Got Nature? Blog

Much like the winter season, which has produced warm and relatively wet conditions across most of the state, the Climate Prediction Center is calling for continued above average temperatures and precipitation for Indiana this spring.

Raindrops on lake.The March, April and May weather outlook is influenced again by the continuing La Nina conditions in the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO). Unlike previous seasons, models are showing growing certainty that La Nina conditions will give way to ENSO-neutral conditions during the end of springtime. This would conclude La Nina’s current event lasting over two years.

The majority of the wetter than average predictions are likely to occur early in March and potentially through April. The end of La Nina would remove certainty of increased wet or dry conditions in May. Potential precipitation anomalies are predicted to be at least one inch greater than average precipitation across the state, with higher amounts in the south.

Temperature is also affected by the removal of La Nina, with the current warming signal weakening toward the end of spring. During early springtime, the glut of the warmth over the southeastern U.S. will spread northward into Indiana. Temperatures are too close to call for warmth or coolness in northwest Indiana, a line north of Terre Haute to South Bend. Predicted temperature anomalies are very low across the state, with a warming anomaly of 0.2 degrees Fahrenheit in the southern part of the state and 0.05 degrees Fahrenheit in the north.

Any areas of the state currently in abnormally dry conditions in the U.S. Drought Monitor are likely to be removed in the near future as these predictions play out. The Climate Prediction Center does not expect drought development anywhere in Indiana over the next three months.

For those with intentions of planting outdoors, lack of drought is good. However, planting windows may be shorter in the early spring period.

Full article . . .

Climate Change and Sustainable Development, The Education Store, Purdue Extension’s resource center
Climate Change: Are you preparing for it?, The Education Store
Conservation through Community Leadership, The Education Store
Indiana Prepared (IN PREPared), Purdue Extension
Trees Stressed Due to Drought? Know the Signs and What to Do, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources (FNR) Got Nature? Blog
Drought? Don’t forget the trees!, The Education Store

Hans Schmitz, Climate Smart Agriculture and Soil Health Coordinator
Purdue Extension – Agriculture & Natural Resources

Posted on February 7th, 2023 in Gardening, How To, Natural Resource Planning | No Comments »

The Purdue Rainscaping Education Program introduces two new videos as they continue to provide training and resources on rainscaping practices that can be installed in residential settings or small-scale public spaces projects.

Rainscaping and Rain Gardens
Rainscaping is a combination of sustainable landscape design and management practices that prevents polluted runoff from reaching water bodies — directing stormwater to be absorbed by plants and soils.


Rainwater Harvesting with Cisterns
This video demonstrates how rainwater can be harvested with cisterns for future use in your landscaping and gardens.

Rainscaping is a combination of sustainable landscape design and management practices that prevents polluted runoff from reaching water bodies — directing stormwater to be absorbed by plants and soils. Learn more about rainscaping and demo rain gardens at: Purdue Rainscaping Education Program.

What is Rainscaping? Purdue Rainscaping Education Program Video, Purdue Extension
Sustainable Communities Extension Program, Purdue Extension
Q&A About Drainage Water Recycling for the Midwest,  The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Rainscaping Playlist, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources (FNR) YouTube Channel
Ask an Expert: Rainscaping, Purdue Extension – FNR YouTube Channel
Rain Gardens Go with the Flow, Indiana Yard and Garden, Purdue Horticulture
Become a Purdue Master Gardener, The Education Store
Master Gardeners Program
Plan Today For Tomorrow’s Flood, The Education Store

John Orick, Purdue Master Gardener State Program Coordinator
Department of Horticulture & Landscape Architecture

Kara Salazar, Assistant Program Leader and Extension Specialist for Sustainable Communities
Department of Forestry and Natural Resources

Vole on wood chips.Question: I’m interested in doing regeneration planting of oaks and hickories on my property, and have made attempts with both direct seeding, as well as starting in Rootmaker containers and then planting the seedlings after one year of growth. I have been having a major problem with voles, despite my best attempts at barriers, and am wondering if there is anyone who would be able to advise me?

As an example, I had a black oak seedling, one year old, with great growth, about 18″ tall and with a rootball of comparable size, which I planted this fall. After 2-3 months, in December, the entire root system was eaten and all that remained of the seedling was the stalk, with clear gnaw-marks where it had been chewed off at the base. It was protected by a wire mesh enclosure that covered all sides plus the top, and was set about four inches into the ground. The mesh was finer than the standard chicken wire; the openings were about dime-size.

