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2019

Notes from the Lab: The Latest Bee Science Distilled
June 26, 2019
A roadmap for how to minimize pesticide risk to bees by Scott McArt
2019 Dutch Gold Undergraduate Scholarship supports research and education in bee health
June 21, 2019
To help catalyze research and education in bee health, Dutch Gold Honey, based in Lancaster County, PA, endowed an Undergraduate Scholarship in Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences in 2010. This yearly award pairs students in the College of Agricultural Sciences with faculty mentors from the Penn State Center for Pollinator Research. The 2019 Dutch Gold Scholarship has been awarded to two students, Jacklyn Kiner and Matthew Poorman, whose projects seek to improve methods for bee management and public learning about bees.
Spotted lanternfly expert at Penn State offers advice on using tree bands
June 21, 2019
It is quickly becoming a summertime ritual, albeit not a fun one, for homeowners living in southeastern Pennsylvania: trying to get rid of the swarms of spotted lanternflies that have taken up residence on their properties.
Online Hands-On Mapping System Helps Keep Pollinators Safe
June 20, 2019
Researchers have been working for well over a decade to enhance the health of pollinators and now beekeepers, citizen scientists, and anyone interested in pollinator health can join in using a new online tool, Beescape.
Can tiny wasps control sap-sucking flies targetting US vines?
June 19, 2019
Researchers from the University of California, Riverside, are testing to see if a species of wasp the size of a sesame seed could stave off a potentially devastating invasion of sap-sucking insects that could seriously affect California’s grape crops.
Industry groups award funding for fruit research and extension projects
June 18, 2019
New and ongoing tree-fruit research in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences received a boost with the recent awarding of funds totaling more than $261,000 by the State Horticultural Association of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Apple Program.
Ants maintain essential interactions despite environmental flux
June 18, 2019
Ants adjust their social interactions to accommodate changes in population density, according to researchers at Penn State and Georgetown University. The findings suggest that ant colonies are capable of maintaining their sophisticated social organization despite potentially drastic changes in their environments.
Cicadas are buzzing the 'burbs after 17 years underground
June 13, 2019
It’s easy to find evidence that the 17-year cicadas’ mating season has begun in Western Pennsylvania. Exoskeletons hang on tree branches, stray wings left by predators lie in the grass and, when it’s hot enough, unlucky males still searching for mates sing their ringing, high-pitched song.
Humans can't manage this invasive fly—but a mind-controlling fungi might
June 13, 2019
If Youtube footage is to be believed, people have taken up arms against infestations of invasive spotted lanternflies by blasting the bugs with everything from pressure washers to rock salt, dish soap and even propane torches.
Truckers who don't comply with spotted lanternfly quarantine could face hefty fines
June 13, 2019
Truckers who don’t comply with a quarantine effort to restrict the spread of an invasive insect in Pennsylvania and nearby states can face fines of up to $20,000.
Sticky tape meant to snare lanternflies also catching birds and squirrels
June 13, 2019
Woodpeckers, squirrels and other animals are getting stuck on the sticky tape used to trap spotted lanternflies, prompting an outcry from animal rehabilitation centers and other nature groups.
Combating mosquito-borne diseases with bacteria
June 11, 2019
Viruses, spread through mosquito bites, cause human illnesses such as dengue fever, Zika and yellow fever. A new control technique harnesses a naturally occurring bacterium called Wolbachia that blocks replication of viruses and breaks the cycle of mosquito-borne disease, according to an international team of researchers.
Alumnus honors father, entomology department with professorship
June 7, 2019
The inspiration behind a person’s philanthropy can come from a variety of sources. For alumnus Dr. Roger Simon, it stems from two places: the Penn State Department of Entomology, and his father, Sam Simon.
Scout Now to Stay Ahead of Cereal Leaf Beetle Infestations
June 6, 2019
Native to Europe and Asia, the cereal leaf beetle has made inroads throughout much of eastern North America, the midwest, and even Canada. The adult females have a long egg-laying period of 45-60 days, so the larvae can be present and damage crops for a significant period of time.
Virginia Fruit Growers Remain Vigilant About Invasive Pest
June 6, 2019
“None of the organic compounds work against spotted lanternfly,” said Heather Leach, spotted lanternfly Extension associate with Penn State.
