Got Nature? Blog

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’, were 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


Aquaculture Family Coloring Book

This print-your-own coloring book provides a fun and active way for children and adults to learn about the many kinds of aquatic animals raised on farms for aquaculture. Each spread highlights one species, pairing a beautifully illustrated coloring page with accompanying text for advanced and beginning readers with information about fisheries, recreational fishing, and cooking tips.

This publication is a collaborative project of Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant, the North Central Regional Aquaculture Center, University of Illinois Extension, and Purdue University’s Department of Forestry and Natural Resources.

To receive the free download for the Aquaculture Family Coloring Book visit The Education Store.

About the Author
Amy Shambach is Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant’s (IISG) aquaculture marketing outreach associate who works with the aquaculture industry in the USDA’s North Central Regional Aquaculture Center. Her work focuses on the demand side of domestic farm raised seafood products. She provides outreach and extension services to producers, potential producers, and consumers. Along with Dr. Kwamena Quagrainie, producers, aquaculture associations, and consumers, she works to determine the needs of stakeholders. View the Aquaculture Family Coloring Book Development Team with the free download of the book.

Resources:
Walleye Farmed Fish Fact Sheet, The Education Store
Pacific White Shrimp Farmed Fact Sheet, The Education Store
Yellow Perch Farmed Fish Fact Sheet, The Education Store
Tilapia Farmed Fish Fact Sheet, The Education Store
Rainbow Trout Farmed Fish Fact Sheet, The Education Store
 American Paddlefish, The Education Store
Eat Midwest Fish, Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant online resource hub
Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant (IISG), Illinoi-Indiana Sea Grant

Amy Shambach, Aquaculture Marketing Outreach Associate
Purdue Department of Forestry and Natural Resources/Illinois Indiana Sea Grant Program


Grass and soil, showing seedling coming up in soil.

Photo credit: Adobe Stock

Lawn to Lake Midwest is a great resource as the experts share each month care tips on how to have a healthy lawn all year long while using natural lawn care practices. For the month of May check out the things to watch out for and why testing your soil is important.

You will also find resources for more options for a sustainable lawn:

  • Take the Natural Lawn Care Quiz and see where you are at with  your lawn care practices.
  • Take a look at some simply ways to imcorporate more natural lawn care practices.
  • If you’re ready, jump into the weeds to explore even more sustainable lawn management practices.
  • Find asnwers to commonly asked lawn care questions.

Resources:
Forest Improvement Handbook, The Education Store
Turfgrass Science, Department of Horticulture & Landscape Architecture
Turfgrass Insect Management, The Education Store
Tree Planting Part 1: Choosing a Tree, Video, The Education Store
Purdue Turf Doctor app for Apple iOS, Apple App Store

Lawn to Lake Midwest

Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant (IISG)


Posted on May 5th, 2022 in Wildlife | No Comments »

Bunnies in nest

Wild Bulletin, Indiana Department of Natural Resources: The emergence of spring means young wildlife will begin appearing throughout Indiana, from our state’s forests to your own backyard. If you encounter a young wild animal that appears to have been left alone, keep calm. Adult wild animals rarely abandon their young and will likely return after gathering food for the family.

Check back periodically on the young animal and look for signs that an adult has been attending to them, but don’t hover.

If the animal you find is injured or in distress (bleeding, weak, covered in flies, has broken bones), contact a wildlife rehabilitator instead of trying to care for the animal yourself. Wild animals require different care than domesticated pets. Wildlife rehabilitators are trained and permitted to care for many different wild species. They will be equipped to care for the animal while allowing it to retain its natural fear of humans so it can return to and survive in the wild.

For more contacts and information on when and why to call a rehabilitator, go check out Indian Department of forestry and Natural Resources: Orphaned & Injured animals.

Subscribe and receive this newsletter: Wild Bulletin.

Resources:
Help Us Keep Wildlife Safe, Wild Bulletin, IN DNR
Injured Wildlife and What to Do, Got Nature? Blog, Purdue Extension – FNR
Resourceful Animal Relationships, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
No Room at the Inn: Suburban Backyards and Migratory Birds, The Education Store
Wildlife Curriculum, Nature of Teaching, Purdue Extension
Wildlife, Playlist, Purdue Extension – FNR YouTube channel

Indiana Department of Natural Resources


Posted on May 3rd, 2022 in Forestry, Land Use, Wildlife | No Comments »

Great American Rail Trail snakes through northwest to eastern IndianaMyDNR Newsletter, Indiana Department of Forestry and Natural Resources: Gov. Eric J. Holcomb and DNR Director Dan Bortner recently announced 38 communities and non-profit organizations will receive a combined $65 million for 77 miles of new trail development.

