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2020

Penn State Pollinator Webinar Series: Mason bee management for backyard and orchard pollination (Natalie Boyle)
July 7, 2020
Pollination by animals is essential for both agricultural and natural ecosystems. While honey bees provide the majority of managed pollination services, in this webinar the focus was on a different species of managed bees.
Virgil inspires donor to create endowed professorship in College of Ag Sciences
July 7, 2020
Thanks to a $1 million gift from an anonymous donor, the College of Agricultural Sciences and the Department of Entomology have established the Publius Vergilius Maro Professorship.
Bug of the Month - July 2020
July 2, 2020
Bug of the Month is a student–run monthly post which highlights the diversity of insects found in Pennsylvania.
Beescape Monthly Update for July
July 2, 2020
Greetings, once again, from the Beescape Team! This is another entry in our monthly updates from us here at Beescape!
Gene-edited mosquitoes are ready for the U.S. — but is the U.S. ready for them?
July 1, 2020
In mid-June, Florida’s department of agriculture and consumer services approved a plan to release millions of genetically modified mosquitoes into the wild. The idea is that, when released, these mosquitoes will venture out and mate with wild mosquitoes in the area, and due to their genetic modifications, produce offspring that never fully mature — thereby reducing the mosquito population over time.
Smart Talk Tuesday: Farmers opting against tilling; Taking steps to protect pollinators
June 30, 2020
“The healthiest soil is the soil that has never been disturbed.” That sentiment was made at the Pennsylvania Farm Show last January by a former state Agriculture Department official who advocates for no till practices.
Checklist of Pa. bees documents 49 new species and some that may be endangered
June 30, 2020
A study documenting bees that are reported to occur in Pennsylvania has found the presence of 437 species, including 49 never before recorded in the state. Researchers said the resulting checklist of bees in the commonwealth also identifies species not native to North America and several native species that may be of conservation concern.
Penn State Extension: What’s the Buzz?
June 30, 2020
Inside this issue: Pollinator Garden of Merit, Outstanding Pollinator Plants, Protecting Pollinators and Pollinator Garden FAQs
Penn State Pollinator Webinar Series: "Bee nutritional ecology: from flowers to landscapes" (Christina Grozinger)
June 30, 2020
Animal mediated pollination supports nearly 90% of plant species. Animals also gain nutritional benefits from this process. Bees collect pollen from flowering plants to feed to their offspring, and thus bee and flowering plant species have coevolved to benefit both species involved.
Bug of the Month - June 2020
June 29, 2020
Bug of the Month is a student–run monthly post which highlights the diversity of insects found in Pennsylvania.
Penn State Extension educator offers advice on insecticide use for lanternflies
June 29, 2020
As summer progresses — and spotted lanternflies make themselves at home just about anywhere, including on residential properties — frustrated homeowners might find themselves wrestling with the idea of using insecticides to vanquish the insect interlopers.
Pollinator project supports biodiversity at Penn State Orchard Road solar array
June 29, 2020
An innovative project is creating a buzz around Penn State’s University Park campus, especially among the many species of pollinators that call Centre County home.
TikTok Videos Reveal Tiny Bugs Living In Strawberries
June 29, 2020
Viral TikTok videos dubbed the ''Strawberry Challenge’’ have some consumers squirming.
How to build a spotted lanternfly circle trap
June 29, 2020
The spotted lanternfly (SLF) is an invasive insect that feeds on grapevines and trees. There are a variety of options for SLF management, but one way to kill a lot of SLF without using insecticides is to trap them. The immature lanternflies (called nymphs) are often blown out of the canopy of the trees where they are feeding. Nymphs then walk to the trunk of trees and climb back up to start feeding again. We can take advantage of this predictable behavior of the nymphs by using traps to catch them as they climb up trees.
First ASEV Invasive Pest Webinar Focuses on the Spotted Lanternfly
June 29, 2020
In introducing the speaker for the first ASEV webinar on invasive pests on June 3, moderator Michelle Moyer, a board member of the American Society for Enology and Viticulture and associate professor of viticulture and extension specialist at Washington State University, commented that grape growers on the East Coast are very concerned about the problems presented by the spotted lanternfly (SLF) and that those on the West Coast should be. She then introduced the webinar presenter, Heather Leach, extension associate in entomology at Penn State’s College of Agriculture Sciences, who focuses specifically on the SLF.
