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A Case for Caterpillars

Gardens contain friends and foes. Often gardeners may not fully understand the long-term benefits of a perceived threat. One organism that usually walks, or rather crawls, along that fine line is the caterpillar.

A Quick Reference Guide to Honey Bee Parasites, Pests, Predators, and Diseases

Information about common honey bee maladies, including varroa mite, tracheal mite, bee louse, skunks, bears, foulbrood, and nosema.

Alcohol Wash for Varroa Mite Monitoring

An alcohol wash is the best method for monitoring Varroa mite populations in honey bee colonies.

An Introduction to Queen Honey Bee Development

The queen is the most important individual in a colony. She is the only bee capable of producing workers and tens of thousands of workers are required for strong colonies.

An Organic Management System for Honey Bees

Outlines the practices, treatments, and steps for managing honey bees using an organic management system.

Anise Hyssop for the Perennial Garden

Anise hyssop has been named the 2019 Herb of the Year™ by the International Herb Association. Learn about the characteristics and uses of this appealing native plant.

Attracting Hummingbirds

Learn about the many aspects of hummingbirds and how to attract them to your property.

Beekeeping - Honey Bees

Honey bees can be managed to produce many products, but they are even more valued for the major role they play in pollination of agricultural crops.

Beekeeping Cell Builder Basics

Honey bee colony behavior is dynamic and extremely adaptable, which allows for easy manipulation and management of these amazing social insects.

Bees and Wasps: Foraging for Food in the Fall

In the fall, bees and wasps are on the hunt for sweets or carbohydrates, the primary energy source that keeps them flying and active for other routine activities.

Bees in Pennsylvania: Diversity, Ecology, and Importance

At least 437 species of bees contribute to pollinating Pennsylvania's natural areas, gardens, and agricultural crops. Learn more about how they are classified, their lifestyles, and how documenting bee species in Pennsylvania improves our knowledge about their populations and distributions.

Buttonbush: The Native, Moisture-Loving Shrub

Buttonbush can be grown as a shrub or small tree. Its fragrant flowers are a magnet for pollinators.

Common Social Bees and Wasps of Pennsylvania Behavior, Lifecycle, and Management

Social organisms live together in groups and interact with others of the same species; humans, wolves, and several species of bees and wasps are examples of social organisms.

Conserving Wild Bees in Pennsylvania

Wild bees, which include native and naturalized bees, pollinate a variety of crops. In areas of Pennsylvania, wild bees already provide the majority of pollination for some summer vegetable crops.

Cucumber Pollination

Cucumbers are native to Asia but are currently grown around the globe.

Delay Garden Cleanup to Benefit Overwintering Insects

You can support butterflies, moths, bees and other desirable insects by delaying your garden cleanup until spring. Learn simple ways to encourage overwintering insects and how to time spring cleanup.

Eastern Redbuds Support Early Pollinators

Not only beautiful, Eastern redbuds' flowers provide some of the earliest spring nectar for native bees and honeybees.

Enfermedades de la Abeja de Miel Loque Americana

La loque americana únicamente afecta a las larvas de la abeja de miel, debilita a la colonial y provocando rápidamente su muerte.

Enfermedades de la Abeja de Miel: Loque Americana

La loque americana únicamente afecta a las larvas de la abeja de miel, debilita a la colonial y provocando rápidamente su muerte.

Fall Garden Care for Pollinators

This article discusses the beneficial pollinators that overwinter in the garden and best practices for providing habitat for them.

Fall-Migrating Monarchs

The monarch butterfly is known for its long migration journey to Mexico. You can help support monarch populations by adding host plants and nectar sources to your garden.

Feeding the Flower Flies: How to Attract Flies to Your Garden

Though flies may have a bad reputation, many are actually beneficial pollinators. Find out more about flower flies and the plants and gardening practices that will nurture them.

Five-Step Decision Support: Nesting Bees and Wasps Near Homes

There are a number of insects in Pennsylvania that can sting. When these insects take up residence near our homes, conflicts can arise. What to do when bees and wasps are nesting in or near the home?

Flowering Cover Crops for Native Pollinating Bee Conservation

Conservation strategies that can be employed across your farm or in your garden to help maintain healthy native bee populations.

