Got Nature? Blog

Cockroaches are serious threats to human health. They carry dozens of types of bacteria, such as E. coli and salmonella, that can sicken people. And the saliva, feces and body parts they leave behind may not only trigger allergies and asthma but could cause the condition in some children.

cockroach in lab

A German cockroach feeds on an insecticide in the laboratory portion of a Purdue University study that determined the insects are gaining cross-resistance to multiple insecticides at one time. (Photo by John Obermeyer/Purdue Entomology)

A Purdue University study led by Michael Scharf, professor and O.W. Rollins/Orkin Chair in the Department of Entomology, now finds evidence that German cockroaches (Blattella germanica L.) are becoming more difficult to eliminate as they develop cross-resistance to exterminators’ best insecticides. The problem is especially prevalent in urban areas and in low-income or federally subsidized housing where resources to effectively combat the pests aren’t as available.

“This is a previously unrealized challenge in cockroaches,” said Scharf, whose findings were published in the journal Scientific Reports. “Cockroaches developing resistance to multiple classes of insecticides at once will make controlling these pests almost impossible with chemicals alone.”

Each class of insecticide works in a different way to kill cockroaches. Exterminators will often use insecticides that are a mixture of multiple classes or change classes from treatment to treatment. The hope is that even if a small percentage of cockroaches is resistant to one class, insecticides from other classes will eliminate them.

Scharf and his study co-authors set out to test those methods at multi-unit buildings in Indiana and Illinois over six months. In one treatment, three insecticides from different classes were rotated into use each month for three months and then repeated. In the second, they used a mixture of two insecticides from different classes for six months. In the third, they chose an insecticide to which cockroaches had low-level starting resistance and used it the entire time.

In each location, cockroaches were captured before the study and lab-tested to determine the most effective insecticides for each treatment, setting up the scientists for the best possible outcomes.

“If you have the ability to test the roaches first and pick an insecticide that has low resistance, that ups the odds,” Scharf said. “But even then, we had trouble controlling populations.”

For full article: Rapid cross-resistance bringing cockroaches closer to invincibility.

Resources
Report Invasive Species, Purdue Agriculture & Indiana Invasive Species Council
Purdue experts encourage ‘citizen scientists’ to report invasive species, Purdue Agriculture News
New Hope for Fighting Ash Borer, Got Nature? Blog, Purdue Forestry and Natural Resources
Mile-a-Minute Invasive Vine Found Indiana, Got Nature? Blog
Sericea Lespedeza: Plague on the Prairie, Got Nature? Blog

Michael E. Scharf, Professor and O.W. Rollins/Orkin Chair
Purdue Department of Entomology

Brian J. Wallheimer, Science Writer
Purdue College of Agriculture


man with fishing polesJune 2019 IDNR Wildlife Bulletin Newsletter: Ever hooked a fish that left you scratching your head? There is now an easy way to help identify your catch. Just use the DNR Fish Identification Form to submit a request and email a photo or video. Not only will you be able to settle disputes, but we can also receive important location information for rare species.

Completion of this form is voluntary. Data submitted may be shared within DNR and partners with the discretion of DNR staff. Personal information will be used to process your observation and may also be used for participation in surveys and other secondary purposes. A fisheries biologist may contact you with questions about your observation or to set up a site visit to verify authenticity details of any photos submitted.

What we’re looking for in fish ID photos:

  1. A picture of the entire fish with something in it to reference size (e.g., ruler, coin)
  2. Close up of any unique features of the fish

Please email photos to fishid@dnr.IN.gov in medium size .jpeg file format. Videos should be .mp4, wmv or .mov and less than 10 MB in size.

Resources
Wildlife Bulletin Newsletter, Indiana Department of Natural Resources
Fishing Guide and Regulations, Indiana Department of Natural Resources
List of Indiana Fishes, Indiana Department of Natural Resources
Recreational Fishing and Fish Consumption, Got Nature?, Purdue Extension-Forestry and Natural Resources
A Fish Farmer’s Guide to Understanding Water Quality, The Education Store, Purdue Extension Resource Center
Pond Management: Stocking Fish in Indiana Ponds, The Education Store
The Nature of Teaching: Adaptations for Aquatic Amphibians, The Education Store

Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR)


Salmon and Trout of the Great Lakes: A Visual Identification GuideThe Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant and Purdue Forestry and Natural Resources Extension have recently released a new publication through The Education Store. This collaborative publication is a visual identification guide on salmon and trout of the Great Lakes.

