What is an Asian Longhorned Beetle?
The Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) is an exotic invasive wood-borer beetle in the family Cerambycidae that feeds on a wide variety of trees encompassing 12 genre in 9 plant families with Maples (Acer spp.) being the most ecologically and economically significant in the United States, eventually killing them. The beetle is native to China and the Korean Peninsula and was most likely brought to the United States in wood packing material such as crates or pallets. Adult beetles are large, distinctive-looking insects measuring 1 to 1.5 inches in length with long antennae. Their bodies are black with small white spots, and their antennae are banded in black and white. Checking your trees regularly for this insect and looking for the damage it causes and reporting any sightings can help prevent the spread of the beetle. If not eradicated, ALB poses a severe threat to natural and urban North American Forests if it becomes widespread.
History of ALB in the United States.
First detected in North America in 1996 in New York City, additional infestations have since been detected in New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Massachusetts, Ohio, and Ontario, Canada. The beetle has been successfully eradicated in Illinois, New Jersey, and parts of New York and Ontario. Eradication efforts continue in other states and Ontario where ALB has been found.
Ohio was the fifth state to find ALB. In Ohio, ALB was discovered in Tate Township in Clermont County in June 2011, and the Ohio ALB Cooperative Eradication Program was established with the goal of eradicating the infestation. Participating agencies include United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA), Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Ohio State University Extension, USDA’s Agricultural Research Service and USDA Forest Service. Quarantines were established in Clermont County to prevent the spread of ALB. The removal of regulated items that could spread the beetle, such as logs, trees, tree trimmings, chipped wood with pieces larger than 1 inch in two dimensions, and firewood, from the quarantined area is restricted by law. This invasive beetle has no known natural predators and poses a threat to Ohio's hardwood forests (more than $2.5 billion in standing maple timber) and the state's $5 billion nursery industry which employs nearly 240,000 people.
What is ALB Host Range?
ALB has a broad host range that includes trees representing multiple species from 12 genera: maples (Acer spp.); horse chestnuts and buckeyes (Aesculus spp.); elms (Ulmus spp.); willows (Salix spp.); birches (Betula spp.); sycamore and planetrees (Platanus spp.); poplars (Populus spp.); mimosa (Albizia julibrissin); katsura (Cercidiphyllum japonicum); ash (Fraxinus spp.); golden raintree (Koelreuteria paniculata); and mountainash (Sorbus spp.)
What is the Life History of ALB?
Adult females chew depressions known as "oviposition pits" into the bark of various hardwood tree species. They lay an egg—about the size of a rice grain—under the bark at each site. (Females can lay up to 90 eggs in their lifetime.) Within 2 weeks, the egg hatches, and the white larva bores into the tree, feeding on the living tissue (xylem & phloem) that carries nutrients and the layer responsible for new growth under the bark. After several weeks, the larva tunnels into the woody tree tissue, where it continues to feed and develop over the winter. Larvae molt and can go through as many as 13 growth phases. As the larvae feed, they form tunnels or galleries in tree trunks and branches. Sawdust-like material, called frass, from the insect’s burrowing can be found at the trunk and branch bases of infested trees.
Feeding by ALB larvae damages the xylem, which moves water from the roots to the canopy of the tree. As larval feeding continues over time, damage to the xylem slowly accumulates causing structural weakening in tree branches. Branches often break, especially during storms. Eventually, larval feeding kills the tree. The larvae feed through the summer and fall until pupation; occasionally, pupation occurs in the spring.
Over the course of a year, beetle larvae develop into adults. The pupal stage lasts 13 to 24 days. Adults emerge in late spring through late summer with peak emergence typically occurring in late June to early August; however, adults can be present in the fall. Mating begins 2 to 3 days after emergence. ALB can overwinter in the egg, larval or pupal stage, but adults do not survive the winter, dying after the first fall freeze. There is one generation per year. After adult beetles emerge from the pupae, they chew their way out of the tree, leaving round exit holes approximately three-eighths of an inch in diameter. Once they have exited a tree, they feed on its leaves and bark for 10 to 14 days before mating and laying eggs.
