Mar 29, 2021
Entomologist Larry Gut honored with MSU’s Beal Outstanding Faculty Award

The Michigan State University Office of the Provost announced March 25 Larry J. Gut has been awarded a 2020 Beal Outstanding Faculty Award. Recipients are chosen based on continued excellence throughout their appoint at MSU.

Gut is known in Michigan and throughout the world for his environmentally friendly, science-based approaches for integrated pest management. The award citation commends Gut as follows:

Since joining MSU in 1997, Larry J. Gut has served the discipline of entomology and Michigan agriculture with distinction, using the scientific method to develop a deep understanding of the biology of insect pests that threaten orchard crops and then using that knowledge to reduce their economic impacts. Through his innovative studies on the behavior and ecology of these insects combined with applied research across Michigan, he has become an internationally recognized expert on orchard pest management.

Gut’s team of students and collaborators has developed novel insights into how moths communicate using sex pheromones, then used this knowledge to design more effective, economical and environmentally friendly strategies to protect Michigan’s multibillion-dollar fruit tree industry.

His research on a key pest of global apple and pear production, the codling moth, has elucidated how this insect can best be controlled using its own sex pheromone. In a recent new direction, his team is testing drone-based release of sterile insects across Michigan orchards to further reduce pest damage.

New invasive pests have also threatened Michigan orchard crops, and Gut has been at the forefront of monitoring for early detection as well as mounting the response to invasion by these pests by developing attract-and-kill strategies that reduce pesticide use. He has published 114 peer-reviewed journal articles and 164 refereed technical reports that highlight his scientific contributions.

Additionally, Gut has been committed to his Extension mission, translating research into printed and electronic guides to disseminate his research-based recommendations to growers. This has also been done through multiple workshops, meetings at grower farms and presentations at MSU Extension events. He has also presented his insights at invited and keynote presentations at scientific conferences in the US and internationally, representing MSU across four continents.

Gut’s teaching focus has been on training the next generation of applied entomologists, mentoring seven postdocs, eight doctoral candidates and 10 master’s students, while also serving on 13 thesis and dissertation committees. Many of these trainees have been placed in faculty, government, or industry positions, continuing to work on pest management issues.

Scientists and growers around the world have been keen to learn more about his research and implementation programs, inviting Gut to share his expertise. This has resulted in presentations to the Food & Agriculture Organization in Vienna, Austria and a keynote address to the International Society of Chemical Ecology on Kyoto, Japan.

Gut served as associate chair of the Department of Entomology and as chair of the CANR Promotion and Tenure committee. He has also served on 11 national or international committees and boards advancing sustainable pest management goals. Gut has an exceptional record of service to MSU Extension, through search committees, mentoring Extension colleagues, and through his published works. This includes annual updates of the Michigan Fruit Management Guide that lists all the insecticides labeled in Michigan for insect pest control, based on the trials conducted each year.

Gut has produced 220 newsletter articles to get timely information to growers, written 14 trade magazine articles, published 33 bulletins and seven books that describe how best to manage insect pests of orchards.

Committed to delivering on all components of the land-grant mission, Larry J. Gut is highly deserving of Michigan State University’s prestigious William J. Beal Outstanding Faculty Award.

Read about the other 2021 recipients at MSU Today: 2021 William J. Beal Outstanding Faculty Awards.

MSU professor of entomology Larry Gut discusses spotted wing drosophila research with undergraduate researchers. Photo: MSU

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