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2016

Cell phones could be a lifeline for honey bees and beekeepers in Africa
December 19, 2016
A new Penn State project aimed at improving the food system in East Africa by enhancing pollination services and promoting bee-derived products has received a Food Systems Innovation Grant from the Global Center for Food Systems Innovation, based at Michigan State University.
Common insecticides are riskier than thought to predatory insects
December 7, 2016
Neonicotinoids -- the most widely used class of insecticides -- significantly reduce populations of predatory insects when used as seed coatings, according to researchers at Penn State. The team's research challenges the previously held belief that neonicotinoid seed coatings have little to no effect on predatory insect populations. In fact, the work suggests that neonicotinoids reduce populations of insect predators as much as broadcast applications of commonly used pyrethroid insecticides.
Penn State ag project reaps $471,000 federal grant
December 6, 2016
The federal government is putting a big chunk of funding into an agriculture project at Penn State. Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture unveiled a $6.7 million catalog of grants going to 18 different projects, most at universities around the country. The projects all address how the agro-ecosystem affects food production.
2016 Apes Valentes Awards Support Undergraduates in Bee Research and Outreach
November 29, 2016
Do you know where your food comes from? If you enjoy crisp apples, juicy tomatoes, and plump berries, thank a farmer, thank a scientist, and thank a bee. We need strong, healthy and diverse bee populations to provide pollination for us to eat our most healthful foods. While we can all thank a bee, the Penn State undergraduate students who received the 2016 Apes Valentes Undergraduate Research awards directly contributed to our understanding of how to keep bees healthy.
Be the Bee
November 29, 2016
What made these women strap on bee bonnets and venture into the world of another species? An undergraduate research project examines the sting of undervalued gender-related labor.
New graduate training program in Integrative Pollinator Ecology
November 22, 2016
The IPE program will train graduate Fellows to holistically tackle issues in pollinator health and ecology. Fellows will develop integrative research, education and outreach programs that span multiple disciplines - from genomics to land management – and interface with diverse stakeholder groups. Fellows will develop skills to respond to current and emerging challenges in pollinator health, sustainable, agriculture and conservation.
2016 Dutch Gold Honey Undergraduate Scholarship Recipient Gives Overwintering Honey Bees a Boost
November 17, 2016
Sarah McTish, a senior in Agriculture Sciences, minor in Entomology at Penn State, and current Pennsylvania Honey Queen was awarded the 2016 Dutch Gold Honey Scholarship. Thanks to the generous donation of William and Kitty Gamber from Dutch Gold Honey in Lancaster PA, undergraduate students each year are afforded the opportunity to work in a premier honey bee research lab and receive a scholarship.
Natural Chemicals Could Boost Plant Defenses
November 14, 2016
Harnessing the power of a plant hormone and a common soil element could help farmers fight crop-munching caterpillars.
Barron presents Invent Penn State success stories to Board of Trustees
November 7, 2016
University President Eric Barron shared some Invent Penn State success stories with the Board of Trustees at its meeting Friday (Nov. 4), held at The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel on the University Park campus.
Widely Used Pesticides Are Causing Huge Spider Mite Outbreaks
November 3, 2016
In 2005, New York City officials discovered Asian long-horned beetles in Central Park elms. To combat these pernicious pests, which can destroy entire forests, park personnel sprayed insecticides known as neonicotinoids on tens of thousands of trees infested by that beetle and another invasive pest, known as the emerald ash borer.
WPSU - SciTech Now: Insect Fair
October 25, 2016
The "Great Insect Fair" at Penn State is a great way to explore the natural world and learn about the role bugs play in the ecosystem and the food chain.
Penn State Extension: The Buzz
October 12, 2016
September 2016 Newsletter
Assistant Professor of Entomology: Arthropod Vectors of Vertebrate Diseases
September 28, 2016
As part of Penn State's continuing dedication to develop excellence in the area of infectious disease dynamics, we seek to strengthen the Department of Entomology with a scientist whose program is focused on arthropods and vertebrate diseases.
