Got Nature? Blog

Spotted lanternfly on tree limb.Spotted lanternfly is a major pest of concern across most of the United States. Spotted lanternfly (SLF) is an invasive planthopper native to China that was first detected in the United States in Pennsylvania in 2014. SLF feeds on over 70+ plant species including fruit, ornamental and woody trees with tree-of-heaven as its preferred host. Spotted lanternfly is a hitchhiker and can easily be moved long distances through human assisted movement.

Tree of heaven (TOH) is the preferred host for the spotted lanternfly (SLF).  The ability to identify TOH will be critical to monitoring the spread of this invasive pest as the 4th-stage nymphs and adult spotted lantern-flies show a strong preference for TOH.

Report a Sighting

  1. Take a picture and note your location.
  2. If you can, collect a sample of the insect by catching it and placing it in a freezer. You can use any container available as long as it has a tight seal (like a water bottle) so that the spotted lanternfly can’t escape.
  3. Report the sighting at DEPP@dnr.in.gov, eddmaps.org, or 1-866-663-9684.

Tree-of-heaven, invasive plant.Stop the Spread

  1. Check your car and outdoor equipment for spotted lanternfly eggs, nymphs, and adults before driving or moving to a new location.
  2. Don’t move firewood because it can spread spotted lanternfly and many other invasive insects.
  3. Stay up to date with the latest spotted lanternfly information by subscribing to our newsletters (www.purduelandscapereport.org/ and www.in.gov/dnr/entomology/entomology-weekly- review/) and following us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (@reportINvasive and @INdnrinvasive).
  4. Share your spotted lanternfly knowledge with others!

Resources:
Spotted Lanternfly, Indiana Department of Natural Resources Entomology
Spotted Lanternfly Found in Indiana, Purdue Landscape Report
Invasive plants: impact on environment and people, The Education Store, Purdue Extension’s resource center
Woodland Management Moment: Invasive Species Control Process, Video, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources YouTube Channel
Invasive Species, Playlist, Purdue Extension – FNR YouTube Channel
What are invasive species and why should I care?, Got Nature? Blog, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources
Report Invasive

Diana Evans, Extension and Web Communication Specialist
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources

Elizabeth Barnes, Exotic Forest Pest Educator
Purdue University Department of Entomology


Asian ant confirmed in Indiana.

Asian needle ant in
natural setting. Photo by Kevin Weiner, Evansville, IN.

It is official. The Asian needle ant is our newest invasive insect pest and has now become a permanent resident, stinging ant. Two ant specimens taken from a wooded area in southern Indiana by an astute amateur entomologist, who observed their appearance and behavior as ‘out of the ordinary’, was submitted to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and to the Purdue University Plant and Pest Diagnostic Laboratory for species identification in February, 2022. Both were confirmed to be Formicidae: Brachyponera chinensis, commonly known as the Asian needle ant, not previously recorded from Indiana.

Asian needle ants (ANAs), originally from Eastern Asia (China, Japan, and Korea), were first discovered in the United States in the early 1930s, but only recognized as a pest since 2006. They have been officially established in several states in the U.S. including North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama and Georgia and, have been anecdotally reported as far north and west as New York, Tennessee and Kentucky.

Note that stings to humans will be moderately painful (potentially causing severe allergic reactions to susceptible individuals) much like fire ant or bee stings, but fortunately because these ants are much less aggressive in protecting their nests, the number of stings per encounter will be less.

The First Report of the Invasive Asian Needle Ant in Indiana pdf provides more details on their identification and biology.

Asian ant stinger, now seen in Indiana.

Asian needle ant stinger extended. Photo by Kevin Weiner, Evansville, IN.

If you want to confirm a sighting of the Asian needle ant please contact the Purdue University Plant and Pest Diagnostic Laboratory at this time. More information will be presented as experts monitor the spread.

