Joe Funderburk

Extension Specialist, Pest Management

Professor of Entomology



Dr. Funderburk conducts research and extension programs to develop and implement integrated pest management programs of agronomic, vegetable, and ornamental crops. The goals are effectiveness, economy, environmental safety, and sustainability.

He is a specialist in the ecology, management, and taxonomy of Thysanoptera (thrips) and the epidemiology of the thrips-vectored tospoviruses.

Current Activities

Dr. Funderburk conducts ongoing research to develop reduced-risk tactics for use in integrated pest management, including biological insecticides, cultural control, natural enemies, and other control tactics. The novel approach of using interspecific competition from native flower thrips with little, if any, pest status to outcompete the invasive pest flower thrips was implemented as a successful natural control tactic.

He is cooperating in the development of vertically integrated pest management programs; that is, the integration of multiple, compatible tactics to control thrips and other arthropods. The programs also include elements of horizontal integration; that is, the integration of multiple, compatible tactics to control arthropod, pathogen, weed, and nematode pests.

Dr. Funderburk conducts ongoing international projects on thrips ecology, management, and taxonomy throughout Central and South America and the Caribbean. He is currently studying the diversity of thrips in numerous countries in the region. The goal is to develop species lists and to develop usable identification keys working with collaborators in each country. Other collaborators study thrips ecology, management, and phytosanitary procedures, fine-tuning programs to local crops and conditions.

Extension programs and recommendations are made available through a thrips link on the integrated pest management home page

Academic Qualifications

  • B.S., Louisiana Tech University, Zoology, 1976
  • M.S., Louisiana Tech University, Invertebrate Zoology, 1978
  • Ph.D., Iowa State University, Entomology, 1982
  • Assistant, Associate, and Professor in 1985, 1990, and 1995 at the University of Florida, Department of Entomology and Nematology
  • Graduate Research Faculty, University of Florida having advised 23 graduate students and postdocs
  • USDA Honor Award for Excellence, Research and Education Program for Thrips and Tospoviruses, 2004
  • University of Florida/IFAS International Fellow, 2008
  • Academic Advisor for a cooperative agreement between the University of Florida and the Instituto Nacionales Investigaciones Agropecurias in Chile, 2006-present
  • Academic Advisor for a cooperative agreement between the University of Florida and Ecuatoriana de la Calidad del Agro in Ecuador, 2009-present
  • Graduate Teaching Faculty, University of Panama, Panama City, Panama, 2009-present
  • Developing cooperative agreement with the Organismo Internacional de Sanidad Agropecuria (Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Panama, Belize, Costa Rica)


  • 80% Research
  • 20% Extension

Research Interests

  • Biological Control
  • Integrated Pest Management
  • Population Dynamics and Behavior


Dr. Funderburk has more than 30 years of experience studying ecology and management of crop pests. He has developed many tactics and integrated pest management programs for insect and insect-vectored diseases. He has focused on developing effective, economical, and sustainable integrated management programs for the key pests such as thrips and tospoviruses and the programs are vertically integrated with other insect pests. He has experience working with vegetable, fruit, ornamental, and agronomic crops.


  • Role of natural enemies in suppressing and controlling natural populations of flower thrips
  • Role of interspecific competition in the population dynamics of flower thrips
  • Conservation biological control programs using natural populations of minute pirate bugs (Orius) and entomophilic nematodes (Thripinema) in field crops
  • Natural control of pest thrips using interspecific competition
  • Development of insecticides against flower thrips, including the natural insecticides spinosad and the essential oils of Chenopodium
  • Compatibility of labeled insecticides in conservation biological control programs
  • Developed ultraviolet-reflective (metalized) mulches for control of thrips and tospoviruses
  • Precision-level sampling programs for thrips
  • Damage and economic thresholds for thrips
  • Vertical integrated management systems for thrips and other arthropod pests
  • Checklists for Neotropical Thysanoptera


Joe Funderburk

  • Joe Funderburk
    North Florida Research
     & Education Center
    155 Research Rd.
    Quincy, FL  32351-5677
  • Phone: (850) 875-7146
    Fax: (850) 875-7188
Lab Contact