Diagnostician
Kyle Koch has joined the Department of Entomology as the new Nebraska extension insect diagnostician and assistant extension educator.
His responsibilities will be in two key areas: insect diagnostics and Extension educational programming, with an emphasis on invasive species. This work will include identifying, surveilling, and mapping invasive and threatening arthropod species in Nebraska, especially those of economic importance. He also will be conducting educational programs on the topic and coordinating citizen scientist opportunities. Examples of invasives affecting crops include the Japanese beetle and marmorated stink bug. Koch plans to serve as a panelist on Backyard Farmer and contribute to CropWatch as opportunities arise.
Koch will also work with Kyle Broderick, coordinator of the university's Plant and Pest Diagnostic Clinic, on samples of insects or insect crop damage.
A native of Scottsbluff, Koch has a BS in biology from Creighton University and an MS and PhD in entomology from UNL. After receiving his doctorate, he worked at Texas A&M University for 1.5 years conducting research on interactions between crop insects and pathogens.
“I always had an interest in all forms of life, but particularly insects as they make up such a large portion of living organisms. As an undergraduate I took an entomology class and discovered my passion for insects as well as the many career opportunities.”
The world of insects is fascinating, diverse, and filled with interesting stories, he said. About 60% of all described species (including plants, bacteria, etc.) on Earth are insects. While there are more than 2 million described species on Earth, more than a million are insects. Nebraska has 20,000–25,000 species of insects.
Outside of work, Koch enjoys collecting rare beetles, particularly rhinoceros beetles, camping, hiking, and spending time with his family and dogs.
Jim Kalisch, who retired earlier this year, was the previous diagnostician and regularly contributed insect photos to CropWatch.