Leslie Holmes


PhD Student, Ecology and Evolution, Queen’s University
M.Sc. Biology (2010) University of Windsor
B.FSc. Forensic Science (2008) University of Windsor
Email: 12lh22@queensu.ca

Academic Background

I received my bachelor of forensic science degree from the University of Windsor in 2008. Early in my undergraduate degree, I branched into the field of biology by working in a forensic entomology lab as a work study student. Helping graduate students at the time with their theses, I was engulfed into the world of forensic entomology. From there I was offered a Master’s position in Dr. VanLaerhoven’s lab in Windsor to complete a development study on the black soldier fly for the purposes of maintaining a waste management facility year round in southern Ontario. I enrolled in my Master’s degree in the fall of 2008. Prior to starting my graduate studies, I worked in Dr. VanLaerhoven’s lab in the summer of 2008 on a ‘side’ project. As a result of this project, I travelled with my lab to the North American Forensic Entomology Association conference in Atlantic City to present our findings. It was at this conference that I met Dr. Tomberlin from Texas A&M University, the leading expert on the black soldier fly and landed a visiting research scholar position in his laboratory at Texas A&M. As a result, I spent the last year of my master’s in Dr. Tomberlin’s lab, where I completed 3 out of the 4 experiments of my master’s. An electronic copy of my thesis titled “Role of Abiotic Factors on the Development and LIfe History of the Black Soldier Fly, Hermetia illucens (L.) (Diptera: Stratiomyidae)” can be download here.

I completed my master’s degree in October of 2010 and was able to land a part-time faculty position at Trent University in January 2011. I was employed in their Forensic Science Department and taught their first year introduction to forensic science and crime scene investigation courses. I also developed a new online course in forensic entomology and taught it in the summer of 2012 online. While teaching online at Trent University in 2012, I also worked as an entomological researcher, raising beneficial insects for the purposes of integrated pest management. It was in September 2012, that I decided to return to school to embark on my PhD at Queen’s University.

Current Projects



bsfovipositionZheng, L.Y., T.C. Crippen, L. Holmes, B. Singh, M.L. Pimsler, M.E. Benbow, A.M. Tarone, S. Dowd, Z. Yu, S.L. VanLaerhoven, T.K. Wood and J.K. Tomberlin. (2013).

Bacteria mediate oviposition by the black soldier fly, Hermetia illucens (L.), (Diptera: Stratiomyidae). Scientific Reports. 3, 2563; DOI:10.1038/srep02563.



Holmes, L.A., S.L. VanLaerhoven and J.K. Tomberlin. (2013).

Substrate effects on pupation and adult emergence of Hermetia illucens (Diptera: Stratiomyidae). Environmental Entomology. 42(2):370-374.

Holmes, L.A., S.L. VanLaerhoven and J.K. Tomberlin. (2012).

Relative humidity effects on the life history of Hermetia illucens (Diptera: Stratiomyidae). Environmental Entomology 41: 971-978.

Sanford, M., M. Flores, L. Holmes, L. Zheng, C. Fellows and J.K. Tomberlin. (2010).

Observations on the oriental latrine fly, Chrysomya megacephala, in the McFaddin National Wildlife Refuge, Sabine Pass, Texas, USA. Southwestern Entomologists. 35: 109-112.