Monday, June 12, 2017

Physician sheds light on Lyme disease

On a visit to Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, Dr. Nevena Zubcevik challenged conventional diagnosis and treatment of tick-borne diseases. She described her findings on Lyme disease diagnosis and treatment, and its effect on the brain, to Martha's Vineyard Hospital physicians and members of the public last week. — Barry Stringfellow

blacklegged tick, also know as the "deer tick"
This past Friday, Dr. Nevena Zubcevik, attending physician at Harvard Medical School and co-director of Dean Center for Tick Borne Illness at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Charlestown (SRH) traveled to one of the nation’s front lines in the public health battle against Lyme disease to speak to a group of Martha’s Vineyard Hospital physicians. “I wanted to do this presentation by Skype because of all the ticks you have here,” she joked. 

Dr. Zubcevik was at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital (MVH) to speak at grand rounds, a weekly meeting of clinicians, which on this day was open to the public, resulting in an overflow crowd at the Community Room just off the hospital lobby.

Over the course of the hour, she shared the most recent findings that she and her colleagues have made on the diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease, in particular on the 10 to 15 percent of patients who suffer long-term symptoms, defined by Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome (PTLDS). She discussed the protean nature of tick-borne diseases, the importance of public awareness, and the urgent need for the medical community to step up its game.

“Graduating medical students and doctors really aren’t educated about the gravity of this epidemic,” she said. “There’s a gap there that needs to be filled. We’re all responsible to educate our young doctors about what this entails.”

Dr. Zubcevic said the recent revelation that actor, singer, and songwriter Kris Kristofferson was cured of dementia once he was properly diagnosed with Lyme disease should be a lesson for medical professionals on how pervasive the disease is, and how often it is overlooked. “Sudden-onset dementia should really be a red flag for Lyme [disease], especially in people with compromised immune systems,” she said. “Everyone over 50 has a compromised immune system.”

To read the rest of the story click here.

For more on Lyme Disease from Penn State click here

Monday, June 5, 2017

PA Deer Forest Study Field Tour

Mifflin Juniata Perry Woodland Owners
June 9 @ 6:00-8:00 pm
Coopers Gap Road, Rothrock State Forest

Since 2013, the Deer Forest Study researchers from Penn State, U.S. Geological Survey, Pennsylvania Game Commission, and Pennsylvania DCNR Bureau of Forestry have been monitoring deer populations and forest changes in the Coopers Gap area of Rothrock State Forest near Reedsville, Mifflin County.

They have carefully monitored deer populations, biological diversity, and forest growth in this area. Hopes are, the study will lead to a better understanding of the complex relationships between deer and forests. Please join the Mifflin Perry Woodland Owner Association as we tour a few of the permanent monitoring plots as some of the researchers explain their findings.

Our presenters will be Dr. Duane Diefenbach – Leader and Adjunct Professor of Wildlife Ecology, U.S. Geological Survey PA Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit, Dr. Marc McDill – Forest Management, Penn State, and Danielle Begley-Miller, PhD Student, Wildlife and Fisheries, Penn State.

The tour will consist of a 10 minute walk on an easy to moderately difficult trail that will lead us to a monitoring plot. Please where appropriate clothing and footwear for this short hike. This is a rain or shine program.

The program will start promptly at 6:00 pm from a parking area along Coopers Gap Rd near Reedsville, PA. This parking lot is just east of the Conklin Road and Coopers Gap intersection and if coming from the south travel approximately 2.6 miles northwest from the corner of East Back Mountain Road and Coopers Gap Road. Since our meeting location doesn’t have an address we also are meeting attendees at the Arby’s Restaurant parking lot located at 20 Commerce Dr, Milroy, PA 17063 at 5:15 and promptly leaving at 5:30 to lead attendees to the Coopers Gap Parking Area.

Coopers Gap Parking Area GPS Coordinates - 40.699665, -77.667725  

Coopers Gap Parking Location with Bing Maps

For more information about the Deer Forest Study click here.  

Friday, June 2, 2017

Walk in Penn’s Woods

Hey All! See all that tall green stuff whizzing by your window as you drive through our state? All that is Penn’s Woods! Did you know it’s working for you? Would you like a personal introduction?

We’re trying to raise awareness of Pennsylvania’s working woodlands. Help Us Tell the Story! 

Penn’s Woods, Working for You, announces a statewide Walk in Penn’s Woods on Sunday, October 1st, 2017.  Rural, urban and suburban woods, state and national forests and parks, municipal watersheds, conserved areas, private lands and industry in the state’s 67 counties will hold open houses and guided woods walks showcasing the multiple values and diverse uses of our state’s priceless forest resources.

