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2018

Wasp warriors: Entomologists on samurai mission to slay stink bugs
May 18, 2018
Hillary Peterson is every brown marmorated stink bug's worst nightmare. The Penn State doctoral degree student does not intend to rest professionally until she and other entomologists devise a way to reduce burgeoning populations of the invasive insect, originally from Asia, which are damaging crops and aggravating people. The goal of their research is to develop biological controls to interfere with the pest's reproduction.
SciArt: Interacting with Zombie Ants
May 18, 2018
The Huck Institute for the Life Sciences will present the first in a series of 'SciArt@TheHuck' exhibits when 'The Zombie Ant Experience' opens at the Millennium Science Complex May 21. Sculptor Talley Fisher is leading a team of artists, and scientists, as they finalize the interactive display.
Leach named spotted lanternfly extension associate at Penn State
May 18, 2018
In this newly created position, Leach is responsible for coordinating spotted lanternfly outreach and response efforts for the college, working in collaboration with state and federal agencies such as the state Department of Agriculture, Game Commission, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In addition, she will help ensure that Penn State Extension personnel are prepared to field inquiries and handle routine reporting duties.
Editorial: Let's turn tide in fight against spotted lanternfly
May 17, 2018
Researchers and regular folks each can play a role in eradicating the invasive insects.
Is Malaria's Peculiar Odor Key to Its Conquest?
May 17, 2018
he smell attracts mosquitoes, and may help identify hidden cases - One of the more disturbing things about parasites is an ability to manipulate their hosts, sometimes to suicidal extremes. The classic example is the liver fluke. It infects an ant as an intermediate carrier, then drives the insect to climb a blade of grass where it is likelier to get eaten by the parasite’s adult-stage host: a cow or other grazing ruminant.
Penn State Master Gardener programs promote pollinator populations
May 16, 2018
When it comes to the importance of bees, Connie Schmotzer does not mince words. "Without bees, the world's food supply would be cut drastically, threatening the survival of many plants, animals and humans," said the Penn State Extension Master Gardener coordinator and horticulture educator. "Life, as we know it, would be much different — and not for the better."
Faculty Spotlight - Ben McGraw
May 16, 2018
This is the 4th of eleven short news articles written by students, during the professional development class. This year we had the students interview their advisor(s), in an effort to help them better understand the larger context of their projects.
How to avoid tick bites or treat them if they occur
May 10, 2018
As we head into the summer months, there are growing concerns about tick bites. Channel 11 reached out to a bug expert from Penn State to find out what people need to know to protect themselves this tick season.
Bedbugs a ‘part of your future’
May 10, 2018
Infestations common problem for first responders. Bedbugs, unlike mosquitoes, don’t spread illness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — nor are they found only amidst squalor.
Spotted lanternfly swarm about to hit Berks again (PHOTO GALLERY)
May 10, 2018
They're preparing to hatch, and wreak havoc on the county, as officials mull new ideas to control them.
Researchers aim to develop best practices for organic beekeeping
May 10, 2018
A nearly $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture will support Penn State researchers in determining best management practices for organic beekeeping by comparing organic and chemical-free to conventional management systems.
Faculty Spotlight: Jason Rasgon and Christina Grozinger
May 3, 2018
This is the 3rd of eleven short news articles written by students, during the professional development class. This year we had the students interview their advisor(s), in an effort to help them better understand the larger context of their projects.
Penn State Insect Research Represented at the 2018 Eastern Branch Entomological Society of America Meeting
May 2, 2018
Students and faculty from Penn State’s Departments of Entomology, Biology, and Plant Science attended the 89th Annual Meeting of the Eastern Branch of the Entomological Society of America (EB ESA). The meeting was held March 17-19, 2018 at the Westin Annapolis Hotel in Annapolis, Maryland, where the National ESA Headquarters is located.
Virus inhibits immune response of caterpillars and plants
May 2, 2018
It is well known that certain wasps suppress the immune systems of their caterpillar hosts so they can successfully raise their young within those hosts. Now researchers at Penn State show that, in addition to suppressing caterpillar immune systems, wasps also suppress the defense mechanisms of the plants on which the caterpillars feed, which ensures that the caterpillars will continue to provide a suitable environment for the wasps' offspring.
Entomology professor mentors summer interns to awards, success
April 30, 2018
A summer intern from Virginia State University — working in the lab of James Tumlinson, Ralph O. Mumma Professor of Entomology in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences — has presented an award-winning lecture in the Emerging Researchers National Conference in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics in Washington, D.C., on the research they conducted during their summer at Penn State.