Because ALB can overwinter in multiple life stages, adults emerge at different times. This results in their feeding, mating, and laying eggs throughout the summer and fall. While adult beetle activity is most obvious during the summer and early fall, adults have been seen from April to December. Adult beetles can fly for 400 yards or more to search for a host tree or mate. However, they usually remain on the tree from which they emerged, resulting in infestation by future generations.
Signs of ALB start to show about 3 to 4 years after infestation, with tree death occurring in 10 to 15 years depending on the tree’s overall health and site conditions. Infested trees do not recover, nor do they regenerate. Foresters have observed ALB-related tree deaths in every affected state.
Prevent the Spread
ALB has the potential to become a catastrophic pest of hardwood trees in North America due to a wide range of suitable hosts and difficulties in detection and monitoring. If the spread of this beetle is not stopped, ALB will cause significant ecological and economic impacts. The forest products and nursery industry in Ohio and elsewhere would be threatened by the loss of trees. Tree mortality caused by ALB will also impact biodiversity and ecosystem services in urban and natural forests. The eastern and southern half of Ohio is dominated by hardwood forests, and damage to trees will impact homeowners, parks and recreation, and maple syrup processors. Additionally, the state tree of Ohio, the buckeye, is a host for ALB.
Eradication efforts in some areas of North America have been successful and those efforts continue in Ohio. However, if ALB is allowed to spread, those efforts will be undermined. To prevent the spread of ALB, quarantines are established in areas where the beetle has been detected. Removing infested trees or high risk host trees in the surrounding area are essential to stop the spread of ALB and save millions of trees. Do not transport living or dead trees, including firewood, branches, roots, stumps, or other debris from quarantined areas. Larvae often go unnoticed because feeding occurs under the bark, and this is why transporting wood is a major problem. It is particularly important to purchase firewood where you plan to burn it to avoid spreading ALB or other pests, such as emerald ash borer, gypsy moth, and walnut twig beetle.
Early detection of ALB infestations is critical to the success of eradication efforts in terms of time and money. Most infestations have been identified by alert citizens that find the beetle, but careful monitoring for tree damage will also help catch an infestation early. If signs or symptoms of ALB are found, report the infestation to the ODA by phone at (614) 728-6201 or online at agri.ohio.gov. Citizens in Ohio or other states may also report a suspected ALB infestation to USDA APHIS by accessing their ALB website and clicking on “Have You Seen The Beetle” at: asianlonghornedbeetle.com.
What is Beech Leaf Disease?
Beech leaf disease (BLD) is a newly discovered disease inflicting our native American Beech (Fagus grandifolia) trees and several non-native beech trees including European Beech (Fagus sylvatica) and Oriental Beech (Fagus orientalis). BLD was first discovered by Biologist John Pogacnik in Lake County in 2012. To date, BLD infestations have been discovered in nine Ohio counties as well as in localized areas across western Pennsylvania, western New York, and Ontario, Canada. Currently, research is being conducted to determine the cause of BLD, but nothing has been identified. The ODNR Division of Forestry has received funding from the U.S. Forest Service to work with various partners within Ohio, other states and Canada to monitor the spread and document the impact of BLD to help inform research efforts and create management tools.
Here is a video of Biologist, John Pogacnik, at ground zero for the discovery of Beech Leaf Disease in Lake County Ohio discussing BLD and how he came to realize there was something effecting beech trees.
What are Symptoms of BLD?
Symptoms of BLD include dark striping or banding on otherwise healthy-looking leaves; shriveled, discolored or deformed leaves; and reduced leaf and bud production. Once infected, leaves opening in the spring will immediately show dark banding. Stripes are still visible on remaining leaves in the winter. Disease progression varies with tree size, but BLD appears to kill small trees within several years. No infected tree has ever been known to recover. BLD is not to be confused with beech blight aphids or eriophyid mites.
Click here for more information regarding BLD.
How Do I Report BLD?