Resources:
Thousand Cankers Disease, collaborative website
Thousand Cankers Disease, Indiana Department of Natural Resources
Thousand Cankers Disease: Indiana Walnut Trees Threatened, Purdue Plant and Pest Diagnostic Laboratory
Indiana Walnut Council
Spotted lanternfly: Everything You Need to Know in 30 Minutes, Video, Emerald Ash Borer University
Emerald Ash Borer, EAB Information Network
Invasive plants: impact on environment and people, The Education Store, Purdue Extension’s resource center
Woodland Management Moment: Invasive Species Control Process, Video, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources (FNR) YouTube Channel
Invasive Species, Playlist, Purdue Extension – FNR YouTube Channel
What are invasive species and why should I care?, Got Nature? Blog, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources
Report Invasive
Indiana Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology

Tim Gibb, Insect Diagnostician and Extension Specialist
Purdue Department of Entomology 


Posted on May 10th, 2022 in Alert, How To, Wildlife | No Comments »

Bird on tree limb with blooms. Publication Breeding Birds HEE, FNR-501-W.Question: Is there any risk of becoming infected with highly pathogenic avian influenza virus by feeding backyard birds or cleaning a bird feeder?

Answer: There is currently no evidence that suggests you could become infected with highly pathogenic avian influenza virus by feeding backyard birds. Generally, songbirds, or perching birds, (Passeriformes) are the primary type of birds at feeders, and they are usually not affected by HPAI. Most wild birds traditionally associated with avian influenza viruses are waterfowl, shorebirds and scavengers. It is unlikely that bird feeders will contribute to an outbreak among songbirds, but if someone also has backyard poultry, then we recommend removing bird feeders during the outbreak. Songbirds are susceptible to other avian diseases. Therefore, we recommend that people without backyard poultry who feed birds routinely, clean their feeders and bird baths, and anyone who comes in direct contact with bird droppings should thoroughly wash their hands with soap and water.

Additional information:
Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IN DNR) – Fish and Wildlife, Avian Flu: What is the risk to people? Very few types of AI can infect humans. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers the risk to people from AI viruses to be low. To date, no human AI infections have been detected in the United States. The U.S. has a strong AIV surveillance program that has been in place for many years.

Cornell Bird Lab: Avian Influenza Outbreak: Should You Take Down Your Bird Feeders?

Utah Division of Wildlife Resources: Is there any risk of becoming infected with highly pathogenic avian influenza virus by feeding backyard birds or cleaning a bird feeder?

Resources:
The National Audubon Society
Birds and Residential Window Strikes: Tips for Prevention, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Breeding Birds and Forest Management: the Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment and the Central Hardwoods Region, The Education Store
Putting a Little Wildlife in Your Backyard This Spring, The Education Store
It’s For the Birds, Indiana Yard and Garden-Purdue Consumer Horticulture
Managing Woodlands for Birds Video, Purdue Extension-Forestry and Natural Resources YouTube Channel

Brian MacGowan, Wildlife Extension Specialist
Purdue Forestry and Natural Resources


Storm damage, trees downSafety first! Stay clear and look for dangerous hanging limbs, broken branches and other failures before beginning cleanup or inspections. Keep others clear of the areas beneath and around damaged trees. Be alert for power lines that could be involved with damaged trees. All utility lines should be considered energized and dangerous.

Lindsey Purcell, Purdue urban forestry specialist, shares, “in my experience, during storm cleanup, many tree owners are faced with the decision of what to do with their trees relative to restoration or removal”.  There are several types of tree damage that occur from violent weather. Each has its own specific assessment considerations. All parts of the tree should be inspected during a post-storm assessment. This requires the expertise of trained, professional arborists to assist with the decision making regarding the best course of action. Unfortunately, there are those who take advantage of the situation and overcharge or provide poor advice when it comes to the best decision on their trees. Don’t make any hasty decisions and be sure you are hiring an International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) Certified Arborist, ask for references and proof of insurance in the process. To find an arborist near you, verify credentials and to find more information on trees view video: Find an Arborist, Trees are Good, ISA.

View publication Trees and Storms located in The Education Store, Purdue Extension’s resource center, for more information.

Resources:
Find an Arborist website, Trees are Good, International Society of Arboriculture (ISA)
Caring for storm-damaged trees/How to Acidify Soil in the Yard – In the Grow, Purdue Extension
Moist soil and rotten roots makes it easy for trees to come crashing down – Fox 59 News
Why Is My Tree Dying? – The Education Store
Tree Risk Management – The Education Store
Mechanical Damage to Trees: Mowing and Maintenance Equipment – The Education Store
Trees and Electric Lines – The Education Store

Lindsey Purcell, Urban Forestry Specialist
Purdue University, Department of Forestry and Natural Resources


State of Indiana Proclamation-Invasive Species Week Feb. 27th to March 5th, 2022.Governor Eric Holcomb has proclaimed February 27th to March 5th as Invasive Species Awareness Week in Indiana.

