Kelli Hoover, Ph.D.

Kelli Hoover, Ph.D.

  • Professor of Entomology
  • Center for Chemical Ecology
  • Center for Pollinator Research
517 Ag Sciences & Industries Building
University Park, PA 16802

Areas of Expertise

  • Biology and ecology of invasive species
  • Insect-microbial symbiosis
  • Tritrophic interactions
  • Insect virology
  • Pollination of forest trees


  • BS, University of California, Berkeley, 1979
  • MS, San Jose State University, 1992
  • PhD, University of California, Davis, 1997

Current Graduate Students

  • Rachel McLaughlin, PhD student, co-advised by Dr. Christina Grozinger. Rachel studies pollination of wild black cherry
  • Asher Jones, PhD student, co-advised by Dr. Gary Felton. Asher studies plant-insect-microbe interactions.
  • Jon Elmquist, MS student, co-advised by Dr. David Biddinger. Jon studies impacts of insecticides used for spotted lanternfly control in non-target insects, such as pollinators.
  • Anne Johnson, PhD student. She studies sequestration of toxins in spotted lanternfly and implications for predator-prey interactions.

Postdoctoral Scholars

  • Dr. Charlie Mason: plant-insect-microbe interactions
  • Dr. Joe Keller: spotted lanternfly population dynamics
  • Dr. Osariyekemwen Uyi: host preferences and performance of spotted lanternfly; impacts of SLF on tree health
  • Dr. Karolina Szymona: development of novel modifications of radio frequency technology for sanitizing wood packaging materials used in international trade.


Department Focus Area

Spotted lanternfly biology and ecology, insect microbial symbioses, tritrophic interactions, invasive species in forest systems, pollinators of forest trees, methods to exclude invasive species in wood products

Research Interests

Chemical ecology: Plant-insect-symbiont/pathogen interactions

Invasive species: Biology, ecology, and population dynamics of spotted lanternfly in forest systems

Pollination ecology: Pollination deficiency of black cherry in Pennsylvania forests


The Insect Connection (World Campus)

Management of Insect Pests of Ornamentals

Research Activities & Interests:

1) Spotted lanternfly (SLF) is a recently introduced pest from Asia with a very broad host range, is rapidly spreading, and is a serious pest of grape, and numerous hardwood tree species in over 20 families. We are investigating: Host preferences and performance of different life stages of SLF among common hardwood trees in the landscape and forests; dispersal; sequestration of toxins and impacts on predators, methods to sample SLF populations to determine abundance and distribution in different habitats; and impacts of SLF feeding on host tree physiology.

2) Black cherry is a highly valuable forest tree in PA, but regeneration is in decline, especially in the Allegheny National Forest. We are characterizing the pollinator communities for black cherry and evaluating how habitat (biotic and abiotic factors) influences pollination and production of viable seed for regeneration.

4) To prevent invasive, exotic pests (insects, nematodes, and fungi) from moving around the world in wood packing materials and wood products, international regulations require these materials to be properly treated before they can be shipped out of the country of origin. As a member of the International Forestry Quarantine Research Group, an advisory body to the technical panels of the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) of the United Nations, I collaborate on research with industrial engineers and wood products scientists to improve efficacy and adoption of radio frequency (RF) technology as an alternative phytosanitary treatment to methyl bromide fumigation.  A cooperative research and development agreement with USDA APHIS and patents for innovations in RF technology are in process as we continue to work on refinements to the technology that reduce energy costs.

Selected Publications (out of 112)

Paudel, S., P.A. Lin, K, Hoover, G.W. Felton and E.G. Rajotte. Asymmetric responses to climate change: Temperature differentially alters an herbivore salivary elicitor and host plant responses to herbivory. Plant, Cell and Environment, in review.

Mason, C., A. St. Clair, M. Peiffer, E. Gomez, A.G. Jones, G.W. Felton, and K. Hoover.  Diet influences proliferation and stability of bacterial populations in herbivorous lepidopteran larvae. PLOS One, in press.

Trotter, R.T., S. Limbu, K. Hoover, H. Nadel and M.A. Keena. 2020. Region-specific agent-based phenology models for the Asian gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar asiatica and L. dispar japonica) in East Asia ports. Special issue, Annals of the ESA, .

