April 21, 2015

Domestic honey bees hives are down by 59% compared to 60 years ago with rapid declines over the last forty years. This long term decline was punctuated by recent average losses of 30% per winter since 2006. The populations of some native bee species may also be declining.

April 21, 2015

Pollinators need a diverse, abundant food source and a place to build their nests and rear their young. As land managers, if we keep these two elements in mind we can encourage native bee populations.

April 21, 2015

Approximately three quarters of our major food crops are pollinated. At the same time domestic honey bees hives are down by 59% compared to 60 years ago. Here we will look at how wild bees provide insurance against ongoing honey bee losses. Keep a look out for upcoming articles on factors affecting pollinators and ways farmers can promote pollinator health.

Image: Ian Grettenberger, Penn State
April 2, 2015

Use of a class of insecticides, called neonicotinoids, increased dramatically in the mid-2000s and was driven almost entirely by the use of corn and soybean seeds treated with the pesticides, according to researchers at Penn State.

Bees and bee larvae in the hive. Image: Bernardo Niño/Penn State
March 27, 2015

Honey bees use different sets of genes, regulated by two distinct mechanisms, to fight off viruses, bacteria and gut parasites, according to researchers at Penn State and the Georgia Institute of Technology. The findings may help scientists develop honey bee treatments that are tailored to specific types of infections.

Courtesy of Bernardo Nino
February 17, 2015

Crafting hives, making honey, what could bee better? New this semester, the Penn State Beekeepers Club is hoping to garner some buzz around Penn State.

February 2, 2015

“Herbicide drift impact on floral resources and pollination services: A landscape approach.” by David Mortensen & Melanie Kammerer, Plant Sciences Department, Penn State University

January 15, 2015

Center for the Performing Arts staff member Medora Ebersole is using her experience as an education and community programs manager to develop an interdisciplinary project aimed at increasing knowledge of pollinator behavior—from bees and bats to birds and butterflies—in order to benefit food production efforts and battle the use of pesticides world-wide.

The 3rd Grade Thinking and Doing Team, from left to right: Briana Truitt, Kaleb Brown, Ian Sykes, Sunny Hawes
January 14, 2015

Four third graders researched the important role of honey bees in agriculture and mounted a local public awareness and fundraising campaign to support bee health.

Image: Margaret Douglas/Penn State
December 4, 2014

Insecticides aimed at controlling early-season crop pests, such as soil-dwelling grubs and maggots, can increase slug populations, thus reducing crop yields, according to researchers at Penn State and the University of South Florida.

Credit: Daniel Schmehl, University of Florida
November 3, 2014

Feeding honey bees a natural diet of pollen makes them significantly more resistant to pesticides than feeding them an artificial diet, according to a team of researchers, who also found that pesticide exposure causes changes in expression of genes that are sensitive to diet and nutrition.

October 29, 2014

It may not come as a surprise that the “Green Mountain State” of Vermont is considered one of America’s greenest regions, in terms of its carbon footprint, energy efficiency, and air quality. If our Research On The Road trip to Vermont earlier this month is any barometer, let’s add bees to the list of things that matter deeply to Vermonters.

August 7, 2014

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture has awarded $6.9 million to Michigan State University to develop sustainable pollination strategies for specialty crops in the United States.

July 25, 2014

Dr. Robert “Butterfly Bob” Snetsinger says there’s a long tradition of children playing in butterfly fields and catching them with nets, but the popular past-time has been slowly decreasing with the habitats of many wild butterflies.

July 7, 2014

Frazier, a Penn State senior extension associate with the university’s Center for Pollinator Research, is part of a team of scientists studying the effects of pesticides on honeybee colonies.

Image: Nancy Ostiguy/Penn State
July 2, 2014

An international team of researchers has discovered honey bee colonies in Newfoundland, Canada, that are free of the invasive parasites that affect honey bees elsewhere in the world. The populations offer a unique opportunity to investigate honey bee health, both with and without interfering interactions from parasites.

A butterfly is attracted to a flower in the Pollinator Garden at The Arboretum at Penn State. Image: Nick Sloff
July 1, 2014

After a long winter, summer finally has arrived. And with the new season comes the activity of pollinators -- birds, bees, butterflies and more.

Bees cluster on the hand of Bernardo Niño, senior research technologist in Grozinger Lab at Penn State. Credit: Bernardo Niño.
May 22, 2014

Parasites, lack of food, cold snaps, pesticides, and poor management all can stress honeybee colonies, making it difficult to pin their collapse on a single source. However, in controlled field tests, honeybee colonies show evidence of Allee effects (a positive correlation between population size and individual fitness) and tipping points that are early warning indicators of collapse, MIT physics graduate student Lei Dai says.

Photo by M. Seetin
May 12, 2014

Recently, there has been a lot of press related to pollinator health, and some troubling information indicates that certain fungicides, when used during bloom, can negatively affect the health of honey bees. This is a complicated problem with the solutions relying on understanding the detailed relationships among chemicals, pollinators and pest management needs. It is not prudent to treat this topic with a broad brush with statements such as "All neonicotinoid insecticides are bad for all pollinator species," or "No fungicides should be sprayed during bloom." Research is on-going, and we do not know all of the details yet.