Investment from Skip Smith to launch construction of Pollinators' Garden
March 21, 2018
Investment from Penn State alumnus and leading philanthropist Charles H. “Skip” Smith will enable The Arboretum at Penn State to fulfill its longstanding vision for a garden that will attract and sustain native pollinator species of birds and insects. Smith, whose founding gift launched construction of the Arboretum in 2010, has made a series of gifts totaling $4.5 million to support construction of a new and enhanced Pollinators’ Garden in the H.O. Smith Botanic Gardens. The gifts — together with commitments from other donors — complete the project’s initial fundraising goal of $5.3 million and will allow construction to begin.
Zombie Apocalypse: Ants Can't Tell When Their Colony Is Overrun by a Deadly Fungus
March 21, 2018
Carpenter ants appear to have a hard time figuring out when one of their own is infected with a parasite that will eventually make it kill itself. Researchers from Pennsylvania State University published their findings February 23 in PLoS One.
Invasive insect spreads beyond Pennsylvania farms and orchards to backyards
March 21, 2018
Add another invader to the list of destructive insects that have infiltrated Pennsylvania: The spotted lanternfly has joined the ranks of emerald ash borers and brown marmorated stink bugs.
Penn State researchers tackling mushroom phorid fly infestations
March 21, 2018
Working with mushroom growers and residents in southern Chester County, Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences is ramping up ongoing research efforts to alleviate mushroom phorid fly infestations in southeastern Pennsylvania.
Put a ghost in your orchard to keep away brown marmorated stink bugs
March 21, 2018
Some apple orchards in Pennsylvania were surrounded by benevolent ghosts last year: a length of specially treated netting draped over a shepherd’s hook. Each successfully drew in and then killed hundreds of brown marmorated stink bugs.
Lures lead to better moth management
March 21, 2018
Growers who use mating disruption for oriental fruit moths now have a lure that effectively monitors the pests, according to new research.
Infected ‘zombie ants’ shuffle through colony undetected
March 15, 2018
Carpenter ants don’t attack or isolate their nest mates infected with a specialized parasitic fungus, and instead continue to share the colony’s food resources until the infected ants leave the nest for the last time to die, according to a new study.
Does winter's harsh cold air mean lower tick activity during spring, summer?
March 15, 2018
Areas that have had harsh winter weather are most likely looking forward to the summer months that are filled with sunshine and warmth. But with sunny, warm weather comes bugs, ticks included.
Invasive insects invade PA/Chesapeake Bay update
March 15, 2018
Insects that aren't native to Pennsylvania have invaded the state's forests, farm fields and homes and new ones appear every few years.
Infected 'zombie ants' face no discrimination from nest mates
March 14, 2018
Carpenter ants infected with a specialized parasitic fungus are not subjected to aggression or isolation from their nest mates, and they continue to share in the colony's food resources until they leave the nest for the last time to die, according to a study led by Penn State researchers.
Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research Awards $7 Million to 16 Research Teams Advancing Science and Technology to Improve Pollinator Health
March 14, 2018
New Tools and Science-Based Best Practices Will Enhance Efforts to Combat Native and Managed Pollinator Population Declines
Researchers to study ramps' market, flavor profile, vulnerability to pest
March 12, 2018
A good way to describe ramps, it has been said, is to note what they are not. Ramps are not leeks, nor are they scallions or shallots. Ramps look like scallions, but they're smaller and have one or two broad, flat leaves.
Curious Wasp Specimen Leads Entomologist to Find a First
March 5, 2018
When Michael Skvarla, Ph.D., started at his job as Insect Identifier and Extension Educator at Penn State University in 2017, it wasn’t long before he had a mystery on his hands.
Newly Discovered Fungi Turn Ants Into Zombies and Use Them to Breed
February 28, 2018
Mushrooms have always been a risky dinner menu option: Sure, plenty of them are delicious, but some are deadly. Ants stumbling on the wrong type of fungus can meet an even grimmer fate: These organisms can take control of the insects, forcing them to kill themselves. And scientists have just identified another 15 fungi with this gruesome talent.
Maryland braces for invasion of lanternflies, races to slow their spread
February 28, 2018
Mary Kay Malinoski has seen plenty of harmful insects swarm into Maryland during her long career, from the tree-eating gypsy moth, which invaded in the 1980s, to the malodorous brown marmorated stink bug, which arrived in 2006.