The Great Lakes are home to eight species of salmon and trout. These species can be difficult to distinguish from each other as they overlap in their distributions and change appearance depending on their habitat and the time of year. This illustrated, peer-reviewed, two-page guide, courtesy of the Great Lakes Sea Grant Network, shows important body features and helpful tips to identify and distinguish between salmon and trout species in the Great Lakes.

View the Salmon and Trout of the Great Lakes: A Visual Identification Guide on The Education Store-Purdue Extension. See below for other related publications and websites.

Resources
A Fish Farmer’s Guide to Understanding Water Quality, The Education Store, Purdue Extension Resource Center
Pond Management: Stocking Fish in Indiana Ponds, The Education Store
The Nature of Teaching: Adaptations for Aquatic Amphibians, The Education Store
DNR Fish Identification Form, Indiana Department of Natural Resources
Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant, IISG Homepage

Mitchell Zischke, Clinical Assistant Professor
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources


Posted on June 27th, 2019 in Wildlife | No Comments »
Coyote

Coyote (Canis latrans) – Photo by Alfred Viola, Northeastern University, Bugwood.org

Question
Can you help me identify the canids that live on my farm? Are they “coyote” or “coywolf”? I have taken photos of the pups and have been confused on trying to identify them from articles I have found online. One article I found suggests a “coywolf” is something unusual; but another article I found suggests every canid we refer to in Indiana as “coyote” is actually a “coywolf” hybrid rather than a “true” coyote.  I would like to know. Thank you.

Answer
Thanks for submitting this question. You are correct that many of the online articles we find are confusing and contradicting, and if I might add often just plain wrong.  The truth is all coyotes east of the Mississippi River have some level of wolf genes as well as domestic dog genes.  What is recent, is that this was discovered regarding wolf genes.  Not because of a recent hybridization event, but that new genetic technologies (specifically, next gen sequencing) allowed researchers to detect this.  Coyotes we have now are no different than they were 50 years ago.  The term coywolf is a poor term at best.  It is misleading and its use should be avoided. News outlets use it because it captures viewers attention.

In terms of variation in size and current hybridization, these things can happen but are very rare. The size of coyotes, as with people or any other animal species, can be extreme for a rare individual.  However, the vast majority are within a normal range.  Published weights of coyotes average 13 to 15 kg.  So on average, coyotes in Maine are about 5 lbs heavier than those in Indiana. So a typical adult coyote is 28 to 33 lbs, you do find one that is 40 lbs or even approaches 50 lbs total. Wolves are capable of breeding with coyotes, but they will most often run them off or kill them as competitors for  shared resources.  Also, we don’t have any wolves around either.

Stan Gerht is a researcher from Ohio State.  His team has studied coyotes in the Chicagoland area for years.  They have a lot of good information about them at the Urban Coyote Research website.

Resources
Should I Be Worried About Coyotes In My Yard?, Got Nature? Blog
Urban Coyotes – Should You Be Concerned?, Got Nature? Blog
Urban Coyote Research Center, Urban Coyote Ecology & Managenet, Cook County, Illinois
Dealing with Nuisance Coyotes, Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR)-Fish and Wildlife
Coyotes a Constant Problem in Indy Suburbs, IndyStar
Dealing with Nuisance Coyotes, INDNR
Coyotes, Wildlife Conflicts, Department of Entomology, Purdue University

Brian MacGowan, Wildlife Extension Specialist & Extension Coordinator
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources Extension


 

When encountering turtles, it is important to leave them alone to ensure their safety in their natural habitat. Several of Indiana’s turtle species are illegal to takeEastern box turtle or possess, including the Eastern box turtle (pictured right). Unless a turtle needs assistance crossing a road, it should never be picked up or moved.

What should be kept in mind if you encounter a turtle who may need help?

People often encounter nesting females on roads during May and June. If a female is taken out of the wild, she can no longer add to the population.

Turtles are long-lived species and have significant care requirements. Captive turtles cannot be released into the wild. They can introduce diseases or parasites to the wild population, and they will likely not survive.

You can help turtles cross the road. Always move the turtle across the direction that it was heading.

Any turtle collected from the wild requires either a legal license or permit and all reptile eggs and endangered species or species of special concern are protected.

View the resources below on reptiles and amphibians along with Indiana’s regulations answering any questions you may have for collection, handling and conservation efforts.