“Trails connect communities together in such a personal way and are perfect pathways to good mental and physical well-being,” Gov. Holcomb said.

A $150 million grant program, Next Level Trails is the largest infusion of trails funding in state history. In rounds one and two, a total of $55 million was awarded to 35 communities. To date, $120 million has been awarded to build 190 miles of trails throughout Indiana. Ninety-four percent of Hoosiers live within five miles of a trail.

The grants awarded in the third round include 17 regional projects and 21 local projects. The list of awards, project descriptions, and a map are posted at on.IN.gov/NLT-round-3.

Full article>>>

To read other news articles visit Indiana Department of forestry and Natural Resources website.

Resources:
Enhancing The Value of Public Spaces, Purdue Extension Forestry and Natural Resources
Enhancing The Value of Public Spaces: Creating Healthy Communities, The Education Store, Purdue Extension’s resource center
Fun Trail Event Days, Indiana Department of Natural Resources
Healthy and Wellness Videos, The Nature of Teaching YouTube Channel
Benefits of Connecting with Nature,  The Education Store

Indiana Department of Natural Resources


Propeller with muscles attachedWild Bulletin, Indiana Department of Natural Resources: As you prepare your boat or recreational equipment to get back on the water this spring, remember to look for aquatic hitchhikers. Zebra mussels, aquatic plants like Eurasian watermilfoil or starry stonewort, and many other invasive species continue to be a threat to Indiana’s waters by degrading fish habitat and negatively affecting recreational boating and fishing. The most common locations where plants, mussels, and animals hitch a ride include:

  • Transom well near the drain plug
  • Axle of the trailer
  • Lower unit and propeller on the boat motor
  • The rollers and bunks that guide the boat onto the trailer
  • Anchor and lines
  • Bait bucket and live well

Boat owners are asked to drain water from bait buckets, live wells, and boats before leaving the boat landing; leave drain plugs out while travelling on land; clean and dry anything that came in contact with water; and dispose of unwanted bait in the trash. Learn more about aquatic invasive species and how to prevent their movement.

Learn how to stop aquatic hitchhikers.

Find more information about  aquatic invasive plants and aquatic invasive invertebrates. Subscribe and receive the Wild Bulletin, Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

Resources:
Invasive plants: Impact on Environment and People, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources (FNR)
Aquatic Invasive Species in the Great Lakes: The Quagga Mussel, Purdue Extension – FNR
Lampreys, Indiana Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Animal Informational Series
Aquatic Invaders in the Marketplace, Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant (IISG)
Great Lakes Sea Grant Network (GLERL), NOAA – Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory
A Field Guide to Fish Invaders of the Great Lake Regions, Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant (IISG)
Purdue Researchers Get to the Bottom of Another Quagga Mussel Impact, Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant (IISG)
Protect Your Waters, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service & U.S. Coast Guard
Nongame and Endangered Wildlife, Indiana Department of Natural Resources

Indiana Department of Natural Resources


Posted on April 27th, 2022 in Aquatic/Aquaculture Resources, Wildlife | No Comments »

In this episode of A Moment in the Wild, wildlife technician Zach Truelock introduces you to the southern two-lined salamander, a member of the lungless salamander family, which true to their name do nearly all of their respiration through their skin.

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
Question: Which salamander is this?, Got Nature? Blog, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources
Salamanders of Indiana Book, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Amphibians: Frogs, Toads, and Salamanders, Purdue Nature of Teaching
The Nature of Teaching: Adaptations for Aquatic Amphibians, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Hellbender ID, Playlist, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources YouTube Channel
A Moment in the Wild, Playlist, Purdue Extension – FNR YouTube Channel
Help the Hellbender, YouTube Playlist & Website

Zach Truelock, Hellbender Technician
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources

Rod Williams, Assistant Provost for Engagement/Professor of Wildlife Science
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources


Posted on April 24th, 2022 in Aquatic/Aquaculture Resources, Wildlife | No Comments »

Dr. Rod Williams‘ hellbender research, the Purdue rearing lab and more than 12 years of the lab’s work are featured in a new documentary, Hellbender in the Blue,Hellbender in the blue  produced by Teardrop Pictures.

