Lonnie Standifer

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Lonnie N. Standifer
Born(1926-10-28)October 28, 1926
Died14 March 1996(1996-03-14) (aged 69)
Alma mater
Known for
  • Research on bee physiology and nutrition
  • Director of USDA Bee Research Center
Scientific career

Lonnie Nathaniel Standifer (1926 - 1996) was an entomologist born in Itasca,Texas.[1] An expert in honey bee physiology and nutrition, in 1970 he became the first African-American scientist to be appointed director of the USDA's Carl Hayden Bee Research Center.[1][2]

Early life and education[edit]

Standifer was born in Itasca, Texas on October 28, 1926. He was one of the 10 children of Emma and Nathaniel Standifer.[1]

Standifer gained a Bachelor of Science degree from Prairie View A & M University in Texas in 1949, a Masters of Science from Kansas State University in 1951, and a PhD from Cornell University in 1954.[3] The title of his dissertation was "Laboratory Studies on the Toxicity of Selected Chlorinated Hydrocarbon and Phosphate Chemicals to Third Instar Larvae of the House Fly, Musta Domestica Linn".[4]

Career and research[edit]

Standifer taught at Tuskegee University, Cornell University, and Southern University before moving to the USDA's Agricultural Research Service in Tucson, Arizona in 1956.[1] He was promoted to a research position in 1960, and appointed director of the USDA's Carl Hayden Bee Research Center in Tucson in 1970.[1]

The Bee Research Center was the largest bee research facility in the United States. Standifer followed Frank Edward Todd[5] and Marshall Levin[6] as leader,[7] the first African-American to be appointed Director. The Center's focus had been on pesticides and bees, and Standifer added bee nutrition to its research program.[8] Standifer held the position until 1981 and he retired for health reasons in his 50s (in 1983).[1]

His work on bees was published in several journals, including Journal of Agricultural Research, American Bee Journal, Apidologie, and the Annals of the Entomological Society of America.[3] He was a member of the Entomological Society of America and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.[1] He was also a counselor member of the Tucson Council for Civic Unity.[9]

Personal life[edit]

Standifer married Blanche Hazel Jackson, a nurse and Meharry Medical College alum.[10] They divorced in 1963.[11] He died after a long illness on March 14, 1996 in Fort Worth, Texas.[1]



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Erickson, E. H. (1 July 1996). "Lonnie Nathaniel Standifer". American Entomologist. 42 (3): 183–184. doi:10.1093/ae/42.3.183a.
  2. ^ "Honey bee research". USDA Agricultural Research Service. US Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 25 March 2017.
  3. ^ a b Riddick, EW; Samuel-Foo, M; Bryan, WW; Simmons, AM (2015). Memoirs of Black Entomologists: Reflections on Childhood, University, and Career Experiences. Entomological Society of America. pp. 120–121. ISBN 9780977620999.
  4. ^ Standifer, LN (1954). Laboratory Studies on the Toxicity of Selected Chlorinated Hydrocarbon and Phosphate Chemicals to Third Instar Larvae of the House Fly, Musta Domestica Linn. Cornell University.
  5. ^ Mcgregor, S. E. (1 February 1970). "Frank Edward Todd: 1895-1969". Journal of Economic Entomology. 63 (1): 346. doi:10.1093/jee/63.1.346.
  6. ^ Erickson, E. (1 July 1995). "Marshall D. Levin". American Entomologist. 41 (3): 190. doi:10.1093/ae/41.3.190.
  7. ^ "New Federal Honey Bee Laboratory Opened in Tucson" (PDF). Progressive Agriculture in Arizona (January–February): 6–8. 1966. Retrieved 25 March 2017.
  8. ^ Hayes, Jerry (2016). "A visit with Tucson Bee Lab Leader Gloria DeGrandi-Hoffman" (PDF). American Bee Journal (May): 559–562. Retrieved 25 March 2017.
  9. ^ "Hearing sought on use of city prisoners". Tucson Daily Citizen. 8 January 1965. Retrieved 25 March 2017.
  10. ^ "Funeral notices". Tucson Citizen. 16 April 1997. Retrieved 25 March 2017.
  11. ^ "Public records - divorces". Arizona Daily Star. 7 May 1963. Retrieved 25 March 2017.