Resources:
Turtles of Indiana, The Education Store, Purdue Extension’s resource center
Snakes and Lizards of Indiana, The Education Store
Reptile and Amphibian Regulations, Indiana Department of Natural Resources
Eastern Box Turtle Information, Indiana Department of Natural Resources

Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR)


Eastern red-backed salamanders.The Purdue Extension-Nature of Teaching has recently released a new publication through The Education Store. The Nature of Teaching provides free Indiana Academic Standard-based lesson plans for students in grades second through sixth to guide them on how to help maintain a healthy environment.

Understanding adaptations for aquatic amphibians can help humans learn more about healthy ecosystems. Through this educational unit, students will be able to explain how amphibian adaptations benefit survival, describe the importance of Eastern Hellbender adaptations, and identify impacts that humans have on aquatic amphibians.

These packed lesson plans are great resources for school teachers, parents, 4-H leaders and other natural resource educators. View the Adaptations for Aquatic Amphibians for the latest installment in the Nature of Teaching resources. See below for other related publications, lesson plans and games.

Resources
Frogs and Toads of Indiana, The Education Store, Purdue Extension
Salamanders of Indiana, The Education Store
Snakes and Lizards of Indiana, The Education Store
Turtles of Indiana, The Education Store
Help the Hellbender, Purdue Extension
Hellbender Havoc Game, Google Play, Hellbender Havoc Game – Apple iTunes Store
Hellbender Decline, Purdue Extension-FNR Youtube
The Nature of Teaching, Lesson Plans K-12, Purdue Extension

Nick Burgmeier, Extension Wildlife Specialist & Research Biologist
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources


Woodland Steward PublicationThe Indiana Woodland Steward Homepage has just been updated with a new newsletter and is available to view on the website. The Indiana Woodland Steward Newsletter is a resource that’s full of a variety of valuable information to foresters, woodland owners, timber marketing specialists and any woodland enthusiasts. This issue includes topics such as hardwood strategy, terrestrial invasive species rule, tick-borne diseases, spring time woodland evaluations, as well as much more.

Check out this IWS Newsletter  to stay current in the world of forestry, and feel free to browse archived articles dating back to 1992 for more information.

Resources:
Indiana Woodland Steward, IWS Newsletter Homepage
Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment, Purdue University FNR
Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Indiana DNR Homepage

The Indiana Woodland Steward Institute is an entity made from 11 organizations within the state including Purdue University, Indiana DNR, and Indiana Hardwood Lumbermen’s Association that works to promote best usage practices of Indiana’s woodland resources through their Woodland Steward publication.

Brian MacGowan, Extension Wildlife Specialist
Department of Forestry & Natural Resources, Purdue University


Posted on April 29th, 2019 in Nature of Teaching, Wildlife | No Comments »

FNRStudentsElemSchool

Purdue University was awarded funding through The National Science Foundation to provide a free two-day professional development workshop for high school educators to learn how to use standards-based Ecotoxicology and Environmental Health curriculum resources available through the Purdue Extension program The Nature of Teaching.

This FREE workshop will be June 27-28 from 9am-5pm at the John S. Wright Forestry Center 1007 N. 725 W. West Lafayette, IN 47904.

Workshop participants will earn 16 PGP points, receive a binder or resources, lesson materials, receive a $350 stipend upon teaching lessons in the classroom and submitting student data, plus funding for travel, meals, and lodging.

Learn and receive resources about disease ecology including: parasite diversity research activity, modeling disease with SIR models, trematode-tadpole infection activity, environmental health/ecotoxicology, field sampling of water quality, daphnia salinity experiment and snail eutrophication experiment.

See the 2019 Nature of Teaching Ecotoxicology Workshop Flyer for details.

Registration is on a first-come basis and closes May 6th. Register here at our Nature of Teaching Qualtrics Registration.

Visit the Nature of Teaching website to view other upcoming events: 2019 Nature of Teaching Workshops and Conferences.

Resources
National Science Foundation, Official Home Website
The Nature of Teaching – Purdue Extension

Rebecca Busse, Nature of Teaching Program Coordinator
Purdue Forestry and Natural Resources


Tick INsiders

Scientists from Purdue’s Tick INsiders program, Lauren Hagen (left) and Maria Muriga (right), drag and check tick cloths at Tippecanoe River State Park in 2018. The program is looking for high school students and citizen scientists interested in helping with tick collections this year. (Tick INsiders photo)

Purdue University’s Tick INsiders program is looking for Indiana high school students and other Indiana residents willing to roll down their sleeves to get involved in a citizen science project.

