Frank, Steven D.

Associate Professor

Program area: 

Ecology and Management of Greenhouse, Nursery, and Landscape Pests; Effects of Urbanization and Climate Change on Tree Pests and Tree Health; Ecology of Native Pollinators


3320 Gardner Hall

Box 7613 NCSU Raleigh, NC 27695-7613

2007  Ph.D. in Entomology. University of Maryland, Department of Entomology.
The consequences of omnivory and alternative food for the occurrence and strength of trophic cascades.                    VISIT THE FRANK LAB
Advisors – Drs. Paula M. Shrewsbury and Robert F. Denno
2003  M.S. in Entomology. University of Maryland, Department of Entomology.
Evaluation of Conservation Strips as a Conservation Biological Control Technique on Golf Courses.                         
Advisor – Dr. Paula M. Shrewsbury
1999 B.S. in Behavior, Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics. University of Maryland.
Research in our lab has the ultimate goal of reducing insecticide use and its associated risks in ornamental nurseries, greenhouses, and landscapes.  We approach this problem from two angles. First, we work to develop production practices that reduce pest outbreaks and lead to more judicious use of pesticides. This includes developing ways to encourage natural enemies in a habitat and protect them from pesticide applications (Conservation Biological Control). It also involves developing scouting techniques, thresholds, and ways to predict pest outbreaks.  This helps growers apply pesticides in a manner that reduces their impact on the environment and non-target organisms (Integrated Pest Management).  Second, we work to understand the ecology of interactions between, plants, herbivores, and natural enemies. This improves our ability to benefit from the biological control of arthropod pests by endemic natural enemies. It also improves our ability to develop effective augmentative biological control strategies. Ultimately, a better understanding of the natural world helps us to protect the environment and benefit from ecosystem services while supporting economically important activities, such as the production and maintenance of ornamental plants.
Specific interests include:
·         Biological control of aphids and thrips in greenhouses
·         Biology, ecology, and Integrated Pest Management of Granulate Ambrosia Beetle
·         Role of omnivores in biological control
·         Habitat manipulation to improve conservation biological control
·         How alternative foods affect biological control by predators and parasitoids

Ornamental plant material is the second most valuable crop in the Unites States with a market value of $14.7 billion in 2002. With cash receipts of $893 million, nursery and greenhouse production of ornamental plants is the highest earning crop in North Carolina and ranks third among all farm commodities. Nursery and greenhouse production of ornamentals covers 39,246 acres in North Carolina. This yields an astounding $22,741/ acre for ornamental producers. The high value of ornamental crops and low tolerance of pest damage by consumers necessitates protection of plant material from arthropod pests.

My extension responsibilities are in the area of management of arthropod pests of ornamental plants. This position is responsible for providing extension education materials for landscape managers, nursery and greenhouse producers, and extension personnel.  Extension responsibilities include research to manage pests of ornamental plants in a more efficacious, economical, and environmentally acceptable manner and development and delivery of research based information to clientele giving them the means to manage these pests. 

Visit Dr. Frank's Website