I would appreciate any guidance your experts can share.

Answer: Based on your description, it certainly sounds like pine (=woodland) voles, Microtus pinetorum, although trapping would be needed to confirm. I am no longer doing work on voles, but earlier work, Selective Feeding of Pine Voles on Roots of Seedlings, showed that they really do like roots of oak seedlings.

When I want to exclude small mammals, I use ¼ inch mesh size or smaller. One other approach I’ve used with success is to create an “apron” of hardware cloth underground and extending outward several inches from the cylinder. Since pine voles create tunnels below the ground surface, this isn’t a guarantee of exclusion, but it certainly should discourage them.

If the problem is too severe for you to tolerate, a rodenticide bait such as zinc phosphide is another option. Thiram is a repellent that could be used – like all repellents, it has variable and short-term effectiveness (but still tends to be better than other commercial products).

The following link offers some practical tips on voles and vole control, including trapping to verify that voles are present, and methods of scouting and treating with rodenticide to reduce exposure risk to other nontarget wildlife and pets, Controlling Voles in Horticulture Plantings and Orchards in Missouri, University of Missouri Extension.

Voles!, Purdue Extension-Agronomy
Volves (remember the V), Turfgrass Science, Purdue Horticulture & Landscape Architecture
Dealing with Mole Damage in Your Yard video, Purdue Extension-Forestry & Natural Resources YouTube Channel
Orphaned Wildlife, Got Nature? blog
A Template for Your Wildlife Habitat Management Plan, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Forest Improvement Handbook, The Education Store
Wildlife Habitat Hint, Purdue Extension – Forestry & Natural Resources (FNR) YouTube Playlist
Conservation Tree Planting: Steps to Success, Purdue Extension – FNR YouTube Video
Woodland Stewardship for Landowners, Purdue Extension – FNR YouTube Playlist
Woodland Management Moment, Purdue Extension – FNR YouTube Playlist

Rob Swihart, Professor of Wildlife Ecology
Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, Purdue University

Purdue Landscape Report, Why are the Japanese beetles running late this year?: Nothing heralds summer like the hum of Japanese beetles ravenously descending on a flower garden. Cool weather this spring has slowed emergence of adults from the soil. Heavy spring rains early followed by relatively drier weather in late June, may have trapped adult Japanese beetles under a crusty layer of hardened soil. Due to their large numbers in many parts of Indiana last year, they are very likely just waiting for a good rain to soften the surface, so they can dig themselves into the light of day and on to your flowers. So, if we get a little more rain by the time this article comes out, we are likely to be awash in adult beetles.

Adult Japanese beetles feeding on leaves and flowers of oak leaf hydrangea, Purdue Landscape Report.Weather is only part of what makes Japanese beetles predictably unpredictable. Beneficial organisms including fungi, microsporidia, and parasitic wasps also act different life stages of Japanese beetles. Japanese beetles have been the target of several national programs to release these beneficial organisms to reduce beetle populations. Favorable conditions for these beneficials can help reduce the local abundance of grubs and beetles.

Although killing grubs will reduce the number of beetles, the small size of lawns and the long flight range of makes it unlikely for your grub control program to reduce defoliation.  In experiments conducted in my lab over 20 years ago, we found adult beetles can easily fly a kilometer (0.66 miles) in a single day.  With adults living for several weeks, it is easy to image beetles traveling long distances from untreated lawns to plants on your property.

Life cycle of Japanese beetles: As the weather warms in the spring larvae (aka white grubs) move closer to the surface and begin feeding on turf roots.  In May they enter a pupal stage and stop feeding.  In June they typically emerge from the soil as adults.  Adults fly in summer when they feed on flowers and leaves.   In late July and early August adults lay eggs into the turfgrass.  White grubs hatch from eggs and feed on the roots until frost when the larvae begin dig deeper into the soil to avoid killing temperatures.

To find out what you can do about Japanese beetles and view photos view: Why are the Japanese beetles running late this year?

Report Invasive
Invasive Insects, Got Nature?
Invasive Species, Playlist, Purdue Extension – FNR YouTube Channel
Indiana Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology
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
What are invasive species and why should I care?, Got Nature? Blog, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources
Pest Management, The Education Store

Cliff Sadof, Professor Entomology/Extension Fellow
Purdue Entomology

Posted on June 21st, 2022 in Forestry, Gardening, How To, Urban Forestry, Woodlands | No Comments »

Osage-orange tree in woods. For more information contact Lenny Farlee at or 765.494.2153Question: I am building a hedge row and am contemplating working with Osage-orange seedlings and planting them. Is this a good choice?

