Prune Your Oak Trees Over the Winter

Cornell Cooperative Extension has sent out another notice about Oak Wilt, which was found earlier this summer in the Town of Islip. Since the original notice over the summer, more and more accounts of Oak Wilt have been happening in other towns within Suffolk County. The DEC is urging homeowners to prune their oak trees during the winter and not during growing season.  “One way that oak wilt spreads is through insects (sap beetles are one of the main culprits), which can move the fungus from an infected tree to a healthy tree. During the warmer growing season sap beetles are active and attracted to the fresh wounds, increasing the chances of disease spread.” So be on the lookout! You can read more on the DEC’s website here.

Stink Bugs!!

Stink-Bug

Halyomorpha halys

Chances are you have had the luck of finding stink bugs in your garden or worse- your home this past summer. Hopefully, you haven’t squished any and if you have already done so, you have gained a full understanding on the reason behind their name. When you crush one of these 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch shield shaped insects, they release a foul and pungent odor that one does not forget about. Originally from Asia, the brown marmorated stink bug (Halyomorpha halys) are believed to be brought to the United States around the 90’s in Pennsylvania. They were first spotted in Maryland in 2003, reproducing prolifically and destroying crops in their wake along the mid-Atlantic coast. An entomologist and senior extension associate for Cornell University’s NYS Integrative Pest Management Program in Babylon has expressed fear that within a few years, we “could be dealing with large numbers. They’ll eat anything- trees, seeds, holly berries- but they prefer peaches, apples, beans and developing ears of corn, so we’re seeing higher numbers in agricultural areas, including out east, near orchards and crop fields. They are generalist feeders, so we won’t see the true impact for a while.” Good news is stink bugs don’t bite, cause any structural damage, or pose any human health hazard. But like any other pest, they are seeking indoor shelter as of now (since the temperature is dropping.) Without you even knowing, you could be harboring the pests already! They may be under base boards, in window and door frames and other hiding spots without your knowledge. They will become noticeable once they come out to warm up on that first chilly night. The best line of defense for these bugs is a vacuum. Suck them up, and seal the vacuum bag in a plastic bag, then dispose in the trash outside. Pesticides are not recommended, because who would want that in their house? Whether or not you have experienced these little critters, we recommend repairing holes in screens and sealing gaps around windows and doors. Remove window air-conditioners as soon as possible, and cover wall mounted units. You can even check the attic eaves during the day, so you can see where gaps are apparent. You should even check under the siding near the top of the foundation outside. Brush away any debris and check for gaps. Seal out any gaps and have a warm winter inside, with your family- not stink bugs. 

 

Thank you to Jessica Damiano for the original information. You can read more here.

Wasp Nests!

A couple of days ago, I noticed a large almost bee-hive looking ball in my front yard Dogwood. Upon closer examination- it turns out to be a giant wasps nest! Not only was there one wasp nest- there was two. Right above where I park my car to boot! We have called an exterminator to help us deal with this problem and remove the nests, but for now they stay. You can capture wasps just like yellow-jackets, if you are worried about them flying in your backyard and potentially stinging someone. You can read our article on How To Make A Yellow-Jacket Trap to help guide you through building a trap. Heres what the nests look like in our tree.