We must wage an all-out war against the spotted lanternfly in PA
June 6, 2019
For many Pennsylvanians, dedicating $2.5 million to the battle against an insect that significantly affects only 20% of our counties is a questionable investment. One reason might be their unfamiliarity with the spotted lanternfly, which so far has either failed to or just not gotten around to crossing the Susquehanna River in large numbers. To date, 14 counties have been placed under quarantine due to the insect’s presence reaching the level of infestation. The list of counties stretches from Monroe in the north to Dauphin and Lancaster here in the south.
Methods to Control Varroa Mites: An Integrated Pest Management Approach
June 3, 2019
Varroa mites (Varroa destructor), are the most influential of all of the pests and diseases of the European honey bee (Apis mellifera) today.
Student Research Spotlight - Alex Pagac
June 3, 2019
This is the 8th of eight short news articles written by students, during the professional development class, about each other's research.
New records show spread of parasitic deer flies across the US
May 31, 2019
With flattened bodies, grabbing forelegs and deciduous wings, deer keds do not look like your typical fly. These parasites of deer — which occasionally bite humans — are more widely distributed across the U.S. than previously thought, according to Penn State entomologists, who caution that deer keds may transmit disease-causing bacteria.
PA Department of Agriculture Requires Spotted Lanternfly Permit For Some Businesses
May 30, 2019
Fearing the spread of the spotted lanternfly, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture is requiring a permit for businesses transporting goods through a quarantine zone.
New Law Would Help Bees—but Could Leave Other Pollinators out in the Cold
May 30, 2019
Amid the continuing decline of pollinators worldwide, U.S. lawmakers recently revived a perennially struggling bill that aims to save these helpful species. However, pollinator loss is more complicated than many headlines suggest. And curbing it, some scientists say, requires more than just stricter pesticide regulation—a major focus of the bill.
Pa. Lyme disease cases appear to hit plateau, but that shouldn’t change your outdoors routine
May 30, 2019
There’s good news about Lyme disease, Pennsylvanians. After a couple of years of leading the nation in “confirmed and probable” cases of the tick-borne disease, the experts expect the number of cases to level off.
PA Ag Secretary: We must 'contain and suppress' spotted lanternfly
May 30, 2019
As far as Russell Redding is concerned, the fight against the invasive spotted lanternfly will be won the same way the state beat the plum pox virus — "contain and suppress."
Penn Staters working to reverse bee declines
May 23, 2019
Within the past decade, beekeepers across the globe have observed massive declines in managed honey bee populations. Similar declines have been observed in populations of wild bees and other pollinators. Understanding what is driving these declines is a vital question for researchers, beekeepers, growers, and the public. Several factors are being investigated, including habitat loss, climate change, disease and pesticide use.
New crop-destroying pest enters China amid devastating swine fever epidemic
May 23, 2019
A new pest that threatens key agricultural commodities is spreading through China as the nation is reeling from an African swine fever epidemic that may wipe out hundreds of millions of hogs.
Student Research Spotlight - Rachel McLaughlin
May 20, 2019
This is the 7th of eight short news articles written by students, during the professional development class, about each other's research.
Protecting pollinators: Penn Staters working to reverse bee population declines
May 17, 2019
Penn State’s Christina Grozinger and the Center for Pollinator Research are implementing creative approaches to protecting bee populations in Pennsylvania and beyond.
What if bees disappeared?
May 17, 2019
In the United States, honey bees and wild bees contribute $20 billion each to agriculture and industries that depend on agriculture, meaning that fewer bees could lead to smaller harvests and increased food prices.
Pa. Farm Bill touted as aid to fight spotted lanternfly
May 16, 2019
As the spotted lanternfly begins to hatch for a new season, state and federal agriculture officials are expanding their efforts to contain the destructive insect.
There are a lot more Lyme disease-carrying ticks in Pa. today, Penn State study finds
May 16, 2019
The tick responsible for most cases of Lyme diseases has boomed from near non-existence in Pennsylvania in the 1960s to the most commonly found tick across the state today, according to Penn State researchers.
Lyme Disease-Carrying Ticks Have Returned
May 16, 2019
The tick responsible for most Lyme diseases cases has boomed from near non-existence in the 1960s to become the most commonly found tick across the state of Pennsylvania, according to new research.
