Latest News

November 20, 2017

A nearly $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture will support Penn State researchers in determining best management practices for organic beekeeping by comparing organic and chemical-free to conventional management systems. The funding comes from the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative of USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

November 17, 2017

The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry’s Maine Forest Service announced that a new species of wasp has been found in Maine. Hillary Morin Peterson of Brunswick Maine discovered a new species of Pteromalidae wasp while conducting her thesis work in collaboration with the Maine Forest Service. The new discovery is detailed in a recently published paper.

November 15, 2017

In a macabre discovery, scientists have found that a parasite, which creates armies of zombie ants, does so by hijacking their bodies—not their brains as was previously thought.

November 14, 2017

The Entomological Society of America is pleased to announce the winners of its 2017 awards. The awards recognize scientists, educators, and students who have distinguished themselves through their contributions to entomology. Winners were honored at Entomology 2017, November 5-8, in Denver, Colorado.

November 10, 2017

Yesterday (November 8, 2017), researchers at Penn State University released new information about one of Earth’s weirdest natural phenomena: zombie ants. These are carpenter ants in tropical locations, infiltrated and controlled by Ophiocordyceps unilateralis sensu lato, sometimes called zombie ant fungus. This fungal body-snatcher forces ants to a forest understory and compels them to climb vegetation and bite into the underside of leaves or twigs, where the ants die. The invasion culminates with the sprouting of a spore-laden fruiting body from a dead ant’s head. The fungus thereby benefits because infectious spores are released onto the ground below, where they can infect other foraging ants. The new research shows that the fungal parasite accomplishes all this without infecting the ants’ brains.

November 10, 2017

An early episode of the beloved BBC show Planet Earth made it clear that Cordyceps fungus is one of the most gruesome killers in the world. Forget sharks, bears, lions, or whatever that gleaming pair of eyes hiding in the bushes might be. Targeting insects, the terrifying parasitic fungus infects their bodies and controls their movements, eventually killing them and using their discarded corpses to breed its spawn.

November 9, 2017

As populations of the invasive spotted lanternfly explode — and the state-imposed quarantine area in southeastern Pennsylvania expands — researchers in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences are looking for solutions to help stop the insect's spread and save agricultural crops from serious damage.

October 17, 2017

Beekeeping was simpler 30 years ago, when Ron Bogansky first set up hives on the small hobby farm he shares with his wife.

October 11, 2017

Technology will help farmers identify crop diseases and the nearest support system

October 11, 2017

Jared Ali and Sara Hermann are entomologists at Penn State, and they’re also married. Their research is focused on growing safer food. We also learn how they met.

October 11, 2017

Beware the white hickory tussock moth caterpillar. It’s the time of year the crawling critters, with their distinctive furry white and black markings, are most noticeable, said Dr. Michael Skvarla, Ph.D., director of the Penn State Department of Entomology Insect Identification Lab. Despite the fuzzy appearance, contact with the caterpillar and their hair could leave people with a red, itchy rash similar to the results from a close encounter with poison ivy, Skvarla said.

October 6, 2017

By invitation only - Travel expenses for eligible applicants will be paid by the Penn State Entomology Department. Apply by December 20th for priority consideration!

October 5, 2017

A grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture will enhance an innovative Penn State graduate training program in entomology and ecology aimed at helping to solve the multifaceted problem of pollinator decline.

October 4, 2017

This Associated Press story, which also appeared in the New York Times and other outlets, quotes Jason Rasgon, professor of entomology.

Getty Images
October 4, 2017

Amanda Ramcharan, Ph.D. candidate in agricultural and biological engineering, and David Hughes, associate professor of entomology and biology, talk about a mobile app they helped to develop that can help farmers diagnose crop diseases.

September 27, 2017

Harrisburg, PA – Farmers, gardeners and other Pennsylvanians concerned about the health of pollinators given their critically important role growing and producing food now have the chance to comment on a draft of the state’s proposed Pollinator Protection Plan. The plan, developed by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and Center for Pollinator Research at Penn State University is designed to protect bees and other insects that pollinate nearly 75 percent of the commonwealth’s food crops.

September 25, 2017

Thousands of families turned out for the annual Great Insect Fair in Penn State’s Snider Ag Arena on Saturday, September 23. They encountered strange insects they thought only existed in movies, tasted fired waxworms and baked crickets, and learned about the often unseen of insects.

September 25, 2017

Campus may seem quiet on an away game weekend, but on Saturday, just north of Beaver Stadium, the Snider Agricultural Arena was buzzing with excitement. Every year, the Department of Entomology hosts The Great Insect Fair, a celebration of all things creepy and crawly that aims to both amuse and educate. Stations lined the arena with activities for bug enthusiasts young and old, including honey tasting, insect-related crafts, a butterfly tent, and educators excited to share their knowledge.