Got Nature? Blog

Marking your property line can ensure you are receiving the full benefit of the property you own. Lenny Farlee, Purdue Extension forester, shares in the video below a new inexpensive way to mark your property line and has the same force of the law as no trespassing signs have.

Resources
Indiana Department of Natural Resources – Division of Forestry, District Foresters 
A Woodland Management Moment, Playlist, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources Youtube Channel
Woodland Stewardship for Landowners, Playlist
Investing in Indiana Woodlands, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Forest Improvement Handbook, The Education Store
Timber Harvesting and Logging Practices for Private Woodlands, The Education Store

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


As you decide best management practices for your woodlands, this short video shares how native grape vine can be a positive addition or a detriment depending on your goals. Lenny Farlee, Purdue Extension forester, shows you what it looks like and how it grows even to the tops of the trees.

Resources
A Woodland Management Moment, Playlist, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources Youtube Channel
Invasive Species, Playlist
Woodland Stewardship for Landowners, Playlist
Investing in Indiana Woodlands, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Forest Improvement Handbook, The Education Store
Invasive plants: impact on environment and people, The Education Store
What are invasive species and why should I care?, Got Nature? Blog, Purdue Extension
Woodland Invaders, Got Nature? Blog

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


Recently during an online program (video) I received a question about the risk of using toxicants for controlling moles in lawns. Specifically, the question was if animals (pets or wild animals) ate the moles that consumed the bromethalin “worms” or “grubs” would that harm them. I decided to do some digging (no pun intended) for more information so people can make informed decisions regarding their use.

What is bromethalin?
From the Purdue University Animal Disease and Diagnostic Laboratory:
“Bromethalin was developed and released in 1985 to combat a world-wide problem of rodent resistance to warfarin-like anticoagulant rodenticides. Bromethalin is not an anticoagulant but is a highly potent rodenticide that provides a lethal dose to rodents in a single feeding. Death occurs within 24 to 36 hours after ingestion. It is a pale, odorless, crystalline solid compound in the diphenylamine family. Its mechanism of action is to uncouple oxidativephosphorylation in the mitochondria of the central nervous system. This leads to a decreased production of ATP. Low levels of ATP inhibit the activity of the Na/K ATPase and lead to a subsequent buildup of cerebral spinal fluid and vacuolization of myelin. The increased CSF results in high intracranial pressure, causing damage to nerve axons, inhibiting neural transmission and leading to paralysis, convulsions and death. Signs of a sub-lethal dose include hind limb ataxia, depression, extensor rigidity, opisthotonus, lateral recumbency and vomiting. High doses may bring about severe muscle fasiculations, hind limb hyper-reflexia, seizures, hyperthennia, depression and death.”

From the Merk Veterinary Manual:
“Bromethalin, a nonanticoagulant, single-dose rodenticide, is a neurotoxin available as bars (blocks), pellets, seed, and worm. Mole baits are sold as worm containing 0.025% bromethalin, whereas rat and mouse baits contain 0.01% bromethalin. Bromethalin and its main metabolite desmobromethalin are strong uncouplers of oxidative phosphorylation. This results in intra-myelin fluid accumulation, leading to long nerve demyelination and intra-myelin cerebral edema. The net result is cerebral and spinal edema and increased CSF pressure, leading to neurologic dysfunction. In toxicity trials, the oral toxic dose of bromethalin when used as part of bait appears to be much lower than the dose administered as a technical grade agent. For example, in dogs, an average lethal dose of technical grade bromethalin is reported to be 4.7 mg/kg but 2.38 mg/kg in bait. Young dogs (<1 yr old) appear more sensitive; death has been reported at dosages of ~1 mg/kg in bait. Dogs are more commonly involved. Cats are 2–3 times more sensitive than dogs.”

moleDamage2 MoleDamage1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is the risk with mole baits?
The level of risk of any pesticide depends on a combination of toxicity and exposure. Anytime you are considering using a toxicant or other pesticide, first read the label in its entirety. Labels will contain information on how to apply a product safely, under what circumstances, and any precautions you should take. However, labels also contain other information that can users determine if they should use a product. This information is key in preventing pesticide exposure to people and the environment. In fact the label is a legal document. The pesticide user is bound by law to follow all label directions. Label directions for mole baits instruct users to keep pets out of treated areas and not to use the product above ground. Bait must be applied directly into moles’ tunnel systems. Following these directions will greatly reduce, or even eliminate, the exposure risk to pets. What might be the consequences if your dog or a neighbor’s dog mistakenly entered your yard and went digging around in a treated area?