Late planting robs slugs of buffet this year
June 29, 2020
If there was one good thing about farmers delaying planting this year, it created less of a buffet for pesky slugs to feed on emerging corn and soybeans.
Check it out: Resource can aid citizens in stopping spread of spotted lanternfly
June 26, 2020
A printable checklist developed by Penn State Extension and the state Department of Agriculture can help citizens tick all the boxes when it comes to preventing the spread of the spotted lanternfly, an invasive insect that is threatening the agricultural, timber and ornamental industries.
Penn State Pollinator Webinar Series: Queen rearing basics (Kate Anton)
June 23, 2020
Beekeepers are always looking for the best ways to improve the health and productivity of their honey bee colonies.
Penn State Pollinator Webinar Series: The three most important steps to ensuring honey bee colony survival over the long term (Dr. Robyn Underwood)
June 23, 2020
In this second installation of the “Penn State Pollinator Webinar Series”, Dr. Robyn Underwood, an Assistant Research Professor at Penn State, goes in depth on beekeeping and how to best care for colonies.
Asian giant hornets currently not a concern for Pa., eastern North America
June 23, 2020
Recent alarming news reports aside, Asian giant hornets — sometimes referred to, hyperbolically, as "murder hornets" — are not an immediate concern in the Northeast, nor are they likely to be for a long time, if ever, according to an entomologist in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.
Penn State Extension webinars focus on bee biology, ecology and management
June 17, 2020
An eight-part webinar series developed by Penn State Extension aims to teach people all about bees, discussing topics as diverse as colony survival, queen bee rearing and transforming one’s garden into a pollinator-friendly habitat.
Summary of Pollinator Health Challenges: A bee’s perspective (Margarita López-Uribe)
June 9, 2020
Bees are a highly diverse group of pollinators. There are over 20,000 species of bees worldwide, 4,500 in North America, and 437 in Pennsylvania alone. Despite this variety, when people think of bees their minds tend to go to the image of a cute little honey bee living in a huge hive. However, that is not always the case. In this webinar, Dr. Margarita López-Uribe, Assistant Professor of Entomology and an Evolutionary Ecologist dispels two big myths about bees, discusses how human activity has impacted bees throughout their life cycle and provides guidance for how to make our gardens and landscape better for bees.
Christina Grozinger named scholar-in-residence at Sustainability Institute
June 5, 2020
Christina Grozinger, distinguished professor of entomology and director of the Center for Pollinator Research, has been named scholar-in-residence at the Sustainability Institute.
Department Statement
June 4, 2020
In light of the recent disturbing events, the Department of Entomology at Penn State is compelled to voice its solidarity and support of the Black community.
Beescape Monthly Update for June: Our Biggest Update Yet - Nation-wide Maps!
June 1, 2020
This is another entry in our monthly updates from us here at Beescape! As always, we will use this email list to share Beescape updates, interesting study results, and other relevant information related to Beescape and associated projects!
Spotted Lanternfly in Forest Ecosystems: Spring 2020 Briefing
May 27, 2020
Join us for an informative webinar about the Spotted Lanternfly and ways to manage the spread of this invasive insect.
May is National Lyme Disease Awareness Month
May 26, 2020
With the prospect of quarantine measures slowly being lifted across the state in the coming weeks, many Pennsylvanians are relishing the prospect of getting outside and enjoying warming spring weather.
Malaria risk is highest in early evening
May 26, 2020
Wide-scale use of insecticide-treated bed nets has led to substantial declines in global incidence of malaria in recent years. As a result, mosquitoes have been shifting their biting times to earlier in the evening and later in the morning.
''Murder Hornets'' Not Likely In Pennsylvania For Years, Expert Says
May 26, 2020
People have been buzzing about an insect nicknamed the ‘’Murder Hornet’’ over the last few days.
Those ‘murder hornets’? They’re not here. But here’s what to do IF you see 1.