This serves as an important reminder for Hoosiers to be aware and report potentially devastating invasives.

This proclamation states “invasive aquatic, riparian and terrestrial species influence the productivity, value and management of land and water resources in Indiana and the costs to prevent, monitor and control invasive species costs Indiana millions annually and after habitat destruction, invasive species are a great threat to biodiversity and threaten the survival of native plants and animals and interfere with ecosystem functions by changing processes like fire, nutrient flow and flooding”.

It continues with “invasive species impede industry, threaten agriculture, endanger human health and are becoming increasingly harder to control as a result of rapid global commercialization and human travel; and invasive species are as significant threat to almost half of the native species currently listed as federally endangered.”

As Invasive Species Awareness Week starts Sunday, February 27th, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IN DNR), Purdue Extension-Forestry and Natural Resources and the Indiana Invasive Species Council will answer any questions you may have.

For Questions:
Ask an Expert, Purdue Extension-Forestry and Natural Resources
Invasive Species – Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR)
Indiana Invasive Species Council – Includes: IDNR, Purdue Department of Entomology and Professional Partners

Report and Learn More About Invasive Species:
Great Lakes Early Detection Network App (GLEDN) – The Center for Invasive Species & Ecosystem Health
Purdue University Report Invasive Species, College of Agriculture

Check Out Our Invasive Species Videos:
Subscribe: Purdue Extension-Forestry and Natural Resources (FNR) YouTube Channel
Invasive Species YouTube Video Playlist includes:

Invasive Species Webinars included in the Invasive Species YouTube Video Playlist:

Woodland Management Moment Video Series on Invasive Species:
Woodland Management Moment Series YouTube Video Playlist includes:

Woodland Stewardship for Landowners’ Series on Invasive Species:
Woodland Stewardship for Landowners YouTube Video Playlist includes:

ID That Tree Video Series, Invasive Species:
ID That Tree YouTube Video Playlist sharing invasive species:

More Resources:
Episode 11 – Exploring the challenges of Invasive Species, Habitat University-Natural Resource University
Indiana’s “Most Unwanted” Invasive Plant Pest List – Indiana Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey (CAPS) Program
What Are Invasive Species and Why Should I Care?, Purdue Extension-FNR Got Nature? Blog
Emerald Ash Borer Information Network, Purdue University and Partners
Invasive Species, Purdue Landscape Report

Purdue Extension-Forestry and Natural Resources

 


Posted on September 1st, 2021 in Alert, Disease, How To, Wildlife | No Comments »

MyDNR Email Newsletter: DNR recently updated its recommendations related to the bird disease outbreak. Based on the data received from reports submitted by Indiana residents, it appears that the bird illness is consistently affecting specific areas. Find which counties are continuing to be affected by this outbreak on our website.Blue jay on bird feeder.

One of the simplest and most effective ways residents can help wild birds is by regularly cleaning bird feeders. Seed and suet feeders should be cleaned at least once every two weeks, and hummingbird feeders should be cleaned at least once a week. Bird feeders can be a breeding ground for disease if not properly cleaned. Help your feathered visitors stay healthy year-round by scrubbing feeders with soap and water, followed by a short soak in a 10% bleach solution.

Full article > > >

Resources:
Cause of Songbird Deaths Remains a Mystery, Purdue Extension-Forestry and Natural Resources, Got Nature? Blog
Birdfeeder tips, The National Audubon Society
Birds and Residential Window Strikes: Tips for Prevention, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Breeding Birds and Forest Management: the Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment and the Central Hardwoods Region, The Education Store
Managing Woodlands for Birds Video, Purdue Extension-Forestry and Natural Resources YouTube Channel

Indiana Department of Natural Resources


Many homeowners are finding their trees with dry and wilted leaves. In this video, urban forester Lindsey Purcell talks about the importance of watering your trees and how to do so effectively.

