Latest News

August 30, 2019

Insecticides kill insects. It should be no surprise, then, that in Brazil, which has seen a 27% increase in pesticide sales since last year, roughly 500 million honey bees were found dead in piles across four states in early spring. The country’s pesticide use has grown by 770% between 1990 to 2016, as reported by Bloomberg.

July 3, 2019

Allowing cover crops to grow two weeks longer in the spring and planting corn and soybean crops into them before termination is a strategy that may help no-till farmers deal with wet springs, according to Penn State researchers.

June 27, 2018

Planting season for corn and soybeans across the U.S. corn belt is drawing to a close. As they plant, farmers are participating in what is likely to be one of the largest deployments of insecticides in United States history.

November 6, 2017

Hi! I’m Jen, and I am a senior majoring in plant science, horticulture option.

August 28, 2017

It cannot run away from the fly that does it so much damage, but tall goldenrod can protect itself by first "smelling" its attacker and then initiating its defenses, according to an international team of researchers.

August 9, 2017

John Tooker and Elizabeth Rowen from the Penn State Department of Entomology talk about insects: what they are, why we need them, and why reaching for your shoe when you see a bug might not be the right move. This is the first installment of a monthly entomology series that will air on the second Wednesday of each month.

July 21, 2017

This summer has been full of insects, corn, soy, and so much dirt! I am Dan Wisniewski a rising sophomore majoring in Plant Science with a minor in Environmental Resource Management at Penn State.

July 11, 2017

Neonicotinoids (neonics) are a class of insecticides based on natural plant compounds that disrupt the insect nervous system. They are used because they have relatively low toxicity on non-insects. They are applied as seed coatings, so when a seed germinates the water-soluble insecticides are taken up and mobilized throughout the plant, providing protection against insects that feed on it. The strategy decreases the need for aerial spraying of broad-spectrum insecticides.

Kyra's pinned ground beetles
June 27, 2017

Kyra joined us for the summer and she kinda likes it.

June 19, 2017

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.

June 8, 2017

It was the closest thing you get to a blind date between a scientist and a journalist.

December 7, 2016

Neonicotinoids -- the most widely used class of insecticides -- significantly reduce populations of predatory insects when used as seed coatings, according to researchers at Penn State. The team's research challenges the previously held belief that neonicotinoid seed coatings have little to no effect on predatory insect populations. In fact, the work suggests that neonicotinoids reduce populations of insect predators as much as broadcast applications of commonly used pyrethroid insecticides.

December 7, 2016

The federal government is putting a big chunk of funding into an agriculture project at Penn State. Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture unveiled a $6.7 million catalog of grants going to 18 different projects, most at universities around the country. The projects all address how the agro-ecosystem affects food production.

Mackenzie and her inspirations
September 14, 2016

Mackenzie moved to PA this past spring and was a bit concerned about leaving Tennessee; fortunately, the Tooker lab help her make a sMOOOth transition!

The day Brandon got his lab coat was a good day!
September 14, 2016

Brandon Wilt shares some thoughts on his summer working in the Tooker lab

July 25, 2016

Masoomi's first summer in the Tooker lab has been full of new insights to the arthropod ecology in agricultural fields

New paper from Anthony Vaudo indicates that bumble bees prefer plants with certain protein-to-lipid ratios
July 7, 2016

Graduate student Anthony Vaudo has determined that bumble bees have discriminating palettes when it comes to their pollen meals. We found that bumble bees can detect the nutritional quality of pollen, and that this ability helps them selectively forage among plant species to optimize their diets. Here is the citation and a link to the paper: Vaudo, Anthony D., Harland M. Patch, David A. Mortensen, John F. Tooker, and Christina M. Grozinger. 2016. Macronutrient ratios in pollen shape bumble bee (Bombus impatiens) foraging strategies and floral preferences. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, U.S.A.

Dr. John Tooker and Sarah McTish at the Research Expo Awards Ceremony
April 19, 2016

Sarah McTish won 1st place in undergraduate research (Plant and Environmental-Related Sciences) at the Gamma Sigma Delta Research Expo held March 29th, 2016. Her poster was titled "Effects of neonicotinoid insecticides on invertebrate populations in vernal pools".