May 26, 2020
Michael Skvarla says the emails have been coming in fast and furious with questions about a newly infamous type of wasp, and they all have “murder hornet” in the subject line.
Spotted lanternflies don't care about social distancing; here's why that's bad for Lancaster County
May 26, 2020
As an ecologist, David Bowne has been aware of the destructive spotted lanternfly since it first arrived in Pennsylvania six years ago, but back then, Elizabethtown College was free from the invasive insect.
Penn State Extension to host a weekly pollinator webinar series beginning June 3rd
May 26, 2020
Learn about the bees in your neighborhood and how to support them by attending this summer’s free pollinator webinar series moderated by Tom Butzler and Dr. Margarita Lopez-Uribe from Penn State Extension. Webinars will cover a broad range of topics including drivers for bee declines, introductions to bee biology and diversity, and a discussion of what we can do as citizens to support local pollinator communities. The first seminar, ‘Pollinator Health Challenges: A bee’s perspective’, will feature Dr. Margarita Lopez-Uribe on Wednesday, June 3rd at 3:00 PM (ET).
Lab successfully grows spotted lanternfly, opening door to new research
May 26, 2020
In summertime, you can’t walk down the street without squishing a lanternfly.
Tips can help manage spotted lanternfly
May 26, 2020
Even before the recent news of the season’s first confirmed spotted lanternfly hatches in the Philadelphia region, homeowners in many parts of Pennsylvania were gearing up for their annual battle with the destructive pest.
Invading spotted lanternfly eggs are hatching in Pennsylvania
May 18, 2020
Eggs of the invasive spotted lanternfly have started hatching in Pennsylvania.
They’re back — first spotted lanternfly hatch of the year located
May 18, 2020
The first hatches of the spotted lanternfly have been detected in West Philadelphia, but an expert on the pest said there’s still time to stop them.
Spotted lanternfly season has begun; 2020 could see ‘significant populations’
May 18, 2020
The first spotted lanternflies of 2020 have hatched in Pennsylvania, kicking off a season where we could see large populations of the bug.
Tracking spread, testing traps are focus of spotted lanternfly study in Altoona
May 12, 2020
Assessing the potential spread of the spotted lanternfly in the Altoona, Pennsylvania, area is the focus of a study underway by scientists in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences.
Asian Giant Hornets
May 7, 2020
Asian giant hornets, which are sometimes called sparrow wasps and murder hornets, are a potentially invasive wasp from eastern Asia. A colony was found on Vancouver Island in 2019 and destroyed.
What to Do If You Find a Beehive on Your Property
May 6, 2020
Hardworking honeybees may not be your favorite houseguests, but their threatened populations and critical environmental role in pollinating crops mean you should never exterminate a thriving colony.
Rewilding our Roadways
May 5, 2020
Can Pennsylvania roadsides become canvases for vibrant arrays of wildflowers? The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) hopes so!
Malaria risk is highest in early evening, study finds
May 5, 2020
Wide-scale use of insecticide-treated bed nets has led to substantial declines in global incidences of malaria in recent years. As a result, mosquitos have been shifting their biting times to earlier in the evening and later in the morning. In a new study, an international team of researchers has found that mosquitoes are most likely to transmit malaria in the early evening, when people are exposed, then at midnight, when people are protected by bed nets, or in the morning. The findings may have implications for malaria prevention initiatives.
Beescape Monthly Update for May: What Do Bees Need in Urban Areas?
May 1, 2020
This is another entry in our monthly updates from us here at Beescape! As always, we will use this newsletter to share Beescape updates, interesting study results, and other relevant information related to Beescape and associated projects!
Study reveals important flowering plants for city-dwelling honey bees
April 30, 2020
Trees, shrubs and woody vines are among the top food sources for honey bees in urban environments, according to an international team of researchers. By using honey bees housed in rooftop apiaries in Philadelphia, the researchers identified the plant species from which the honey bees collected most of their food, and tracked how these food resources changed from spring to fall.