Extreme heat can have a major impact on tree health and survival. Water is the most limiting ecological resource for a tree, and without adequate moisture, decline and death are imminent. It reduces carbohydrate production, significantly lowering energy reserves and production of defense chemicals in the tree. Check out this publication titled Drought? Don’t Forget the Trees! to learn what to look for for any weakening issues including pests that like the dry conditions.

If you have any questions regarding wildlife, trees, forest management, wood products, natural resource planning or other natural resource topics, feel free to contact us by using our Ask an Expert web page.

Resources:
Summer Tree Care, Purdue Landscape Report
Drought? Don’t Forget the Trees!, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Extreme Heat, Purdue Extension – IN-PREPared
Drought Information​, Indiana Department of Natural Resources
Planting Your Tree Part 1: Choosing Your Tree, Purdue Extension YouTube Channel
Tree Selection for the “Un-natural” Environment, The Education Store
Tree Pruning Essentials Video, Purdue Extension YouTube Channel
Tree Defect Identification, The Education Store
Tree Wound and Healing, Got Nature? Blog, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources
Surface Root Syndrome, The Education Store

Lindsey Purcell, Urban Forestry Specialist
Purdue Department of Forestry and Natural Resources


Fig 1 Spotted Lanternfly Photo

Figure 1. Adult Spotted Lanternfly resting on the bark of a tree of heaven Vevay, Indiana. Photo taken by Ren Hall (DEPP).

Purdue Landscape Report: Spotted lanternfly (SLF) (Lycorma delicatula), a serious invasive plant pest, has been reported to be in Indiana. This federally regulated invasive species harms plants by slowing their growth and reducing fruit production, especially in vineyards and orchards. Finding this pest this far west of its previously known distribution makes it possible for SLF to be anywhere in Indiana. Knowing where this pest is located can help us respond more effectively to this pest.

Right now, the Indiana DNR is asking for all citizens to keep an eye out for spotted lanternfly. The bright color of late stage immatures and adults are easily recognized at this time of the year. Anyone who spots signs of the spotted lanternfly should contact the Indiana Division of Entomology and Plant Pathology (DEPP) by calling 866-NO EXOTIC (866-663-9684) or send an email (with a photo of the insect if possible) to DEPP@dnr.IN.gov. For more information about this or other invasive pests see the following link.

Fig 2 Spotted Lanternfly Photo

Figure 2. Red immature stage of SLF (fourth instar) feeding on leaves of tree of heaven in Vevay, IN. Photo taken by Ren Hall (DEPP).

What is Spotted Lanternfly?

Spotted lanternfly is a planthopper that originated in Asia. It was first discovered in the United States in Pennsylvania in 2014. The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture was unable to limit the spread of this pest because it is an effective hitchhiker and is often spread unknowingly by humans.

Adult spotted lanternfly has two sets of wings, and the underwing has a very distinct red color with spots on the outer wings. The fourth instar of the insect is bright red with black and white markings. The egg masses of this invasive insect look like mud and they can be spread by vehicle transport including recreational vehicles, cargo carriers (truck transport) and freight trains. They can also be spread through trade materials sold in infested areas that are shipped out of state including nursery stock, outdoor furniture, lumber, etc. Anyone receiving goods from the east coast should inspect for signs of the insect, especially if the commodity is to be kept outdoors.

Fig 3 Spotted Lanternfly Photo

Figure 6. Be aware of insects that resemble SLF when reporting spotted lanternfly.

Full Article >>>

Resources:
Spotted lanternfly: Everything You Need to Know in 30 Minutes, Video, Emerald Ash Borer University
Invasive plants: impact on environment and people, The Education Store
Woodland Management Moment: Invasive Species Control Process, Video, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources YouTube Channel
Invasive Species, Playlist, Purdue Extension – FNR YouTube Channel
What are invasive species and why should I care?, Got Nature? Blog, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources
Report Invasive
Indiana Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology
Purdue Landscape Report

Clifford Sadof, Professor of Entomology
Purdue Department of Entomology

Elizabeth Barnes, Exotic Forest Pest Specialist
Purdue Department of Entomology

Amy Stone, Extension Educator
Ohio State Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources


Posted on July 2nd, 2021 in Alert, Wildlife | No Comments »

MyDNR Newsletter, Indiana Department of Forestry and Natural Resources (IDNR): DNR biologists have confirmed a black bear sighting that occurred in northeast Vanderburgh County June 21st. The closest town to the location is Elberfeld, in Warrick County.