ODNR urges Ohioans to report BLD. Reports of BLD will be documented to inform future research and to monitor changes in forest composition and structure. Landowners in northeast Ohio are encouraged to report any signs of BLD and report healthy beech trees. Additionally, landowners are urged to avoid moving beech trees or tree parts to prevent BLD from potentially spreading to new areas.
To report BLD, contact ODNR Forest Health Program Administrator Tom Macy at email@example.com or use the BLD section of the NE Ohio Parks app available at parkapps.kent.edu.
What is a Bobcat?
Bobcats (Lynx rufus) are small, predatory wild cat species that are native to Ohio and one of seven wild cat species found in North America. Bobcats belong to the same family as domesticated cats, Felidae. Prior to the settlement of Ohio during the 19th century, bobcats once roamed freely without persecution, but similarly like with other larger predatory animals present in Ohio during this time period they were aggressively hunted and extirpated from the state in 1850. In the 1970's Bobcats began making a comeback into Ohio with scattered reported sightings. In 1974 the bobcat was designated as an endangered species. Since then more and more sightings have been reported and in 2012 Bobcats were delisted from endangered to threatened species in Ohio. Today, they are no longer listed as threatened, but are still considered a protected species with no designated hunting or trapping season.
How Can I Properly Identify a Bobcat?
Bobcats are small, predators that are nearly double the size of a domestic cat. They have short, dense, soft fur that is variable, but typically includes colors ranging from light gray, to yellowish brown, or to buff brown, with black spots on the upper or dorsal portion of the body. The underside or ventral side and inside of the legs of the bobcat are usually whitish with dark black spots or bars. Although much smaller than, but similar in appearance to the Lynx, Bobcats have a distinct short tail that is black on top and white underneath. Bobcats have pointed, erect ears that are tipped in black. The back of the ears are spotted in white.
Where do Bobcats Live?
Bobcats are extremely territorial with most females being intolerable of other females in their territorial range. Males tend to be more accepting of other males in their territories. Bobcats can inhabit a variety of habitats ranging from grassland, forest, wetland, desert, and even suburban areas. Females look to create dens in dead trees, tree cavities, cacti, holes in the ground, or in rock formations to care for juveniles and newborn kittens.
When are Bobcats Active?
Bobcats are crepuscular creatures that are most active during early morning and evening hours. Seldom seen due to their elusive nature, Bobcats are solitary, carnivorous, ambush predators that have an affinity for rabbit or snowshoe hares; although, they have a wide diet consisting of an array of options including insects, reptiles, amphibians, fish, birds, and other small mammals.
What is the the Role of Bobcats in the Richland County Park District?
Bobcats are becoming increasingly more common throughout Ohio and even Richland County. Bobcats are part of our park system’s natural resources. Over the past two decades, they have become a more normal part of the wildlife populations of the Park District, as well as suburbs, surrounding rural areas, and other natural areas throughout north central Ohio.
Although numbers have rebounded, bobcats have become a staple top level predator in Ohio's ecosystem. Bobcats are a natural control that keeps small mammal populations in check. Today, the bobcat is one of a handful of mammal predators to function as a predator in this region. Although bobcats are predators, they are also opportunistic feeders like most other animals and shift their diets to take advantage of the most available prey. Bobcat diets are made up of mammals, mostly small mice and other rodents, rabbits, raccoons, ground nesting waterfowl/songbirds and their eggs, carrion, reptiles, and amphibians.
What Should I do if I Encounter a Bobcat?
Simply seeing a bobcat is normally not a cause for concern. Bobcats may frequent residential areas out of curiosity or as part of their normal travel routines; however, typically they are elusive and avoid people. Most people have never seen a bobcat so unless there is cause for concern enjoy the rare opportunity and watch what they are doing.
If you witness what appears to be an injured bobcat or have had a concerning encounter please contact the Richland County Wildlife Officer (419) 429-8392.
What is a Coyote?
