Scientific Writings of Edith Patch

Soon after coming to the University of Maine, Patch began work on aphids, the group of insects that was to be her specialty. There were probably two reasons for choosing this group: aphids were the specialty of Professor Oestlund in Minnesota (with whom she had worked prior to coming to the University of Maine) and they were serious pests of economic crops in Maine. Their complex life cycles, use of alternative host plants and potential to transmit pathogens made them a challenging group to study. Patch published on the identification, biology and ecology of this group and, for many years, was considered the world’s authority on aphids. Aphid specialists named two genera, five species and one subspecies of aphids in her honor. Her “Food Catalogue of Aphids of the World,” published in 1938 as the Maine Agricultural Experiment Station Bulletin No. 393, is considered her most lasting contribution to the study of the Aphidoidea. Her important aphid collection is now on loan to the Canadian National Collection in Ottawa.

Patch wrote about 80 scientific articles on insects, and 40 popular articles on insects and natural history. Her scientific articles were published in the Annals of the Entomological Society of America, Science, Entomological News, the Journal of Economic Entomology and as Maine Agricultural Experimental Station Bulletins. Popular articles were published in horticultural magazines and the Atlantic Monthly Magazine, Natural History, the Maine Naturalist and the Scientific Monthly Magazine.

Contributed by K. Elizabeth Gibbs

From The Maine Entomologist, 4 (2000)