About the Department

Our mission is to conduct outstanding research on insect science that will improve human health, quality of life, and the sustainability of our food and ecosystems.

Entomology is the study of insects. It is an interdisciplinary life science that contributes much to our understanding of life, our environment, and the well-being of our society. Insects are the predominant species on Earth, representing the greatest biodiversity with more than one million known species. Not surprising, insects significantly affect human civilization, whether the impact is positive, such as pollination of our food plants, or negative, such as competition with our food supply or carriers of major human diseases.

We have developed strong entomological programs and traditions in teaching, outreach, and research. Prospective graduate students will find information on our educational programs, curriculum, and research opportunities. If you need information on the management of insect pests, numerous fact sheets are available that address your specific needs.

Research in the Department of Entomology addresses diverse questions and uses a wide variety of experimental approaches and methodologies. Nevertheless, what bonds us is an interest in understanding fundamental and applied biological questions from the level of the molecule to the level of the population and the community. Knowledge of entomology is expanding at a rapid pace, creating great possibilities for innovative research at the interface of life sciences research. Penn State offers exceptional opportunities for interdisciplinary research through interaction with intercollege programs in Ecology, Plant Physiology, Genetics, and other life sciences.

If you want to discover more about entomology at Penn State, please do not hesitate to contact us. We look forward to hearing from you.

Latest News

October 3, 2022

Bull steps down at Microbiome Center, looks forward to future innovation

After more than five years at the helm of Penn State’s Microbiome Center, founding director Carolee Bull has stepped down. Though she will continue serving as department head of plant pathology and environmental microbiology and as a professor of plant pathology and systematic bacteriology at Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, Bull has handed off leadership of the Microbiome Center to recent Penn State hire Seth Bordentstein.

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September 19, 2022

Identify night singing insects with new field guide

PSU undergraduate student Celia Graef has authored a new pocket guide which provides information about PA's most common night singing insects. Email IBC Education Specialist Heather Desorcie for a physical copy/copies!

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September 16, 2022

Grant funds research that could help certification of organic honey bee products

A $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture will enable a team of researchers — led by Penn State entomologists — to assess foraging patterns of honey bees on organic farms, with an eye toward creating opportunities for beekeepers to produce certified-organic apiary products.

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September 13, 2022

Soybean virus may give plant-munching bugs a boost in survival

Most viral infections negatively affect an organism’s health, but one plant virus in particular — soybean vein necrosis orthotospovirus, often referred to as SVNV — may actually benefit a type of insect that commonly feeds on soybean plants and can transmit the virus to the plant, causing disease, according to Penn State research.

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