Mason, C.J., S. Ray, I. Shikano, M. Peiffer, A.G. Jones, D.S. Luthe, K. Hoover and G.W. Felton. 2019. Plant defenses interact with insect enteric bacteria by initiating a leaky gut syndrome. PNAS 116(32): 15991-15996. (PDF)

Tan, C-W, M. Peiffer, K. Hoover, C. Rosa and G.W. Felton. 2019. Parasitic wasp mediates plant perception of insect herbivores. J Chem. Ecol.

Jones, A.G., K. Hoover, K. Pearsons, J.F. Tooker, and G.W. Felton. 2019. Potential impacts of translocation of neonicotinoid insecticides to cotton (Gossypium hirsutum [Malvales: Malvaceae]) extrafloral nectar on parasitoids. Environ. Entomol. DOI: 10.1093/ee/nvz157. (PDF)

Hoover, K. 2019. Editorial overview: Insect behavior and parasites: From manipulation to self-medication. Current Opinion in Insect Science 33: vi-viii.

Hoover, K. (guest ed.). 2019. Behavioural Ecology: Insect behavior and parasites: From manipulation to self-medication. Current Opinion in Insect Science 33: 1-69 (Denlinger and Casas, eds.). (PDF)

Pan, Q., I. Shikano, K. Hoover, T-X Liu, G.W. Felton. 2019. Pathogen-mediated tritrophic interactions: Baculovirus-challenged caterpillars induce higher plant defenses than healthy caterpillars. J. Chem. Ecol. 45: 515-524. (PDF)

Hall, L., A.J. Myrick, F. Graves, K. Hoover and T. Baker. 2019. Labial and maxillary palp recordings of the Asian longhorned beetles, Anoplophora glabripennis, reveal olfactory and hygroreceptive capabilities. J. Insect Physiol., (PDF)

Mason, C.J., D. Long, R. Lindroth and K. Hoover. 2019. Asymmetric utilization of host plants by adult and juvenile conspecific cerambycids is related to intra-plant variation in chemical defenses and resource partitioning. J Animal Ecology.

Mason, C.J., A.M. Campbell, E.D. Scully and K. Hoover. 2018. Bacterial and fungal midgut community dynamics and transfer between mother and brood in the Asian longhorned beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis), an invasive xylophage. Microbial Ecology 77: 230-242. (PDF)

Pan, Q., I. Shikano, K. Hoover, T.-X. Liu, and G.W. Felton. 2018. Enterobacter ludwigii, isolated from the gut microbiota of Helicoverpa zea, promotes tomato plant growth and yield without compromising anti-herbivore defenses. Arthropod-Plant Interactions 13: 271-278. (PDF)

Shikano, I., Q. Pan, K. Hoover, and G.W. Felton. 2018. Herbivore-induced defenses in tomato plants enhance the lethality of the entomopathogenic bacterium, Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki. J. Chem Ecol. 44: 946-956. (PDF)

Shikano, I., E.M. McCarthy, J.M. Slavicek and K. Hoover. 2018. Jasmonic acid-induced plant defenses delay caterpillar developmental resistance to a baculovirus: Slow-growth, high-mortality hypothesis in plant–insect–pathogen interactions, J. Invertebr. Pathol. 158: 16-23. (PDF)

Wang, J., M. Yang; Y. Song; F.E. Acevedo; K. Hoover; R. Zeng; G.W. Felton. 2018. Gut-associated bacteria of Helicoverpa zea indirectly trigger plant defenses in maize. J Chem Ecol 44: 690-699. (PDF)

Tan, C.-W., M. Peiffer, K. Hoover, C. Rosa, F. E. Acevedo, G. W. Felton. 2018. Symbiotic polydnavirus of a parasite manipulates caterpillar and plant immunity. PNAS 201717934; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.171793411. (PDF)

Hoover, K., M. Grove, M. Gardner, D.P. Hughes, J. McNeil and J. Slavicek. 2011. A gene for an extended phenotype. Science 333: 1401-1401. (Reviewed by Faculty of 1000) (PDF)