insects

Invasive Pest Harms Hemlocks In The Catskills

Jan 30, 2015

A new study has found hemlock trees in the Catskill region have been declining in health amid an invasive pest infestation.

USDAgov / Flickr Creative Commons

It looks like the Emerald Ash Borer has won. Since 2012, the tiny invasive green beetle has spread to dozens of towns, posing a deadly risk to ash trees and resulting in six counties falling under wood quarantines. Now, with winter just around the corner, the state has announced it will modify those rules to make it easier for consumers to transport firewood around the state. 

d o w n s t r e a m / Flickr Creative Commons

Members of Congress, including three from Connecticut, have signed a letter urging the Environmental Protection Agency to better regulate a controversial class of pesticide called neonicotinoids.

USDAgov / Flickr Creative Commons

The Emerald Ash Borer, an invasive insect first detected in the state in 2012, has now spread to 39 Connecticut towns. That's up from just five towns two years ago. The most recent addition? Bridgeport.

Johnan J.Ingles-Le Nobel / Flickr Creative Commons

Mosquitoes trapped in East Haven are the first this year to test positive for West Nile Virus.

White House Task Force To Save Bees Stirs Hornet's Nest

Jun 27, 2014

When President Obama announced last week that he was creating a federal task force to investigate the nation's vanishing bee colonies, the moment provided newly minted Press Secretary Josh Earnest an opportunity to crack one of his first jokes on the job.

"When I walked out here today, I knew I was going to be handling a range of sensitive issues," he told reporters. "I didn't know I was going to be talking about the birds and the bees."

Creative Commons

Last June, Connecticut played host to an emergence of periodical 17-year cicadas. For many, promises of bug swarms covering neighborhoods never came to pass.

For others, in places like Meriden and North Branford, millions of cicadas did take over, lining roads, trees, and mailboxes. One year later, I met up with an entomologist to see what those bugs have left behind.

James Gathany / CDC/ National Climate Assessment

Climate change is linked to more floods, hotter and drier weather, and melting sea ice, but it could also affect infectious diseases like Lyme disease and West Nile Virus. The problem is we don't know how.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

For people with really bad arthritis the idea of intentionally suffering bee stings is an easier sell than it is with the rest of humankind. Sometimes my knees hurt so bad, a bee sting would be a welcomed distraction. I mean, it couldn’t make things any worse and there’s something intuitive about the idea that our body’s natural response to the venom might actually counteract other problems. So, this hour, we talk about apitherapy.

First, we explore the world of long-haul bee truckers. The nation’s farm depends on these peripatetic pollinators who cross the country and travel up and down the coasts. It’s a lot like other kinds of trucking and then it’s totally different.

Chion Wolf

You have to trust us. 

Because I realize that a show about the Eastern Hemlock doesn't sound that sexy. In fact, we've done tree shows in the past after which I have said, "Let's not do any more tree shows." But we think we've got something here. 

First of all, this our third show working with Bob Sullivan, a writer who, in the past, has been able to make just about any topic exciting. Second, this is a story with a villain, a cottony, crawling, feeding life form called the wooly adelgid. You want something you can hate without the tiniest tremor of remorse? We're going to give it to you. 

Third, this little villain is striking right at a major player in the natural cycles that can either slow or accelerate climate change. Fourth, we're going to be talking about the souls of trees. Trust us. 

Carole Cheah / Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station

Scientists say this winter's extreme cold is having a limited impact on the state's invasive bugs, and it may even be making one insect stronger. It's called the hemlock woolly adelgid, and it was first identified in Connecticut in 1985.

While many of us may prefer to never again see temperatures drop below zero like they did earlier this week across the country, the deep freeze is putting warm smiles on the faces of many entomologists.

That's because it may have been cold enough in some areas to freeze and kill some damaging invasive species of insects, including the tree-killing emerald ash borer.

The brown marmorated stink bug doesn't just smell bad. It's also been causing trouble for homeowners and farmers from New Hampshire to California for the past three years.

No predators are eating the invasive species fast enough to keep it under control, but researchers think they may have found a solution to the stink-bug menace.

Wikimedia Commons

A new species of 17-year cicada has been discovered in Connecticut. According to a report in The Hartford Courant, credit for the discovery goes to Chris Maier of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station.

The bug, dubbed magicicada septendecula, was found in North Branford. It's smaller than Connecticut's other 17-year cicada species, magicicada septendecim, which gained fame this summer for its emergence (or lack of emergence) around the state.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

For most of us, yellow jackets are a nuisance and for some people, they’re fatal. But for Norman Patterson, they’re more of an obsession.