The Eastern Coyote (Canis latrans) is the most widely distributed carnivore found in the Western Hemisphere including all 88 Ohio counties. Coyotes originated from the western United States inhabiting desert and prairie habitat; however, due to deforestation and the extirpation of the Eastern Timber Wolf, their range expanded exponentially over the course of the last century. Coyotes are known for their high level of intelligence and uncanny ability to adapt to their environment and thrive, especially in urban areas including Chicago, New York City, Los Angeles, and even Cleveland. Coyotes have been documented in Ohio since 1919.
How Can I Correctly Identify a Coyote?
Coyotes are slender animals similar in appearance to medium-sized dogs, most closely resembling a German shepherd. Because coyotes and domesticated dogs are from the same family, Canidae, they share similar appearance characteristics. Coyotes can reach lengths of 28-29 inches with a tail length of 12-15 inches weighing approximately 20-50 lbs with males being larger than females. Coyotes have bushy tails tipped in black that hang at a 45 degree angle when on the move. This trait is distinct to coyotes, unlike the wolf. Other field markings include a long, pointed snout, and pointed, erect ears. The long hairs on the back are tipped with black and run the length of the back through the tip of the tail creating a dark band. Color variations exist ranging from tan, to reddish, to brown/black.
Where do Coyotes Live?
Coyotes can be found in a wide variety of habitats, ranging from urban to rural, including grasslands, brush and forests. Adult coyotes normally excavate one or more dens in the soil, sometimes by expanding the burrows of other animals. They usually choose sites where human activity is minimal. However, their presence in urban and suburban environments is increasing, and substantial populations exist in many large cities and suburbs in Ohio including Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati. They are considered to be one of the most highly intelligent, adaptable carnivores. In urban environments, coyotes can make-shift dens out of creative areas such as storm drains, culverts, under storage sheds, in holes dug in vacant lots and parks, or just about any dark, dry place.
When are Coyotes Active?
The coyote is a nocturnal animal most active at night; however, they can be observed during the day when not threatened by human activity. Coyotes are often encountered while alone, but will often hunt in (non-family) pairs or large groups, which may range over several square miles. Coyotes are omnivores, like many other animals, they are opportunistic feeding on a variety of items including small mammals such as voles, shrews, moles, rabbits, etc. as well as vegetables, nuts, and even carrion. Coyotes are not pack animals like wolves. Family groups do exist and typically consist of two breeding adults, juveniles, and newborn pups.
What is the Role of Coyotes in the Richland County Park District?
Coyotes are part of our park system’s natural resources. Over the past two decades, they have become a normal part of the wildlife populations of the Park District, as well as suburbs, surrounding rural areas, and other natural areas throughout north central Ohio.
Although non-native, Coyotes have become a staple top level predator in Ohio's ecosystem. Coyotes are a natural control that keeps small mammal populations in check. They also prey on growing populations of feral cats, feral dogs and Canada geese that can cause damage to natural resources. Today, the coyote is the largest mammal to function as a predator in this region. Although coyotes are predators, they are also opportunistic feeders and shift their diets to take advantage of the most available prey. Coyote diets are made up of small mammals, mostly mice and other rodents, rabbits, raccoons, ground nesting waterfowl/songbirds and their eggs, carrion, reptiles, amphibians, and berries and fruits.
What Should I Do If I Encounter a Coyote?
Simply seeing a coyote is normally not a cause for concern. Coyotes may frequent residential areas out of curiosity or as part of their normal travel routines. Many people have never seen a coyote so unless there is cause for concern enjoy the rare opportunity and watch what they are doing.
If you witness what appears to be an injured coyote or have had a concerning encounter please contact the Richland County Wildlife Officer (419) 429-8392.
More often than not coyotes are wary of human activity and keep their distance. It is important that this relationship be maintained. Do not give coyotes a reason to get comfortable near people or pets. “Keep Wildlife Wild” by eliminating food sources (pet food, garbage, etc.) and stopping intentional wildlife feeding. Pet food and water should be kept indoors to avoid attracting coyotes to your yard. Small pets that are roaming freely can resemble prey to coyotes. Experts recommend not to leave small pets unattended. Best practices recommended to keep pets safe is to keep cats indoors, and pets on leashes and within your sight.
