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Goals of Our Program

The goal of ornamental entomology is to provide facts so that informed decisions are made when attempting to effectively manage key insect and mite pests of woody ornamental plants.

Insect identification can be difficult

Most people do not recognize one insect from another and consider many insect and mite species to be harmful.  If a plant has damage and there is an insect or mite close to that damage, they often conclude that the insect or mite present is the causal organism.  Most insects do not cause economic or aesthetic damage to woody ornamental plants.  Unless the causal organism is accurately identified, we cannot be sure that the insect or mite is destructive.  All too often, a beneficial insect has been sprayed because it was thought to be harmful. 

Understanding insects and their behavior can help

Once we know the correct identity of an insect or mite, we can investigate important facts regarding its life cycle in Pennsylvania.  As an example, we would be able to determine whether it is beneficial or harmful, whether it has chewing or piercing-sucking mouthparts, which stages are destructive, what it prefers to eat, where it lives, and the number of generations it produces each year.  All of this information is vital to any effective woody ornamental pest management program.  Enjoy the wonderful world of insects and their relatives!

Goals of our program

The goal of ornamental entomology is to provide facts so that informed decisions are made when attempting to effectively manage key insect and mite pests of woody ornamental plants.

  • Web site links are provided to regulatory and natural resource agencies in Pennsylvania.
  • New pests or recently active pests may be found in the “Insect Alerts” section on the home page of this website. You may accurately diagnose the key insect or mite pest species that may be causing the damage to a key plant by using the section with fact sheets associated with the key plants that may have been damaged.
  • Information on ornamental IPM and diagnosing insect and the injury on trees and shrubs may also be investigated at this website.
  • Fifteen years of growing degree day and plant phenology observations made by members of the Southeast Pennsylvania IPM Research Group (Penn-Del IPM Research Group) will soon be included at this site. Access to this unique information will allow nursery growers, arborists, and landscape maintenance companies to better predict when key pests may be active on woody ornamental plants in Pennsylvania.
  • An electronic version of the current “Woody Ornamental Insect, Mite, and Disease Management” guide will also reside at this website. This publication provides current, effective pest management options for pests of woody plants in both nurseries and landscapes. Scouting reports will be provided on insect and mite pest activity on trees and shrubs in Pennsylvania. Contact information for extension specialists in the departments of entomology, horticulture, and plant pathology are provided along with the addresses and phone numbers for the 67 Penn State county extension offices. An extensive list of related links to other woody ornamental entomology websites are also provided at the end of this website.