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.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns that approximately 300,000 Americans are diagnosed with Lyme Disease each year. Although a simple blood test can detect this ongoing health threat, doctors often misdiagnose common symptoms like fatigue, depression, muscle aches and rashes. You are at greater risk of getting Lyme if you reside in the Northeast, but cases have surfaced in nearly every state, not only in wooded suburbs, but in big cities, too.
In order to avoid confusion or misdiagnosis of Lyme, it is vital to familiarize yourself with symptoms and preemptive measures. After being bitten, symptoms can begin to appear after 3-30 days. You might notice a bull’s-eye rash surrounding the infected area and swollen lymph nodes on the neck and groin. You may also experience headaches, muscle and joint aches, fatigue and fever. After several months, a Lyme victim often suffers from symptoms that are less frequently identified with the disease. These include heart palpitations, facial palsy, severe headaches, and arthritis. Further down the road, months to years later, neurological problems may surface along with numbness in the hands or feet, and even short term memory loss. It is important to remember that even if treated years later, Lyme disease can be cured, as treatment is just as effective in later years.
To reduce your risk for Lyme, when walking through wooded areas, wear long sleeves and pants. Another tip is to tuck pant legs into your socks. When hot weather prevents you from covering up, another preventative measure is to bathe promptly after outdoor exposure, as ticks do not attach immediately. If spotted on the skin after thoroughly checking clothing and the body, use tweezers to grab the head and lift gently. Make sure you do not lift it by the engorged area as this will cause the bacteria to squeeze into the stingers and into the skin. To protect against Lyme, use insect repellent with 25-50% DEET. Kids under twelve should not use more than 10% DEET, and children under two months should avoid it altogether. In any case where you prefer not to use a repellent containing DEET, lemon eucalyptus is recommended as an alternative.
This issue was recently given national attention when featured on the Dr. Oz show. Please see the following links for the segment:
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NPR reports how phosphorus buildup as a result of animal agriculture is wreaking havoc on water quality, acting as a pollutant to aquatic life in these areas.