This summer, you may have noticed that many trees and shrubs are being defoliated by gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar) caterpillars. The good news, sort of, is that this year’s defoliation is almost at an end. (Daily Hampshire Gazette 6/29/17)
News from the Media
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)
Garlic mustard may look innocuous, but the plant exudes a chemical that kills fungi needed by tree seedlings and other forest plants to survive, according to researcher Kristina Stinson at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.(Globe 6/22/17)
AMHERST — University of Massachusetts Amherst food scientist David Julian McClements will lead a team that has received a three-year, $444,550 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture to study the possibility that eating food nanoemulsions found in dressings, dips or sauces might increase the amount of pesticides absorbed from co-ingested fruits and vegetables, thus increasing risk of adverse health effects. (Recorder 6/22/17; News Office (6/19/17)
Elkinton said he is hopeful this year’s rain and entomophaga maimaiga fungus will “wipe out the problem and make it a non-problem” and “drive the system to low density again.” (South Coast Today 6/18/17)
It is taking place in parking lots, along the sides of roads and anywhere their roots have been unable to spread: diseased white pine trees. UMass Extension comments. (Sun Chronicle 6/10/17)
Gypsy moth eggs were first seen hatching near the Quabbin in late April. They have settled there, because of the abundant oak and maple trees. UMass entomologist Tawny Simisky explained how defoliation affects our trees.
“That can weaken the trees and make them more susceptible to secondary invaders- so, other organisms that really aren’t a big problem unless the tree is otherwise unhealthy,” Simisky said. (WWLP 6/12/17)
AMHERST, Mass. – Biology professor Lynn Adler at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, an expert in pollination and plant-insect interactions, recently received a three-year, $1 million grant from a special "pollinator health" program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to study the role that sunflower pollen may play in improving bee health. (San Francisco Chronicle, Charlotte Observer, McClatchy, D.C., Western Mass News, WWLP-TV 22 [All from AP], 6/11/17; Phys.org, 6/8/17 ScienceMag 6/8/17; News Office 6/8/17).
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)
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)