The coyote mating period is from February through early March. Pups will be born from mid-April through May. During this period, coyotes, like most other animals, can act aggressive toward perceived threats to the pregnant female and or newborn pups. Coyotes are protective parents, and defend their young just as humans do. Domestic dogs may trigger coyote defense behavior even if they are with their owner and showing no signs of aggression towards an encountered coyote.
Humans encountering coyotes rarely trigger an aggressive response that results in physical contact. On the very rare chance that a coyote does approach you directly, appears to be intentionally entering your line of travel, or begins to follow you, as with most predatory animal encounters, it is imperative you DO NOT turn and run because it may trigger a predatory/aggressive response from the coyote.
Understand that the coyote likely views you, or your pet, as a threat or it may be a sick animal. If you have a pet on a leash, make sure it is under control. Do not release it or command it to attack the coyote(s). Walk slowly backward so that you do not turn your back on the coyote. Back-tracking on route you took, will often lead you out of a den area or away from protected pups. If you are on horseback, slowly leave the area by retracing your route.
If you feel threatened try to frighten the coyote away by shouting in a deep voice, waving your arms, throwing objects at the animal, and looking it directly in the eyes to make yourself seem large and menacing. Stand up if you are seated. If you are wearing a coat or vest, spread it open like a cape so that you appear larger. Carrying a whistle with you can aid in frightening a coyote and summoning others to assist you.
Report any incidents of aggressive coyotes to local authorities including your local animal control agency.
Although most coyotes are healthy, they can carry raccoon strain and canine strain rabies. Infected animals in the latter stages of the disease will act aggressively towards humans perceived as threats. If someone is bitten or scratched by a coyote, wash the affected area thoroughly with soap and water and seek immediate medical attention. Because rabies infections in humans are nearly always fatal, medical authorities recommend post-exposure immunization whenever a person comes into direct contact with a wild coyote during a conflict. If a dog is bitten, the owner will need to ensure a rabies booster is administered immediately. In either of these cases, report the incident to local authorities (Richland County Sheriffs Office).
If coyotes approach without fear, become aggressive, or are taking pets from yards, then further action may be needed. Within the Richland County Park District call staff at 419-884-3764. On private property or elsewhere, contact the local police department or animal control warden.
Here are six steps to avoiding conflict with coyotes.
You can also find urban coyote information from the Ohio Division of Wildlife.
What is an Emerald Ash Borer?
Emerald Ash Borer (Agrilus Planipennis), is an ash tree killing insect from Asia that was first identified in Ohio in 2003. The pest has since spread from the initial detection near Toledo to all of the counties in the state. Because the EAB has established itself throughout all of Ohio, in July 2011 ODA lifted the quarantine regulations in place for emerald ash borer within the state. Ohio is still inside the Federal quarantine boundary, and the movement of EAB regulated articles cannot exit the quarantine boundaries without Federal permits.
Emerald Ash Borer Background.
The key factor contributing to the spread of EAB is the movement of infested firewood.
Do not move firewood into or through Richland County Park District Properties at any time.
Firewood may NOT be brought into Richland County Park District Properties under any circumstances.
Firewood, tree trimmings, and other debris may NOT be dumped in Richland County Park District.
Don't move firewood! People unknowingly contribute to the spread of EAB when they move firewood. EAB larvae survive hidden under the bark of firewood. Play it safe: don't move any firewood and you won't move any beetles. Visually inspect your trees. Early detection is a key factor. If trees on your property display any sign or symptom of EAB infestation, contact your State agriculture agency (Ohio Department of Agriculture EAB web page).
Richland County Park District Internal Policies Regarding EAB (Effective since 2015)
Internal policies provide guidelines for park managers to slow the spread of emerald ash borer and remove infested ash trees from public facility and recreation sites while continuing Richland County Park Districts mission of natural resource conservation.
Park District staff will inspect ash trees for signs of emerald ash borer during routine tree maintenance including pruning, dead-wooding and removal (including storm damage). Any signs of emerald ash borer will be immediately reported to the Natural Resource Division and further work on the infested tree/trees will cease immediately until the scope of the infestation is investigated.