Answer: Osage-orange, (Maclura pomifera) aka hedge, hedge-apple, bodark, bois d’arc and several other common names, is a tree native to parts of Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas, but has been planted in every one of the lower 48 states. The reason for that extensive planting was Osage-orange was promoted as the best tree for “living fences”, which were hedgerows planted to enclose or exclude livestock before the use of barbed wire. Osage-orange was also widely panted as a hedge-row and windbreak by the conservation programs of the FDR administration in the 1930’s. You can still encounter some of those old hedgerows on the landscape. It made a good hedgerow because the stems have stout thorns at the base of the leaves and will produce large and dense sprout colonies when cut back or pruned. It produced a living fence described as “horse-high, bull-strong, and pig-tight”.

The wood of Osage-orange was also used for wagon wheel parts, tool handles and fence posts due to its strength and rot-resistance. I have met a few landowners who showed me Osage gate or fence posts they had helped set as a child that were still in good condition 60 or more years later. It is also an excellent firewood, with one of the highest BTU yields of any native tree. Native peoples used straight-grained Osage-orange wood for outstanding bows, thus the French name bois d’arc and the English derivation bodark. Some crafters still seek Osage wood for making traditional bows or for turnings and other decorative items. The wood becomes so hard and dense with drying that it is recommended in most cases to work it green. The yellow-orange fresh wood color gradually ages to a deep reddish brown.

Osage-orange may have had more favorable treatment as a wood for many uses were it not for the tendency of the tree to fork, bend and twist, making straight, long stems uncommon.

The fruit of Osage-orange is where this and the hedge-apple name comes from. Osage-orange is neither a citrus tree nor an apple, but the large, round, green to yellow fruit suggest each to some extent. The interlacing bumps and crevices and the round shape suggest a brain to many, including myself. The closest relatives of Osage-orange are actually the mulberries. The size of this fruit and the limited number of current animals that will use it have prompted some to suggest it was originally eaten and propagated by large, and now extinct, ice-age animals such as the giant ground sloth, mammoth, and mastodon.

Osage-orange has many interesting and sometimes useful characteristics, but it can also become weedy in some situations. It can spread by seed or sprouts into disturbed areas like abandoned fields, farmlands, or grazed areas and out-compete native vegetation. For these reasons, planting new areas to Osage-orange is usually discouraged.

You Say Hedge-Apple, I Say Osage Orange!, Indiana Yard and Garden – Purdue Consumer Horticulture.
Osage Orange, The Wood Database
ID That Tree: Osage-Orange, Purdue Extension-FNR’s YouTube playlist
ID That Tree, Purdue Extension-FNR’s YouTube playlist
Windbreaks – Agroforestry for Any Property, Caring for your Woodland, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Extension
The Woody Plant Seed Manual, U.S. Forest Service
Native Trees of the Midwest, The Education Store, Purdue Extension’s resource center
Shrubs and Woody Vines of Indiana and the Midwest, The Education Store
Woodland Management Moment , Purdue Extension-FNR’s YouTube playlist
Investing in Indiana Woodlands, The Education Store
Forest Improvement Handbook, The Education Store

Lenny Farlee, Sustaining Hardwood Extension Specialist
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources

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,, 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 ( and review/) and following us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (@reportINvasive and @INdnrinvasive).
  4. Share your spotted lanternfly knowledge with others!

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

Purdue Extension – 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.

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 

Purdue Landscape Report sharing resources on spotted lanternfly.The interdisciplinary faculty and staff behind the Purdue Landscape Report, which provides science-based, timely information regarding Midwest landscapes to commercial growers, garden centers, landscapers, arborists and the general public, has been named as the recipient of the Purdue Agriculture TEAM Award, which was created in 1995 to recognize interdisciplinary team achievements of faculty and staff.
Teams must consist of three or more Purdue faculty and administrative/professional staff members. Team projects should include activities in one or more of the College mission areas of teaching, research and extension, and must have made demonstrable impact.

Led by Kyle Daniel, nursery and landscape outreach specialist in the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, the Purdue Landscape Report is a collaborative effort between Purdue Extension specialists and diagnosticians in the departments of Botany and Plant Pathology, Entomology, Forestry and Natural Resources, and Horticulture and Landscape Architecture. Articles cover everything from urban forestry and tree maintenance to pest and disease problems and management to plant selection and turf science. In addition to an email newsletter and online blog, PLR staff also provide live interactive webinars in order to highlight content and respond to questions from the audience.

