I just got an e-postcard from Dr. Jennifer Forman-Orth, our state plant pest survey coordinator (or beetle hunter if you will). Jennifer's avid quest for invasive species makes me wish I had time for an hour-long lunch with her to find out the defining moment she decided that holding an ugly inch-and-a-half long beetle in her hand would be a fun thing to do. Suffice to say, she is always on the lookout for the latest plant pests, plant diseases and weeds that threaten the Commonwealth.
These days she spends a lot of her time educating people about the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB), a wood-boring insect recently discovered in Worcester. With a grant that DAR received from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Jenn has been organizing ALB training sessions across the state. Jenn and her assistant, Sarah Ryan, have set up ALB information tables everywhere from The Big E to Boston’s GreenFest. As Jenn notes, “The more people we can teach to recognize this shiny black and white beetle, and the round exit holes it makes in maples and other hardwood trees, the better chance we have of getting a jump on the situation if it’s ever found elsewhere in Massachusetts.”
Jenn recently organized ALB tree surveys in Boston and Springfield to encourage volunteers in those communities and budding beetle hunters to learn how to monitor the trees in their own neighborhoods. If you think you’ve seen an Asian longhorned beetle or signs of ALB tree damage, you can report it online or call toll-free at 866-702-9938.
Calling All Insect-Loving Volunteers! posted on Jul 30
I always thought wasps were the bad guys growing up. But smokey-winged beetle bandit wasps (Cerceris fumipennis) are actually the good guys – used to kill off an invasive species. This specific type of wasp (that does not sting) catches Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), a …Continue Reading Calling All Insect-Loving Volunteers!
A Whale of a License Plate posted on Jul 28
Wish your license plate was more identifiable? Want to save whales? Well, there is a way to achieve both of these at once. Perhaps the old saying about hitting two birds with one stone should be “do two cool things with one easy payment to the …Continue Reading A Whale of a License Plate
Before the Boston Seafood Festival, Reconsider the Lobster posted on Jul 23
Everything that you have been told about lobsters is a lie. Okay, maybe not everything. But despite the popularity of the lobster industry (and it’s a very popular industry—bringing in over $53 million dollars in Massachusetts alone), many popular beliefs about the lobster’s existence are …Continue Reading Before the Boston Seafood Festival, Reconsider the Lobster