First hatches reported: Spotted lanternfly expert provides tips for management
April 29, 2020
Even before the recent news of the season’s first confirmed spotted lanternfly hatches in the Philadelphia region, homeowners in many parts of Pennsylvania were gearing up for their annual battle with the destructive pest.
Invasion of the Invasives
April 28, 2020
The spotted lanternfly is a landscape-level invasive pest, feeding on more than 70 plant species.
Beekeeping: Cell Builder Basics
April 27, 2020
Honey bee colony behavior is dynamic and extremely adaptable, which allows for easy manipulation and management of these amazing social insects.
Common soil fungus could be ally in organic corn growers' fight against pests
April 24, 2020
A common soil fungus might be enlisted as a powerful partner by corn producers to suppress pests and promote plant growth, according to Penn State researchers, who suggest promoting the fungus could be an especially valuable strategy for organic growers who struggle with insect control.
Gene-editing protocol for whitefly pest opens door to control
April 23, 2020
Whiteflies are among the most important agricultural pests in the world, yet they have been difficult to genetically manipulate and control, in part, because of their small size. An international team of researchers has overcome this roadblock by developing a CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing protocol that could lead to novel control methods for this devastating pest.
For a limited time, Penn State Extension offers Beekeeping 101 online course for free
April 6, 2020
As a way to support its customers during the coronavirus pandemic, Penn State Extension is offering its library of online courses at no cost through April.
Extension educators offer tips on managing spring spotted-lanternfly egg hatch
April 6, 2020
An early spring brings warmth, daffodils and outside play. It also signals — to the chagrin of many property owners across Pennsylvania and beyond — the next generation of spotted lanternflies.
Beescape Monthly Update for April
April 3, 2020
This is the eighth of our new monthly updates from us here at Beescape! As always, we will use this newsletter to share Beescape updates, interesting study results, and other relevant information related to Beescape and associated projects!
Bug of the Month - April 2020
April 1, 2020
Bug of the Month is a student–run monthly post which highlights the diversity of insects found in Pennsylvania.
Beescape Monthly Update for March
March 30, 2020
Greetings from the Beescape Team!
Pollen nutrition may guide broad patterns of bee species host-plant preferences
March 23, 2020
Bees balance their protein and lipids from pollen of different flowers. Our new research article analyzes a suite of plant species pollen nutritional values to discover trends in bee-flower interactions. This dataset could help growers, gardeners, and conservationists when selecting plant species to choose for pollinator habitat restoration by providing species rich and nutritionally diverse landscapes.
Pesticide seed coatings are widespread but underreported
March 23, 2020
Pesticide-coated seeds — such as neonicotinoids, many of which are highly toxic to both pest and beneficial insects — are increasingly used in the major field crops, but are underreported, in part, because farmers often do not know what pesticides are on their seeds, according to an international team of researchers. The lack of data may complicate efforts to evaluate the value of different pest management strategies, while also protecting human health and the environment.
Viruses in honey bees: identification and management strategies
March 20, 2020
Honey bees are infected with many different kinds of viruses. However, most virus infections are not problematic, if the honey bee colony is healthy and does not experience chronic stress.
Blossoms get a boost from the blues
March 17, 2020
Researcher shows blue orchard bees improve fruit set in Washington cherries and pears.
'Sustainable intensification' of cropping systems good for farmers, environment
March 16, 2020
By diversifying their crop rotations to create conditions that promote beneficial, predatory insects to combat pests, farmers can reduce their reliance on insecticides to control early-season crop pests, such as caterpillars, and still produce competitive yields of corn and soybeans.
Safe pest management in schools and childcare facilities is focus of manual
March 11, 2020
Like all living things, pests need food, water and shelter to survive, and childcare and school buildings provide an abundant supply of each, much to the dismay of administrators, teachers, staff, parents and children.
Spotted lanternfly battle heating up for 2020
March 5, 2020
At events like the Pennsylvania Farm Show and programs by Penn State Extension, among the hand-out materials this year is a business card-sized rectangle of plastic imprinted with photos of the spotted lanternfly and egg masses of the insects and instructions on using the too to scrape the egg masses from surfaces like trees, rocks and patio furniture.
