Robyn received her BSc in Entomology and Applied Ecology from the University of Delaware and her PhD in Entomology from the University of Manitoba.  As Penn State’s Extension Educator of Apiculture, she conducts scientifically sound research projects to study beekeeper-applied questions and brings the results of the projects to the beekeepers through extension products then improves the industry while making beekeeping a more successful venture.  Her research program focuses on honey bee health and practical beekeeping considerations. Specifically, she is studying the impacts of honey bee colony management and queen origin on colony health and productivity. Her ongoing projects include experiments that assess the practical implications of different types of beekeeping philosophies, performance of honey bee queens from various genetic lines, and how different types of feed impact honey bee health. These ongoing projects have been extramurally funded (totaling almost $3 million) and have generated several extension product outputs. Her research and extension aspirations work hand in hand. Conducting scientifically sound research projects to study beekeeper-applied questions is critically important. Photo by Don Seifrit Jr.


Underwood RM, Lawrence BL, Turley NE, Cambron-Kopco LD, Kietzman PM, Traver BE, López-Uribe MM. 2023. A longitudinal experiment demonstrates that honey bee colonies managed organically are as healthy and productive as those managed conventionally. Scientific Reports. DOI:  10.1038/s41598-023-32824-w

Evans KC, Underwood RM, López-Uribe MM. 2021. Combined effects of oxalic acid sublimation and brood breaks on Varroa Mite (Varroa destructor) and Deformed Wing Virus levels in newly established honey bee (Apis mellifera) colonies. Journal of Apicultural Research. DOI: 10.1080/00218839.2021.1985260

McAfee A, Chapman A, Higo H, Underwood R, Milone J, Foster LJ, Guarna MM, Tarpy DR, Pettis JS. 2020. Vulnerability of honey bee queens to heat-induced loss of fertility. Nature Sustainability. DOI: 10.1038/s41893-020-0493-x
Underwood R, Breeman B, Benton J, Bielski J, Palkendo J, Betts T. 2019. Are non-target honey bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae) exposed to dinotefuran from spotted lanternfly (Hemiptera: Fulgoridae) trap trees? Journal of Economic Entomology. DOI:10.1093/jee/toz176
Underwood RM, Traver BE, López-Uribe MM. 2019. Beekeeping management practices are associated with operation size and beekeepers’ philosophy towards in-hive chemicals. Insects. DOI: 10.3390/insects10010010.

vanEngelsdorp D, Lengerich E, Spleen A, Dainat B, Cresswell J, Bayliss K, Nguyen B, Soroker V, Underwood R, Human H, Le Conte Y, Saegerman C. 2013. Standard epidemiological methods to understand and improve Apis mellifera health. In Dietemann V, Ellis J, Neumann P (Eds). The COLOSS BEEBOOK: Volume II: Standard methods for Apis mellifera pest and pathogen research. Journal of Apicultural Research. DOI: 10.3896/IBRA.

Boncristiani H, Underwood R, Schwarz R, Evans JD, Pettis J, vanEngelsdorp D. 2012. Direct effect of acaricides on pathogen loads and gene expression levels of honey bee Apis mellifera.  Journal of Insect Physiology 58: 613-620.

vanEngelsdorp D, Caron D, Hayes JJr., Underwood R, Henson M, Rennich K, Spleen A, Andree M, Snyder R, Lee K, Roccasecca K, Wilson M, Wilkes J, Lengerich E, Pettis J, for BIP. 2012. A national survey of managed honey bee 2010-11 winter colony losses in the USA: results from the Bee Informed Partnership.  Journal of Apicultural Research 51(1): 115-124.

