Within the Bureau of Plant Industry at the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA), 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. Insects are determined to be pests of regulatory concern by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), who then initiates a program to determine the scale of impact by instituting a regional, national or international survey program. The goal of this program, whether to eradicate or to manage the population, is dependent on many factors, including population size, mode of distribution, economic impact, and protection of public and private property. In many cases, local, regional or national quarantines are issued to limit the spread of the pest.
The Entomology Program at the 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 provided entirely by state and federal agencies, largely through the Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey program (CAPS) administered by the USDA-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).
The Entomology Program at PDA is comprised of three sections: Apiary, Taxonomy and Survey. 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, identification of potential insect pests and new invasive species, and detection and delimitation of pests of local, regional and national concern. Though the duties are distributed between the three sections, the Entomologists 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 Entomology, Horticulture and Agriculture 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. Entomology Program publishes a year-end report 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)
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
The Taxonomy Section is charged with identifying insects of agricultural concern to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The section’s insect taxonomists are the primary identifiers of all target insects collected by our seasonal staff through our various pest surveys, as well as all insects submitted by PDA Plant Inspectors during routine plant inspections. Additionally, the entomologists answer pest identification inquiries and reports submitted via the telephone, invasive species hotline, BadBug e-mail address, and homeowner/pest management professional walk-in pest identifications, and serve as a taxonomic resource for various academic research and federal survey programs. To submit a sample for identification, please complete a sample submission form found in the publications section at the bottom of the page.
Pest Identification Service
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 and contributing valuable economic resources to the Commonwealth’s economy. This section works closely with the USDA-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) in designing and implementing regulatory and monitoring strategies.
Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB) Survey
Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) Survey
Exotic Wood-Boring Beetle (EWBB) Survey
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
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