Growers prepare for spotted lanternfly onslaught
May 16, 2019
Wine grape growers in eastern Pennsylvania saw major losses from the pest last year.
Tree of heaven, a spotted lanternfly favorite, is named Pennsylvania's newest noxious weed
May 16, 2019
The Asian tree, Ailanthus altissima, has earned its new designation in part because of its meal appeal to the sap-sucking pest that recently started to hatch in Berks.
Tick season in full swing, ways to prevent being bitten by a tick
May 16, 2019
With summer quickly approaching, that means tick season is upon us. Experts say more ticks are starting to come out, which increases your chance of getting Lyme Disease.
Zombie fungus proves deadly to spotted lanternfly
May 16, 2019
The invasive spotted lanternfly has swept through southeast Pennsylvania over the past five years, chomping down on fruits and hops along the way. But scientists are studying whether it may have met its match in the form of a mind-altering fungus.
Fungus among us found to kill spotted lanternfly invaders
May 16, 2019
Heather Leach was driving to a Berks County park in August to follow up on a tip about something killing spotted lanternflies when she saw a bunch of grape vines and trees of heaven ― a favorite target of the invasive bugs.
Researchers discover natural predator that can kill spotted lanternflies
May 16, 2019
Penn State researchers who are trying to stop the spread of the invasive spotted lanternfly have recently discovered a natural predator that could be an effective and massive tool to kill the bug.
Invasion of the stink bugs: how a tiny insect roils global communities
May 16, 2019
A stinky bug eating its way through the economy of an agricultural region in Eastern Europe stands as a stark example of how climate change creates opportunities for pests and havoc for farmers.
New tick making its way into our area
May 9, 2019
Jennifer Frederick won't forget the time she found her son at home and realized something was wrong.
Yes, there are a lot more Lyme disease-carrying ticks in Pa. today: Penn State study
May 9, 2019
The tick responsible for most cases of Lyme diseases has boomed from nearly non-existence in Pennsylvania in the 1960s to the most commonly found tick across the state today, according to Penn State researchers.
Hope grows in lanternfly-killing fungi found near Berks fruit farm
May 9, 2019
A batch of dead lanternfiles on trees of heaven near the Angora Fruit Farm in Lower Alsace excites researchers.
Researchers Track Shift in Pennsylvania's Tick Population
May 9, 2019
The prevalence of the most abundant species of ticks found in Pennsylvania has shifted over the last century, according to Penn State scientists, who analyzed 117 years' worth of specimens and data submitted primarily by residents from around the state.
Cicada emergence draws near in part of Pennsylvania
May 9, 2019
Temperatures in southwestern Pennsylvania will climb into the high 60s and low 70s this week, signaling that it won’t be long before the region is buzzing under the emergence of hordes of 17-year cicadas.
Orchardists Face Spring Spray Decisions
May 9, 2019
With insects and diseases to suppress and blossoms to thin, fruit growers will be spending a lot of time with their sprayers in the coming weeks.
Spotted Lanternflies Ride Wind to Find Food
May 9, 2019
The spotted lanternfly is not a strong or frequent flyer, weaknesses that may hinder its ability to travel long distances by air, according to researchers in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences.
Penn State Extension: What’s the Buzz?
May 7, 2019
Inside this issue: Pollinator Garden of Merit, Outstanding Pollinator Plants, Protecting Pollinators, News from the Center for Pollinator Research and Beescape: An online tool
Penn State graduate students visit Capitol Hill, discuss science-based policy
May 7, 2019
Members of the Penn State Science Policy Society recently visited Washington, D.C., where they met with officials from several congressional offices and nongovernmental organizations to discuss the promotion of science and evidence-based policy.
Penn State Extension marks milestone in outreach to Spanish-speaking growers
May 7, 2019
For close to a decade, Jorge Manzo has worked at McCleaf’s Orchard, a fifth-generation family farm near Gettysburg in Adams County, where he is responsible for preparing a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables for market, including a few of his favorites — kiwi, blackberries and raspberries.
Student Research Spotlight - Jonathan Hernandez
May 6, 2019
This is the 6th of eight short news articles written by students, during the professional development class, about each other's research.