Screenshot of a video game with blue sky gradient background, a cartoon bee, and the title Pollinator Panic

Game Instructions: Pollinator Panic!

Follow these instructions to play Pollinator Panic! An online strategy game that allows a player to assume the role of a field researcher who is working to restore a bee community.

Screenshot of a video game with blue sky gradient background, a cartoon bee, and the title Pollinator Panic

Game: Pollinator Panic!

An online strategy game that allows a player to assume the role of a field researcher who is working to restore a bee community.

Gardening for Butterflies

Learn about the butterfly life cycle, and how to manage your garden to attract butterflies.

Hive Protection Bear Fence Design

Protecting honey bee hives from wildlife is sometimes necessary.

Honey Bee Diseases American Foulbrood

American foulbrood only attacks honey bee larvae, weakening the colony and quickly leading to its death.

Honey Bee Management Throughout the Seasons

The honey bee colony lifestyle is closely linked to the seasons when the availability of flowering plants, temperature, and precipitation vary dramatically.

Photo of a completed bee hotel project

How to Construct a Bee Hotel

A step-by-step guide for how to build your own bee hotel, complete with templates!

Screenshot of the pollinating insects guide

Identifying and Observing Pollinating Insects in PA

Use this two-page guide to identify common Pennsylvania pollinators, many of which look similar to each other. Page one provides key features to differentiate bees, flies, wasps, beetles, butterflies, moths, and skippers. Page two explains differences between different types of bees.

Jacob’s Ladder (Polemonium reptans)

Jacob’s ladder supports pollinators with late spring blooms and makes an attractive groundcover after flowers fade. A native pollinator plants, it thrives in partial shade.

Landscaping for Wildlife: Trees, Shrubs, and Vines

Guidelines for selecting woody plants such as trees, shrubs, and vines and designing your landscape with the goal of providing wildlife habitat.

Lesser Calamint, the Beautiful Mint

Lesser calamint is a laid back, dependable performer in the perennial garden. Its profuse, long-lasting flowers are magnets for pollinators.

Photo of a completed bee hotel project

Managing Your Bee Hotel

Maintaining a standard of cleanliness in your bee hotels is essential for the health and longevity of your nesting bees. This trifold introduces the best practices for owning a bee hotel.

Methods to Control Varroa Mites: An Integrated Pest Management Approach

Varroa mites (Varroa destructor), are the most influential of all of the pests and diseases of the European honey bee (Apis mellifera) today.

Métodos para el control de Varroa destructor un enfoque de manejo integrado de plagas

El parásito Varroa destructor es actualmente la plaga más importante de la abeja de miel occidental (Apis mellifera).

Monarchs and Milkweed

Milkweed and monarch butterflies have an intrinsic connection. Learn the benefits of growing milkweed and about several varieties that you might grow in your garden.

Orchard IPM - Integrating Neonicotinoid Insecticides

Our job in integrated pest management (IPM) is to make sure that if a pesticide is to be used, its benefits outweigh the undesirable side effects.

Orchard IPM - Protecting Honey Bees

European honey bees are the primary managed pollinators in orchards because their abundance can be managed from year to year.

Orchard Pollination: Honey Bees

European honey bees are the primary managed pollinators in orchards because their abundance can be managed from year to year.

Orchard Pollination: Pollinizers, Pollinators and Weather

Pollination involves the integration of several biological and physical factors, including cultivar compatibility, synchronous blooming, insects, and proper weather conditions.

Orchard Pollination: Solitary (Mason) Bees

Growers of bee-pollinated crops, particularly apples, may be interested in the possible use of solitary bees as pollinators.

Orchard Pollination: Strategies for Maintaining Pollination Services in Tree Fruit

Apple, pear, and sweet cherry trees, unlike peaches, apricots and tart cherries, need cross pollination.

Orchard Pollination: Wild Bees

Managed pollinators like honey bees and mason bees are important pollinators for orchards, but research suggests that wild bees also contribute significantly to fruit tree pollination.

First page of a technical paper entitled Integrated pest and pollinator management — adding a new dimension to an accepted paradigm.