Undergrad Research Uses Honeybees to Probe Society’s Gender Roles
September 15, 2016
What do traditional gender roles of women and domestic work have in common with the non-visible labor of honeybees? Through her $4500 Apes Valentes Undergraduate Research Award, Christina Dietz, who is double-majoring in visual arts and psychology, spent her summer drawing connections between the two. What she found is that, in both subjects, the value of labor is lessened based on the lack of visibility it receives.
Uh huh, honey: How Penn State's Beekeepers Club is taking care of over 100,000 honey bees
September 15, 2016
During this time of year, thousands of students and alumni gather around Beaver Stadium to tailgate the afternoon away before a home football game. Just a few feet away from the tailgating grounds, some smaller members of the Penn State community are working hard not to grill burgers, but to produce honey.
Welcome to the 2016 Great Insect Fair
September 12, 2016
Penn State's Department of Entomology welcomed young and old to learn about, hold, and even eat a wide-variety of insects at the annual Great Insect Fair on Sept. 10.
President Barron’s monthly WPSU show returns Sept. 11
September 9, 2016
Penn State President Eric J. Barron’s monthly WPSU show returns for its third season when it airs at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 11, on WPSU-TV.
Job Opportunity: Extension Educator (Insect ID Lab Director)
September 9, 2016
The Department of Entomology, College of Agricultural Sciences is seeking an enthusiastic scientist to lead efforts on identification of arthropod pests, which impact biosecurity, food security, and public health.
Patch and Grozinger are part of a nationwide team awarded $2.85 million from the USDA-SCRI program to study pollinator interactions with ornamental plant species
September 7, 2016
On Tuesday August 2, 2016, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced this year's Specialty Crop Research and Extension Investments (SCRI) funded projects. These grants are funded through the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). IR-4's Executive Director, Jerry Baron, is proud to announce that two of these projects were awarded to IR-4's Ornamental Horticulture Program based at Rutgers University.
Postdoctoral Researcher - Dept. of Entomology
September 6, 2016
The Pennsylvania State University’s Department of Entomology is seeking a post-doctoral research associate to coordinate and conduct research and extension activities in a multi-disciplinary project to investigate the effects of crop, cover crops, and soil characteristics on the fungus, Metarhizium, a soilborne insect pathogen and plant-protective endophyte, in an organic agronomic cropping system.
Lord of the Gnats: Seducing a mushroom pest with scent
September 1, 2016
Drive up to a mushroom farm, open the car door, and you’ll understand why facilities like this one operate in rural areas. An overwhelming odor of manure emanates from compost piles scattered around the farm and from inside mushroom houses — the long, squat, wood and concrete structures where mushrooms are grown.
Bug appétit: Great Insect Fair highlights insects as food
August 26, 2016
Chocolate chirpies. Cricket cookies. Super-insect trail mix. Tune up your taste buds for these treats and more at Penn State's 2016 Great Insect Fair, set for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 10, at the Snider Agricultural Arena at University Park.
Researchers create information technology tool for pest management
August 19, 2016
NSF awards Pitt environmental engineering professor with grant to study decline of pollinating insects
August 11, 2016
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded Vikas Khanna, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering, with a $259,582 grant to investigate the impact of declining insect-mediated pollination on the United States economy.
Student Research Spotlight - Po-An Lin
August 5, 2016
This is the 13th, and final, of the short news articles written by students, during the professional development class, about each other's research.
Penn State researcher awarded grant to study Zika transmission in United States
August 1, 2016
The Zika virus is appearing more frequently in the United States, including a locally transmitted outbreak in Florida, and people are concerned. Now the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded a Penn State researcher a grant to test whether common American mosquitoes can carry the virus.
Butterfly Bob’s memory strong at annual Wings in the Park event
July 25, 2016
“Oohs” and “ahhs” filled the air as Penn State Master Gardener Doug Ford released about 50 monarch butterflies into Snetsinger Butterfly Garden.
Please join us in congratulating Matt Thomas
July 22, 2016
Matt has been selected as a Fellow of the Entomological Society of America. Election as a Fellow acknowledges outstanding contributions to entomology in one or more of the following: research, teaching, extension, or administration. The Fellows will be recognized during the the 2016 International Congress of Entomology, which will be held September 25-30, 2016 in Orlando, Florida.