More than 100 years of data show Pennsylvania tick population shift
May 3, 2019
The prevalence of the most abundant species of ticks found in Pennsylvania has shifted over the last century, according to Penn State scientists, who analyzed 117 years' worth of specimens and data submitted primarily by residents from around the state.
Spotted lanternfly egg hatching confirmed in Berks
May 2, 2019
The first known hatching of the pest's eggs this spring were discovered on Wednesday from eggs laid on the side of a building in Shillington, according to the PA Department of Agriculture.
Researchers find 2 fungi killed spotted lanternflies in Berks
May 2, 2019
The discovery could lead to a biological weapon to control the Asian pests.
5 Questions: Helping manage the Beescape in Carlisle
May 2, 2019
Each winter Pennsylvania beekeepers lose nearly 50% of their honey bee colonies and several wild bee species are threatened or endangered, reflecting trends around the world.
What if a solution to malaria came from Pennsylvania?
May 1, 2019
Penn State's Matt Thomas and a team of collaborators are investigating a new method for preventing malaria transmission that involves limiting mosquito access to houses by blocking openings and installing “eave tubes” that contain a unique insecticide-laced mosquito netting that kills the insects as they attempt to enter. “Eighty percent of transmissions happen at night when people are in their homes, so if you could stop mosquitoes from getting into the house then you will have taken personal protection to the level of the household,” said Thomas, professor and Huck Scholar in Ecological Entomology.
How the bumble bee got its stripes
April 30, 2019
Researchers have discovered a gene that drives color differences within a species of bumble bees. This discovery helps to explain the highly diverse color patterns among bumble bee species as well as how mimicry--individuals in an area adopting similar color patterns--evolves. A study describing the gene, which occurs in a highly conserved region of the genome that provides blueprints for segmentation, was led by researchers at Penn State and appears April 29, 2019, in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
How a parasitic fungus turns ants into 'zombies'
April 25, 2019
They walk among us: insects hijacked by parasitic fungi that control their every move.
Student Research Spotlight - Hannah Greenberg
April 22, 2019
This is the 5th of eight short news articles written by students, during the professional development class, about each other's research.
Feel the buzz: Penn State to bring pollinator garden that will last ‘forever' to the Arboretum
April 19, 2019
After years of planning and research by Penn State’s Center for Pollinator Research, a large pollinator garden is set to break ground at the Arboretum in the fall 2019.
Invasive lanternfly wreaking havoc in the Northeast poses big threat to Michigan plants, crops
April 18, 2019
Invasive species can cause major damage to an ecosystem. They compete with native flora and fauna for resources, and often lack any natural predators to control their populations.
Undergraduate research award creates buzz around Penn State pollinator studies
April 18, 2019
Undergraduate research aimed at supporting pollinator health is flourishing at Penn State's Center for Pollinator Research, thanks to philanthropic support.
The Arboretum at Penn State launches new interactive Plant Finder map
April 17, 2019
Visitors to The Arboretum at Penn State now can explore the H.O. Smith Botanic Gardens with the Arboretum's new, interactive Plant Finder.
Thirteen graduate students receive the Alumni Association Dissertation Award
April 15, 2019
Thirteen graduate students received the Penn State Alumni Association Dissertation Award, Distinguished Doctoral Scholar Medal in recognition of their outstanding professional accomplishment and achievement in scholarly research in any of the disciplinary areas of arts and humanities; social sciences—applied and basic; physical and computational sciences—applied and basic; life and health sciences; and engineering.
Graduate student Bipana Paudel Timilsena receives International Research Award
April 15, 2019
Bipana Paudel Timilsena, a doctoral student in entomology with a dual title in international agriculture and development, received the Graduate Student International Research Award. The purpose of the award is to promote and support international research and scholarship by graduate students that has the potential for global impact.
Graduate student awardees celebrated at annual luncheon
April 15, 2019
Penn State President Eric Barron presented 11 awards to more than 30 graduate students in recognition of outstanding achievement during the annual Graduate Student Awards Luncheon held April 11 at the Nittany Lion Inn.