Ash trees either pruned or felled (including storm damaged trees) will be hauled to a pre-designated holding area in the park where the tree was located. Park District staff will process accumulated ash wood into wood chips less than 1" by 1" and composted.
If ash trees or tree pieces CAN NOT be stored in a holding yard, they will be cut into pieces longer than 6 feet and scattered in the forest adjacent to where the tree was located for a minimum of 2 full (fall through summer) seasons before being pieced for firewood if necessary either for aesthetics and or debris control. Workers will chip as much of the non-trunk portion of the ash debris as possible.
What is a Tick?
Ticks are blood-feeding parasites that can pose a serious health risk to pets and humans impacting quality of life. Ticks have the ability to infect their hosts with a number of tick-borne diseases that can cause mild to severe illness or death. Proper tick biting preventative measures and removal techniques are the best way to avoid infection.
There are three tick species of medical significance because they are disease vectors: blacklegged tick (often called the deer tick), American dog tick, and the lone star tick. All three species are known as hard ticks because they possess a scutum (hard plate) on their upper surface behind their mouth parts. The scutum nearly covers the entire upper surface of male ticks and the front portion of the upper surface of female ticks. Soft ticks lack a scutum. Soft ticks are not pests to humans in Ohio.
What are Tick Life Cycles and Habits?
Ticks have a life cycle that includes the egg and three stages: six-legged larva, eight-legged nymph, and eight-legged adult. Adult ticks often have distinct characteristics and markings, but immature stages (larvae and nymphs) are entirely tan or brown and difficult to identify to species. All stages are round to oval shaped.
Ticks must consume blood at every stage to develop. Most species feed on a different type of host during the adult stage, with larvae and nymphs preferring smaller hosts. Nymphs become engorged, but they are much smaller than the adults. Adult female ticks greatly increase in size during feeding but adult males do not.
Important Tick Species in Ohio
American Dog Tick (Dermacentor variabilis)
The American dog tick is the most commonly encountered species throughout Ohio.
Identification: Adults typically are brownish with light gray mottling on the scutum. Immatures are very small and rarely observed. The adult American dog tick is the largest tick in Ohio at approximately 3/16 of an inch (unfed females, fed, and unfed males). After feeding, the female is much larger (~5/8 of an inch long) and mostly gray.
Biology: American dog ticks prefer grassy areas along roads and paths, particularly next to woody or shrubby habitats. The immature stages of this species feed on rodents and other small mammals. Adult ticks feed on a wide variety of medium to large size mammals such as opossums, raccoons, groundhogs, dogs, and humans. Adults are most commonly encountered by humans and pets.
Adults are active during spring and summer, but they are most abundant from mid-April to mid-July. The adult tick waits on grass and weeds for a suitable host to brush against the vegetation. It then clings to the host’s fur or clothing and crawls upward seeking a place to attach and feed. Attached American dog ticks are frequently found on the scalp and hairline at the back of the neck.
Males obtain a small blood meal then mate with the female while she is attached to the host. The female feeds for seven to 11 days then drops to the ground and remains there for several days before laying approximately 6,000 eggs then dying shortly thereafter. The male remains on the host and continues to feed and mate for the remainder of the season until his death.
Diseases: The American dog tick is the primary transmitter of Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF). This species may also transmit tularemia. Toxins in the tick's injected saliva have been known to cause tick paralysis in dogs and humans. Immediate tick removal usually results in a quick recovery.
Blacklegged Tick or Deer Tick (Ixodes scapularis)
The blacklegged tick recently has emerged as a serious pest in Ohio. This species has become much more common in the state since 2010, particularly in regions with the tick’s favored forest habitat. Maps showing Ohio counties with the blacklegged tick are available at odh.ohio.gov/.
Identification: The larval stage of the blacklegged tick is extremely tiny and nearly translucent, which makes it extremely difficult to see. The nymphal stage is translucent to slightly gray or brown. Adult males are slightly more than 1/16 inch long; unfed females are larger (~3/32-inch long). Both sexes are dark chocolate brown, but the rear half of the adult female is red or orange. Engorged adult females may appear gray. All comparable stages of the blacklegged tick are relatively smaller than other medically important ticks.