“As a child, I remember finding a wild honey bee hive in the woods and I was fascinated by it," said Patterson. "That’s really what got me into honey bees, which eventually got me into collecting hornets and yellow jackets for medical labs.”

John Tann on Flickr Creative Commons

Lyme disease gets its name from the Connecticut town, and it’s always been a problem here...but it’s spreading, as far North as Maine and south down to Virginia. Dr. Paul Mead of the CDC says that due in part to the “reforestation” of the Northeast.

whologwhy/flickr creative commons

One of the world's most beautiful endangered species, butterflies are as lucrative as gorillas, pandas, and rhinos on the black market. In this cutthroat $200 million business, no one was more successful—or posed a greater ecological danger—than Yoshi Kojima. Jessica Speart’s Winged Obsession covers the pursuit of the world’s most notorious butterfly smuggler. Speart is our guest.

Flickr Creative Commons - Ashok666

The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, which runs the state’s mosquito trapping and testing program, is reporting record numbers of mosquitoes this year.  Chief Entomologist Dr. Theodore Andreadis says it’s a direct result of the heavy rains.

MICKJ23Q on Flickr Creative Commons

Even if they’re not crawling all over your neighborhood as we feared, the cicadas have returned!

There’s a lot of buzz around the millions of cicadas swarming along the East coast this summer, the eggs of a brood last seen 17 years ago.

And they have us thinking about the the last time they were here. 

It was 1996 and the world was a different place.

Chion Wolf

Every 17 years, the east coast plays host to one of nature's biggest -- and loudest -- parties. The guests are millions of periodical cicadas, red-eyed bugs who burrow their way out of the ground to mate, and sometimes, they do it with a light switch.

Flickr Creative Commons, Tim Brown Architecture

John the Baptist, we are told, subsisted on locusts and honey. I used to think that John the Baptist's would be a great name for a chain of fast food edible insect restaurants, if that trend ever took off.

Come to find out, there's some disagreement, especially online, about whether he really ate locusts or whether that's a reference to the fruit of the locust tree. Maybe people just don't like to think about John the Baptist eating bugs.

Courtesy USDA (Creative Commons)

We've talked on WNPR's Morning Edition about the Emerald Ash Borer, the tiny green Asian beetle that feeds exclusively on the ash tree and has decimated millions of ash trees in over a dozen states. It has been recently discovered in several towns in Connecticut.

Superstorm Sandy has thrown a wrench in the effort to contain the Emerald Ash Borer. Joining us by phone is Chris Martin, Director of Forestry for the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

Tlindenbaum (Flickr Creative Commons)

The makeup of butterfly populations in the Northeast has changed dramatically in the last two decades, according to a new study. That's because global warming is driving butterflies to cooler climates farther north.

Trindade.Joao

Mosquitoes are one of those things that we learn to deal with. We put the bug spray on, light the citronella candle, and try to keep the itching to a minimum. But for some people, those skeeters are deadly.

Yesterday, the Dallas, Texas region saw its 11th death of the year from the West Nile Virus. More than 200 people have been infected by the disease. And here in Connecticut, officials announced the first case of West Nile last week. The Agricultural Experiment Station has found mosquitoes carrying the virus in dozens of towns across Connecticut.

Courtesy of Flickr CC by USDA

Connecticut has a new, destructive resident that most likely is here to stay. As WNPRs Lucy Nalpathanchil reports, the arrival of the Emerald Ash Borer has caused state officials to impose a quarantine in one part of Connecticut.

Connecticut Agencies Plan Ahead For Tree-Eating Insects

Aug 4, 2011
Kyle Ramirez via WikiMedia Commons

Two invasive insects that attack and kill trees have infested areas of Massachusetts and New York in recent years. Connecticut is putting a plan in place that specifies the role of different state agencies --- if these insects were to be found in Connecticut. WNPR’s Nancy Cohen reports.

Army of Weevils Attack Invasives

Jun 15, 2011
Donna Ellis

The state is releasing thousands of weevils this week that feed on one of the most highly-invasive plants. WNPR’s Nancy Cohen reports.                 

On the Lookout for a Tree-Eating Invasive

May 19, 2011
takomabibelot, Flickr Creative Commons

The Emerald Ash Borer is an invasive insect from Asia that has killed more than 50 million ash trees in the U.S. in the past decade. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is setting more than 60,000 traps in 48 states, including Connecticut, to look for the beetle.