Michael K. Rust, ESA Fellow (2001)


Dr. Michael K. Rust, a distinguished professor of Entomology at the University of California Riverside (UCR), was elected as Fellow in 2001.  He is internationally recognized for his research dealing with the integrated pest management (IPM) of insects of urban importance.

Rust was born in Akron, OH on 26 August 1948, but spent his youth growing up in Parma, OH, a suburb of Cleveland.  He attended Hiram College in northeastern OH, receiving his B.A. degree in 1970. He attended the University of Kansas where he earned his M.A. degree in 1973, and his Ph.D. in 1975 in entomology.  He accepted a position as assistant professor in the Department of Entomology at UCR and assistant entomologist at the University of California Experiment Station, attaining the rank of full professor and entomologist in 1988.

Rust's research has focused on the major urban insect pests found in or around structures, especially ants, cockroaches, fleas, and termites. He and his students have discovered the details of the biological and physical factors influencing flea development, such as the impact of temperature and relative humidity, and the importance of adult fleas on larval development, which are used as the basis of current IPM practices. Field studies with insect growth regulators led to the development of indoor environmental treatments for cat fleas. Other areas of research interest include the mechanisms by which soil treatments with insecticides control subterranean termites and the importance of horizontal transfer of insecticides between termite workers. Rust has co-authored over 170 refereed publications. He served as a co-editor of the book, Understanding and Controlling German Cockroaches, and the co-author of Urban Ants of North America and Europe: identification, biology, and management and Urban Pest Management of Ants in California. In addition to Rust’s substantial research contributions, he is also known for his teaching and mentoring of graduate students. His general entomology course for non-science majors was a favorite amongst biology students. His favorite course to teach was Urban Entomology, designed for entomology majors and graduate students. Many of his students remain active as urban entomologists in industry and government. Five of his former graduate students are current directing urban entomology research and teaching programs at major universities in the U.S.

Rust has served the ESA in numerous capacities, serving on award panels, as chairman of the Local Arrangements Committee for the ESA Annual Meeting in 1995, as President of the Pacific Branch in 1985, and as a subject editorfor theJournal of Economic Entomology. The Pacific Branch honored him with the C.W. Woodworth Award in 1994 and the ESA Recognition Award in 2007. He received the Distinguished Achievement Award in Urban Entomology in 1993. Industry recognitions include the Mallis Recognition Award in 2000 and the Pest Control Hall of Fame in 2007.

Rust is married to Mary (Shaha) Rust and has two daughters, Amy and Rachel. His interests include gardening, fishing and American history.

(updated March, 2015)