Posts Tagged ‘insects’

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Beetles Take Bite Out Of Purple Loosestrife

For over a decade, I have been battling purple loosestrife, an aggressive wetland invasive plant that has cost the United States millions of dollars in damage, and is known to impede recreation and degrade wildlife habitat.  As a Conservation Educator for Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District, my efforts include manual management and a new biocontrol program.  On June 26, my coworker and I released 500 beetles along the Sacandaga River in the Town of Lake Pleasant to take a bite out of purple loosestrife. » Continue Reading.


Monday, September 10, 2012

Birding: The Great Warbler Migration

For most birds, autumn is a time of migration. As is the case in spring, not all species engage in their bouts of long distance travel at the same time; some are known for heading out early while others linger in the region for several additional months before starting their journey.

Among the birds that are quick to depart the North Country are the warblers, a large group of small, delicate creatures that abound in the vast expanses of forests when daylight is at a maximum and bugs are at their peak. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Adirondack Wildlife: Crickets and Grasshoppers

The advent of late summer in the Adirondacks is when most species of crickets and many types of grasshoppers enter into the reproductive phase of their life cycle. This results in an annual production of commonly heard sounds, starting with the appearance of developing flocks of birds. It is as much a part of the background in the Park at this time of year as the blossoming of goldenrod in open fields and meadows and the presence of clusters of queen-Anne’s-lace lining sections of highways.

Crickets and grasshoppers, along with the katydids and locust, form an order of insects known as orthoptera, which means the straight-winged insects. While most crickets and some grasshoppers seem to lack any type of flying appendage, all members of this group of bugs have two sets of wings during their adult stage, which may, or may not, allow these stout-bodies creatures to fly. Rather than function as a structure for travel, their wings serve primarily to produce the sound used for attracting a breeding partner. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, August 5, 2012

Cabin Life: A First Bee Sting

I like bees.  They really don’t bother me that much.  It’s not like I want to get stung, but they tend to leave me alone, maybe because I don’t freak out when they fly near me.  I understand those who are allergic or just don’t want to get stung, though.

I remember vividly the first time I got stung by a bee.  It was at our house on 5th Ave in Gloversville, and I was already strapped into my car seat in the back.  Mom was locking up the house or grabbing something from inside, and when I shifted in my car seat, the bee stung me right on the butt.  I don’t know if I started screaming and I don’t remember the aftermath, but the sting itself is clear as day. » Continue Reading.


Monday, July 23, 2012

The Northeastern Pine Sawyer Beetle

From the afternoon into the early evening in mid to late summer, a silence often develops as the heat of the day peaks and then starts to cool; as birds cease to sing and amphibians lose their urge to call. In the stillness between periods when leaves rustle from light summer breezes, the sound of a grinding or twisting-scraping can be heard coming from a fallen softwood log or a dead standing evergreen.

This low volume creaking noise is particularly evident in downed white pine trunks that lie in open and semi-open settings. It is caused by the wood boring activity of the larvae of the Northeastern pine sawyer beetle (Monochamus notatus), a large, grotesque looking bug that is widespread across the Adirondacks. » Continue Reading.


Monday, July 9, 2012

Region-wide Activities for Invasive Species Awareness Week

Groups across the region are sponsoring activities geared to fun and education July 8-14 during the 7th annual Adirondack Invasive Species Awareness Week. Invasive Species Awareness Week provides an opportunity for communities to highlight the threats of invasive plants and animals and for residents and visitors to learn ways to prevent and manage invasive species spread.

This year’s line-up of public events includes an array of interactive activities including invasive plant paddles on Lake George, Fish Creek and Lake Pleasant; forest pest inventories in Long Lake; a nature walk at Point Au Roche State Park in Plattsburgh; forest pest presentations in Bolton Landing and Lake Placid; and, interpretive displays at the Paul Smiths VIC and Lake George Visitors Center. New this year is the Boat Steward Passport. Spend time with a boat launch steward at five of 13 select boat launches and learn about aquatic invaders to become a Watershed Steward Deputy and earn a free t-shirt. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, July 8, 2012

Cabin Life: The Fire and The Heat

Camp FireI was slapping myself stupid trying to get all the mosquitoes.  There was a nice breeze coming off the lake and the fire was helping keep them down a little, but I was still getting eaten alive.

I threw another piece of wood on the fire.  It was some leftover wood from last year’s hurricane that had blown down during the storm.  The red pines that came down around here were huge old trees, but growing in sand a lot them just tipped over.

Back in the cabin, the woodstove hasn’t been used in months.  I think back to all the winter nights when I really would have liked to see the fire.  But my stove doesn’t have any glass in it, just a big black box.  A little bit of light is nice when the sun goes down at five in the afternoon. » Continue Reading.


Monday, June 25, 2012

Adirondack Bug Season: Biting Midges

A screened-in porch is an ideal place to relax on a summer evening in the Adirondacks. The tight, wire mesh that covers the walls allows the enjoyment of nature’s unique fragrances and wildlife sounds without the harassment of mosquitoes and other flying nocturnal pests. However, during the early parts of summer, there is one bug that can detract from the backwoods ambiance of that peaceful Adirondack evening. Biting midges are small enough to pass through traditional screens, allowing them access to any individual wanting to enjoy the evening.