“I believe this team embodies the spirit of this award – working together across department in the College,” said Dr. Linda Prokopy, Department Head in Horticulture and Landscape Architecture. “This team has indeed achieved more and is a consistent source of reliable, science-based information for homeowners and the green industry. The PLR team is doing a phenomenal job meeting the needs of an important industry in the state and they are very deserving of being recognized for this work.”
In the nomination for the TEAM Award, the impact of the Purdue Landscape Report team was described as:
“The quality of life and livelihood of many Hoosiers is greatly improved when cities and towns have healthy trees, shrubs, and flower beds. The task of growing and maintaining these plants is complicated by conflicting, incomplete or inaccurate media reports about the arrival of new pests and diseases; or how landscape choices, or use of certain management practices can have a negative impact on the environment and public health. Tree owners, landscapers and the professional workforce need timely science-based information to keep plants healthy in an environmentally sustainable manner.”
Since launching in February 2018, the Purdue Landscape Report has included more than 200 articles. PLR is sent out in a bi-weekly email newsletter to more than 4,000 subscribers nationwide. The online blog brought in 180,376 unique visitors in 2020.

In response to the pandemic, the Purdue Landscape Report staff also began a live, to addresses articles and hot topics. That series garnered more than 2,000 views.
In a January 2021 survey sent to PLR subscribers, 88% of respondents said they believed that the newsletter improved their ability to diagnose a problem, while 76% said that PLR has had a positive economic impact on their business.

A local professional shared that “Sometimes when I open up the PLR, it is like you have been reading my mind. The problem I have been seeing or thinking about is there in your headlines.”

Lindsey Purcell sharing tree planting tips at outside workshop. Purdue Landscape Report receives TEAM award.One PLR subscriber said “The Purdue Landscape Report is a great resource for myself and my team members. Within each issue is one or more topics that our team has encountered or discussed recently and the information provided by a very reputable source gives us the material needed to provide the best service to our clients and increase our knowledge base. The virtual sessions are another great resource provided that give an opportunity to have specific questions answered by experts.”

The impact extends from landowners to industry professionals and beyond.

“Often we take for granted the information produced in the PLR and we forget the countless dollars we have saved from information in the PLR,” said Rick Haggard, Indiana Nursery and Landscape Association Executive Director.

“The Purdue Landscape Report provides timely information to the Indiana Arborist Association members and associated parties in a format that is easily accessed and understood,” Associate Executive Director of IAA Ashley Mulis said. “The collaboration that goes into providing this product demonstrates the cohesive nature of several departments within Purdue University and the open sharing and comparison of information. The Purdue Landscape Report is an excellent addition to the many publications offered within Purdue Extension  in helping resource professionals manage the ever-changing landscape of pests, diseases and best management practices.”

In 2020, the PLR received the Extension Division Education Materials Award for Outstanding Blog presented by the American Society of Horticultural Science and received also earned the Team Award from the Purdue Cooperative Extension Specialists’ Association (PUCESA).
For team list and full article view: Purdue Landscape Report Selected for TEAM Award.
Wendy Mayer, FNR Communications Coordinator
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources
Lindsey Purcell, Urban Forestry Specialist
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources

In this episode of A Woodland Management Moment, Purdue Extension forester Lenny Farlee talks about how you can use nuts and seeds left dropped by existing trees, from walnuts to oaks and hickories, to establish new seedlings in other areas of your landscape through a process called direct seeding.

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

A Woodland Management Moment, Playlist, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources (FNR) YouTube Channel
Shrubs and Woody Vines of Indiana and the Midwest, The Education Store, Purdue Extension Resource Center
Native Trees of the Midwest, The Education Store
ID That Tree, Playlist, Purdue Extension – FNR YouTube Channel
Forest Improvement Handbook, The Education Store
Resources and Assistance Available for Planting Hardwood Seedlings, The Education Store
Woodland Stewardship for Landowners Video Series, Playlist, Indiana Department of Natural Resources YouTube Channel
Ask an Expert: Tree Selection and Planting, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources (FNR) YouTube Channel

Lenny Farlee, Sustaining Hardwood Extension Specialist
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources


Posted on September 10th, 2021 in Gardening, Wildlife | No Comments »

Tribune-Star: Both my son and daughter raised rabbits as members of 4-H, so for years our barn served as a makeshift hutch, complete with wire cages, watering and feeding bowls, and fur — lots of fur, some still sticking to the old building’s dusty rafters all this time later.