vanEngelsdorp D, Brodschneider R, Brostaux Y, van der Zee R, Pisa L, Underwood R, Lengerich EJ, Spleen A, Neumann P, Wilkins S, Budge GE, Pietravalle S, Allier F, Vallon J, Human H, Muz M, Le Conte Y, Caron D, Baylis K, Haubruge E, Pernal S, Melathopoulos A, Saegerman C, Pettis JS, Nguyen BK. 2012. Calculating and Reporting Managed Honey Bee Colony Losses, pp. 237-244. In Sammataro and Yoder [eds.], Honey Bee Colony Health: Challenges and Sustainable Solutions. CRC Press: Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

vanEngelsdorp D, Hayes JJr, Underwood RM, Pettis J. 2011. A survey of managed honey bee colony losses in the U.S., fall 2009 to winter 2010. Journal of Apicultural Research, 50:1-10. doi:10.3896/IBRA.

vanEngelsdorp D, Hayes JJr, Underwood RM, Pettis J. 2010. A survey of honey bee colony losses in the U.S, fall 2008 to spring 2009. Journal of Apicultural Research, 49(1): 7-14. doi:10.3896/IBRA.

vanEngelsdorp D, Evans JD, Saegerman C, Mullin C, Haubruge E, Nguyen BK, Frazier M, Frazier J, Cox-Foster D, Chen YP, Underwood R, Tarpy DR, Pettis JS. 2009. Colony Collapse Disorder: a descriptive study. Public Library of Science ONE 4(8) e6481.

Underwood RM, Currie RW. 2009. Indoor winter fumigation with formic acid for control of Acarapis woodi (Acari: Tarsonemidae) and nosema disease, Nosema sp. Journal of Economic Entomology. 102(5): 1729-1736.

Sammataro D, Finley J, Underwood R. 2008. Comparing oxalic acid and Sucrocide™ treatments for Varroa destructor (Acari: Varroidae) control under desert conditions. Journal of Economic Entomology 101(4): 1057-1061.

vanEngelsdorp D, Gebauer S, Underwood R. 2008. A modified two-queen system: “tower” colonies allowing for easy drone brood removal for varroa mite control. Science of Bee Culture 1: 1-4.

vanEngelsdorp D, Hayes JHJr, Underwood RM, Pettis J. 2008. A survey of honey bee colony losses in the U.S., fall 2007 to spring 2008. Public Library of Science ONE 3(12):e4071.

Underwood RM, Currie RW. 2008. Indoor winter fumigation with formic acid does not have a long-term impact on honey bee (Hymenoptera: Apidae) queen performance. Journal of Apicultural Research 47(2):108-112.

vanEngelsdorp D, Underwood RM, Cox-Foster DL. 2008. Short-term fumigation of honey bee (Hymenoptera: Apidae) colonies with formic and acetic acids for the control of Varroa destructor (Acari: Varroidae).  Journal of Economic Entomology 101(2):256-264.

Underwood RM, Currie RW. 2007. Effects of release pattern and room ventilation on survival of varroa mites and queens during indoor winter fumigation of honey bee colonies with formic acid. Canadian Entomologist 139: 881-893.

vanEngelsdorp D, Underwood RM, Caron D, Hayes JJr. 2007. An estimate of colony losses in the winter of 2006-2007: a report commissioned by the Apiary Inspectors of America.  American Bee Journal 147(7): 599-603.

Underwood RM, Currie RW. 2005. Effect of concentration and exposure time on treatment efficacy against varroa mites (Acari: Varroidae) during indoor winter fumigation of honey bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae) with formic acid. Journal of Economic Entomology 98(6):1802-1809.

Underwood RM, Lewis MJ, Hare JF. 2004. Reduced worker relatedness does not impact cooperation in honey bee colonies. Canadian Journal of Zoology 82(9):1542-1545.

Underwood RM, Currie RW. 2004. Indoor winter fumigation of Apis mellifera (Hymenoptera: Apidae) colonies infested with Varroa destructor (Acari: Varroidae) with formic acid is a potential control alternative in northern climates.  Journal of Economic Entomology 97(2):177-186.

Underwood RM, Currie RW. 2003. The effects of temperature and dose of formic acid on treatment efficacy against Varroa destructor (Acari: Varroidae), a parasite of Apis mellifera (Hymenoptera: Apidae). Experimental and Applied Acarology 29(3-4):303-313.