Late Blight News and Confirmations
August 17th, 2011
Late Blight Photos / Symptoms
August 17th, 2011: The Maine Public Broadcasting Network Monday interviewed UMaine Cooperative Extension pest management specialist Jim Dill about new reports of late blight affecting potato plants in Aroostook, Kennebec and Androscoggin counties and tomatoes in Maine’s Mid-Coast areas. Damp, overcast weather helps spread spores from the fungus, which can devastate certain crops in a matter of days.
July 22nd, 2011 [Potato Update]: Potato late blight was found in one location in Central Aroostook County. The infection was in the upper portion of the plants, indicating that the infection was the result of wind-blown spores. Late blight has also been reported in Denmark, New Brunswick.
July 5th, 2011: The following states confirmed late blight (so be on the lookout): Maine, Michigan, Connecticut, Florida, New York, Delaware and Virginia. Conditions for the development of late blight have been very good in Maine and gardeners and farmers alike should be on the alert to catch any early symptoms on their tomato and/or potato plants. Typical symptoms will be water-soaked lesions on the leaves with fine, white cottony mycelium on the undersides. Infections on the stems appear as dark, almost black lesions.
More information about late blight:
May 23rd, 2011
Late May Observation: Eastern Tent caterpillars have begun appearing in trees, along with their familiar communal tents. The young caterpillars feed on the buds, and the nests become apparent this time of year. As the larvae grow they begin to feed on leaves. When the population increases, it is not uncommon for trees and forests to be defoliated. The caterpillars mature in the first part of June, with adult moths appearing during the last part of the month, when egg-laying takes place. There is one generation per year.
The beginning of the spring brought large numbers of low-flying, solitary ground-nesting bees over many Maine lawns and flower beds. These beneficial insects are good pollinators that are helping to fill the honey bee gap. They are not particularly aggressive and their numbers will lessen as spring turns into summer.
Most of the white grubs that have been coming into our lab this spring from the Brewer, Old Town, Orono, and the Bangor area are European chafer grubs. This species of white grub starts feeding earlier in the spring, feeds more aggressively, and feeds later into the fall, than the other species in the area. The European chafer grubs have been quite plentiful in this area for the last three years. Those desiring an organic approach for the management of the next generation of white grubs, may consider using beneficial nematodes, best applied during the last three weeks of August. Preventive measures targeting the next generation of grubs, using conventional materials, would generally work best when applied in June and July. Before using pesticides on your lawn, one should be knowledgeable about soil type and ground water protection and surface runoff patterns which may affect lakes, ponds, rivers and streams.
Once the weather warms and dries up we should have good numbers of black flies, especially near streams and rivers. It should be noted that black fly populations are not always evenly distributed, but can be in localized dense swarms. Personal protective tactics, such as limiting exposed skin and the use of repellents, are suggested for those involved in outdoor activities in high black fly areas.
We have had a number of deer ticks brought into the lab starting in April. Please be sure to do tick checks after hiking, gardening, walking the dog, and other outdoor activities that may take you into the forest or brushy areas.
Winter Stoneflies Emerging
March 22nd, 2011
In the Orono area winter stoneflies started emerging around March 13th. If you live near a stream or river, you may see these black, thin, about ½-inch long flying insects gathering on the side of your house. Soon a couple of larger species, with the largest almost a inch long, will be joining these smaller, harmless insects. [For more information about these aquatic insects, you are welcome to visit a fact sheet about Stoneflies -- courtesy of Univ. of Arizona.]
Bed Bugs, Bed Bugs, Bed Bugs
February 8th, 2011
Bed Bugs, Bed Bugs, Bed Bugs! [En español]
Bed bugs are making a comeback in the United States for several reasons. Some factors include increased international travel, increased popularity of thrift shops, yard sales, and buying used furniture. Also, the practice of using specific household pest control tactics, and crowded living conditions in certain apartment complexes and neighborhoods has added to the problem. Bed bugs have a secretive life style and can hide in any crack or crevice, going undetected for very long durations.
In addition, bed bug eggs are tiny (smaller than a pinhead) and hard to detect. In a heavy infestation, they can be practically anywhere. For these reasons, we suggest you contact a licensed pest management professional with plenty of bed bug experience.
Learn more by visiting our Bed Bugs Fact Sheet!
Year 2010 Pest Reports
November 17th, 2010
Note: Our Year 2010 Pest Report is available upon request. It makes note of the insect and plant disease occurrences, issues and encounters that our pest management office staff–and concerned Mainers–dealt with throughout the year. See also (and subsribe to) the Maine Forest Service’s Conditions Reports [A seasonal newsletter that provides timely information about insects and diseases affecting Maine's forest and shade trees.]
Early Spring: new UMaine Extension Late Blight publication now available!
Gardening After Late Blight
November 17th, 2010
The gardening season has come to an end and you are already thinking ahead to next year. The garden was a big success except for LATE BLIGHT that wiped out the tomatoes and potatoes. A few tomatoes managed to ripen and the potatoes, if there are any, are still in the ground. Of course, the potato plants have been dead for 2-3 weeks now and the tomato plants certainly need to be given last rites. So, now what?! Find the answers in our “Gardening After Late Blight” fact sheet: MS Word || pdf
Eastern Equine Encephalitis
November 17th, 2010
By James Dill, Pest Management Specialist
Maine counties with confirmed EEE last year (2009) were: Waldo, Penobscot, York, Cumberland and Kennebec. Scroll down for further information about EEE (its transmission cycle, for example) as well as how you can protect yourself from becoming infected.
Eastern Equine Encephalitis, called EEE for short, is a serious disease of horses and humans and, on occasion, llamas. The virus that causes the disease is transmitted by mosquitoes. In Maine, we have a couple species of mosquitoes that are almost exclusively bird feeders. These mosquitoes feed on the blood of several different birds and in this process they ingest virus-infected blood from one bird (especially songbirds) and bite another bird transferring the virus to it. This keeps the virus in the bird population and this population now becomes the reservoir host for the disease. Another group of mosquitoes, collectively called bridge vectors, are a group of 4-6 species that feed on both birds and mammals. These mosquitoes bite an infected bird and pick up the virus. Later they bite a horse or human and the virus is transmitted to the new host. Unfortunately, in these hosts it can kill almost 100% of horses and about 30% of humans. About 50% of the humans that recover have some type of neurological problem that may remain with them for the rest of their lives. Horses and humans are both considered dead end hosts, which means they don’t carry enough virus in their blood to infect a mosquito that may feed on them, therefore, breaking the cycle.
At this time of year (Sept-Oct), the best way to protect yourself from mosquitoes is personal protection. Try to limit outside activity between 1-hour before sunset until 1-hour after sunrise (the time when most species of mosquitoes are active, especially if the temperature is above 50 degrees). When outside, cover up — wear long sleeve shirts and pants and use a CDC approved and recommended repellent, such as DEET, Picaridin, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (IR3535) or PMD, the synthesized version of oil of lemon eucalyptus.
Frequently Asked Questions about EEE:
UMaine Extension || Maine.gov