To determine this we can calculate how much bait a dog would have to consume to reach the average lethal dose. The more technical term is the LD50 dose which is the individual dose that kills 50 percent of a population of test animals. A single worm mole bait weighs approximately 5g since a package of 20 worms has a weight of 100g.  With 0.025% active ingredient, each worm would contain 1.25 mg of bromethalin. Thus, an 11lb (5kg) dog would need to consume 18 to 19 worms to reach the average lethal dose using the 4.7 mg/kg level for technical grade bromethalin, or 9 to 10 worms for the 2.38 mg/kg level in bait. Recall, these rates were listed in the Merk Veterinary Manual. The amount of bait consumption would be more for larger dogs. The average lethal dose is just that – an average. Some dogs would die with lower dosages and some with higher dosages within a specified timeframe.

It would be extremely unlikely that a dog could find, dig up, and consume the number of worms to reach or even approach the average lethal dose. Consider the following:

  • How many worm baits will you use? According to label directions, worm baits are placed underground every 5 to 10 feet in active subsurface runways. Worms may be placed in the deeper underground runways. Limiting their use to only active runways reduces the amount of product applied. The label directions outline the procedure for identifying active runways.
  • Applying the product according to label instructions (in underground active mole tunnels) helps minimize the risk of accidental ingestion. However there are additional strategies to prevent accidental ingestion of the bait, including: applying the product in areas inaccessible to pets or installing barriers, covering the application sites with pavers, and supervising the pet’s use of the yard (especially important for dogs that like to dig). Allow at least two weeks (or longer under dry conditions) for breakdown of any uneaten worms.
  • Toxic baits placed in runways breakdown over time. That is, a treated area is not treated forever. This is a direct quote from one manufacturer, “Uneaten worms typically remain intact up to 14 days in mole runs. The amount of time it takes for the Mole Killer worm to degrade depends on soil type and the weather. Frequent and heavy rain or high temperatures may accelerate worm degradation. The active ingredient takes longer to degrade.”
  • Toxic baits may be combined with other methods. For example, you may choose to limit use of toxic baits only in areas where the soil type or tunnel structure make trapping difficult.

In the end, it is up to the individual user on whether or not they choose to use toxic baits to get rid of moles in their yard. If you do choose to use them, read the label in its entirety. In the case of mole toxicants, the label clearly states that pets should not be allowed in treated areas. If you are not confident this is possible, then alternative control options are likely a better option for you.


Resources
Pesticides and personal safety (pdf), Purdue Pesticide Program
Pesticides and wildlife (pdf), Purdue Pesticide Program
Moles, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Adjuvants and the Power of the Spray Droplet: Improving the Performance of Pesticide Applications, The Education Store
Purdue Extension – FNR: Ask An Expert, Video, Purdue Extension –  Forestry and Natural Resources YouTube channel

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


Garlic mustard is an invasive herbaceous plant that is shade tolerant and can invade our forest understories. In its second growing season it produces a flower which releases many seeds. In the video below, Purdue Extension forester Lenny Farlee will share what options we have to help control it.

Resources
A Woodland Management Moment, Playlist, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources Youtube Channel
Invasive Species, Playlist
Woodland Stewardship for Landowners, Playlist
Investing in Indiana Woodlands, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Invasive plants: impact on environment and people, The Education Store
Woodland Invaders, Got Nature? Blog

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


Do you need to open up your woodlands in order to grow new species of trees/shrubs that need extra sunlight or to make for a better wildlife habitat? Forest openings allows us to regenerate species of trees and shrubs that demand full sunlight and also ensures good diversity of species on your property. In this Woodland Management Moment video, Purdue Extension forester Lenny Farlee talks about creating forest openings.

