This time of year brings out weekend warriors who love working in their gardens and yard on the weekends and in the evenings. It’s also the season for sitting on bleachers watching ball games, or camping in the woods.
If you fall into any of those categories – or are outside on a regular basis, period – make sure you’re checking regularly for ticks. You can feel mosquito bites almost as soon as they happen, but ticks are much less easy to spot.
Deer (or “Black-legged”) tick nymphs (newly hatched) are already very active this year. This is the tick that spreads Lyme Disease. The tiny larvae are hungry and are searching for hosts. Because of their miniscule size, they’re quite difficult to spot. While larval ticks don’t carry any diseases yet because they have just emerged from the egg and haven’t eaten a blood meal, it’s best to stay on the safe side and check yourself thoroughly any time you’ve been outdoors.
It’s very important to be aware of, and practice, preventive techniques for picking up ticks on your skin, hair, or clothing. Here are some things you can do: Continue reading
Winter Moth Caterpillar
The sunny, warm weather over the last week or two has accelerated plant growth, with many new spring flowering shrubs coming into bloom. We’re now seeing forsythia in full bloom in some regions. From our perspective, this means one thing: it’s time to protect your trees from gypsy moth and winter moth attack. The best strategy is to target the larvae eggs before they hatch.
Winter moth caterpillars are beginning to hatch and look to be plentiful this year, based on egg counts last fall. Newly-hatched winter moth caterpillars immediately seek out the swelling buds of host plants like oaks, maples, apple, crabapple, birch, and blueberry, and wriggle inside to feed.
By carefully observing these swelling buds to look for the presence of fine silk, we can find out where this pest is hiding. In their current stage, they are extremely tiny pale yellow caterpillars. Treatment can still be applied now before the remaining eggs hatch, but once the caterpillars are within the buds, they are virtually impossible to treat until the buds open and the caterpillars once again are exposed. Continue reading
Recent warmer temperatures mean we’re getting close to the hatching time of insect eggs. It’s still too early to tell what the mortality rate of their eggs and larvae was due to extended periods of deep cold temperatures this winter, but it’s likely to be higher than normal for at least some species.
Common pests we run into include the winter moth, hemlock woolly adelgid, elongate hemlock scale, and spruce spider mite. Here are a few tips about each one: Continue reading
Contrary to the well-known folk saying, in 2014 March went out like a lion, not a lamb.
Those of us in the Southeast/Cape Cod region experienced high winds, pounding rain, and periods of a wintry mix of sleet, ice, and freezing rain during the last week of the month. Thanks to cold temps that extended late into the season, most landscapes are still looking bare, with just a hint of green and minimal plant growth beginning to enter the picture.
While we are seeing crocuses open on sunny days, these are still few and far between. Daffodils are budded but not yet in bloom. Continue reading
This is the time of year, as the ice and snow cover are finally melted, that we can see what kind of damage our lawns suffered over the long, hard winter.
Snow molds, especially after a winter like we have had this year, can lead to matting of the turf. Spring recovery efforts include relief of this matting once the area dries out enough to permit work. Often the best approach is hand raking, but we also use equipment like de-thatchers to save time. Continue reading