A subsidized program that allowed Cape Codders to have ticks tested at a university laboratory for a fraction of the cost has exhausted its funding. Residents of Barnstable County now have to pay full price to have ticks evaluated for pathogens at the laboratory of Dr. Stephen Rich at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. (Cape Cod Times 6/24/17)
The non-native, exotic chilli thrips (Scirtothrips dorsalis) has been recently confirmed from two samples of damaged Hydrangea spp. foliage from two residential landscapes located in Barnstable County, Mass. submitted to the UMass Plant Diagnostics Laboratory. At this time, this pest has not been detected in nurseries or greenhouses in Massachusetts or on any other host plants. Due to the limited number of samples, the significance of chilli thrips in Massachusetts is not known at this time.
Cranberries are a billion-dollar industry in Massachusetts and employ more than 6,900 people. But the market is getting crowded, and that’s pushing down the price. Wisconsin has been the top grower in North America for years. Quebec has only been growing cranberries for the last 20 years, but it surpassed Massachusetts in its cranberry harvest in 2014. Why hasn’t Massachusetts kept up with the Wisconsin and Quebec?
Welcome to the year of the gypsy moth caterpillar. The tiny critters are feasting on leaves and wreaking havoc on trees, mostly oak, but not exclusively. “I would say almost surely this is the largest outbreak we’ve seen since 1981,” said Joe Elkinton, professor of entomology in UMass Amherst’s department of environmental conservation. “This is unprecedented. It’s been 35 years." (Enterprise News 6/28/16)
An article examining the factors that make the West Chop pitch pine tree perfectly suited for Atlantic islands mentions a recent report from the UMass Amherst Center for Food, Agriculture, and the Environment that found last year the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation had found southern pine beetles in traps on Martha’s Vineyard. The department had not, however, observed any signs of infestation or any trees killed by the beetle, the only serious threat facing pitch pines on Martha’s Vineyard.
State funding for free tick testing ran out in June, but now Cape Cod Healthcare is helping scientists continue efforts to track infected deer ticks on the Cape by underwriting the cost of tick testing at UMass through a grant to the Cape Cod Cooperative Extension program.
Barnstable County’s longest serving employee retired January 1 after nearly four decades on the job.
William “Bill” Clark, 65, executive director of the Cape Cod Cooperative Extension, has spent virtually his entire career — 38 years — working with the education and research arm of the county. He passed the torch of leadership to his deputy director, Michael Maguire. (12/24/15 Cape Cod Times)
BARNSTABLE — Imagine a tick that travels three times as fast as the black-legged deer tick, has excellent vision and hatches in stinging swarms that can put fire ants to shame. The arthropod in question is the lone star tick, which scientists say has meandered northward and established a foothold at Sandy Neck Beach Park in Barnstable and Cuttyhunk in the Elizabeth Islands chain.
Carolyn DeMoranville has been leading a team of scientists and researchers at the UMass Cranberry Station for the last 30 years. The goal here is to improve on anything and everything related to cranberry production.
“Anything that would be involved in producing the crop, from nutrient management to water management to pest management,” DeMoranville said.