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News from the Media

Fungus could limit damage from gypsy moth infestation
June 6, 2017

A cold, wet and dreary spring may energize a biological control that will limit damage to trees from gypsy moths. Tawny Simisky, a UMass Extension entomologist, comments. (Worcester Telegram 6/4/17)

Gypsy moths bring unwelcome rash for some: UMass Extension entomologist comments
May 23, 2017

The gypsy moth caterpillar’s hairs are typically not an issue for most individuals. Tawny Simisky, entomologist at the University of Massachusetts Amherst Extension, comments. She said, "For the majority of the population, gypsy moth caterpillars do not cause allergic reactions. This can be dependent upon an individual’s amount and duration of exposure, as well as their own sensitivities." (Cape Cod Times 5/23/17)

Northeast in for Peachy Summer, UMass comments
May 15, 2017

BOSTON (AP) — A year after the peach crop in the northeastern United States hit the pits, growers and agricultural experts are anticipating a healthy rebound in 2017. "There was no peach crop in Massachusetts last year," said Jon Clements, a fruit specialist at the University of Massachusetts Extension. (5/14/17 USNews, Boston Herald, Concord Monitor)

Spray away gypsy moths? Two UMass Amherst professors give advice: let nature try first
May 7, 2017

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Should New England states spray insecticides to kill gypsy moths before they cause another year of widespread tree defoliation? Some politicians want the government to help eradicate the pests, though entomologists, including Joseph Elkinton, entomology professor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, say forests will be better off if nature takes care of itself. (5/7/17 Sun Chronicle)” Tawny Simisky, UMass Extension, says a natural fungus has been killing some of the gypsy moths since 1989. (WWLP-TV 22, 5/8/17)


Tick-borne illnesses can include rare Powassan virus
May 4, 2017

AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – They are known for spreading Lyme disease, but ticks can also spread another serious illness. It is called Powassan virus, and it affects the brain. Dr. Stephen Rich, director of the Laboratory of Medical Zoology at UMass Amherst explained for 22News the danger that this disease poses.

What Are Those Flowering Trees/Bushes I Drive By Every Day?
May 5, 2017

Photo feature shows flowering trees in bloom now in western Massachusetts. Author credits UMass Extension Assistant Professor Amanda Bayer. (Advocate, 5/5/17)

Mass. bill would ease tax hit on inherited farmland
May 1, 2017

Under legislation proposed by Rep. Kate Hogan, D-Stow, and Sen. Kathleen O’Connor Ives, D-Newburyport, farmland that is transferred upon the death of a farm owner would be assessed at its agricultural value as long as it stays farmland. Analysis of agricultural census on CAFE website is cited. (Worcester Telegram & Gazette, 5/1/17)

Season's First Gypsy Moth Hatch Reported
April 28, 2017

Entomologists at UMass Amherst report that some of this season’s first gypsy moth egg masses have begun to hatch, as observed on April 26 in Belchertown at a location off Route 202. Extension entomologist Tawny Simisky reports that a single egg mass can hold as many as 1,000 eggs. Gypsy moth is a non-native invasive insect in North America. (TV22, 4/28/17; WBZ4TV; WHDH-TV 7; San Francisco Chronicle; CBSBoston; Recorder; Telegram & Gazette;; Western Mass. News)

UMass Amherst tick testing lab joins national ecology tracking project
April 12, 2017

AMHERST, Mass. – The Laboratory of Medical Zoology (LMZ) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, a national tick testing lab, recently was chosen to conduct pathogen tests on thousands of ticks collected from 47 sites across the country as part of National Science Foundation’s 30-year National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) project.  LMZ director Stephen Rich says these tests will detect pathogens. (WWLP-TV 22, 4/11/17; News Office)

Only one sure thing about deer ticks: They will be out there
March 20, 2017

The tick census is unpredictable. Too many variables affect population size — variables so numerous and hyperlocal that one person’s yard can be teeming while the next door neighbor’s is pristine. UMass microbiology professor, Steve Rich, comments on upcoming season. (Globe 3/20/17)