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Recent News

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.

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).

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.

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.

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.

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.

December 13, 2017

Beginner and experienced beekeepers and those thinking about taking up backyard beekeeping can get the information they need to be successful from Beekeeping 101, an online beekeeping course offered by Penn State Extension.

December 7, 2017

Listen in as we go over pesticide’s effects on pollinators, the difficulties in testing, and the advantages certain insects have in fighting pesticides.

December 6, 2017

Move over stink bugs, bed bugs are back in the prime pest spotlight. They actually never went away, but instead have continued to grow as an issue for anyone who lays their head down at night to sleep.

November 29, 2017

Each year nationwide, families bring trees into their homes hoping to bring some Christmas joy and cheer, but what some people don't know is that they might be bringing in some unwanted house guests.

November 29, 2017

With more than a million different species of insects in the world, it is no wonder that bugs "bug" us.

November 27, 2017

A grant to refine a mobile application (app) that will use artificial intelligence to detect crop diseases and the alert farmers on the diagnosis has been secured.

November 21, 2017

On November 17, 2017 stakeholders from across Pennsylvania converged to State College to discuss beekeeping protocols for our upcoming research project.

November 20, 2017

A Penn State-led research team is hoping to enlist insects as allies in an effort to make crops more tolerant of environmental stressors, after the crops are already growing in the greenhouse or field.

November 20, 2017

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. The funding comes from the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative of USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

November 17, 2017

The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry’s Maine Forest Service announced that a new species of wasp has been found in Maine. Hillary Morin Peterson of Brunswick Maine discovered a new species of Pteromalidae wasp while conducting her thesis work in collaboration with the Maine Forest Service. The new discovery is detailed in a recently published paper.

November 15, 2017

In a macabre discovery, scientists have found that a parasite, which creates armies of zombie ants, does so by hijacking their bodies—not their brains as was previously thought.

November 14, 2017

The Entomological Society of America is pleased to announce the winners of its 2017 awards. The awards recognize scientists, educators, and students who have distinguished themselves through their contributions to entomology. Winners were honored at Entomology 2017, November 5-8, in Denver, Colorado.

November 10, 2017

Yesterday (November 8, 2017), researchers at Penn State University released new information about one of Earth’s weirdest natural phenomena: zombie ants. These are carpenter ants in tropical locations, infiltrated and controlled by Ophiocordyceps unilateralis sensu lato, sometimes called zombie ant fungus. This fungal body-snatcher forces ants to a forest understory and compels them to climb vegetation and bite into the underside of leaves or twigs, where the ants die. The invasion culminates with the sprouting of a spore-laden fruiting body from a dead ant’s head. The fungus thereby benefits because infectious spores are released onto the ground below, where they can infect other foraging ants. The new research shows that the fungal parasite accomplishes all this without infecting the ants’ brains.

November 10, 2017

An early episode of the beloved BBC show Planet Earth made it clear that Cordyceps fungus is one of the most gruesome killers in the world. Forget sharks, bears, lions, or whatever that gleaming pair of eyes hiding in the bushes might be. Targeting insects, the terrifying parasitic fungus infects their bodies and controls their movements, eventually killing them and using their discarded corpses to breed its spawn.