Spotted lanternfly season has begun; 2020 could see ‘significant populations’

The first spotted lanternflies of 2020 have hatched in Pennsylvania, kicking off a season where we could see large populations of the bug.

Asian Giant Hornets

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.

Malaria risk is highest in early evening, study finds

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.

Study reveals important flowering plants for city-dwelling honey bees

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

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

The spotted lanternfly is a landscape-level invasive pest, feeding on more than 70 plant species.

Gene-editing protocol for whitefly pest opens door to control

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.

Extension educators offer tips on managing spring spotted-lanternfly egg hatch

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.

Bug of the Month - April 2020

Bug of the Month is a student–run monthly post which highlights the diversity of insects found in Pennsylvania.

Blossoms get a boost from the blues

Researcher shows blue orchard bees improve fruit set in Washington cherries and pears.

Spotted lanternfly battle heating up for 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

Bug of the Month is a student–run monthly post which highlights the diversity of insects found in Pennsylvania.

Penn State responds: App aids UN efforts to control Africa's locust infestation

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

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.

Berks County landscapers offer advice on fighting spotted lanternfly.

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’

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

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.

Coronavirus Question: What Is a Super Spreader? A Scary Infectious Disease.

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%

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.

Penn State University’s Center for Chemical Ecology presents ICE 20

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

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

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

“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

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.

Technology that destroys pests in wood moves closer to commercialization

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

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

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

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

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

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.