Right now, invasive species are infesting and destroying trees across New England. Asian long-horned beetles, emerald ash borers and winter moths are three of our state’s biggest culprits. The winter moth has already caused 16,596 acres of complete defoliation across the state and is showing no signs of slowing. This munching moth was introduced to the Massachusetts ecosystem about 20 years ago, causing the most damage in Gloucester and Rockport, but has also killed trees throughout the state’s eastern area. Their defoliation has been sighted in other New England states and they have recently been reported in central Massachusetts. To combat the issue, an entomologist has begun to release thousands of cyzenis albicans, a fly which only feeds on winter moth caterpillars. These flies will remain only as long as the winter moth larva, as the winter moth is their only food source, and they pose no risk of damage to our forests. In the meantime, insecticides are available if you see winter moths on your property. A Noon Turf Care specialist can prescribe the right combination of mulching, insecticide and horticultural oils to eliminate these harmful creatures from your trees.
For the first time since its arrival in Massachusetts, the emerald ash borer has been discovered at the Arnold Arboretum, a popular state park and nature preserve. This unique metallic-green Asian beetle burrows beneath the bark of ash trees, impeding their circulatory system to cause the tree’s death within three to five years. On their own, these small insects cannot travel very far, and therefore do not pose much risk to our landscape. However, the cutting and distribution of firewood has exacerbated their reach. Put simply, humans are the reason that these invasive critters are spreading and causing so much damage, putting three percent of Massachusetts’ trees at risk. The emerald ash borer has already destroyed millions of trees across roughly half of the United States, costing the country billions of dollars to replace them and deal with the infestation. Since eradicating the emerald ash borer is not an option, we are asking residents to avoid moving any ash products. Buy local firewood, instead of leaving and entering a slightly different ecosystem and potentially contaminating a new area with these tree killers. We can all do our part in containing this beetle’s radius of damage by safely removing dead or infested trees and using only local firewood.
Noon Turf Care was recently featured in Landscape Management talking about our new approach to lawn tech compensation. We changed focus from compensation based on volume of lawns treated to one that results in more personal interaction with our customers. Now, lawn technicians have a dedicated route they are assigned to for the year. As a result, we’ve seen customer retention increase 7% — and expect it to only continue to rise.
You can read the full article at Landscape Management.
The Cape Cod Bays are facing challenges with the mass amounts of nitrogen in the water leading to murky bay beds and seaweed covered shorelines. There have been many discussions about the best route to eliminate vast nitrogen counts in the water. So far the most popular suggestion has been aquaculture and shellfish cultivation. Scientists conducted a study and found that because shellfish are filter feeders, they take up some of the nitrogen. The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe was one of the first groups to conduct research on this matter with their 4.6 – acre oyster farm in Popponesset Bay. For them having an oyster farm isn’t only ecologically beneficial but has economic potential too.
Noon Turf Care owner Chris Noon was featured on Spreecast chat with Wall Street Journal’s Sarah Needleman. Click here to read more!
What do Sudbury, Wayland, Weston, Franklin, and Norfolk all have in common? In addition to being a part of the old Bay State, these communities have been named the top 5 safest cities in Massachusetts.
Safewise, a home security comparison tool, has compiled a list based on independent research as well as the most recent FBI Crime Report. In order to be considered for a spot on this elite list, a city must have been home to over 10,000 people as of 2012. The number of violent and property crimes were identified, and the chance of these crimes occurring out of 1,000 was then calculated. With such safe neighborhoods to boast for, it is no surprise that Massachusetts is the third most populated state in the country!
Many common beliefs about mosquitoes are nothing more than myths. For instance, not all mosquitoes bite humans. Entomologist Joseph M. Conlon explains that not all of the 3500 mosquito species feed on human blood and only the female mosquitoes go after blood, to aid in their egg production. Mosquitoes are also not attracted to specific colors, blood types, or foods. However, they are attracted to heat, carbon dioxide and larger masses which means that men, pregnant women, and people that are sweaty are more prone to bites. Mosquito-born diseases are becoming a larger threat in the U.S. due to increased travel and tourism. Conlon explains, “The world’s becoming a smaller place, and some of (the) nastiest diseases on Earth are only a six-hour plane flight away.” To protect yourself, use repellents on the body which are much more effective than citronella plants and candles.
To learn more visit: http://www.cnn.com/2014/07/04/health/mosquito-bites-myths/index.html
“Right now, the emerald ash borer is the most destructive insect we have in North America,” says Nathan Siegert, United States Forest Service entomologist. The beetle is thought to have traveled from China in wooden pallets, infesting ash trees from Minnesota to New York, and even Ontario. Implications of this situation are far greater than what meets the eye. In addition to the loss of a favorite backyard tree, emerald ash borers will be to blame for an entirely different ecosystem. During the winter, larvae burrow deep into the ash tree’s trunk by eating through the bark as they seek shelter from the cold. In the process, the tree is cut off from access to nutrients and water necessary for its survival. Vast amounts of native insects depend on ash trees for food or breeding, and a number of birds feed on these insects. Entomologists see no clear solution to the problem, but with the development of new insecticides, we hope ash trees can win the battle.
Long yet mild, winter 2014 sparked what experts predict to be a brutal mosquito season due to the lack of repeated freezes necessary to kill off the insects. Their stark abundance is showing up nationwide earlier than expected, causing citizens to grow apprehensive of potential diseases being carried by the mosquitos. It is important to know that standing water is the ideal breeding ground for mosquitos. With the wet season upon us, we must proceed with caution. One simple tip for homeowners is to take your potted plants outside and tip them over to rid of any excess water. If you develop symptoms like a fever, a severe headache, or swollen glands, visit your health care provider immediately, as these could be signs of more serious infections.
Follow the link below to watch a Today Show special on this subject:
Einstein once said, “If bees ever die out, mankind will die out four years later.” Over millions of years, plants and insects have developed a system of mutual cooperation where bees play an essential role in the reproduction of all plants by facilitating the pollination process. Consequently, as much as one third of what we eat would not exist without bees, whether directly or indirectly pollinated. Imagine the human labor necessary to pollinate 800,000 acres of almond trees. Luckily, we humans can avoid what would be a huge time- and money-expenditure, and we have the bees to thank.
More and more, we are finding abandoned bee nests. During the winter of 2013, one third of the U.S. honey bee colonies died. Anything that ends in “–cide” means it is meant to kill. Unfortunately, that happens to be exactly what we are putting into the food of our bees. Bees are pollinating genetically altered crops like corn, ingesting chemical pesticides, miticides, medication, etc., making it difficult for them to metabolize. In response, beekeepers are proposing the making of an area that would be pesticide free, in order to see if bees will bounce back. Another process thought to be harming bees occurs when beekeepers breed gentler bees. Although it would put some bee-fearing minds at ease, being gentle does not help the bees, as they cannot defend against diseases as well. When 1.5 million bee colonies meet on a plantation, they infect each other with diseases and parasites. If precautions are not taken, the devastating effects of continuous bee die-off will be expedited and guaranteed.
What can we do to help?
- Plant flowers that are known to be bee-attractors so that they can get some food in the months of August and September, a low spot for bees
- Be cautious of which pesticides you use and when you use them
- Respect bees. If they’re aggressive, this is normal
Bees can survive on very scarce resources, so they are expected to bounce back. What is in question is whether or not we will still be able to use them as we use them today. If action is not taken, the amount of food production will dramatically decrease, prices will increase, and we will have to import more from other areas of the world.
To learn more about the world’s impact on bee die-off, please visit http://onpoint.wbur.org/2013/06/05/bee-die-off for an informative NPR podcast.