A bad new bug, a glowing plant, and flytraps without flies: The latest in gardening research
February 21, 2018
Let's peek into the science labs this week to see what gardening researchers have discovered lately that affects how we garden:
Terrifying Parasitic Wasps Knife Their Way Out of Bug Corpses With Spikes on Their Backs
February 8, 2018
Wasps have a bad reputation for their sharp stingers, but a new species of wasp appears to take inflicting pain to a whole new level. Scientists believe the parasitic wasp grows up in another animal's body and then, once it reaches adulthood, saws its way through the host's body to freedom, according to a recent paper published in Biodiversity Data Journal.
PolliNation Podcast: Mehmet Ali Döke – How Honey Bees Survive The Winter
February 8, 2018
Mehmet Ali Döke earned his bachelor’s in Molecular Biology and Genetics, and master’s in Biology from Middle East Technical University in Turkey. During his junior year, he started working with honey bees and was a part of the group who surveyed the beekeepers in Turkey to document bee losses and possible reasons in coordination with the COLOSS effort. In his master’s, Mehmet investigated the seasonal variation of a metabolic enzyme in honey bees.
Penn State Beekeepers Club And The Quest To #SaveTheBees
February 1, 2018
We all know the hashtag #SaveTheBees as a meme that has infiltrated the internet and taken Twitter by storm. We’ve even seen students at home football games hanging signs advocating for the little guys. But why do the bees need saving? How can we save the bees? And why should we care about the dwindling populations of the stinging, buzzing insects?
Land-grant ag research and education highlighted during visit by USDA Secretary
January 26, 2018
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue paid a visit to Penn State's University Park campus today (Jan. 24) as part of a tour through Pennsylvania to unveil the Department of Agriculture's legislative principles as Congress prepares to enact a new five-year farm bill.
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue visits Penn State
January 25, 2018
As Congress prepares to enact a new five-year farm bill, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue paid a visit to Penn State's University Park campus Jan. 24 as part of a tour through Pennsylvania to unveil the Department of Agriculture's legislative principles. Perdue met with College of Agricultural Sciences faculty, students and administrators and visited research facilities.
Wilkerson reaps more than knowledge from Penn State’s graduate program
January 16, 2018
Rhea County native Megan Wilkerson is nearing the completion of her work in the graduate studies program at Penn State University, but the time she has spent in the program has included much more than classroom work and library study.
It Takes a Colony - The value of supporting research for the greater public good
January 11, 2018
Surveys of U.S. beekeepers have documented a 28 percent decline (on average) in honey bee colonies each winter during the last ten years, and a 28-45 percent decline (on average) during the full year. In Pennsylvania, beekeepers reported a loss of 52 percent of their colonies over the last winter (2016-2017).
Stink Bug Enemy a Welcome Find
January 10, 2018
A major natural enemy of the destructive brown marmorated stink bug has been found in Pennsylvania, but don’t expect pest pressure to lessen any time soon.
Agriculture Department, Penn State Release Recommendations to Maintain Healthy, Diverse Pollinator Populations
January 10, 2018
Standing in front of one of the more popular exhibits at the Pennsylvania Farm Show—an educational display on the importance of bees to society—state Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding today helped unveil a new report intended to support healthy pollinator populations in the face of challenges that have decimated some species.
New research agenda for malaria elimination and eradication
January 10, 2018
Two Penn State researchers have participated in the formulation of a new updated research agenda for global malaria elimination and eradication. Together with more than 180 scientists, malaria program leaders, and policy makers from around the world, Manuel Llinás, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology, and Jason Rasgon, professor of entomology and disease epidemiology, contributed to the Malaria Eradication Research Agenda (malERA) Refresh Collection, which defines a forward-looking research and development agenda that will accelerate progress towards malaria elimination and global eradication. The malERA Refresh collaboration resulted in seven research papers that were recently published as a special collection in the journal PLOS Medicine.
State officials work to contain spread of destructive lanternflies
January 3, 2018
Over the past three years, an invasive insect, native to China and eastern parts of Asia, has been recognized as a serious threat to agriculture and businesses in Pennsylvania.