López-Uribe Lab at Penn State University

Spring has arrived and there is much to be excited about. Check out our research and local events from the Center for Pollinator Research and Penn State Extension. Our research and extension programs aim to integrate basic research with citizen science to understand how agricultural practices impact pollinator populations. Using these methods, we are helping inform sustainable practices and crop management strategies to both preserve bee biodiversity and increase farmers’ profits on a local scale.

Bee Facts

What’s blooming in Pennsylvania during the Spring?

Maple (Acer spp.)

Blueberries (Vaccinium spp.)

Sage (Salvia spp.)

Violets (Viola spp.)

Southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora)

Black Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia)

Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis)

Cornelian-cherry Dogwood (Cornus mas)

American Plum (Prunus americana)

Black Willow (Salix nigra)

Japanese Quince (Chaenomeles japonica)

Identify the trees in your backyard with the Common Trees of Pennsylvania guide

For a list of pollinator friendly flowers for the northeast go to: https://xerces.org/pollinator-conservation/plant-lists/


Research & Extension

Checklist of Bees of PA

As of January 2019, 83 new species records have been recorded for Pennsylvania. These results bring up the total number of species for the state to at least 450, read more.

Feral Bee Health of PA

Since 2016 we have been leading a citizen science project to map the location of feral colonies and characterize the health status of these unmanaged bees across Pennsylvania. Our results suggest that feral colonies have stronger immune systems than their managed counterparts. We are continuing our feral bee survey and asking interested citizen scientists to collect samples of feral colonies, read more.

Installation video

Spring is a busy time of year for beekeepers; it marks the arrival of packages. Packages arrive as early as April in Pennsylvania. Here is a video that will walk beekeepers through a step-by-step protocol of how to install package bees, read more.

COMB, Conventional and Organic Management of Bees

Project COMB aims to determine the impacts of management practices on honey bee colony health. Specifically, we will compare conventional, organic, and chemical free management beekeeping systems, read more.


Congratulations to Shelby Kilpatrick. She won second place in the Educational Digest (ED) Talk Competition at the 2019 Eastern Branch Meeting of the Entomological Society of America for her talk on “Collections, Checklists, & Changes: My studies in bees”. She is also a 2019 recipient of the Apes Valentes Research Award for her project: “Form and Function: examining coevolution between specialist pollinators and their host plants through comparison of bee pollen-collection/transport and pollen grain structures”.




Congratulations to Brooke Lawrence who was awarded the “Extension Graduate Student Fellowship” and is a 2019 recipient of the Apes Valentes Research Award for her project: “Maintaining the colony pantry: Impact of pesticides on pollen preservation in honey bee colonies”. She is going to be leading research efforts to investigate how in-hive chemicals impact honey bee health while working with teachers, beekeepers, and researchers to develop curriculum to teach 4-H students about biological processes using honey bees as a model system.


Bombus ternarius, the orange-belted bumblebee or tricoloured bumblebee, is common throughout the NE US and parts of Canada.

Publications & Events

Penn State to bring pollinator garden that will last ‘forever’ to the Arboretum The Center for Pollinator Research has been working with the Arboretum to renovate to the Arboretum pollinator garden, which is to be ready for students in the fall of 2020, read more.

Certified Bee Campus

Penn State became the 55th educational institute in the nation to become a certified Bee Campus as an affiliate of the Bee Campus USA program. The University Park campus joins more than 100 other cities and campuses across the country united in improving their landscapes for pollinators, read more.

What’s the buzz? Pennsylvania plans to help save the bees

The Pennsylvania Pollinator Protection Plan (P4) was released in September. It dives into threats facing the state’s pollinating species and describes methods shown to protect the insects that support both the state’s natural biodiversity and its $260 million fruit and vegetable growing industry, read more. 

What Can Bees Teach Us About Building Better Urban Ecosystems?

Bees love cities, but what can cities offer bees? Vacant land and urban agriculture are rejuvenating wild bee populations, read more. 

Introducing Beescape: A new online tool that supports bees

A new online tool and community, called Beescape, enables beekeepers, or anyone interested in bees, to understand the specific stressors to which the bees in their managed hives, home gardens or farms are exposed, according to researchers at Penn State, read more.

Bee dispersal ability may influence conservation measures

The abilities of various bee species to disperse influences their population genetic structure, which, in turn, can constrain how they respond to environmental change, as reported by an international team of researchers, read more.

Protecting Bees

Want to start a pollinator garden or create a customized plant list? Try the new search engine, Find Plants, for finding plant most suitable for your location, ranked according to their attractiveness for different groups of pollinators, read more.

Checking out Pollinators in Pennsylvania

With insect species declining and agriculturally-important pollinators at risk, it’s important to know what species are present in an area to help protect them. Ph.D. student Shelby Kilpatrick is trying to find out what bees are present in Pennsylvania and is creating a list that could help with future conservation efforts, read more.

IPM News and Events

Native Mycorrhizal Fungi and Whitebark Pine Restoration
Tuesday, May 14, 2019, 12 pm (MDT) by Dr. Cathy Cripps, Professor & Mycologist, Montana State University. Whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis) is an iconic, five-needle, high-elevation pine whose existence is threatened by an exotic rust, mountain pine beetles, fire suppression, and climate change. Its distribution is limited to western North America and populations have declined 90% in recent decades.

New Entry Sustainable Farming 20 week Crop Production Course

This is a great course for anyone looking to develop skills and knowledge growing vegetable crops organically and using soil health and conservation principles. We tailor the course to be informative and useful for anyone interested in producing food, particularly for those with goals of growing commercially who need “hands-in-the-dirt” skills training.  The course meets in person 10 times on Sunday afternoons, with supplemental instruction in online course modules to learn at your own pace and to supplement on-farm instruction. You can also gain additional experience helping out on the incubator farm and supporting production in the class demonstration plot. $600 starts May 5.


López-Uribe MM, Jha S, Soro A. (Accepted) A trait-based approach to predict population genetic structure in bees. Molecular Ecology.

Underwood RM, Traver BE, López-Uribe MM. (2019) Beekeeping management practices are associated with operation size and beekeepers’ philosophy towards in-hive chemicals. Insects 2019, 10, 10. doi.org/10.3390/insects10010010 [link]

López-Uribe MM, Simone-Finstrom (2019) Special Issue: Honey bee research in the US: Current state and solutions to beekeeping problems. Insects 10, 22. doi.org/10.3390/insects10010022 [link].

Grants, 2019

Breeding tolerance for DWV in Honey Bees from North American Pollinator Protection Campaign

Conserving and Enhancing Pollinator Populations and Ensuring Pollination: Professional Development for Extension Educators in Northeastern United States; from Penn State College of Ag – Multistate Research and Extension Program

Partnering with beekeepers to breed for tolerance to DWV in honey bees; from Penn State College of Ag – Multistate Research and Extension Program



López-Uribe Lab
Penn State University
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