Student Research Spotlight - Ngoc Phan
July 22, 2016
This is the 12th of thirteen short news articles written by students, during the professional development class, about each other's research.
Create your own pollinator-friendly garden: photos, tips and resources
July 19, 2016
In this photo gallery, Penn State Extension Master Gardener Martha Moss has shared tips and pointers for constructing your very own pollinator-friendly garden, a project that can help pollinators in your neighborhood to thrive. To learn more about creating a pollinator-friendly garden, keeping your own bees and more, visit the Penn State Center for Pollinator Research
Pollinators, pesticides in focus at Fruit Research and Extension Center
July 19, 2016
An apple orchard in full bloom: for many, a simple harbinger of spring. But for David Biddinger and his colleagues and graduate students at Penn State’s Fruit Research and Extension Center, the delicate blooms carry the promise of a future in which bees and pesticides can do their work in harmony at fruit farms across the nation. Their work is part of ongoing efforts across the College of Agricultural Sciences and throughout the University to develop a holistic approach to pollinator health, an area in which Penn State has built a strong reputation.
Penn State bee research pollinates next generation of scientists
July 18, 2016
Elina Lastro Niño's curiosity about honey bees dates back to her childhood in Bosnia, where her father kept bees for a time. After perhaps one bee sting too many, her father gave up his bees, and Niño's interest in honey bees waned — but not her fascination with insect biology.
Bees' ability to forage decreases as air pollution increases
July 18, 2016
Air pollutants interact with and break down plant-emitted scent molecules, which insect pollinators use to locate needed food, according to a team of researchers. The pollution-modified plant odors can confuse bees and, as a result, bees' foraging time increases and pollination efficiency decreases. This happens because the chemical interactions decrease both the scent molecules' life spans and the distances they travel.
Student Research Spotlight - Karly Regan
July 8, 2016
This is the 11th of thirteen short news articles written by students, during the professional development class, about each other's research.
Invasive species could cause billions in damages to agriculture
June 28, 2016
Invasive insects and pathogens could be a multi-billion-dollar threat to global agriculture and developing countries may be the biggest target, according to a team of international researchers.
Picky eaters: bumble bees prefer plants with nutrient-rich pollen
June 28, 2016
Bumble bees have discriminating palettes when it comes to their pollen meals, according to researchers at Penn State. The researchers found that bumble bees can detect the nutritional quality of pollen, and that this ability helps them selectively forage among plant species to optimize their diets.
Student Research Spotlight - Bipana Paudel Timilsena
June 24, 2016
This is the 10th of thirteen short news articles written by students, during the professional development class, about each other's research.
Can 'backyard beekeepers' solve the bee crisis?
June 17, 2016
Although more than 1,000 new beekeepers have registered in Pennsylvania since 2014, it is unclear how big a contribution they are making.
Researchers to study how microbes become 'fungi in ant's clothing'
June 15, 2016
A pair of grants worth more than $2 million will enable Penn State researchers to study how microbial parasites control the behaviors and characteristics of their animal hosts.
Student Research Spotlight - Benjamin Czyzewski
June 10, 2016
This is the 9th of thirteen short news articles written by students, during the professional development class, about each other's research.
Help save the honeybee
June 3, 2016
Studies show that the honeybee population has diminished rapidly over the past decade. This decline is due to colony collapse disorder, a syndrome defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as “a dead colony with no adult bees and with no dead bee bodies, but with a live queen, and usually honey and immature bees, still present.” The cause is unknown, although research has pointed to a variety of factors, including poor nutrition for the bees, the overuse of pesticides and exposure to parasites.
Bug Camp for kids
June 1, 2016
Taught by Penn State Entomology graduate students, Bug Camp for kids gives campers a chance to explore the world of insects, go on field trips, decorate t-shirts, make insect art and crafts, and play educational games.