My brother and sister and I also grew up with rabbits, although it was through the likes of immortal “Bugs Bunny” features, such as “The Rabbit of Seville” (yes, with Bugs massaging Elmer Fudd’s head to the music of Rossini)Two rabbits on grass. and “14 Karat Rabbit” (featuring a greedy gold mining “Yosemite Sam”). I plan to share those cartoons with my grandsons, and sure hope they have the opportunity to watch them as we did: on a Saturday morning; not fully dressed; with few cares in the world; preferably, a bowl of cereal in hand.

That being said, I have no predisposed dislike of rabbits at all. But this summer has tested my patience as far as the Eastern Cottontail is concerned; they’ve invaded my property in record numbers. I have never seen so many rabbits short of a show at the fairgrounds, not even in my more innocent Warner Brothers days.

They seem to be everywhere: peeking out from beneath my car when I walk out the door; startled from a flower bed or garden when I reach for a weed to pull; nibbling about in our yard as we watch from our windows in the evenings. Some of them hardly even move now when I show up; I honestly think I could get them to eat out of my hand.

I don’t think our infestation approaches what’s happened in Australia. According to a 2020 “National Geographic” article, European rabbits were introduced to the continent in 1859 (I also read 1788 in another story) so they could be hunted; just 13 were originally brought in. By the turn of the century, the rabbits constituted one of the greatest invasive threats any country has ever experienced. They destroyed crops at prodigious rates, caused erosion, and nearly restructured the continent’s biodiversity. Fences, poisons, traps, even the use of rabbit-sensitive pathogens were used to try to control them; it’s estimated — despite doubled-down efforts with new pathogens — that there are over 200 million feral rabbits there now.

In a summer that has already been a bit out of whack, I have lately begun to wonder if it’s just me, or are there others seeing an uptick in rabbit populations too? And, before I take this any further, I’ll say that I am ruling out eliminating our problem with a shotgun, let alone pathogens. Just a few trips decades ago with a hardcore-hunting grandfather ended my ambitions for putting rabbits on our supper table; I tend to live and let live, and, of course, complain.

Not only did the furry little vandals eat all of the swamp milkweed I was growing for our monarch butterflies, they have gnawed off sunflowers — both planted and volunteer — and have, in particular, eaten many of our late-blooming hostas (nearly ready to flower) that must be particularly tender and tasty.

Purdue University Extension Specialist Jarred Brooke says, “I have received reports of abundant rabbits around the state. There are likely several causes for this, but it is hard to pin down the exact causes. Cottontail populations tend to be cyclical … One year the population may be booming, and then the next you might not see many. And it’s really hard to predict when those cycles will occur.”

Brooke says that things like mild winters — which we have luckily had these past few years — allow cottontails to breed earlier and more often, bring on lush green vegetation, and often allow predators to choose from a more varied menu than in summers following harsh winters.

“It’s hard to say exactly what is going on this year, but it sounds like we are in the increasing phase of their cycle, which is normal, “Brooke says. “Adding in the fact that many cottontail predators in some areas had an easy meal this spring with cicadas certainly doesn’t hurt. With that said, I don’t know any research that has linked rabbit populations with cicadas, but cicadas have been linked to population increases in other mammals, turkeys and songbirds.”

Brian McGowan, Certified Wildlife Biologist through Purdue University’s Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, says it’s nearly impossible to tell when we are having a big rabbit year: “Methods like roadkill surveys or bow hunter surveys provide some information, as well as annual harvest; however, these and other methods have a time lag element to them where they are done once a year and the data is not always immediately analyzed.”

Full article > > >

Wildlife Habitat Hint, Playlist, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources YouTube channel
Considerations for Trapping Nuisance Wildlife with Box Traps, The Education Store, Purdue Extension’s resource center
Preventing Wildlife Damage – Do You Need a Permit? – The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Selecting a Nuisance Wildlife Control Professional, The Education Store
How to Construct a Scent Station, The Education Store
Question: How do I properly relocate raccoons from my attic?, Got Nature? Blog, Purdue Extension FNR

Jarred Brooke, Wildlife Extension Specialist
Purdue Forestry and Natural Resources

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

Got Nature?

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