Posts Tagged ‘insects’

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Locals Beat Lily Leaf Beetle

Scarlet or red lily beetle courtesy wikimedia user CharlesjsharpThe lily, native around the world in the temperate parts of the northern hemisphere, has been an important cultural icon for millennia. Depending where you stand on the globe, it can represent humility, purity, unbridled sexuality, the Province of Québec, wealth, or a thriving garden, to name but a few possibilities.

The flower is mentioned in The New Testament, such as in Matthew 6:26: “Behold the lilies of the field: They toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” The message, as I understand it, is that one should not waste energy worrying how to clothe oneself, because even wild lilies are garbed well. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, July 18, 2019

Mosquitoes: Life Under Tension

Mosquito A good friend was in touch; her son was enduring allergic reactions to mosquitos and, like any good parent, she sought solutions. I told her that the most practical, non-toxic way to deal with the problem was to consider a mosquitos’ lifecycle, and interrupt it where it starts.

Mosquitoes begin their lives in eggs laid singly or in rafts, in most cases on the surface of water. We purchase mosquito egg rafts at Saint Michael’s College to run student experiments with the hatching larvae. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Native Lupine, Pollinators and the Karner Blue

lupine by adelaide tyrolLupine is one of the most spectacular flowers of early summer, painting long stretches of roadside with shades of purple and blue. Thanks to this tall, showy plant, even a stop-and-go drive to Boston’s Logan Airport has its moments of beauty (as I recently had occasion to observe). Full sun and dry, sandy soil are just right for lupine.

Although many people don’t know it, the lupine we typically see in the Northeast is “not from around here.” It’s a non-native plant that was imported to eastern gardens from parts of the western U.S. and escaped cultivation. Our native lupine is similar, but it is seen far less often and is, unfortunately, in regional decline. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, July 10, 2019

The Short, Productive Life of the Luna Moth

luna moth On early summer nights I sometimes see large, pale green moths with long, twisted tails fluttering near our porch light. Later, I often find them dead on the ground. These beautiful moths are luna moths, named for the Roman goddess of the moon. Each of their four wings has a transparent, moon-shaped eyespot.

The luna moth (Actias luna) is one of the largest species of moths in North America, with a wingspan of three to four inches. It inhabits deciduous forests, where its green wings blend in among the leaves. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Hummingbird Moths, A Primer

Hummingbird Moth One afternoon last summer, my partner Rick called me out onto our deck to see a tiny hummingbird. Not just tiny, but the tiniest hummingbird he had ever seen. My curiosity piqued, I walked out and there it was – hovering in front of the bee balm, sipping nectar and beating its wings at an impossible rate. It was a rich rust color and about an inch and a half long. By comparison, the smallest ruby-throated hummingbirds are twice that length. This was truly the most diminutive hummingbird imaginable.

Or was it? » Continue Reading.


Saturday, June 29, 2019

The Little Things: Pollination at its Finest

honeybee by Jackie Woodcock

Here in the Adirondacks the stars are our night light, the crickets and bull frogs our bedtime lullaby.

This is a place where the simple things are seen and not overlooked. Mountain life affords us an advantage, serene surroundings to ponder about the little things and the opportunity to witness nature at work up close and personal. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, June 23, 2019

Questions Remain In Controlling Spotted Lantern Fly

lantern fly by adelaide tyrolHave you seen a spotted lanternfly? If you live in New England, and answered “no,” that’s good. But we’ll have to check back with you next year.

The lanternfly is one of the latest foreign invasive insect pests to become established in North America. And it isn’t a picky eater. Dozens of crops and native trees are go-to foods for this destructive bug. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, June 1, 2019

Welcome Infestations: Dragonflies and Damselflies

dragonfly anatomy courtesy Wikimedia user M A BroussardIt is not too often one hears about a good-news infestation. I’d like to come across a bulletin on a new invasive money-tree that was poised to spread through the region. Granted it would produce in foreign currency, but we could make peace with that situation, I imagine.