Penn State evolutionary biologist discusses report of antibiotic resistant E. coli
June 1, 2016
Andrew Read: Evan Pugh Professor of Biology & Entomology, Eberly College of Science Distinguished Senior Scholar & Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics Director
Student Research Spotlight - Asher Jones
May 27, 2016
This is the 8th of thirteen short news articles written by students, during the professional development class, about each other's research.
Bee Swarm Season on Penn State Campus
May 26, 2016
The recent swarms on the Penn State campus have come from managed roof colonies. Although swarming bees look quite frightening and dangerous to onlookers, the bees are actually quite docile and are not prone to stinging.
Horticultural Pollinator Research Investments Bearing Fruit - Horticultural Research Institute Continues Work on a Key Industry Initiative
May 24, 2016
Bees and bee health are still making headlines, and sorely needed research results are finally starting to emerge. In early May, Horticultural Research Institute participated in a research symposium at Penn State University where early results from several research projects relevant to pollinator health were shared.
New insect pest a threat to onion and related crops in Pennsylvania
May 13, 2016
An insect never before found in the Western Hemisphere has been discovered in Pennsylvania, and agriculture officials are asking growers and home gardeners to help monitor and manage the new invasive pest.
Student Research Spotlight - Kirsten Pearsons
May 13, 2016
This is the 7th of thirteen short news articles written by students, during the professional development class, about each other's research.
Eating bugs, fencing elephants, engaging audiences
May 6, 2016
This talk given at a recent workshop of the Global Center for Food Systems Innovation is notable for what it borrows. The innovation is the use of cell phones in a way that enables African beekeepers to share data. My favorite line comes early in the piece.
Using cell phones to help Kenyans keep bees
May 6, 2016
Penn State’s Maryann Frazier and her team use cell phones to improve honey production. Project managers weekly call a network of Kenyan beekeepers to discuss best practices for the highest honey production that maximizes income.
Student Research Spotlight - Nursyafiqi Zainuddin
April 29, 2016
This is the 6th of thirteen short news articles written by students, during the professional development class, about each other's research.
Penn State researchers work collaboratively to combat bee declines around the world
April 27, 2016
Spring is a season of new growth, with buds on the trees, green grass, and flowers beginning to bloom. It’s also a prime time for pollinators such as honey bees, as they begin to feed off of the pollen from the newly blooming flora.
'This is Penn State' salutes the hard-working honeybee
April 26, 2016
Penn State’s Center for Pollinator Research is the bee’s knees. Committed to studying the factors impacting pollinator health and developing and implementing creative approaches to pollinator conservation, the center is on the front lines of a fight to help the hard-working honeybee that along with other insects pollinates three-fourths of America’s crops.
Research affords undergraduate student closer look at honey bees
April 26, 2016
Since the time she was 8 years old—after attending the College of Agricultural Sciences’ Great Insect Fair—Sarah McTish knew she wanted to study entomology at Penn State.
Ag Sciences faculty member named distinguished professor, Black Award winner
April 19, 2016
Christina Grozinger, professor of entomology in the College of Agricultural Sciences, has been named a Distinguished Professor by Penn State, and she also has been chosen to receive the college's 2016 Alex and Jessie C. Black Award for Excellence in Research.
Student Research Spotlight - Elizabeth Rowen
April 15, 2016
This is the 5th of thirteen short news articles written by students, during the professional development class, about each other's research.
Pest Alert - Allium Leafminer
April 11, 2016
The allium leafminer (also known as the onion leafminer) has recently been detected and confirmed from infested leeks and onions in Lancaster County. This is the first confirmed infestation in the Western Hemisphere. Your assistance is needed for monitoring and controlling this new invasive species.
Crops vs. caterpillars - Insect spit a key weapon in ongoing war
April 7, 2016
Next time you chew a stick of mint gum or pop a peppermint candy, think of insects. That distinctive flavor comes from essential oils the mint plant makes to defend itself against hungry insects. Strong flavors and smells of other plants, such as basil and cabbage, are also plant defense compounds. These weapons halt insect feeding in many ways. Plant compounds can taste or smell bad, fortify cell walls so insects can’t penetrate a leaf to feed, or affect digestion, eventually killing the attackers. But insects aren’t helpless against these plant defenses. They find ways to fight back — and one of their best weapons is their spit.