Resources
Woodland Management Moment – Deer Fencing, Video, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources Youtube Channel
Asian Bush Honeysuckle, Video, Purdue Extension Youtube Channel
Forest Improvement Handbook, The Education Store, Purdue Extension Resource Center
Woodland Stewardship for Landowners, invasive species along with timber resources, Purdue Extension-FNR YouTube Playlist
Managing Your Woods for White-Tailed Deer, The Education Store

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


May IDNR Wildlife Bulletin Newsletter: Spring is here and with many of us stuck near home, we may notice new arrivals in our backyards. This time of year, many wild animals are born, including rabbits, squirrels, birds, and fawns. Other wildlife, like turtles, are on the move and more likely to be seen. While it’s easy to enjoy the great outdoors and practice social distancing from people, remember to practice social distancing from wildlife, too. Help us keep wildlife wild.

Deer• Remember that adult animals rarely abandon their young – It is common for the parent to leave them while they search for food. Do not hover to see if a parent comes back; they won’t return if a person is standing nearby. Give the animal space and only check back periodically.

• Young wildlife should not be handled. They can carry diseases or parasites and are capable of inflicting damage by biting or scratching. Human scent can also alert predators to the young animal’s presence. However, nestlings and small mammals can be safely returned to their nests if they have fallen out and are uninjured. Once the animal has been returned safely, leave the area.

• Pets should be supervised at all times when outdoors. With so many young animals in nests, this keeps both pets and wildlife safe.

• Except for properly maintained birdfeeders, do not feed wildlife. Feeding wildlife can lead to loss of fear, conflicts, and diseases spreading. Creating habitat is a healthy alternative that provides both food and shelter.Eastern box turtle

• Help turtles cross roads, don’t take them home. May marks the beginning of turtle nesting season, and some species are endangered or of special concern. Let them continue to contribute to wild populations by only helping turtles cross roads. Be sure to move them in the direction they were heading once traffic has cleared.

While rescuing young wildlife is legal, keeping them is not. Truly orphaned wild animals must be given to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator within 24 hours to maximize their chance of survival.  For more information about orphaned wildlife, visit Orphaned & Injured Animals.

Resources
Orphaned & Injured Animals, Indiana Department of Natural Resources
Resourceful Animal Relationships, The Education Store, Purdue Extension Resource Center
Orphaned Wildlife, Got Nature? blog
No Room at the Inn: Suburban Backyards and Migratory Birds, The Education Store
Purdue Extension – FNR: Ask The Expert, Video, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources YouTube channel

Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IN DNR)


On May 5th, we held a Facebook LIVE: Ask an Expert with several FNR specialists and one of the questions that came in is a question I receive often.

One of the many benefits of interacting with farmers and land managers is I learn about the problems you face. A question came in around the 17:30 minute mark of how to deal with vole damage problems in their 3- to 5-acre pumpkin patch.  I didn’t have an answer regarding registered pesticides (including taste repellents and toxicants) that are labeled for voles in pumpkins. Doing a broad search on the internet is helpful but it is hard to figure out what you can use in your state. Pesticides are often labeled for use in one state but not others. Luckily, anyone can search for registered pesticides online at on the National Pesticide Information Retrieval System. Most states, including Indiana, are included. You can search by EPA registration number, product name, company name, or active ingredient.  A particular search can still yield many choices but this is a helpful way of finding out what is available. Each product has a link to the EPA website that includes product labels.

PumpkinPatch

Since our program last week, I did some checking and found a product registered in Indiana labeled for voles in pumpkins as well as many other crops. Millers Hot Sauce is a taste repellent with an active ingredient of capsaicin (2.5% by weight), which is an irritant to animals, but one some people enjoy in hot peppers. Per label instructions adding an anti-transpirant film former or a sticker may prolong the effectiveness of the product.  Mix the product and additives with water according to label instructions. For heavy damage, start treatment after first true leaves appear and continue treatment every 7 days.  If applying to transplants, start application one week after transplanting and continue every 7 days.