The biting midges form a large group of exceedingly small true flies that are roughly the size of a sand grain, and are known to many as punkies or no-see-ums. The latter common name comes from this bug’s ability to remain unseen in low light conditions, such as on a porch after sunset, even when one of these pests has started to chew into your skin. Despite their dark color, no-see-ums are still a challenge to see clearly, even when standing against a patch of light colored skin. On a person with a dark complexion, punkies can be impossible to spot, regardless of how good the light may happen to be. » Continue Reading.


Monday, June 18, 2012

The Attack of the Ruffed Grouse

Ruffed GrouseIt is traditional backwoods wisdom to avoid getting between a mother and her babies, and while this advice usually pertains to the black bear, it could also apply to several other forms of wildlife that reside in the Adirondacks.

In late spring many infants are emerging from the safety of their den or nest and most mothers try to provide some form of protection from potential danger to their babies. Perhaps the most remarkable display of parental courage for a creature of its size is seen in the hen ruffed grouse. This bird will aggressively confront and challenge any human that happens to come too close to its recently hatched chicks. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The White Admiral Butterfly

Forest clearings in the Adirondacks are especially attractive settings for many forms of wildlife. The warmth of the ground when the sun is shining is particularly inviting to cold-blooded creatures, and the stands of trees that surround these openings in the canopy serve as a source of food and shelter.

Clearings created during logging operations, wide sections along secondary roads, and the open space that typically exists around lean-tos and campsites are places frequented by numerous animals. Among the creatures easily observed during the coming month in these sunny oases of our deciduous and mixed woodlands is a strikingly attractive, black butterfly with a distinct white strip across its wings. The white admiral butterfly (Limenitis arthemis) is a common component of our fauna and regularly lingers around small forest clearings during the early summer throughout the Park. » Continue Reading.


Monday, April 30, 2012

Spring Visitors: Ladybug Beetles

Among the many groups of insects that exist on our planet, the most abundant, diverse and ecologically successful are the beetles. And while many of these hard-shelled bugs are viewed as ugly and unwanted by humans, the ladybug beetle is considered to be one of the most attractive and environmentally friendly creatures in nature.

With a conspicuous dome-shaped, orange shell marked with black spots, the ladybug is difficult to mistake for any other invertebrate. Like all insects, there are numerous species of ladybugs that reside in our region, and the subtle differences in the color and pattern of its markings is the common means of distinguishing among the members of this insect group. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Adirondack Insects: Ants

Prior to the start of black fly season, and continuing for several weeks after the swarms of those tiny, biting demons have faded, there is another insect onslaught that impacts numerous people throughout the Adirondacks. Shortly after the soil has thawed in spring, ants begin to invade the living space of humans, especially kitchens and dining areas where bits of food are readily available.

Since there are so many types and species of ants in the North Country, it is impossible to say what kind of ant is appearing around countertops, near pantry closets, in garbage containers, and under tables where morsels of edibles lie undisturbed on the floor. However, it is easy to state that numerous ants readily welcome themselves indoors, as long as there is something worthwhile for them to collect and transport back to their colony. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Adirondack Family Activities: Be Careful of Ticks

I recently spent my Sunday in the Emergency Room due to a classic “target” shaped bite that showed up on my ankle after an Earth Day weekend of clearing trails and picking up roadside garbage near Westport, N.Y.

Not only did I get to spend my leisure time with the ER staff but I, usually so diligent with tick searches, did everything wrong regarding my own health. So to save you a trip to the ER and a bothersome dose of antibiotics, here are some safety tips for tick prevention. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Caitlin Stewart: The Hunt for Invasives at Lewey Lake

I raised the binoculars to my eyes and stared into the tree canopy above me. Carefully scanning the bare winter branches, nothing out of sorts was noted. I continued down the trail searching for clues that invasive insects may be lurking in the forest.

As Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District’s Conservation Educator, part of my job entails monitoring and managing lands and waters for invasive species. I can’t do it alone, and partnerships are essential to detect invasions early and deploy a quick response. Since 2009, the District has teamed up with the United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to survey our forests for invasive insects that cost the United States vast amounts of money in economic and ecological damage each year. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Questions Remain Following New Bat Survey

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced the results of last winter’s survey of the hibernating bats in New York. The survey was a cooperative effort among state wildlife officials, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and numerous volunteers to monitor the effects of white-nose disease, a fungal infection that has devastated regional bat populations since it was first documented in a cave near Albany (in Schoharie County) in 2006. Since then white nose disease has spread throughout the South, Midwest, and eastern parts of Canada. Earlier this month new cases were identified for the first time west of the Mississippi in Missouri.

According to a study in Science, little brown myotis, a once common local species, has experienced a population collapse that could lead to its extinction in the northeastern US within 20 years. The Forest Service recently estimated that the die-off from white-nose will leave 2.4 million pounds of bugs uneaten and a financial burden to farms. A growing scientific consensus agrees the cause is Geomyces destructans; there is still debate over whether or not it was introduced from Europe by cavers.
» Continue Reading.


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