Cate Hill, a Purdue professor of entomology, leads this effort to analyze the bacteria and viruses in Indiana’s ticks to build an understanding of what they are carrying and how that might impact human health. To do that, she needs volunteers to collect ticks from all over the state.

This year the Tick INsiders program will provide training for up to 50 students. Citizen scientists are also now welcome to collect and send ticks to Hill’s lab.

“It’s really important work. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that human cases of tick-borne diseases doubled from 2004 to 2016. If we’re going to get a handle on that and develop strategies for reducing tick bites and treating patients, we need to know where our ticks are and what our ticks are carrying around inside them,” Hill said. “That means we need a lot of ticks, and we need help collecting them.”

Three species of ticks – the blacklegged or deer tick, the lone star tick and the American dog tick – are found in Indiana. These ticks can transmit multiple pathogens, nine of which are known to cause human illnesses, though not all have been identified in Indiana. The Indiana State Department of Health reports more than 100 cases of Lyme disease each year and dozens of cases of Ehrlichiosis, anaplasmosis and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

Research suggests that ticks can carry a cocktail of microbes – bacteria and viruses – that can sicken bite victims and may work in concert to affect the severity of an illness and human immune response.

“Not all tick bites are the same. We don’t know what is passed from a tick to a human each time someone is bitten, which means that health care professionals may need to consider multiple tick-borne pathogens in a person who has been bitten by a tick,” Hill said. “This program improves our knowledge so that we can improve our outcomes.”

Indiana residents interested in participating can collect ticks and send them to Hill’s lab for analysis. Videos on safe and proper collection techniques, as well as how to send ticks will be at Tick INsiders.

For full article, see Purdue Agriculture News.

Resources

Ticks 101: A Quick Start Guide to Indiana Tick Vectors, The Education Store – Extension Resource
The Biology and Medical Importance of Ticks in Indiana, The Education Store
Mosquitoes, Purdue Extension Entomology
One Small Bite: One Large Problem, Got Nature?, Purdue Extension-Forestry and Natural Resources
Mosquitoes and ticks – little pests carry big risks, Got Nature?

Catherine A Hill, Professor of Entomology/Vector Biology
Purdue University Department of Entomology


Forest management in the eastern United States is faced with many modern challenges. Professional foresters have an innovative set of management options for the maintenance of healthy forest ecosystems. But some options raise public objections when applied to public lands (e.g., types of timber harvest, prescribed fire) and the effects of some management options on forests and their native inhabitants are poorly understood. Moreover, forest lands in the eastern and Midwestern United States primarily are in small privately-owned parcels that change ownership relatively frequently. These lands are often managed for short-term financial gains rather than long-term sustainability.

As populations of some forest organisms decline, restrictions on landowners may increase because species become classified as endangered or threatened (e.g., the Indiana bat), while increasing populations of other species (white-tailed deer, invasive plants) create economic and ecological challenges. These problems are compounded by the lack of scientifically rigorous research on the overall impacts of forest management on the effected ecosystems and their components. To address this set of issues, the Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment (HEE), a long-term, large-scale experimental study of forest management and its impacts, was initiated in 2006.

Many of Indiana’s forests have been dominated by oak and hickory trees for thousands of years. The historical conditions that shaped today’s forests have changed, altering forest composition and leading land managers to wonder what can be done to maintain oak and hickory forests for the future.  The Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment: 2006-2016 provides an overview of findings for the first 10 years of the HEE, 100 year project.

To learn more about this 100 year forest management plan and see its impacts, check out the Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment website.

If you would like to start receiving “The HEE Update,” please email Charlotte Owings, the HEE project coordinator, at freemac@purdue.edu. If you do not have an email address, you may still receive the newsletter by regular postal mail – call Charlotte Owings at 765-494-1472.

Resources:
The Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment website
The Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment: 2006-2016, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
The Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment: Indiana Forestry and Wildlife, The Education Store
Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment – Wildlife Responses to Timber Harvesting, The Education Store
Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment – Sustaining Our Oak-Hickory Forests, The Education Store
Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment – Forest Birds, Purdue Extension-FNR YouTube Playlist
Invasive Plants: Impact on Environment and People, The Education Store
The Great Clearcut Controversy, The Education Store

Charlotte Owings, Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment (HEE) Project Coordinator
Purdue Forestry and Natural Resources


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