Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Devil’s Shoelace: Doddering Assailants

Considering the climate where the personification of evil is alleged to make his home, you’d think the devil would wear flip-flops or something, but it seems he prefers lace-up footwear (Prada, I’m told). “Devil’s shoelaces” is one name applied to dodder (Cuscuta spp.), a parasitic plant that looks more like creepy yellow-orange spaghetti than a plant. Dodder is known by a whole slew of unflattering titles including wizard’s net, strangleweed, witch’s hair, and hellbine. As these names suggest, dodder has earned itself quite a sinister reputation, which is no big surprise, since parasites generally inspire collywobbles, not cuddles. But the >>More


Monday, August 14, 2017

Forest Landowners Take Note Of Hemlock Woolly Adelgid

Eastern hemlocks (Tsuga canadensis) are one of the most beautiful conifers found in northern New York forests. It can take up to 300 years for them to reach mature heights of up to 70 feet and diameters of up to 3-feet. They commonly live for 500 years and can live for 800 years or longer. Many are among the oldest trees in the state. In their northern range, they’re found at a variety of elevations (sea level to near 5000 ft.) and on a multiplicity of sites (hillsides, valleys, shorelines, glacial ridges). Hemlocks are commonly found growing in mixed stands, with >>More


Monday, August 14, 2017

Forest Landowners Take Note Of Hemlock Woolly Adelgid

Eastern hemlocks (Tsuga canadensis) are one of the most beautiful conifers found in northern New York forests. It can take up to 300 years for them to reach mature heights of up to 70 feet and diameters of up to 3-feet. They commonly live for 500 years and can live for 800 years or longer. Many are among the oldest trees in the state. In their northern range, they’re found at a variety of elevations (sea level to near 5000 ft.) and on a multiplicity of sites (hillsides, valleys, shorelines, glacial ridges). Hemlocks are commonly found growing in mixed stands, with >>More


Saturday, August 12, 2017

Adirondack Dog-Strangling Vine

This summer, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has come through with a new hope for the forces of good. Its Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has opened a public comment period, ending on August 14, 2017, relating to the release of a non-native insect to control swallow-wort. Sometimes called “dog-strangling vine,” this invasive plant from Eurasia doesn’t harm pets, but it does live up to its name as a strangler. There are two species of the perennial vine, and they are both adept at choking out wildflowers, forest seedlings, Christmas tree plantations, hay fields and other >>More


Monday, August 7, 2017

Caddisflies: Submerged Silk Spinners

A small boy asked “what’s your favorite insect?” I answered without hesitation: caddisflies. Not the short-lived adults, which while charming in their own hairy moth-like way, do not capture my attention. My caddisfly predilection is reserved for the larval stages that last for most of the insect’s one or, less often, two or three year life span. These larvae, like their caterpillar cousins, make and use silk in ways that fascinate me. Silk permits their use of a wide variety of freshwater habitats and food sources. Consider the caddisflies of the family Rhyacophilidae. Their name translates to “rock loving,” and >>More


Sunday, July 30, 2017

Adirondack Insects: Forest Tent Caterpillars

Walk through a hardwood forest this month and it may seem more like October than July. Trees that normally provide cool shade have bare crowns with just a hint of green. And is the bark on that sugar maple moving? This is not a trick of the light: you are, in fact, in the middle of a forest tent caterpillar outbreak. Despite the name, forest tent caterpillars don’t actually build tents like their cousins the eastern tent caterpillars. Instead, you’ll find them congregated on silken mats on tree trunks or branches. If you’re in an infested area, they won’t be >>More


Friday, July 28, 2017

Statewide Asian Longhorned Beetle Outreach and Survey Underway

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced that the annual Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) Swimming Pool Survey is underway, marking the program’s sixth summer of research work. DEC invites pool owners, now through August 30, to check their pool filters and help keep watch for these invasive beetles before they cause serious damage to the State’s forests and street trees. DEC and partners will also be hanging tags on host trees to encourage people to learn more about ALB and to demonstrate the potential impacts in neighborhoods and parks. According to DEC, the majority of invasive forest >>More


Thursday, July 27, 2017

First Adirondack Hemlock Woolly Adegid Infestation Confirmed

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced that “a minor infestation” of the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (Adelges tsugae) was confirmed on Forest Preserve lands in the town of Lake George in Warren County on July 1. This is the first known infestation of Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA) in the Adirondacks. A small cluster of early stage HWA was detected on one branch of an old-growth Eastern hemlock tree on Prospect Mountain during a field trip by a Senior Ecologist from the Harvard Research Forest. DEC dispatched a HWA survey crew to the site and was joined >>More


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Participants Sought For Summer Wild Turkey Survey

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is encouraging New Yorkers to participate in a survey for wild turkeys and help state biologists better understand this iconic bird. Since 1996, DEC has conducted the Summer Wild Turkey Sighting Survey to estimate the number of wild turkey poults (young turkey born this year) per hen statewide. Weather, predation, and habitat conditions during the breeding and brood-rearing seasons can all significantly impact nest success, hen survival, and poult survival. This index helps DEC to gauge reproductive success and predict the number of turkeys killed during the hunting season. During the month of >>More


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

A North Country Eel Story That Will Leave You Squirming

When stuff doesn’t work, we either play Mr. Fixit or call someone. Whether it’s a job for your auto mechanic, furnace repair technician, or electrician, the expert usually has a good idea of what’s causing a particular problem. But sometimes malfunctions are real puzzlers. From the 1870s well into the 1900s, mystery surrounded many incidents where faucets or pipes were opened but the water didn’t flow. When that happened, there were real consequences: a factory couldn’t operate or a school might close. For citizens lucky enough to have running water in their homes, it meant going without — or, if >>More


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