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Entomology

The Entomology Program is responsible for the detection, delimitation and regulation of invasive and potentially destructive or harmful insect species affecting the agricultural industry in the Commonwealth.  The Entomology Program at the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) participates in these statewide and regional surveys by delimiting and reporting the presence and location of targeted pests within the Commonwealth. As part of our survey and collection efforts, the PDA's Entomologists are constantly looking out for potentially harmful insects present in the Commonwealth's forests, parks, and agricultural lands. Funding for the survey of exotic insect pests is largely through the Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey program (CAPS) administered by the USDA-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and Farm Bill funding.

The Entomology Program at PDA is comprised of three sections: Apiary, Survey, and Taxomony. Each is responsible for a particular aspect of insect pest and pathogen regulation within the Commonwealth, with the common charge of protecting Pennsylvania's agricultural commodities and plant industries, including the monitoring of pollinator health and populations, detection and delimitation of pests of local, regional and national concern, and identification of potential insect pests and new invasive species. Though the duties are distributed between the three sections, the Entomologist in all sections work closely together to provide integrated support to all surveys and services. 

The Entomology Program also collaborates with the Governor's Invasive Species Council by cooperating with survey and outreach and by sharing of intellectual resources. This program also works closely with researchers and professionals at the USDA and the Pennsylvania State University, including Penn State Cooperative Extension, as well as with other state agencies and the Commonwealth's county conservation districts.  The Entomology Program publishes a year-end report (found in the PUBLICATIONS sidebar) that includes an update on the status of the Entomology Program, including interesting finds, survey results and agriculturally-significant information.

Governor's Invasive Species Council
Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey (CAPS)

Apiary Section

The Apiary Section is responsible for honey bee registration and inspection, as well as general pollinator services. The Apiary Registration and Inspection Program supports agricultural industry by helping to ensure a viable pollination force to meet the needs of the Commonwealth's fruit and vegetable producers, as well as protect the valuable assets of the beekeeping industry by regulating pest and disease movement. This program is mandated by the Bee Law, which appoints a Chief Apiary Inspector (or State Apiarist), requires registration of all apiaries in the Commonwealth, mandates inspection, and regulates bee diseases, the import and export of honey bees, honey bee queens, and beekeeping equipment.  

In addition, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture recognizes the importance of all pollinators in supporting the Commonwealth's natural and agricultural resources and industries. Our goal is to develop a general Pollinator Services program, focusing on non-Apis pollinator survey and identification, advancing the study of pollinator resources, and pollinator policy development, in addition to our current responsibilities in apiary registration and inspection. Currently, the Apiary Section works alongside a number of cooperators to develop outreach and education materials, coordinate pollinator research, and collect and identify Pennsylvania's pollinators (through the Pennsylvania Native Bee Survey) to develop a baseline population analysis for future studies in population change and availability as pollinators in managed ecosystems.  In the future, this program will encompass regulatory and service activities for all pollinators, both honey bees and non-honey bees.

Apiary and Pollination Services

Survey Section

The Survey Section is responsible for designing, implementing and reporting the results of all state, regional and national surveys conducted within the Commonwealth. Most of the surveys conducted by the PDA Entomology Program are federally funded, providing seasonal employment opportunities to Pennsylvanians. This section works closely with the USDA-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service-Plant Protection and Quarantine (APHIS-PPQ) in designing and implementing regulatory and monitoring strategies. Surveys benefit the Commonweath's economy by assuring trading partners that Pennsylvania's commodities are free of invasive pests.

Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB) Survey

Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) Survey Exotic Wood-Boring Beetle (EWBB) Survey
Grape Commodity Pest Surveys
Tomato Commodity Pest Surveys
Walnut Twig Beetle (Thousand Cankers Disease) Surveys
Entomology Program Traps

To Report Sightings of these and other invasive insects, contact the PDA Invasive Species Hotline at 1-866-253-7189 or send an email to BadBug@pa.gov

TAXONOMY SECTION

The Taxonomy Section is charged with identifying insects of agricultural concern to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. This sections entomologists are the primary identifiers of all target insects collected by our staff through various pest surveys, as well as all insects submitted by PDA Plant Inspectors during routine inspections.  Additionally, the entomologists answer pest identification inquiries and reports submitted via the invasive species hotline, BadBug e-mail address, and homeowner/pest management professional pest identifications.  

To submit a sample for identification, please complete a sample submission form found in the publications sidebar. The form provides sample submission directions, requirements, and mailing instructions. For identifications pertaining to human health issues the department requests prior notification as additional requirements may be needed.

This section is also resposible for the maintenance and expansion of the PDA's arthropod collection. The collection serves as a taxonomic resource for academic research and federal survey programs through collaborative projects and loans.