The film premiered on January 12 at the Kan-Kan Cinema and Brasserie in Indianapolis and is now available to purchase and stream through Vimeo on Demand. Hellbender in the Blue is also heading out on the festival tour, including the Indiana Humanities Waterways Film Tour.

The Indiana Humanities Waterways Film Tour is a nine-city tour featuring six short documentary films about Indiana’s waterways. The films feature stories told by individuals from across the state and highlight their diverse relationships with water. Screenings are free and open to the public, although advance registration is requested. Select events will also include a panel featuring the filmmakers prior to the screening.

  • Thursday, March 31, 6 p.m. CT/7 ET; New Harmony Antheneum, 401 Arthur St., New Harmony, IN 47631
  • Tuesday, April 5, 6 p.m. ET; Jefferson County Public Library, 420 W. Main St., Madison, IN 47250
  • Thursday, April 7, 8 p.m. ET; Taggart Amphitheatre (outdoor screening), 1856 Burdsal Pkwy., Indianapolis, IN 46208
  • Tuesday, April 19, 6 p.m. ET; Fowler Theatre, 111 E. 5th St., Fowler, IN 47944
  • Wednesday, April 20, 6:30 p.m. ET; Strand Theatre, 221 S. Main St., Kendallville, IN 46755
  • Friday, April 29, 7 p.m. CT/8 p.m. ET; Marshall J. Gardner Center for the Arts, 540 S. Lake St., Gary, IN 46403
  • Wednesday, May 11, 6:30 p.m. ET; Harrison County Arts, 113 E. Beaver St., Corydon, IN 47112
  • Tuesday, May 17, 6:30 p.m. ET; Studebaker 112, 635 S. Lafayette Blvd., South Bend, IN 46601
  • Tuesday, June 22, 6:30 p.m. ET; Richmond Art Museum, 350 Hub Etchison Pkwy., Richmond, IN 47374

The soundtrack to Hellbender in the Blue is available on Spotify, care of Eric Salazar, also known as @theclarinetguy on Instagram.

Purdue Forestry and Natural Resources’ involvement in the Hellbender in the Blue project began in April 2020, when Katelyn Calhoun, a documentary film maker with Teardrop Pictures, contacted Williams and research biologist/extension wildlife specialist Nick Burgmeier, regarding her desire to make a film about hellbenders in Indiana, as well the efforts Purdue, The Nature Conservancy and others have undertaken to protect/restore their populations and the efforts to remove dams from their habitat. The eventual goal is to make a more wide-ranging documentary about hellbenders throughout their range.

“We hope the film helps reach a broader audience to expand awareness of the project and encourages people to support efforts to protect hellbenders and Indiana’s water resources,” Burgmeier said.

Full article > > >

Resources:
A Moment in the Wild, Playlist, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources YouTube Channel
Improving Water Quality by Protecting Sinkholes on Your Property, Video, Purdue Extension – FNR YouTube Channel
Question: Which salamander is this?, Got Nature? Blog, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources
Is it a Hellbender or a Mudpuppy?, Got Nature? Blog
Amphibians: Frogs, Toads, and Salamanders, Purdue Nature of Teaching
Help the Hellbender, Playlist & Website
The Nature of Teaching: Adaptations for Aquatic Amphibians, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Hellbenders Rock!, The Education Store
Help the Hellbender, North America’s Giant Salamander, The Education Store

Wendy Mayer, FNR Communications Coordinator
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources

Rod Williams, Assistant Provost for Engagement/Professor of Wildlife Science
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources

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


Posted on April 21st, 2022 in Aquaculture/Fish, Wildlife | No Comments »

In this episode of A Moment in the Wild, wildlife technician Zach Truelock introduces you to the streamside salamander. This salamander lives in underground burrows and lays its eggs in small headwater streams in the winter/early spring. This species also has a twin species in Indiana, the small-mouthed salamander.

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
Question: Which salamander is this?, Got Nature? Blog, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources
Salamanders of Indiana Book, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Amphibians: Frogs, Toads, and Salamanders, Purdue Nature of Teaching
The Nature of Teaching: Adaptations for Aquatic Amphibians, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Hellbender ID, Playlist, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources YouTube Channel
A Moment in the Wild, Playlist, Purdue Extension – FNR YouTube Channel
Help the Hellbender, YouTube Playlist & Website

Zach Truelock, Hellbender Technician
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources

Rod Williams, Assistant Provost for Engagement/Professor of Wildlife Science
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources


Got Nature?

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