Bug of the Month - March 2020
March 3, 2020
Bug of the Month is a student–run monthly post which highlights the diversity of insects found in Pennsylvania.
Wildflower Power: wildflower plantings benefit blue orchard bee reproduction in commercial orchards
February 26, 2020
Insect-mediated pollination provides an essential ecosystem service to wild and managed landscapes, and ensures the production of food, fuel and fiber that is vital for human survival.
Spot on: Efforts to stop spotted lanternfly are ongoing for Penn State, agencies
February 26, 2020
For residents of southeastern Pennsylvania, winter provides a brief respite from the spotted lanternfly, an insect invader that has impeded their warm-weather enjoyment for the past several years.
Penn State responds: App aids UN efforts to control Africa's locust infestation
February 24, 2020
A partnership with the UN enables Penn State researchers to rapidly respond to the locust crisis with an artificial intelligence tool that tracks the insects’ spread.
Rethinking Laser Pointers
February 24, 2020
Laser pointers are perhaps the most abused visual aids in lectures and conference presentations. Yes, I know that they’re a lot of fun to use, but when you’re giving a talk, it’s not about you -- it’s about your audience and how to effectively communicate your work to them.
Center for Pollinator Research 2019 Newsletter
February 19, 2020
Events, Special Announcements, Awards and more...
An Introduction to Queen Honey Bee Development
February 17, 2020
The queen is the most important individual in a colony. She is the only bee capable of producing workers and tens of thousands of workers are required for strong colonies.
Berks County landscapers offer advice on fighting spotted lanternfly.
February 13, 2020
Spotted lanternfly populations declined in many parts of Berks County in 2019, but experts believe the pest is here to stay and will only continue branching out into neighboring communities.
National Geographic: Bumblebees are going extinct in a time of ‘climate chaos’
February 13, 2020
BUMBLEBEES, AMONG THE most important pollinators, are in trouble. Fuzzy and buzzy, they excel at spreading pollen and fertilizing many types of wild flora, as well as crucial agricultural crops like tomatoes, blueberries, and squash.
Shelby Fleischer Receives 2020 Annual Award
February 12, 2020
Each year the Pennsylvania Vegetable Growers Association gives its Annual Award to an individual who has a long-standing record of service and dedication to the vegetable, potato and/or berry industry or the Association.
Pollinator Protection Data Informs EPA Neonicotinoid Risk Assessments
February 10, 2020
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released proposed interim registration review decisions for neonicotinoid insecticides (Federal Register Feb 3, 2020).
Penn State and University of Freiburg team up to create new educational programs on integrated pest and pollinator management
February 6, 2020
Penn State and the Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg have announced the selection of two proposals for a novel initiative in piloting an online classroom project between the two universities.
Coronavirus Question: What Is a Super Spreader? A Scary Infectious Disease.
February 5, 2020
Whether by biology or behavior, some people in the crowd will transmit coronavirus to more than the average number of others.
New Pollinator And Bird Garden Will Expand Penn State Arboretum By 60%
February 5, 2020
Construction is underway on the Arboretum’s new Pollinator and Bird Garden. The $9 million project is the culmination of years of development going back nearly a decade.
Applications now being accepted for the 2020 Dutch Gold Honey Undergraduate Scholarship for research in bee biology and health!
February 4, 2020
The Penn State Center for Pollinator Research is seeking undergraduate student applicants for the Dutch Gold Honey Scholarship for bee research, preferably on honey bees but projects on other bees will be considered as well.
Penn State University’s Center for Chemical Ecology presents ICE 20
February 3, 2020
Short Course in Insect Chemical Ecology Penn State University, USA, June 1 – June 15, 2020
Collectors find plenty of bees but far fewer species than in the 1950s
January 31, 2020
Far fewer bee species are buzzing across Earth today, following a steep decline in bee diversity during the last three decades, according to an analysis of bee collections and observations going back a century
Spotted lanternfly egg masses found in Conway
January 31, 2020
Recently, egg masses of the dreaded spotted lanternfly were discovered in an area surrounding Conway Yards, though not within the rail yard itself, said Shannon Powers, press secretary for the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.