Always read the label completely before applying any pesticide. The efficacy of any repellent depends on a number of factors including animal population size and density, available food, and availability of cover. With voles, the year can be key because their populations tend to cycle. Combining other methods with repellents can often increase success. For example, soil cultivation within plant rows and in adjacent habitat can help reduce the habitat quality for voles. Cultivation can also directly kill some voles. There are of course tradeoffs and every situation is unique. Soil cultivation would not be an option in some cases (e.g., adjacent to water, steep slopes). I was unable to find a toxicant registered for voles in pumpkins. But depending on what the land cover is adjacent to the pumpkin patches, some of these may be appropriate in those areas.

With face-to-face Extension programs on hold for the foreseeable future, look for more live Q&A sessions and other programs on Facebook (PurdueFNR) or Twitter (@PurdueFNR).

Resources
National Pesticide Information Retrieval System
Midwest Fruit Pest Management Guide 2019-2020, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Hops Production in Indiana: Integrated Pest Management Guide for Hops in Indiana, The Education Store
Turfgrass Insects: Managing Black Cutworms in Turfgrass, The Education Store
Applied Research in Field Crop Pathology for Indiana – 2019, The Education Store
Managing Alfalfa Autotoxicity, The Education Store

Brian MacGowan, Wildlife Extensions Specialist
Purdue Forestry and Natural Resources


With large amounts of white-tailed deer populating the area around forest land, getting your hardwood seedlings established can be difficult.

Purdue Extension forester Lenny Farlee, sustainable hardwood extension specialist, offers some tips on how to protect newly planted seedlings from browsing deer using plastic mesh fencing to exclude the animals from the area. He also mentions tree tubes and electrified fencing as potential options. Learn more in the video below.

Resources
USDA Cost Assistance Programs for Conservation Practices
How to Build a Plastic Mesh Deer Exclusion Fence, The Education Store, Purdue Extension Resource Center
Electric Fences for Preventing Deer Browse Damage by White-Tailed Deer, The Education Store
Managing Your Woods for White-Tailed Deer, The Education Store
How to Score Your White-Tailed Deer, Video, Purdue Extension Youtube Channel

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


The Indiana Woodland Steward Homepage has just been updated with a new newsletter and is available to view on the website. Woodland Steward Publication

Highlights from the April Newsletter include:

  • Into the Woods
  • 2019 Indiana Forest Products Price Report and Trend Analysis
  • 2019 Indiana Tree Farmer of the Year

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

Check out the IWS website to stay current in the world of forestry and receive their free e-newsletter by subscribing at IWS Subscribe. Feel free to browse archived articles dating back to 1992 for more information.

Resources
Indiana Woodland Steward, IWS Newsletter Homepage
Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment – Wildlife Responses to Timber Harvesting, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Forest Improvement Handbook, The Education Store
Invasive plants: impact on environment and people, The Education Store

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


Posted on April 20th, 2020 in Forestry, Got Nature for Kids, Wildlife, Woodlands | No Comments »

Hellbender EggsHave you heard of a Hellbender? No? Have you been living under a rock?

Eastern hellbenders are the largest salamander in North America, a rare species that has been getting a lot of conservation attention over the past two decades. If you would like to learn about Hellbenders, how you can help protect aquatic wildlife, and have the opportunity to ask Purdue biologists questions about Hellbender conservation, then please join us on our Help the Hellbender-Facebook Live question and answer time, www.facebook.com/HelpTheHellbender/.

Thursday, April 23rd
3:00 pm ET

We hope to see you there and please bring your questions!

Resources:
Help the Hellbender website, Purdue Extension-Forestry and Natural Resources
Hellbender Decline, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Zoos Work with Purdue University for Hellbender Conservation Efforts, Got Nature? Blog, FNR
The Nature of Teaching: Adaptations for Aquatic Amphibians, The Education Store

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

Shelby Royal, Husbandry Lab Coordinator
Purdue Department of Forestry and Natural Resources

Rod N Williams, Professor of Wildlife Science
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources


Got Nature?

Archives