CPR researchers awarded grants from the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign
April 11, 2019
North American Pollinator Protection Campaign (NAPPC) Task Force for Honey Bee Health Selects 2019 Research Projects
Stopping Malaria at its Source
April 11, 2019
Penn State’s Matthew Thomas and an international team of researchers have developed an in-home solution aimed at preventing the spread of malaria.
Protecting Pollinators
April 11, 2019
Penn State’s Christina Grozinger and the Center for Pollinator Research are implementing creative approaches to protecting bee populations in Pennsylvania and beyond.
Beescape is ‘just the beginning’ for beekeepers and researchers alike
April 9, 2019
Researchers at Penn State and around the country have come together to create a website that will offer an inside look into the lives of nature’s pollinators.
Spotted lanternflies found to be flyers, not gliders
April 8, 2019
The spotted lanternfly is not a strong or frequent flyer, weaknesses that may hinder its ability to travel long distances by air, according to researchers in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.
New pollinator plant selection tool
April 8, 2019
Trying to decide which plants to include in your garden? The USDA-SCRI funded, "Protecting Bees" project has developed a pollinator plant selection tool that lets you search for flowering plant species according to zip code, bloom time, sun exposure, soil moisture levels, and relative attractiveness to different types of pollinators - including flies, which are the second most important group of pollinating insects, after bees!
Ottar Bjørnstad Elected as an Ecological Society of America 2019 Fellow
April 8, 2019
The Ecological Society of America (ESA) is pleased to announce its 2019 Fellows. The Society’s fellowship program recognizes the many ways in which its members contribute to ecological research and discovery, communication, education and pedagogy, and management and policy.
Student Research Spotlight - Julie Golinski
April 8, 2019
This is the 4th of eight short news articles written by students, during the professional development class, about each other's research.
Package Bee Installation
April 5, 2019
Spring is a busy time of the year for beekeepers as it marks the arrival of bee packages. Package bees have become a staple for beekeepers in North America as more people take up beekeeping as a hobby and overwinter colony losses have increased.
The Latest Information on a Hitchhiking Pest
April 3, 2019
The Spotted Lanternfly represents a new pest challenge to those in the horticulture industry due to its wide host range and potential for damage. In our previous coverage, we had preliminary information about this pest, as it had just been detected and not much was known about it. But the first, and arguably most important, update is that the geographic range has increased.
New online tool and community to support bees
April 3, 2019
A new online tool and community, called Beescape, enables beekeepers, or anyone interested in bees, to understand the specific stressors to which the bees in their managed hives, home gardens or farms are exposed, according to researchers at Penn State.
Voracious hordes of destructive insects on the horizon: Here's what it means to NY
April 3, 2019
Spotted lanternflies, the feared invasive insect that could wreak havoc in the Finger Lakes, have been found in at least eight New York counties since last summer, including Monroe, Chemung, Yates and Westchester.
Online tool identifies best and safest places to keep bees
April 2, 2019
Honeybees play essential roles in pollinating plants that humans and animals rely on for food. Declines in bee populations - including 20 percent of honeybee colonies per year in Indiana - threaten our food supply. Insecticide exposure, loss of flowering plants, and fewer nesting habitats, disease and parasites are all factors.
When and where in Pennsylvania will 17-year cicadas emerge this year?
April 2, 2019
Hordes of 17-year cicadas will be making an appearance in Pennsylvania in May and June, but only in the southwestern corner of the state.
Introducing Beescape: A new online tool and community to support bees
April 1, 2019
A new online tool and community, called Beescape, enables beekeepers, or anyone interested in bees, to understand the specific stressors to which the bees in their managed hives, home gardens or farms are exposed, according to researchers at Penn State.
Pennsylvania growers struggle with spotted lanternfly
March 27, 2019
The Mid-Atlantic and Midwest are better known for apple production than wine, but it is winegrape growers who perhaps have the most to lose from the latest pest threatening that region.
Student Research Spotlight - Nathan Derstine
March 25, 2019
This is the 3rd of eight short news articles written by students, during the professional development class, about each other's research.
Raising a stink for BMSB research
March 21, 2019
Almost a decade after the first brown marmorated stink bug outbreak cost Mid-Atlantic apple growers millions, the pest is no longer inducing panic, thanks to advancements in targeted management for orchardists.