A money-tree invasion is unlikely, but some areas will soon be overrun by hordes of insects programmed to eat black flies, mosquitoes and deer flies. Dragonflies and damselflies, carnivorous insects in the order Odonata, date back more than 300 million years. Both kinds of insects are beneficial in that they eat plenty of nasties. Of the estimated 6,000 Odonata species on Earth, about 200 have been identified in our part of the globe. I’ve been told it’s good fortune if one lands on you, but the luck is probably that they terrify biting insects. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, May 26, 2019

Life, Death, and Black Flies

black fly larvaI was in southern Connecticut a few weeks back to pick my son up from college. While he took his last exam, I took myself up a local hiking trail. Connecticut black flies are as bad as their Vermont cousins, and I brushed several of the little beasts out from under my hairline. It can be hard to think of these biting flies with anything but disdain, but they do serve important ecological functions. And in at least one case, they also solved a murder. » Continue Reading.


Monday, May 20, 2019

Invasive Lanternfly May Be Vulnerable To Native Fungi

spotted lanternfly nymphs adultsThe season of daylight and blooming flowers has finally arrived. But, along with the emergence of all things green, comes the emergence of all sorts of flies, bugs, mites, worms, and mollusks. Many of these are unwelcome home, garden, and agricultural pests which, as the weather continues to warm, will only become more active.

Early season leaf- and plant-feeding insects are on every grower’s mind. And this year, grape growers, orchardists, nursery operators, home-gardeners, and others are advised to be aware of the potential for the appearance of yet another invasive pest from Asia. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, May 16, 2019

Pollinator Symposium Set For June

pollinator symposiumAdkAction’s Adirondack Pollinator Project is set to hold a Pollinator Symposium June 5 at Tannery Pond Community Center in North Creek, on Wednesday, June 5th, from 10 am to 4 pm.

The Pollinator Symposium will be aimed at equipping farmers, groundskeepers, public park managers, gardeners, and local government agencies with the knowledge to help preserve and build pollinator populations in the Adirondacks.  » Continue Reading.


Sunday, May 5, 2019

A New Tick in Town

female longhorned tick Black flies bite, but ticks really suck. Enough complaining – that never helps.

After such a long winter, we are all grateful that spring has finally sprung, even though the price of warm weather seems to be the advent of biting insects. Swarms of mosquitoes can drain the fun from an evening on the deck, but a single black-legged or deer tick (Ixodes scapularis) can take the shine off an entire summer if it infects you with Lyme disease and/or another serious illness. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, May 4, 2019

Poetry: Dragonfly Dream

You were a bright surprise.
Looking up, I saw you in flight,
Balancing on buoyant breezes,
Bravely, blithely,
From blade to emerald blade.
A mere wisp of twin wings, no more.
Honey, brown and black,
Sunbeams shone through you,
As I beheld your body, barely there,
I wished to be you,
And the change you herald.
Deftly floating like a whispered wish,
Or a daydream,
You perch prettily, precariously,
On green shoots pointing,
To heaven.
I bow to your power, tiny warrior,
As you greet me,
To grace me,
And the universe,
With your gentle gift.

Read More Poems From The Adirondack Almanack HERE.


Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Tick-Borne Diseases Are On The Rise

tick life cycleEighteen years ago, when I moved back to New Hampshire, I rarely came across ticks. The dog didn’t carry them unwittingly into the house, and I could spend the day in the garden or on wooded trails and not see a single, hard-shelled, eight-legged, blood-sucking creepy-crawly.

Not so anymore. Now, from the time of snowmelt in the spring to the first crisp snowfall of autumn – and often beyond – we find ticks everywhere: on the dog, crawling up the front door, along kids’ hairlines, on backs or arms or legs, and occasionally (and alarmingly) walking along a couch cushion or bed pillow. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, March 16, 2019

Fireflies of Winter

winter lightning bug Like most people, I thought I knew where to find fireflies: in back yards and fields on summer nights, flickering on and off like dollhouse-sized lanterns or like Tinkerbell, the tiny fairy that the author of Peter Pan invented while observing fireflies near a Scottish lake.

I was only partly right. There are about 2,000 firefly species, but not all are nocturnal. Nor are they all flashy – some don’t light up at all. Furthermore, we don’t have to wait for summer to see one.

Meet Ellychnia corrusca, known as the winter dark, or diurnal, firefly. » Continue Reading.