University Park, Pa. -- Penn State has received a $250,000 gift to endow a graduate fellowship in entomology in the College of Agricultural Sciences.
At the request of the donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, the endowment will be named the Lorenzo L. Langstroth Graduate Fellowship in Entomology, in honor of the 19th century apiarist widely considered to be the "father of American beekeeping."
Income from the endowment will be used to recruit and retain outstanding graduate students pursuing an entomology degree, with first preference given to students conducting research related to honeybees.
One of the most pressing problems facing researchers is Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), a phenomenon in which the majority of adult honeybees of a hive disappear, often spelling death for the colony. Still not fully understood, CCD in the last four years has affected honey bee colonies all across the nation, with losses ranging from 30 percent to near 100 percent in apiaries with CCD symptoms.
Penn State researchers, including Diana Cox-Foster, professor of entomology and a member of the University's Center for Pollinator Research, have been investigating why CCD happens while at the same time working on ways to strengthen the pollinator population.
"We are really grateful for this new graduate fellowship in entomology," she said, "which will make a huge difference in our ability to train future researchers to help improve the health of honey bees and other essential pollinators."
The Rev. Lorenzo L. Langstroth was a Philadelphia-born apiarist, clergyman and teacher who in 1851 revolutionized the beekeeping industry in the United States with the invention of a new beehive. His top-opened, movable-frame structure effectively used what he called "bee space" and allowed the beekeeper to easily inspect and manage the hive in a way that previously had not been possible without disturbing the bees and their home. The "Langstroth Hive" continues to be the standard used by beekeepers all over the world.
He also published several books on practical hive management, beginning with "Langstroth's Hive and The Honey-bee, The Classic Beekeeper’s Manual" in 1853, which is still in print.
Langstroth's lifelong observations, numerous discoveries and further inventions helped to turn beekeeping into a large-scale, cost-effective and sustainable industry. The fellowship is being created to honor his 200th birthday.