Pennsylvania bear mange epidemic focus of Penn State and Game Commission project
April 26, 2018
Pennsylvania's black bear population is experiencing a mange epidemic, and a Penn State research team will work with the state Game Commission to gain a better understanding of the disease and develop strategies to manage it.
Andrew Read elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences
April 19, 2018
Andrew Read, Evan Pugh University Professor of Biology and Entomology in Penn State's Eberly College of Science and the College of Agricultural Sciences, has been elected as a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS).
Busy Bees: Penn Staters share how they protect pollinators
April 19, 2018
Most people have probably seen the phrase “bees are dying at an alarming rate” on the internet. Most pass it off as a joke, but one Penn State organization is taking it to heart.
Faculty Spotlight - Julie Urban
April 19, 2018
This is the 2nd of eleven short news articles written by students, during the professional development class. This year we had the students interview their advisor(s), in an effort to help them better understand the larger context of their projects.
Penn State Extension, ag officials look to slow spread of spotted lanternfly
April 17, 2018
With spring and the accompanying emergence of insects upon us, grape growers, orchardists, nursery operators, homeowners and others in southeastern Pennsylvania are bracing for infestations of spotted lanternfly, an invasive pest from Asia that appeared for the first time in the United States in Berks County nearly four years ago.
Lanternfly Research to Aid Grape Growers
April 11, 2018
When the spotted lanternfly showed up in Berks County four years ago, grapes were one of the first crops researchers worried about.
5 ways you can offset declining bee populations with your garden
April 4, 2018
As you plan your spring garden, consider adding pollinator-friendly trees and plants to provide food and habitat for bee populations that are in decline across the country and worldwide.
Faculty Spotlight - Tanya Renner
April 4, 2018
This is the 1st of ten short news articles written by students, during the professional development class. This year we had the students interview their advisor(s), in an effort to help them better understand the larger context of their projects.
Discovery Space’s Bee Hive Exhibit
April 4, 2018
The new Hive exhibit at Discovery Space allows young children to act out the social lives of bees. Children can wear a bee costume, buzz over to larger-than-life flowers to collect pollen and nectar, take the nectar into the hive and do the waggle dance.
Read recognized with 2018 President’s Award for Academic Integration
April 3, 2018
Andrew Read, Evan Pugh University Professor of Biology and Entomology in the Eberly College of Science and the College of Agricultural Sciences, has been awarded the 2018 President’s Award for Excellence in Academic Integration.
Cockroach infestation on campus leaves student residents plagued with pests.
April 3, 2018
Thousands of unwanted guests have moved into Cal State LA’s campus housing, forcing Cal State LA residents to fight off an infestation of American cockroaches.
Penn State-developed plant-disease app recognized by Google
April 3, 2018
A mobile app designed by Penn State researchers to help farmers and others diagnose crop diseases has earned recognition from one of the world's tech giants.
Wyman’s of Maine: 2017 Sustainability Report
March 29, 2018
Sustainability rests on the principle that the needs of the present must be met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It is Wyman’s core belief that Economic Profitability, Environmental Health, and Social Equity together build a sustainable company future.
WAMU-FM (NPR), Washington, D.C.: Pollinator -- Judgment Day
March 28, 2018
Margarita Lopez-Uribe, assistant professor of entomology, was a guest on the "1A" program to discuss pollinator health and the importance of feral bee species
$2.1 million enables creation of decision-support tools for pollinator health
March 28, 2018
The Center for Pollinator Research at Penn State, in collaboration with researchers at the University of California, Davis; the University of Minnesota; and Dickinson College will receive more than $2 million from the Foundation for Food and Agricultural Research and the United States Department of Agriculture to translate basic research into online decision support tools to help beekeepers and land managers maintain and expand populations of managed and wild bees.
$1M gift from Galen and Nancy Dreibelbis to support Pollinators' Garden
March 27, 2018
A generous commitment from local leaders will help The Arboretum at Penn State to move forward with its plans for a world-class pollinators’ garden. State College real estate developer Galen Dreibelbis, and his wife, Nancy, have committed $1 million to support construction of the new Pollinators’ Garden in the H.O. Smith Botanic Gardens. The Dreibelbises’ gift — together with a major investment from Skip Smith and gifts from other donors — completes the project’s initial fundraising goal and will allow the University to break ground on the project.
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.