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.

Poster Presentations: Tips and Trick

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

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.

Scientists examine potential economic impact of spotted lanternfly in PA

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.

Common crop chemical leaves bees susceptible to deadly viruses

A chemical that is thought to be safe and is, therefore, widely used on crops — such as almonds, wine grapes and tree fruits — to boost the performance of pesticides, makes honey bee larvae significantly more susceptible to a deadly virus, according to researchers at Penn State and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Three-way dance between herbivores, plants and microbes unveiled

What looks like a caterpillar chewing on a leaf or a beetle consuming fruit is likely a three-way battle that benefits most, if not all of the players involved, according to a Penn State entomologist.

Scientists reveal core genes involved in immunity of honey bees

A core set of genes involved in the responses of honey bees to multiple diseases caused by viruses and parasites has been identified by an international team of researchers. The findings provide a better-defined starting point for future studies of honey-bee health, and may help scientists and beekeepers breed honey bees that are more resilient to stress.

Bedbugs beware: New research may beat back bedbug epidemic

A new biopesticide developed by Penn State scientists has the potential to turn the bedbug control market on its ear, thanks to a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem taking root at Penn State that’s helping to push crucial discoveries out of the laboratory and into the marketplace.

Scientists to study how soil health is influenced by pest-management tactics

An entomologist in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences has received a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to study and compare how various pest-management regimes affect the health of soils. John Tooker, associate professor of entomology, will lead the project, which is titled "Exploring Soil Health and Pest Management Trade Offs to Maximize Crop Productivity."

Researchers to develop new gene-editing method for the study of arthropods

A grant from the National Science Foundation will enable a Penn State-led team of entomologists to develop and disseminate a technology they say could bring gene-editing capabilities within reach of everyday scientists, regardless of the arthropod species they study. The $2.5 million award is part of NSF's Enabling Discovery through GEnomic Tools (EDGE) program.