Honey Bee and Pollinator Research

Penn State researchers are leading the research investigating the disappearance of honey bees.

The loss of honey bees is a multifaceted problem and is reflected in projects ranging from understanding the incidence and prevalence of viruses and the role of pesticides on bee health and behavior to the role mites have on colony decline, including vectoring disease and impairing the bee immune system.

For a comprehensive list of pollination faculty, researchers, educators, extension specialists and outreach coordinators at Penn State visit the Center for Pollinator Research

  • Tree Fruit Research Entomologist
  • Research Professor


Dr. Biddinger is working on the conservation of wild populations of Osmia Orchard Bees as supplements to honey bees for orchard pollination and is developing managed populations with Jim and Maryann Frazier.  He has been examining the effects of orchard pesticides on non-Apis pollen bees and developing their use as bioindicators of ecological health in ecologically based IPM programs in apple using only reduced-risk and bio-pesticides for 2 seasons. He is collaborating with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture in their survey efforts to develop the first checklist of Pennsylvania bees and in understanding the natural history and importance of the many species of bees found in fruit orchards.

  • Distinguished Professor of Entomology
  • Director, Center for Pollinator Research


Dr. Grozinger's research group uses genomic approaches to study the biology of honey bees, their pests and pathogens and other social insect species.  Ongoing projects include characterizing the genes and molecular mechanisms involved in pheromone communication, reproduction, and response to immunostimulation in honey bees.  We are developing genomic resources for Varroa mites, a serious pest of honey bees, fire ants, and the paper wasp Polistes dominulus, both excellent models for study the evolution of social behavior.

  • Lorenzo L. Langstroth Early Career Professor
  • Assistant Professor of Entomology


  • Associate Professor Emeritus of Entomology


Dr. Ostiguy's lab is investigating the contribution of various stresses, such as varroa mites and miticides (used to control varroa), on Colony Collapse Disorder and other honey bee diseases. Work is underway to evaluate varroa control tactics that do not expose bees to miticides yet reduce mite populations. She is also looking at the potential role of pesticides found in stored honey on Colony Collapse Disorder.

  • Assistant Research Professor


  • Professor of Entomology and IPM Coordinator


Dr. Rajotte is interested in crop pollination services  provided by Apis and non-Apis bees, especially as part of an integrated pest management (IPM) program. In addition, he is part of team studying the epidemiology of bee viruses.

  • Ralph O. Mumma Professor of Entomology
  • Co-director, Center for Chemical Ecology


Dr. Tumlinson and his students are investigating the chemical ecology and behavior of the small hive beetle, a recently introduced pest of bees.  The small hive beetle is attracted to volatile organic compounds, including the honey bee alarm pheromone.  Several of these attractive compounds, including the alarm pheromone, are produced by a yeast, which is associated with the beetle and thrives on pollen in the hives.