Comstock Publishing Associates

Turfgrass Insects of the US and Canada

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In this Q&A we ask author Patricia J. Vittum three questions about her book, Turfgrass Insects of the United States and Canada, and her research on turfgrass entomology.

1. What’s your favorite anecdote from your research for this book?

No anecdote, just an observation:

When I began collecting the information for this revision, I found myself thinking a lot about “Tash” (Haruo Tashiro), the sole author of the first edition of Turfgrass Insects of the United States and Canada, and premier turf entomology researcher throughout his career. I also thought a lot about Mike Villani, who was the second author to the second edition and perhaps the best turf entomology researcher in the world before his untimely death in 2001.

2. What do you wish you had known when you started writing your book, that you know now?

I don’t think I truly understood what a monumental effort it would be to pull the research papers together from the past twenty years. While my turf entomologist colleagues were unfailingly helpful and sent me many pdfs or links, the volume of information I collected was overwhelming. Processing all of that information was also overwhelming. I estimate I spent about 1,000 hours on the revision, maybe more. 

3. How do you wish you could change the field of Science and Nature Studies?

A change I would love to see in “Science and Nature Studies” would be to reach out to elementary school students more effectively, and engage them in the wonders of scientific exploration. While a few schools have excellent programs, too many are forced to rely on teaching techniques that shut down the natural curiosity of children.


Patricia J. Vittum spent thirty-seven years on the faculty of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, conducting research on the biology and ecology of several turf insects. She received the Distinguished Service Award from the United States Golf Association Green Section in 2015 and from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America in 2017.

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