The Buzz: Newsletter for the Penn State Master Gardener pollinator gardens
April 6, 2016
This issue features a small urban pollinator garden, new plans for the pollinator garden at the Penn State arboretum, information about a Penn State Center for Pollinator Research collaboration to determine great pollinator plants and more.
Student Research Spotlight - Carley Miller
April 1, 2016
This is the 4th of thirteen short news articles written by students, during the professional development class, about each other's research.
Student Research Spotlight - Asifa Hameed
March 18, 2016
This is the 3rd of thirteen short news articles written by students, during the professional development class, about each other's research.
Wyman’s of Maine and Penn State Center for Pollinator Research Join Together to Help Save the Honey Bees
March 17, 2016
Wyman’s and Penn State Get Out of the Lab and onto the Blueberry Fields
CATCH THE BUZZ – Weighing the Costs and Benefits of Pesticide Use
March 11, 2016
There has been considerable discussion about the impact of pesticides – particularly neonicotinoids – on biodiversity in general and pollinator health specifically. While we have made significant progress in understanding these impacts, often missing from these discussions is whether the current neonicotinoid usage patterns actually benefit growers. As we all know (but often do not discuss), it is not simply a question of either using pesticides with no restrictions or banning them completely – the best approach is to use them in a way that maximizes the benefit while minimizing the cost to growers, consumers, and the environment.
The Zika virus from Aedes to Zika
March 10, 2016
The Zika virus outbreak has grabbed headlines and raised fears around the world. Penn State faculty member, Jason Rasgon talks about how little we know about Zika and how much we don't!
Student Research Spotlight - Virginia Zanni
March 4, 2016
This is the 2nd of thirteen short news articles written by students, during the professional development class, about each other's research.
Student Research Spotlight - Erin Treanore
February 19, 2016
This is the 1st of thirteen short news articles written by students, during the professional development class, about each other's research.
Penn State harnessing research muscle to fight infectious diseases
February 9, 2016
It’s easy to forget about the deadly diseases of the past when decades-old breakthroughs in science and medicine have kept them at bay for so long. Diseases like measles, mumps, whooping cough and polio tend to lose their shock value when they’re out of sight and mind — as they have been, by and large, since the mid-20th century.
Collaboration, research key to managing invasive species
February 9, 2016
Invasive species, such as the gypsy moth and emerald ash borer, have had devastating effects on Pennsylvania's forests, and the keys to combatting these threats are active management, collaboration and research, according to U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson.
Bees, Bugs & Blooms – A pollinator trial
February 5, 2016
Project Goal: Evaluate native plant species and their cultivars for their attractiveness to pollinators and their suitability for homeowner and agricultural use.
NTAD students and grads hone skills for international workplace
February 3, 2016
Agriculture is a human endeavor that is practiced in every corner of the world. That's why consideration of human behavior in an international context is necessary to gain a complete picture of agricultural problems.
Glyphosate Now the Most-Used Agricultural Chemical Ever
February 3, 2016
The world is awash in glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup, produced by Monsanto. It has now become the most heavily-used agricultural chemical in the history of the world, and many argue that’s a problem, since the substance comes with concerning albeit incompletely-determined health effects.
Conflict among honey bee genes supports theory of altruism
January 13, 2016
Using modern genetic approaches, a team of researchers has provided strong support for the long-standing, but hotly debated, evolutionary theory of kin selection, which suggests that altruistic behavior occurs as a way to pass genes to the next generation.
Building A Better Honeybee
January 8, 2016
Honeybees have almost become an annual crop. In fact, honey bee die-offs are so common now that beekeepers generally just order more bees in the spring when they lose a hive over the winter.
Researchers receive $10.2 million to study new malaria-prevention method
January 6, 2016
In collaboration with partners in Europe and Africa, researchers at Penn State have received a five-year, $10.2-million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to investigate a new method for preventing the transmission of malaria. The method involves limiting mosquito access to houses by blocking openings and installing "eave tubes" that contain a unique type of insecticide-laced mosquito netting developed by Dutch partner In2Care that kills the insects as they attempt to enter.