US Forest Service Research & Development
Contact Information
  • US Forest Service Research & Development
  • 1400 Independence Ave., SW
  • Washington, D.C. 20250-0003
  • 800-832-1355
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Melody A. Keena

Melody Keena

Research Entomologist
51 Mill Pond Road
United States

Phone: 203-230-4308
Contact Melody Keena

Current Research

  • I develop biological and ecological information and technologies to detect, monitor, contain, and eliminate newly introduced invasive insects that are threats to U.S.
  • I also maintain the capability to expand research on and respond rapidly to threats posed by Asian gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar) and nun moth (Lymantria monacha), and other high priority invasive insect species.

My research time is currently divided between:

  • Completing research on the influence of Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) mating behaviors on establishment and viability of ALB populations;
  • Expanding on a phenology model for ALB to predict population increase and potential risk of establishment accross the US;
  • Doing collaborative research to improve on the ALB trap and lure combination that will make it more effective for detecting this insect at low population levels;
  • Doing collaborative research on ALB to determine the role host moisture content (both in living and cut wood) has on its development.
  • Doing collaborative research to identify of genetic markers that predict female flight in gypsy moths.
  • Determining of response variability to factors (e.g. temperatures, available hosts) that affect establishment of gypsy moth from different world areas.
  • Collaboratively developing a  phenology model for predicting the presence of all Asian gypsy moth stages and potential distribution of AGM in the US.
  • Doing collaborative research on the role that EAB mating behaviors have on fecundity and fertility.
  • Research Interests

    Future research may include:

  • Potential traps and lures for detecting citrus longhorned beetle.
  • Doing new research on a newly introduced or high risk invasive forest insect.
  • Why This Research is Important

    With the ever-increasing volume of world trade and travel, the numbers of new introductions of forest insect pests has increased over the last few years. The most effective strategy against invasive species is to prevent them from being introduced and becoming established in new ecosystems. However, there is a significant lack of information needed to identify high risk nonnative species and priority pathways of introduction. Many of the species that are introduced may never establish, but those that do may become serious invasive pests due to the absence of natural enemies and host resistance in native species that did not co-evolve with the insect. Once these new pests have established, a quick and coordinated response to new infestations can significantly reduce environmental and economic impacts. In order to deal with these potential or established invasive pests there is a critical need to develop biological and ecological information on which to base exclusion, eradication, or containment decisions.

    The Asian longhorned beetle is a native insect of China and little information about this insect was available when it was first found infesting trees in New York City in 1996. Tools to effectively detect beetle populations are still needed and there continues to be a need to increase the knowledge of the life history, ecology, reproductive behavior, and seasonal phenology of the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) to provide the biological basis for predicting potential dispersal, developmental phenology, timing of exclusion and eradication methodologies, and development of trapping methods

    The emerald ash borer (EAB), Agrilus planipennis, is a non-native insect from Asia that threatens ash trees in our urban and natural forests. EAB was found in metropolitan Detroit, MI, in July 2002 and continues to spread to additional areas and states. EAB has no known effective natural enemies in North America and control options, other than tree removal, are extremely limited. If left unchecked, the pest will continue to infest and destroy native and ornamental ash trees, resulting in losses of billions of dollars to the lumber and nursery industries as well as urban communities. Without an effective and efficient laboratory rearing method for EAB, mass rearing of parasitoids in numbers needed for field-testing/release will be extremely limited.

    The hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA), Adelges tsugae (Annand), is an exotic pest native to Asia and western North America. It was first discovered in eastern North America in 1951 near Richmond, VA and has since spread to 17 eastern states threatening two species of hemlock--the eastern hemlock, Tsuga canadensis (L.) Carr., and Carolina hemlock, Tsuga caroliniana Engelm. The HWA has caused extensive mortality and decline of hemlock trees in the eastern U.S. and there are no effective native natural enemies to keep this invasive pest in balance. Thus, establishment of a complex of natural enemies from the native range of HWA offers the greatest potential for providing sustainable long-term control.

    The most effective strategy against invasive species is to prevent them from being introduced and becoming established in new ecosystems. But there is a significant lack of information needed to identify high risk nonnative species and priority pathways of introduction. The nun moth, Lymantria monacha, is closely related to gypsy moth and is considered to have high potential to be introduced into this country via commerce. Research and technology development on nun moth has provided information and tools for early detection and rapid response. Gypsy moths from Eurasia continue to be introduced into North America and research provides information needed to reduce the risk of introductions and eradicate detected populations before they establish.


