An international team of researchers has designed decoys that mimic female emerald ash borer beetles and successfully entice male emerald ash borers to land on them in an attempt to mate, only to be electrocuted and killed by high-voltage current.
Oftentimes, native plants and their invasive counterparts appear nearly indistinguishable to an untrained eye. These physiological similarities may allow the invader to remain undetected for years. This ability to remain concealed, hidden from early detection, paired with their competitive edge in resource acquisition is what allows them to turn into nuisances, capable of altering entire ecosystems. This secretive similarity in the nature of plant growth is an example of a case between two similar looking aquatic plants, Elodea and Hydrilla, which caused some excitement this summer.
The VT FPR Invasive Plant Program is asking you to send in photos of invasive plants through the winter period to add to the dataset. Your photos can help increase our collective understanding of invasive plant phenology.
Over 75% of Vermont is beautiful forests – with more than 80% of that being privately owned – but much of that forest land faces a significant forest health threat in the form of invasive plants. It is up to each of us to do our part, whether on our own land or in our communities, to help protect Vermont forests for future generations. Even small actions, like choosing locally evolved plants for your garden or pulling up garlic mustard on town trails add up to make a big difference. At the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation, our burgeoning Invasive Plant Program is working to help steward Vermont’s state-owned public lands and, through grant funded programs, help communities do the same with support by trained professionals.
Go take a hike. Or a walk. Or a drive. Whatever gets you outside and looking at plants! This was the directive Lina Swislocki, the VT Forests Parks & Recreation’s Assistant Invasive Plants Coordinator playfully gave to volunteer observers. During the second full week of each month from April to September, these observers take note of all things invasive plants – getting up close and personal to collect data on invasive plant phenology.
In mid-August, a concerned community member brought to the attention of scientists, the presence of an invasive insect. The insect, spotted lanternfly, had never been reported before in Vermont, and was first detected in the United States in 2014 in Pennsylvania, but has spread across the eastern US to 8 states.
Garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) is an invasive herbaceous biennial plant. It is thought to have originated in Europe where it was historically grown as food and medicine. It likely came to the Vermont region with colonizers in the 1600s – so long ago that many people don’t realize it didn’t evolve here – and has been widely seen in area woodlands since the late 1800s.
Many Vermonters around the state are encountering gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar dispar or LDD) caterpillars causing defoliation of their trees. This invasive insect arrived in the United States over 100 years ago and has been expanding its range ever since. LDD can be a significant defoliator (leaf eater) of trees and shrubs, and although they prefer oak trees, high populations will cause them to eat many types of leaves, including maple and pine. LDD caterpillars can create a nuisance for homeowners, from the sights of caterpillars climbing the sides of residences and falling frass to the sounds of chewing on leaves.
Several new detections of EAB in Vermont have expanded existing Infested Areas, including into two new counties. The new detections were found in the towns of Hartford (White River Junction), Brookfield, and Belvidere.
Craspedacusta sowerbyi, or peach blossom fish or simply freshwater jellyfish, are indigenous to the Yangtze River in China and were first observed in Vermont in 1999. Since 1999, freshwater jellyfish have been spotted in several Vermont lakes, ponds, and river across the state, so how were they introduced and are they a threat?