Overview of IPPM Approach

Overview of utilizing integrated pest and pollinator management (IPPM) to achieve both pest management and pollinator protection.

Document cover featuring white flowers with a bee on one of the petals. Title of the document reads 2022-2023 Penn State Tree Fruit Production Guide

Penn State Tree Fruit Production Guide

The most up-to-date information on growing tree fruit on a commercial scale. Revised information and a refreshed look for 2022.

Pesticidas y la Salud de los Polinizadores

Penn State está a la vanguardia en asuntos relacionados con la salud de los polinizadores.

Pesticides and Pollinators

Researchers believe that long-term honey bee declines are a result of a complex set of factors.

Plant-Pollinator Interactions cover page, image of a bee on a flower

Plant Pollinator Interactions Lesson Plan

This lesson plan guides students to understand plant-pollinator interactions. Students will be able to recognize the mechanisms governing pollinator attraction to floral types and understand how plant-pollinator mutualisms may have contributed to species diversification through co-evolution.

Planting Pollinator-Friendly Gardens

One of the most important ways you can help pollinators is by provisioning your yard with plants that provide pollen and nectar. To attract butterflies, you will also need to include a variety of larval host plants for caterpillars to eat.

Polinización de Pepino

Los pepinos son nativos de Asia, pero actualmente se cultivan en todo el mundo.

Polinización Integrada de Cultivos de Calabazas

El género Cucurbita contiene distintas especies de calabaza (también conocidas como: calabaceras, calabacines o zapallos). En los Estados Unidos, las plantas de calabaza son comunes en granjas y jardines en todo el país.

Pollen Microscopy Lesson Plan

In this lesson, students will discover the intricacies of pollen morphology through field observation and sampling skills.

Pollination and Pollinators

Pollination is the transfer of pollen from the anthers of a flower to the stigma of the same flower or another flower. The result is the production of fertile seeds.

Pollination of Blueberry Crops in Pennsylvania

Blueberry (Vaccinium spp.) is a high-value and economically important fruit crop native to Pennsylvania and Eastern North America. Nationally, the total value of the blueberry crop was $797 million in 2018 (USDA NASS).

Pollinator Declines

Domestic honey bees hives are down by 59% compared to 60 years ago with rapid declines over the last forty years. The populations of some native bee species may also be declining.

Pollinator Health and Pesticides

As a general rule, insecticides are more toxic to pollinators than fungicides and herbicides, but not all insecticides are toxic to pollinators.

Pollinators and Pesticide Sprays during Bloom in Fruit Plantings

Use of pesticides during bloom is a complicated problem with the solutions relying on understanding the detailed relationships among chemicals, pollinators and pest management needs.

Pumpkins and Squash: What Are Their Pollination Needs?

Pumpkin and squash (genus Cucurbita) are crops grown on 7,300 acres in Pennsylvania with an estimated value of over $22M annually (USDA NASS 2021).

Queen Cell Production Grafting and Graft-Free Methods

Queen production allows beekeepers greater autonomy and independence, enabling individuals to better meet the goals of honey production, pollination, colony production, and genetic selection.

Rattlesnake Master is a Great Pollinator Plant

Though its name and appearance are a bit unusual, rattlesnake master (Eryngium yuccifolium) is an attractive and pollinator-friendly choice for the home garden.

Spice Up Your Garden with Spicebush

Searching for a shrub that can perform one or a multitude of functions in your yard? Spicebush (Lindera benzoin) might be the shrub you have been looking for.

Spotted Lanternflies and Beekeeping

The spotted lanternfly, Lycorma delicatula, is an introduced plant hopper from China that is rapidly expanding its range in the United States.

Spring Bees: Who Are They and Where Do They Live?

While spring is the beginning of the beekeeping season, early blooming plants not only feed honey bees but also hundreds of native solitary bee species that emerge at around the same time.

Spring Ephemerals for Residential Gardens

In this article learn about the benefits of spring ephemerals and ways to incorporate them into your garden.

Strawberry Pollination: a Complex and Tricky Business

Next time you purchase strawberries from a grocery store or local grower/roadside stand, closely inspect one before you chomp down on it. What makes that berry so attractive to eat?