As the fall season arrives, the first Sunday in October this year will feature mentored woods walks across the state, providing entrĂ©e to land that is not always open to the public along with easy access to expert forest and wildlife professionals. A Walk in Penn’s Woods event may showcase management for wildlife or watersheds, exhibit the results of harvesting or planting, demonstrate the impacts of urban tree cover, showcase riparian buffers, offer children’s activities, or reveal the fascinating workings of a local sawmill. You’ll be able to find information about each individual walk at, as well as offer to host a walk. We are constantly updating this site as new events are planned and offered.

Walk in Penn’s Woods has wonderful statewide partners: all the venues and the resource professionals have volunteered their time and land. But we need your help to make everyone’s introduction to Penn’s Woods a huge success! With your contributions, we’ll be able to:

  • Advertise all the events
  • Make all the great connections between land, mentors and visitors
  • Provide terrific take-home material to digest after the introductions

Visit our crowdfunding site ( and help us make this happen!
Please help us get the word out.  Make a contribution. Share our posts with your contact list. And Save the Date, Walk in Penn’s Woods is October 1, 2017. We want to walk with you!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Hemlock Woolly Adelgid Control

Hemlock Woolly Adelgid: Tom Coleman, US Forest Service,

The hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA) has caused significant damage to eastern hemlock, Tsuga Canadensis, in ornamental plantings and forests across much of Pennsylvania. However, many trees are still surviving and in need of treatment.

The most obvious sign of a HWA infestation is the copious masses of white filaments of wax produced by the females. These "cottony" masses normally persist throughout the season and into the following year, even after the insects are dead. The overwintering females are black, oval, soft-bodied, and about 2 mm long. They are concealed under their characteristic white waxy mass. HWA populations are usually located on the underside of the twigs at the base of the needles.

Life History:
The overwintering adult females begin laying eggs in large clusters in the cottony masses during warm weather in late winter and early spring. They continue to lay eggs into June. Eggs start to hatch in early April, and depending on spring temperatures, hatching is completed by late June. The newly hatched nymphs or “crawlers” become mature by late September and spend the winter on trees as mature females.

Host plants are injured by the adelgids inserting their piercing-sucking mouthparts into the base of the needles and removing plant fluids. Moderate HWA populations may cause a reduction in tree health. Severe infestations may result in premature needle drop, reduced twig growth, dieback, or death of trees.

Evaluate Trees:
Not all hemlocks can be saved. It would be too expensive to do so, as insecticide treatments need to be applied every few years. Consider the cost! Also consider the cost of removing dead trees that are near homes and other structures. Treat hemlocks that are the healthiest, most vital to the landscape or forest, easiest to reach with a sprayer, and furthest from sources of water. Remove trees that will NOT be treated to eliminate nearby sources of the insect to re-infest treated trees.

If trees do not have any HWA on them at all, they do not need treating. Insecticide applications are necessary once you see a light infestation or if adjacent trees are infested. This will keep the tree from going into decline. Treating HWA aggressively, while the tree is still in good health, is the best way to maintain a healthy tree. Severely defoliated trees will likely not recover even with treatment.

Try to minimize any stress on the tree. If possible and practical, during periods of drought, water the tree. Do not fertilize infested trees. This only aids the survival and reproduction of the adelgids. Prevention alone does not always work and trees which are infested will usually die unless an insecticide treatment is applied.

Horticultural Oil or Insecticidal Soap: These are the safest insecticides for controlling HWA. They are not toxic, but kill the insect by smothering it as the spray dries on the pest. These treatments are made in the fall from August until it gets too cold to spray. Treating other times of year will result in poorer control of the adelgids and may result in foliage burn. The entire tree, including the bark of the trunk and limbs, is thoroughly sprayed (drenched actually) with this material. A forceful spray is needed to get adequate coverage.

Both of these products are used at a 2% solution (2% solution = 2.6 ounces of spray material per gallon of water). There is no residual control with these materials; once they dry they will no longer control HWA. Trees will probably need to be treated annually. Be sure oils stay well mixed with the water during application. Using these materials is difficult if you do not have adequate equipment, especially on large trees.

Homeowners may be able to spray trees eight feet or smaller with a backpack sprayer or other types of hand held sprayers. For complete coverage, spray until droplets are observed running off. Be sure to spray on the undersides of limbs as well as the top. Every branch must have thorough coverage to get control. Larger trees require a high pressure sprayer and may require hiring a commercial arborist/pesticide applicator.

Soil Drenches: This treatment is effective for large trees that cannot be completely sprayed. The insecticide is applied to the soil surrounding the roots of the tree. The tree roots take up the product and move it into the foliage where the insect is killed. Soil drenches must be applied when there is adequate soil moisture in either the spring or fall. The best time to treat is in March or April. Do not use in areas near streams or ponds or where the soil is exceedingly rocky.