Pea-planting, lanternfly scraping, and lawn preparations: This Weekend in the Garden
March 21, 2019
Sunday’s arrival of St. Patrick’s Day is the milepost that many long-time vegetable gardeners use to determine the season’s first planting – peas.
Spotted lanternfly quarantine zone expanded to Dauphin County
March 21, 2019
Pennsylvania’s spotted lanternfly quarantine zone has been expanded to include Dauphin County, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture announced today.
Study tracks the rise of mange in black bears
March 19, 2019
Research projects have increased in recent years to determine how many black bears are affected and what the best remedy is. The state handles between 50 and 60 cases of severe mange each year, Ternent said.
Bug off! Penn State takes proactive approach in dealing with pesky pests
March 19, 2019
Warm weather at Penn State’s University Park campus sprouts scenes of flowers in bloom, students playing frisbee on the Old Main lawn and folks strolling around campus as they enjoy Berkey Creamery ice cream.
What Makes Them Tick
March 14, 2019
Researchers in the college investigate tick behavior and molecular biology with a goal of preventing tickborne illnesses.
Winter chill won’t affect mosquitoes, ticks
March 14, 2019
Did this winter’s cold weather lessen the numbers of disease-carrying mosquitoes and ticks?
Pennsylvania will have 150 researchers trying to eradicate the spotted lanternfly in 2019
March 14, 2019
Penn State University and the state and federal departments of agriculture are committing resources to combat the invasive insect
Nematode odors offer possible advantage in the battle against insect pests
March 14, 2019
Gardeners commonly use nematodes to naturally get rid of harmful soil-dwelling insects. A new study published today in the journal Functional Ecology revealed that these insect-killing nematodes also produce distinctive chemical cues, which deter Colorado potato beetles and make potato leaves less palatable to them.
WTAJ Originals: PSU research team discovers how beetle stores toxins without being harmed
March 11, 2019
Everybody has a self-defense system. Some use brute force...others like Ground Beetles prefer to use their own nasty combination of chemicals to ward off predators.
Student Research Spotlight - Nina Dennington
March 11, 2019
This is the 2nd of eight short news articles written by students, during the professional development class, about each other's research.
Unique workshop for teachers highlights connection between plants, pollinators
March 1, 2019
A professional development experience for middle and high school teachers that illustrates the interaction between landscapes and pollinators will take place this summer at Penn State.
Penn State Berks center supports spotted lantern fly research
February 28, 2019
The Center for the Agricultural Sciences and a Sustainable Environment (CASSE) at Penn State Berks is the “killing fields” for spotted lantern flies. At least that’s the goal of researchers from Penn State University’s College of Agriculture Sciences, who have been working with researchers from Penn State Berks and Penn State Cooperative Extension to study the biology and also the effectiveness of various insecticides on the pests that have invaded and wreaked havoc on Berks County since 2014.
Checking out Pollinators in Pennsylvania By Carolyn Trietsch
February 27, 2019
With insect species declining and agriculturally-important pollinators at risk, it’s important to know what species are present in an area to help protect them. PhD student Shelby Kilpatrick is trying to find out what bees are present in Pennsylvania, and is creating a list that could help with future conservation efforts.
Material that shields beetle from being burned by its own weapons, holds promise
February 25, 2019
Carabid beetles produce caustic chemicals they spray to defend themselves against predators, and the compound that protects their bodies from these toxic substances shows promise for use in bioengineering or biomedical applications, according to Penn State researchers.
Student Research Spotlight - Staci Cibotti
February 25, 2019
This is the 1st of eight short news articles written by students, during the professional development class, about each other's research.
New Penn State gardens, oak woes, and changes in growing conditions: The latest in gardening news
February 21, 2019
Let's catch up this week on some gardening news and interesting tidbits ... Bird and pollinator gardens coming to Penn State
Spotted Lanternfly: A pretty destructive pest
February 21, 2019
“Invasive pretty” may be one way to describe the Spotted Lanternfly, although Penn State entomologist Heather Leach warns that the beautiful bug is also a destructive pest.
Firefly-inspired surfaces improve efficiency of LED lightbulbs
February 19, 2019
A new type of light-emitting diode lightbulb could one day light homes and reduce power bills, according to Penn State researchers who suggest that LEDs made with firefly-mimicking structures could improve efficiency.