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Schistocerca cancellata locust - gregarious phase

Swarm Shift: How Locusts Switch Phases When Numbers Swell

After swarms of the South American locust Schistocerca cancellata reappeared in 2015 for the first time in 60 years, a study on what drives their swarm behavior finds the insects' population density acts as a trigger for a slew of biological and behavioral changes at the individual level.

European paper wasp - Polistes dominula

You Can Thank Insects for Many Human Inventions

Even in this digital age, we continue to extract ideas and materials from insects and their relatives. However, the challenge of today may be to avoid a strictly utilitarian view of other organisms, whereby a species is expendable if it cannot demonstrate economic value that can be measured in dollars.

honey bee and stewart platform

How a Honey Bee’s Waggle is Inspiring Aerospace Design

Engineers may recognize the internal muscle structure of a honey bee abdomen for its resemblance to a Stewart platform, a mechanical device that enables six degrees of freedom in movement. Researchers who have found its natural equivalent in bees say the discovery is already informing their work in designing articulating nose cones for rockets.

yellowjacket - Vespula squamosa

Yellowjackets: A Look at Opportunistic Raiders of Honey Bee Hives

Yellowjackets are nuisance predators of honey bees, preying on them and pillaging their honey. But bees fight back, and healthy hives are rarely at risk. Learn more about yellowjackets, their interactions with bees, and what sets yellowjackets apart from hornets and other fellow wasps.

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Japanese barberry

Impact of Invasive Japanese Barberry Cascades Through Local Food Webs

Dense thickets of invasive Japanese barberry significantly reduce the diversity and numbers of insects and arthropods in forests, according to new research. The ripple effects can extend upward throughout local ecosystems, even affecting human health via an increased presence of Lyme disease.

potential distribution of spotted lanternfly in United States

Spotted Lanternfly: Large Potential Range in U.S. and Beyond

A new study published today in the Journal of Economic Entomology models potential suitable habitat for the invasive spotted lanternfly and shows large swaths of the United States and beyond are likely to be vulnerable should the spotted lanternfly continue to spread.

Michael Skvarla, Ph.D.

How a Childhood Project Inspired a Life-Long Career

Meet Michael Skvarla, Ph.D., extension entomologist and director of the Insect Identification Laboratory at Penn State University, whose career path began with a Cub Scout insect-collection project. Skvarla is the subject of the next edition of our "Standout Early Career Professionals" series.