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.
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.
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.
This is the 11th of thirteen short news articles written by students, during the professional development class, about each other's research.
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.
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.
This is the 10th of thirteen short news articles written by students, during the professional development class, about each other's research.
Although more than 1,000 new beekeepers have registered in Pennsylvania since 2014, it is unclear how big a contribution they are making.
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.
This is the 9th of thirteen short news articles written by students, during the professional development class, about each other's research.
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.
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.
Andrew Read: Evan Pugh Professor of Biology & Entomology, Eberly College of Science Distinguished Senior Scholar & Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics Director
This is the 8th of thirteen short news articles written by students, during the professional development class, about each other's research.
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.
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.
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.
This is the 7th of thirteen short news articles written by students, during the professional development class, about each other's research.
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.
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.