Biologists confirmed the bear from photos taken by the landowner.IDNR Black Bear Photo

“This is Indiana’s fourth confirmed black bear,” said Brad Westrich, DNR mammalogist. “With expanding bear populations in neighboring states, this is expected.”

“Human-bear conflicts can be avoided if you remove or secure potential food sources from your yard. Bears can smell food from more than a mile away.”

Black bears are rarely aggressive toward humans.

If you see a black bear:

  • Do not feed it.
  • Observe it from a distance.
  • Do not climb a tree.
  • Advertise your presence by shouting and waving your arms and backing slowly away.
  • Report bear sightings to the Indiana Division of Fish & Wildlife here.

Most problems that occur with bears arise when bears associate food sources with humans and lose their fear of people.

More guidelines for reducing or eliminating the potential for bear-human conflicts:

  • Remove bird feeders and bird food if a bear is reported in your area.
  • Clean and store away grills after use.
  • Eliminate food attractants by placing garbage cans inside a garage or shed.
  • Pick ripe fruits and vegetables as soon as possible or place an electric fence around them to ensure bears cannot reach them.
  • Consolidate beehives you may have and place an electric fence around them.
  • Don’t leave pet food outside overnight.
  • Don’t add meat or sweets to a compost pile.
  • Don’t climb a tree if you encounter a bear; wait in a vehicle or building for the bear to leave the area.

To view all DNR news releases, please see dnr.IN.gov.

Resources:
Wildlife, Playlist, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources YouTube Channel
Black Bears, Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR)
Report a Black Bear Sighting, Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR)
Unexpected Plants and Animals in Indiana: Black Bear, College of Agriculture – Forestry and Natural Resources

Indiana Department of Natural Resources


Posted on June 30th, 2021 in Alert, Disease, Wildlife | No Comments »

Starting in May, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) began to receive reports of sick and dying songbirds from several counties around the state. As of now, the cause of the illness remains a mystery although submitted specimens have tested negative for avian influenza and West Nile virus according to the DNR. Affected birds have white crust and discharge around the eyes and damage to their nervous system. Reports of sick birds have expanded to many more counties in Indiana.

Several diseases that affect songbirds are transmitted from one animal to another. Bird feeders can increase the likelihood of disease transmission by facilitating close contact among birds. Even though the disease and its mode of transmission in this case is unknown, the DNR is recommending all Hoosiers remove their birdfeeders.

Blue jay on bird feeder.Officials recommend the following steps:

  • Use the DNR sick/dead wildlife reporting tool at on.IN.gov/sickwildlife to alert DNR staff.
  • Stop feeding birds until the mortality event has concluded.
  • Clean feeders and baths with a 10% bleach solution.
  • Avoid handling birds. If you need to handle birds, wear disposable gloves.
  • When removing dead birds, wear disposable gloves and place birds and gloves in a sealable plastic bag to dispose with household trash.
  • Keep pets away from sick or dead birds as a precaution.
  • Proper care of bird feeders and seed is an important part of preventing disease transmission at birdfeeders.

The Audubon Society recommends the following best practices:

  • Clean feeders monthly using one part bleach to nine parts warm water. Soak the feeder in the solution for a few minutes, rinse, and air dry.
  • If uneaten food is accumulating in or under feeders, consider using less food or switch to a seed more to the birds’ liking.
  • If birds are fighting over space at a feeder, consider adding more feeders to alleviate the congestion that can potentially be responsible for the rapid spread of disease.
  • Avoid throwing large amounts of food on the ground or alternate ground feeding areas so that uneaten food does not accumulate and develop bacteria or mold.

Resources:
DNR recommends removal of birdfeeders statewide – June 25, Indiana Department of Natural Resources
Birdfeeder tips, The National Audubon Society
Birds and Residential Window Strikes: Tips for Prevention, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Breeding Birds and Forest Management: the Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment and the Central Hardwoods Region, The Education Store
Managing Woodlands for Birds Video, Purdue Extension-Forestry and Natural Resources YouTube Channel

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


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