Syrphid Flies: Interesting Allies in Floriculture

Syrphid flies are one of the more interesting groups of Diptera that inhabit Pennsylvania.

The Bumble Bee Lifestyle

Bumble bees are essential insects that pollinate many of the of the fruits, nuts and seeds we eat every day.

The Eastern Carpenter Bee: Beneficial Pollinator or Unwelcome Houseguest

The eastern carpenter bee, Xylocopa virginica, is a native pollinator found throughout eastern North America, as far south as Florida and Texas and north into Maine and southern Canada.

Video: How to Capture Bees with Nets for Bee Monitoring Programs

In this video, Nash Turley shows techniques for catching bees using handheld insect net and getting bees into collection jars. This video is intended for participants in official bee monitoring programs where all bees will be properly pinned, labeled, identified, and stored in insect collections. Bees should NOT be collected and killed for fun or as a hobby, only for scientific purposes.

Video: How to Use a Stereo Microscope to Observe Insects

In this video, Michael Skvarla from Penn State University answers questions about using stereo microscopes (also called dissecting microscopes) for observing insects

Video: How to Use Blue Vane Traps to Monitor Bees

Blue vane traps are used to passive collect bees and other flower-visiting insects. In this video, Nash Turley leads a quick tutorial on deploying blue vane traps in the field including putting them together, hanging them up, and adding soapy water. Then after they've been left in the field for a day it is time to filter out the bees with a brine shrimp net and put the specimens in a jar with alcohol, don't forget a proper label!

Video: How to Use Bowl Traps to Monitor Bees

Bee bowls, or colored pan traps, are a passive trap method for collecting flower visiting insects. In this video, Nash Turley gives a tutorial on how to deploy blue, white, and yellow traps, including where to place them and how far apart. Then on to picking them up, it's pretty straightforward, strain out the bugs, and don't forget a label!

Video: How to Wash and Dry Bees with the Bee Drying Vortex!

Bee specimens are often covered in pollen and have matted hairs. Both of these can make them difficult to identify. To get the most beautiful specimens that are easy to identify it is necessary to wash and dry them so they are clean with fluffy hairs. In this video, Nash Turley leads a tutorial for a cheap DIY methods for drying bees with minimal equipment, primarily a jar with a screen top and a hair dryer.

Video: Pinning Bees Tutorial

This is an informal video introduction to pinning bees, and insects in general. Nash Turley explains what supplies are needed, the basics of pinning, setting the proper heights using a pinning block, and a little bit about manipulating specimens so they look nice. There's also a quick overview of pointing insects at the end.

Viruses in Honey Bees

Honey bees are infected with many different kinds of viruses. However, most virus infections are not problematic, if the honey bee colony is healthy and does not experience chronic stress.

What Can We Do to Encourage Native Bees?

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

Bee sitting on flowering goldenrod

What is a pollinator?

Every plant that flowers requires pollination to reproduce. Learn what a pollinator is and why they are so important to our ecosystem.

Who are Our Pollinators?

Approximately three quarters of our major food crops are pollinated. Here we will look at how wild bees provide insurance against ongoing honey bee losses.

Who Pollinates Pennsylvania Blueberry Plants?

Blueberries (genus Vaccinium) are a high-value crop in Pennsylvania and the United States, with an estimated value of at least $825 million to the US economy in 2014.

Why Use Native Plants?

This article explains what native plants are, their benefits, and where to acquire them. It also includes tips on how to use native plants in the home garden.

Wild Bees for Pennsylvania Cucurbits

In addition to honey bees, which are managed, various un-managed species that exist as wild populations play key roles in providing pollination of cucurbit crops.

Will bees like it here? Data Collection Worksheet

Use this worksheet to collect data for the lesson plan "Will Bees Like it Here?"

Will bees like it here? Lesson Plan

In this lesson, students will evaluate two habitats for nesting and floral resources for wild bees and compare their evaluations to observed pollinator activity. Students will participate in collecting and recording data after hypothesizing habitat quality based upon the number of pollinators and pollinator diversity. Students will communicate the results of the investigation to their peers.