A gypsy moth caterpillar on a leaf in Massachusetts
While being outside in Massachusetts this June, I first noticed it. A lot of leaves were falling from the trees, only these were chewed leaf parts, not whole leaves.
Similar to the children’s book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar written by Eric Carle, some leaves didn’t just have chew marks but actual holes going straight through them. Unlike the children’s book, this damage isn’t being caused by a friendly caterpillar who turns into a butterfly. Instead it’s the result of ravenous gypsy moth caterpillars feeding…and feeding. It’s so bad that in some areas, on walkways and roadways, it looks like fall. Brown, dried up leaves are a contrast to summer’s lush greenery. Read more »
Smokejumpers join the search for Asian longhorned beetles.
Smokejumpers are a unique breed. They are people who are willing to jump, really parachute, out of an aircraft to provide a quick attack on forest fires. While smokejumpers are highly trained, experienced firefighters, they are also expert tree climbers. These firefighters usually work in rugged terrain, but travel all over the country to fight fires. Recently they traveled to Tate Township, Ohio to fight a fire of a different kind.
In April, the U.S. Forest Service sent smokejumpers to help the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) combat the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) by climbing trees in Tate Township, Ohio, about 40 minutes outside of Cincinnati. The beetle is destroying trees in this area and the goal is to find infested tree quickly before the insect starts to emerge in May as adult beetles from the inside infested trees. Read more »
Poster created by the Massachusetts Department of Agriculture to promote maple syrup and stop Asian longhorned beetle.
Okay, yes it’s Maple Syrup Day, an unofficial holiday, but the day allows us to celebrate and recognize this often underrated commodity. So in honor of this lovely product, here are some interesting tidbits that you may not know.
I use maple syrup on many things; not just pancakes, waffles and French toast, but also in recipes like soups and casseroles, to sweeten granola or oatmeal, even coffee. I’ve used it on ice cream and even snow, on salads and in salad dressings. My own step-father is known to take a shot of maple syrup every now-and-then. It is delightful on its own. Maple syrup can also be used to make maple cream, maple sugar, and maple candy. Read more »
Sections of a tree that’s been cut down showing a lot of damage from ALB, such as tunneling at the ends, exit holes and egg sites.
It’s fall in North America. It’s the time of year that marks the transition from summer into winter. It’s when the night time comes earlier and the weather cools considerably. It’s also the time of year when most of us start to turn on our heat or start to acquire firewood.
There are a lot of us that use firewood as a heat source. According to U.S. Census data 2.4 million homes across the country are heated by wood. This number does not include homes that use firewood as secondary heating or those of us that use it when we’re camping or even just to sit around in the yard. Whether or not you use wood to heat your home or build a campfire, firewood is used by millions of Americans. Read more »
Staff from the ALB Ohio Eradication Program with the wrapped Volkswagen beetle.
…the Volkswagen beetle that is. You might have if you were in Ohio the last few weeks.
As part of the efforts to raise awareness about the invasive Asian longhorned beetle (ALB), a non-native insect originating from Asia that is attacking and killing out native U.S. trees, the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) wrapped a Volkswagen beetle to look like Asian longhorned beetle. The moving advertisement was part of a campaign meant to help inform residents about the beetle infestation in Ohio. Read more »
At the APHIS Otis Lab in Massachusetts, employees conduct research for several APHIS forest pest emergency response and eradication programs, including Asian longhorned beetle (ALB), Asian gypsy moth (AGM), emerald ash borer (EAB), and Sirex noctilio woodwasp.
In addition to the existing science-based eradication protocols for fighting an Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) infestation, such as surveying trees and removing infested ones, the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) relies on on-going research to not only improve current protocols, but also to develop new ones.
APHIS’s Center for Plant Health Science and Technology continues research to develop attractant-baited traps designed to lure and capture adult insects. The attractants include plant odors and pheromones, which are naturally occurring chemicals created and used by insects to communicate with each other. These attractants are used to lure beetles to traps that are hung on trees that the beetle will attack. Traps can aid in early detection of insects in areas where survey staff may not be working. When the traps are checked by staff members and a beetle is found, nearby trees may be surveyed to determine if they are infested. This year, the traps will be placed in the spring and early summer in strategic locations in all three ALB-affected states: New York, Massachusetts, and Ohio. APHIS is also working with the U.S. Forest Service and Penn State University on their research with similar ALB traps. Read more »