New legislation targets bed bug infestations in Philadelphia
January 28, 2020
“Sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite” is more than just a bedtime rhyme for many Philadelphians afflicted by bed bug infestations. But thanks to new legislation passed last month that aims to reduce infestations of the itchy pest, the city’s residents could soon be snoozing more peacefully.
Wild bees provide a bigger slice of the pie in pumpkin pollination
January 24, 2020
Pumpkin growers frequently rent managed honeybee colonies to pollinate their crops, but a recent study published in the Journal of Economic Entomology suggests wild bees may be able to do the job just as well and for free. During a three-year study, researchers at Penn State found that bumble bees and squash bees, alone, could meet the pollination demands for sufficient pumpkin production in wholesale commercial fields in Pennsylvania.
New Study Identifies Ornamental Nursery Plants Used by Honey Bees for Pollen
January 24, 2020
The nursery industry sells over $4.3 billion worth of ornamental plants in the United States each year, representing a tremendous investment in the appearance of our managed landscapes. Current concerns about the health of pollinators generally, and honey bees in particular, raise the question – Are we helping honey bees with the flowering ornamental plants we choose? Beekeepers have honey bee hives in a range of suburban, urban, and rural environments, and honey bees in mostly managed landscapes could be using the flowering plants we choose as a source of food.
Technology that destroys pests in wood moves closer to commercialization
January 23, 2020
A technology that uses dielectric heating and radio frequency energy to destroy destructive pests lurking within wood products is closer to reaching the marketplace after a recent commercial trial at Penn State’s University Park campus.
What to do when pests become homewreckers
January 23, 2020
Shortly after Donald Dickson built a home on the five acres he owns in Gainesville, Fla., he faced a problem all too familiar to him. Within a year, termites invaded the wooden door leading to Dickson’s garage.
Nasty stuff hunters find on and in their deer: Oozing green gunk, huge warts, parasitic insects and more
January 23, 2020
A white-tailed deer, its neck bulging with huge, ugly, wart-like growths, has made startling headlines out of Alabama. But many hunters were already familiar with the grotesque growths on the buck, and many other strange things they find on and in their deer.
Study: Spotted lanternfly costing Pennsylvania $50M annually
January 23, 2020
The spotted lanternfly, an invasive pest from Asia that is wreaking havoc on valuable trees and vines, is costing the Pennsylvania economy about $50 million and eliminating nearly 500 jobs each year, according to a Penn State study released Thursday.
One of the most common North American bumble bee species is actually two species
January 22, 2020
Bumble bees are some of our most abundant and recognizable pollinators, essential for the pollination of many native flowering plant species. As such, the diversity of bumble bees has a long history of study by both professionals and amateurs. Because of such extensive study, it is felt that new species of bumble bees are unlikely to be found. Outstanding controversies remain, however, in what comprises a given bumble bee species.
Insecticides Have Become More Toxic to Bees Over the Last 20 Years
January 22, 2020
Farmers might not be using as much insecticide as they used to, but those they do use appear to be more toxic today than they were 20 years ago. In some states, these chemicals are 121-times as toxic for bees in 2012 as they were in 1997, a study published in Scientific Reports found.
Poster Presentations: Tips and Trick
January 21, 2020
Poster presentations are a staple of academic conferences. They’re a valuable way to share research visually, and it pays to know how to design one well. The good news is, we seem to be living in a time of a new poster renaissance!
Insecticides becoming more toxic to honey bees
January 21, 2020
Researchers discover that neonicotinoid seed treatments are driving a dramatic increase in insecticide toxicity in U.S. agricultural landscapes, despite evidence that these treatments have little to no benefit in many crops.
2020 Apes Valentes Undergraduate Research Award
January 17, 2020
We are now accepting applications for the for the 2020 Apes Valentes Undergraduate Research Award for research in pollinator biology and health!
Scientists examine potential economic impact of spotted lanternfly in PA
January 17, 2020
If not contained, the spotted lanternfly potentially could drain Pennsylvania’s economy of at least $324 million annually and cause the loss of about 2,800 jobs, according to a study carried out by economists in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences.