Terrifying Parasitic Wasps Knife Their Way Out of Bug Corpses With Spikes on Their Backs

February 8, 2018

Wasps have a bad reputation for their sharp stingers, but a new species of wasp appears to take inflicting pain to a whole new level. Scientists believe the parasitic wasp grows up in another animal's body and then, once it reaches adulthood, saws its way through the host's body to freedom, according to a recent paper published in Biodiversity Data Journal.

PolliNation Podcast: Mehmet Ali Döke – How Honey Bees Survive The Winter

February 8, 2018

Mehmet Ali Döke earned his bachelor’s in Molecular Biology and Genetics, and master’s in Biology from Middle East Technical University in Turkey. During his junior year, he started working with honey bees and was a part of the group who surveyed the beekeepers in Turkey to document bee losses and possible reasons in coordination with the COLOSS effort. In his master’s, Mehmet investigated the seasonal variation of a metabolic enzyme in honey bees.

Penn State Beekeepers Club And The Quest To #SaveTheBees

February 1, 2018

We all know the hashtag #SaveTheBees as a meme that has infiltrated the internet and taken Twitter by storm. We’ve even seen students at home football games hanging signs advocating for the little guys. But why do the bees need saving? How can we save the bees? And why should we care about the dwindling populations of the stinging, buzzing insects?

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue visits Penn State

January 25, 2018

As Congress prepares to enact a new five-year farm bill, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue paid a visit to Penn State's University Park campus Jan. 24 as part of a tour through Pennsylvania to unveil the Department of Agriculture's legislative principles. Perdue met with College of Agricultural Sciences faculty, students and administrators and visited research facilities.

Land-grant ag research and education highlighted during visit by USDA Secretary

January 24, 2018

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue paid a visit to Penn State's University Park campus on Jan. 24 as part of a tour through Pennsylvania to unveil the Department of Agriculture's legislative principles as Congress prepares to enact a new five-year farm bill.

Wilkerson reaps more than knowledge from Penn State’s graduate program

January 16, 2018

Rhea County native Megan Wilkerson is nearing the completion of her work in the graduate studies program at Penn State University, but the time she has spent in the program has included much more than classroom work and library study.

It Takes a Colony - The value of supporting research for the greater public good

January 11, 2018

Surveys of U.S. beekeepers have documented a 28 percent decline (on average) in honey bee colonies each winter during the last ten years, and a 28-45 percent decline (on average) during the full year. In Pennsylvania, beekeepers reported a loss of 52 percent of their colonies over the last winter (2016-2017).

Stink Bug Enemy a Welcome Find

January 10, 2018

A major natural enemy of the destructive brown marmorated stink bug has been found in Pennsylvania, but don’t expect pest pressure to lessen any time soon.

Agriculture Department, Penn State Release Recommendations to Maintain Healthy, Diverse Pollinator Populations

January 10, 2018

Standing in front of one of the more popular exhibits at the Pennsylvania Farm Show—an educational display on the importance of bees to society—state Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding today helped unveil a new report intended to support healthy pollinator populations in the face of challenges that have decimated some species.

New research agenda for malaria elimination and eradication

January 10, 2018

Two Penn State researchers have participated in the formulation of a new updated research agenda for global malaria elimination and eradication. Together with more than 180 scientists, malaria program leaders, and policy makers from around the world, Manuel Llinás, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology, and Jason Rasgon, professor of entomology and disease epidemiology, contributed to the Malaria Eradication Research Agenda (malERA) Refresh Collection, which defines a forward-looking research and development agenda that will accelerate progress towards malaria elimination and global eradication. The malERA Refresh collaboration resulted in seven research papers that were recently published as a special collection in the journal PLOS Medicine.

State officials work to contain spread of destructive lanternflies

January 3, 2018

Over the past three years, an invasive insect, native to China and eastern parts of Asia, has been recognized as a serious threat to agriculture and businesses in Pennsylvania.

Online beekeeping course offered

December 13, 2017

Beginner and experienced beekeepers and those thinking about taking up backyard beekeeping can get the information they need to be successful from Beekeeping 101, an online beekeeping course offered by Penn State Extension.

Doug Sponsler Talks about the Risk of Pesticides to Honey Bees and Ecotoxicology

December 7, 2017

Listen in as we go over pesticide’s effects on pollinators, the difficulties in testing, and the advantages certain insects have in fighting pesticides.

Bed Bug Prevention Method Developed In Pennsylvania Seeing Positive Results

December 6, 2017

Move over stink bugs, bed bugs are back in the prime pest spotlight. They actually never went away, but instead have continued to grow as an issue for anyone who lays their head down at night to sleep.

Ways to protect against bugs from coming in on Christmas trees

November 29, 2017

Each year nationwide, families bring trees into their homes hoping to bring some Christmas joy and cheer, but what some people don't know is that they might be bringing in some unwanted house guests.

Penn State Department of Entomology offers insect identification services

November 29, 2017

With more than a million different species of insects in the world, it is no wonder that bugs "bug" us.

Researchers Develop App to Alert Farmers of Crop Diseases

November 27, 2017

A grant to refine a mobile application (app) that will use artificial intelligence to detect crop diseases and the alert farmers on the diagnosis has been secured.

COMB, Conventional & Organic Management of Bees Stakeholder Meeting

November 21, 2017

On November 17, 2017 stakeholders from across Pennsylvania converged to State College to discuss beekeeping protocols for our upcoming research project.

Penn State team receives $7M award to enlist insects as allies for food security

November 20, 2017

A Penn State-led research team is hoping to enlist insects as allies in an effort to make crops more tolerant of environmental stressors, after the crops are already growing in the greenhouse or field.

New species of wasp found in Maine

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.

Researchers aim to develop best practices for organic beekeeping industry

November 17, 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.

Puppeteer Parasite That Creates Zombie Ants Hijacks Their Bodies—Not Brains

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.

ESA Names Recipients of 2017 Professional and Student Awards

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.

What makes zombie ants obey

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.

Scientists Were All Wrong About That Zombie Ant Fungus on 'Planet Earth'

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.

Penn State researchers take aim at invasive, 'pernicious' spotted lanternfly

November 7, 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.

'Zombie ant' brains left intact by fungal parasite

November 7, 2017

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A fungal parasite that infects ants and manipulates their behavior to benefit the fungus' reproduction accomplishes this feat without infecting the ants' brains, according to a study led by Penn State researchers.

Penn State Extension: The Buzz

November 6, 2017

November 2017 Newsletter

Penn State partners to address Republic of Georgia's invasive stink bug problem

October 25, 2017

Entomologists from Penn State are working to apply what they have learned by studying the Mid-Atlantic region's brown marmorated stink bug infestation — which peaked between 2010 and 2013 — to similar recent problems impacting the Republic of Georgia in eastern Europe.

What's the buzz? Pennsylvania developing plan to help save the bees

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.