Most soil drenches are made with an imidacloprid product (Merit 75 WP, Malice 75 WSP, Zenith 75 WSP). Any of these can be purchased by the homeowner and applied to their own property. There are other imidacloprid products coming on the market. Any may be used as long as they have a landscape label. Imidacloprid products mentioned above all have 75% active ingredient. An imidacloprid product specifically for homeowners, Bayer Advance Garden Tree and Shrub Insect Control, is more readily available and can be purchased from home improvement stores. The rates of these products are based on the size of the tree trunk or height in the case of a hemlock hedge.

 Elongate Hemlock Scale:Pennsylvania DCNR - Forestry ,
IMPORTANT: If your hemlocks are also infested with elongate hemlock  scale then you must use another similar product, with slightly faster uptake, called Safari 20 SG (dinotefuran). This may also be applied as a soil drench as well as a bark spray. It will control both the scale insect and the adelgid. Safari trunk applications should be made before bud-break or shoot elongation in the spring.

Homeowners: (READ the LABEL!) Use Bayer's Advance Garden Tree and Shrub Insect Control for soil drenches.
·         Measure at chest height the total number of inches in circumference around the tree (if you use Merit, Malice, Zenith, or Safari – measure the circumference at chest level and divide by 3 to get the diameter in inches).
·         Note: Bayer's Tree and Shrub Insect Control will treat 32 inches of trunk circumference cumulatively, (equals approximately a 10 inch diameter tree.
·         One ounce of either Merit, Malice or Zenith will treat 15 inches of trunk diameter at the high rate or 30 inches at the low rate. If your trees are highly infested with HWA, use the high rate, otherwise consider using the lower rate. This can be then be mixed in a bucket with any amount of water to pour around the tree.
·         Safari 20 SG can be used at 1.0 to 4.2 ounces of product per 10 inches trunk diameter. This can be mixed in any amount of water to pour around the tree. It is also labeled for trunk spray on the lower 4-5 feet of the trunk. This is currently the only product labeled as a bark spray. A carefully applied trunk spray may be appropriate where surface water is nearby.
·         Use the following method - dig a shallow trench around the circumference of the tree, 1 foot away from the trunk. Be sure to remove all mulch and other organic material, the insecticide must be applied directly to the soil. Pour product in trench at the correct rate.

For soil drenches to work, the trees must be healthy enough to move the product from the roots up into the foliage. If trees are already in a state of decline, due to HWA, spray as much of the tree as possible with either horticultural oil or insecticidal soap to kill as many of the pests as possible. Then treat the following season with imidacloprid.

Determining Control:
It is not easy to know if HWA has been successfully controlled. The white filaments of wax may still be on the foliage following insecticide treatments. In many cases, it takes examination of the insect under magnification to see if it is dead. The best way to learn if the trees are recovering is to wait until the next flush of hemlock growth to determine if growth has improved. Even when working properly, a soil drench of imidacloprid may take a year or longer to show control. Do not expect instant results, be patient.

Follow-Up Treatments:
Any of these treatments can last anywhere from 1-5 years depending on their success and proximity to infested hemlocks. Successful treatments are usually a function of the initial health of the tree and the amount of soil moisture when treatments were made. Keep monitoring new growth for the white, waxy wool of the adults. Re-treatment is necessary when adelgids are found on many of the branches.

Large Tracts of Hemlock:
In wooded areas with many hemlocks it is not possible to save every tree. If deciding to treat with a soil drench, determine budget for materials and treat trees that are most important to the landscape or important as seed trees. Measure and mark with paint the trees to be treated. Small understory trees can be sprayed with horticultural oil in the fall.

Always read and follow pesticide labels. The label contains other important information not included in this article. The use of any insecticide can have unwanted consequences to the environment. Be sure to follow all label directions. Do not apply insecticides to the soil near surface water such as streams or ponds or where the soil is exceedingly rocky. Only spray trees if the material will not drift into open water such as streams or ponds or onto adjacent property. Do not exceed labeled rates of products. Applying a higher rate than what is labeled will not increase control.

Additional Sources of Information:
Fact Sheet: Hemlock Woolly Adelgid, Penn State Extension
Fact Sheet: Elongate Hemlock Scale, Penn State Extension
Fact Sheet: Recommendations for Hemlock Woolly Adelgid Control in the Landscape, North Carolina State Cooperative Extension Service
Video: Hemlock Woolly Adelgid, Michigan State University Extension
Video: Hemlock Woolly Adelgid, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension

Recommendations for Hemlock Woolly Adelgid Control in the Landscape, North Carolina State Cooperative Extension Service, by Dr. Jill R. Sidebottom, Area Extension Specialist and Christy Bredenkamp, Swain and Jackson Horticultural Agent, June 2009.