Inspirational Gardens
Inspirational Gardens
Inspirational Gardens
Inspirational Gardens

Animals and Insects on Your Property

March 24th, 2014 | Posted by John Rice in Lawn Maintenance
  • Nano technology: we now have the ability to attack sensors to insect antennae to see what they react to.  Pretty amazing stuff.
  • Ticks: I expect some die off of ticks from the cold days in January. See more in my later announcements.
  • Woolly adelgid: Check your hemlocks for small white balls on the underside of the needlesIt was not cold enough to kill them in large numbers, so infestation is expected to expand this spring. I would treat for this with horticultural oil in late March and early April. Do not fertilize infected trees.
  • Winter moths: Good News! We are now at 90% control of this pest through using biological agents. Unless your trees were completely defoliated last year, I recommend saving your money and not spraying for them.
  • Voles: There will be some vole damage to lawns and voles eating the tender bark on young trees (Japanese maples). Voles eat above the ground.
  • MolesThey stay below ground and eat roots.
  • Deer: They are turning into an ecological nightmare that we are avoiding responsibility for. Browsing Activity (with all the snow cover) seemed to be much heavier than most winters.  As mentioned above, look out for plants eaten by deer, and be sure to protect against them until May. Deer Oh Deer!  Numerous studies are showing that most of our invasive plant issues are based on when the deer population hits a certain density and when the deer population hits that density the native plants die off from deer browsing and the invasives take over from what the deer bring with them.  When there density hits these high levels, the deer bring ticks (lyme disease) along with voles and other small rodents into the area. The deer are changing what is growing in our forests and the whole balance of the ecosystem is changing.  Most politicians seem afraid to take on bambi. It is a hot subject. In one very progressive deer friendly NY town, (think Cambridge) the deer issue got so bad that they killed all the males  (approx 188) and neutered all the females.  That use to sound horrific to me, but as I see all the negative impact deer are having on our eco system, I can understand why they did it.  There are now more deer in MA inside 495 that outside 495.  In France and Germany in some areas where the deer are also out of control they have released wolfs again, this is not in the country side but what would be suburbs to us.  Changing the way people manage their pets, their children and themselves as they struggle to get some balance back in their ecosystem.  It seems to me we are part of the ecosystem ourselves we are not outside of it, and when we took hunting away and took the predators away, society intervened and set up a very unhealthy situation for the balance of our ecosystem.   Lyme disease is at an epidemic rate so if we keep the deer in check, lyme disease mostly goes away.  There are also all the highway accidents and all those injuries to take into account.
  • Lily Leaf beetle:  Good News! Soon we can bring the lilies back!!! We released 3 bio-controlled agents into the area so now we just need enough lilies out there so the agents can spread.
  • Bee Colony Collapse: Europe has banned or severely limited the use of imidacloprid (merit) because of studies showing a direct link to the collapse of their bee colonies.  Imidacloprid was first used on terminates because it has the termites forget how to find there way home.  That is what is happening to the bees, the bees get the systemic chemical from the flowers they are pollinating and don’t go home.   Imidacloprid is one of the top chemicals used in the US today; there are no restrictions on it at this time.  It is used in lawns to treat grubs, to spraying trees and shrubs for just about every pest issue.  Companies are pulling out all the stops to discredit and slow down the discourse on this issue. Like cigarettes in the 1970’s.
  • Monarch Butterfly75% decline in the last 2 yearsHow can you help? 1.) Black swallowwort (an invasive weed) is fooling the butterfly into thinking the black swallowwort is milk weed or butterfly weed which are the only 2 plants that can help the butterfly. The butterfly lays its eggs on the black swallowwort and because it is toxic the larvae dies. So be on the lookout for black swallowwort and weed it out.  2.) Plant butterfly weed and or milkweed along your sunny borders or corridors (boundary areas).
  • Salamanders: Earthworms, so good to have in our gardens, have invaded our forests. Not a good thing.  The worms are eating the leaves and the forest duff at such a high rate that the food the salamander babies need for just a few weeks is no longer available (leaf liter) like it use to be and increasing the mortality rate for the newborns. We think this is happening for other amphibians too.
  • Worms: As stated above they have invaded our forests eating the leaf litter at a very high rate and therefore leaving tons of casting fertilizing our forests, sounds like a good thing, right?  Our New England forests are fungi based, the worms are changing it to be it bacteria based soil. Native trees not so happy. Plus all these casting the worms are leaving actually help suppressed the native trees seed to germinate by burying them to deep to germinate.
  • Bee’s part II: China has eliminated a lot of the foraging area for their bees and have used so many pesticides that they have killed many of their bees. Consequently they are starting to have to hand pollinate their food and in some cases that might be our food.
  • Spotted wing drosophila: Major pest. If you have blueberry’s raspberries or strawberries, pick them a little early and put in the frig right away.  Buy the early fruiting varieties.

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