    • University of California, Ph.D. Department of Entomology 1988
    • University of California, M.S. Department of Entomology 1985
    • University of California, B.S. Department of Entomology 1983

    Professional Experience

    • Research Entomologist , Forest Service, Northern Research Station, Hamden, CT
      1992 - Current
      1992-1998 GS 12 NE 4501 1998-2004 GS 13 NE 4501 2004-2006 GS 14 NE4501 (NRS 4503) 2007 Acting Project Leader NRS 4503 2008 - Present GS 14 NRS 03 and Director's Representative
    • Research Associate I, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT
      1989 - 1992
    • Post Graduate Researcher IV, Department of Entomology, University of California, Davis, CA
      1988 - 1989
    • Research Assistant, Entomology Department, University of California, Davis, CA
      1982 - 1988

    Professional Organizations

    • Entomological Society of America, Subject Editor (2016 - Current)
      Evaluate submissions, assign reviewers, and determine if the manuscript is suitable for publication
    • Pennsylvania State University, Adjunct Faculty (2008 - Current)
      This involves serving on graduate student thesis or dissertation committees and conducting joint research with faculty at the university.
    • Hemlock Woolly Adelgid Coordinating Committee, Northern Research Station Representative (2007 - Current)
      This assignment includes developing detailed action plans to accompany the HWA initiative and preparing periodic reports on activities and accomplishments for interested constituents.
    • Entomological Society of America, Member (1983 - Current)
      Active member of the society. Serve on various committees, in elected positons, and organize symposia.
    • International Congress of Entomology, Co-Chair Of Technology Committee, Part Of Convening Committee (2013 - 2016)
      This involves overseeing the technology to be used in putting on the meeting. At the meeting the committee will help people upload their presentations, troubleshoot during sessions, and make sure the correct presentations were in each session room for each time slot.
    • Entomological Society of America, Member Of Jipm Editorial Board (2012 - 2015)
      This committee oversees the journal and resolves issues with manuscripts when needed.
    • Entomological Society of America, 2014 Program Committee Co-Chair (2012 - 2015)
      In 2013, this involves co-organizing and overseeing the student 10-minute papers and posters competition for the annual meeting. In 2014, this involves co-organizing and overseeing the entire scientific program for the national meeting. In 2015, this involves co-organizing and overseeing the member poster presentations for the national meeting.
    • Entomological Society of America, Governing Board Representative For The Integrative Physiological And Molecular Insect Systems Section (2009 - 2011)
      This involved overseeing the affairs and budget of the society. This was done in my personal capacity.
    • Entomological Society of America, Integrative Physiological And Molecular Insect Systems Section Past President (2008 - 2008)
      This was a new role when the Entomological society reorganized the sections. This involved helping the new leadership of the section to know and fulfill their roles.
    • Entomological Society of America, Section B Chair (2007 - 2007)
      This involved leading the section, serving on the program committee, organizing the section's scientific program, and finding needed volunteers for various committees.
    • Entomological Society of America, Finance Committee Member (2002 - 2007)
      This involved evaluating the proposed annual budget for the society and making recommendations to the governing board. This was done in my personal capacity.
    • Entomological Society of America, Section B Vice Chair (2006 - 2006)
      This involved planning the next year's symposia for the section, leading the section when the chair was not available and participation on the executive committee for the section.
    • Entomological Society of America, Section B Secretary (2005 - 2005)
      This involved taking the minutes for the section and participation on the executive committee for the section.
    • Entomological Society of America, Technology Committee (2005 - 2005)
      This involved helping people upload their presentations, troubleshooting during sessions, and making sure the correct presentations were in each session room for each time slot.

    Awards & Recognition

    • Editor’s Choice Award, 2008
      Best Article in Environmental Entomology 2008.
    • USDA Special Act Award, 1992
      For excellent systematic research to solve gypsy moth rearing problems related to the abnormal performance syndrome.
    • Departmental Citation, 1983
      Recognition of outstanding undergraduate accomplishment in Entomology. University of California, Davis, CA.

    Featured Publications & Products


    Research Highlights


    Asian longhorned beetle has broad climate adaptability and invasion potential

    The Asian longhorned beetle has flexibility in its life history, putting it in a good position to successfully invade a broad range of locations ...


    Do Invasive Forest Pest Ranges Shift from their Native Environments?

    Invasive species experience biotic and abiotic conditions that may not resemble their native environments. Scientists compared native and invasi ...


    Female Asian Longhorned Beetles Lure Mates With a Trail of Sex Pheromone

    Female Asian longhorned beetles lure males to their locations by laying down a sex-specific pheromone trail on the surfaces of trees. This find ...


    Longhorned beetle biology, rearing and management comprehensively reviewed

    Forest Service scientists contributed to a new book that represents the first comprehensive treatment of all aspects of cerambycid beetle biolog ...


    New Information Will Help Eradicate Asian Longhorned Beetles

    Eradication efforts against Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) rely on knowledge of the basic biology and behavior of this insect. Forest Service sci ...


    New Online Resource on Asian Longhorned-Beetle

    A new, open-access article in the Journal of Integrated Pest Management provides a comprehensive overview written in plain language for managers ...


    Not all Asian Gypsy Moths Pose the Same Threat

    Asian gypsy moths vary greatly in key biological and behavioral traits. Knowing the origin and traits associated with the source population of i ...


    Strong Demand for New Tool for Detecting Asian Longhorn Beetle

    Beetle traps are now being used in 14 States and three countries


    Trap for Detecting Asian Longhorned Beetle in the United States

    Development of an operationally effective trap has been a goal of the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) eradication program since the first individu ...


    Last updated on : 01/12/2022