Biology: Blacklegged ticks are found mostly in or near forested areas. The immature stages feed on a wide range of hosts that occur in their woodland habitats. Adult blacklegged ticks feed on large mammals, most commonly white-tailed deer. Hence, some people call them “deer ticks.” Mating can occur on or off of a host. The female deposits approximately 2,000 eggs, all in one location.
All stages may attach to humans. They have no site attachment preference and will attach almost immediately upon encountering bare human skin.
One or more life stages may be active during every month of the year, depending on temperature. Because of this year-long activity, preventative measures should be taken outdoors where the tick occurs, even during autumn and winter.
Diseases: The blacklegged tick is the only vector of Lyme disease in the eastern and Midwestern United States. It is also the principal vector of human granulocytic anaplasmosis and babesiosis. This tick species may be co-infected with several disease agents, and some ticks may simultaneously infect a host with two or more of these diseases.
Lone Star Tick (Amblyomma americanum)
Lone star ticks recently have emerged as a serious pest, especially in southern Ohio.
Identification: The unfed adult female is about 3/16-inch long, brown, with a distinctive silvery spot on the upper surface of the scutum (hence the name ‘lone star'.). Once fed, the female is almost circular in shape and ~7/16-inch long. The male tick is about 3/16-inch long, brown, with whitish markings along the rear edge.
Biology: Lone star ticks are most commonly found in southern Ohio, but they are dispersed by migratory birds and therefore are reported in most Ohio counties. All stages readily feed on almost any bird or mammal, including humans. All stages can be found throughout the warm months of the year.
Shade is an important environmental factor for this species, which typically occurs in shady locations along roadsides and meadows and in grassy and shrubby habitats. All stages crawl to the tip of low growing vegetation and wait for a host to pass by. Larval lone star ticks, commonly referred to as seed ticks, may congregate in large numbers on vegetation. A person or pet unlucky enough to brush against this vegetation may become host to hundreds of larval ticks. The sticky side of masking tape can be used to collect crawling immatures.
Diseases: Lone star ticks are the primary transmitter of human monocytic ehrlichiosis and southern tick-associated rash illness (STARI). They also may transmit tularemia and Q-fever.
How Can I Prevent Tick Bites?
Here are some preventative measures that can be taken to reduce chances of humans and pets from being bitten by a harmful tick while outdoors:
To use tick repellent properly follow these step:
Once the permethrin has dried there is no odor and it should remain effective for several weeks before reapplication is needed.
Check out this printable brochure Be Tick Smart from ODH on preventing tick bites and infections.
Ticks can be submitted for species identification to the C. Wayne Ellett Plant and Pest Diagnostic Clinic (PPDC) at The Ohio State University. Information detailing how to submit a specimen can be obtained from the PPDC website at ppdc.osu.edu, your local county extension office OSU Mansfield Extension, or by contacting the PPDC: phone (614-292-5006), fax (614-466-9754), email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
How Do I Remove a Tick Properly?
If you encounter a tick on your body, a family members, or your pets, do not panic. Carefully, remove the tick using tweezers making sure to include the mouth parts. Monitor the health of the individual that has been bitten over the next 36-48 hours because transmission occurs between this time period. Check out this quick video detailing proper tick removal technique.
Most people bitten by a tick will not get a disease. Not all ticks are infected with diseases. Ticks that are infected usually have to be attached to the host for several hours to several days to transmit diseases. Prompt removal of an attached tick will significantly reduce the risk of infection.
Eastern Bluebird Natural History
The Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis) is a small, charming, charismatic songbird in the Thrush Family, along with other common birds such as the American Robin (Turdus migratorius), Wood Thrush (Hylocichla mustelina), and Veery (Catharus fuscescens). Males are easily identifiable with their strikingly vivid, deep royal blue plumage above, rusty orange/red chest, and white belly. Females are paler overall with a grayish/blue coloration above and subdued rusty orange/brown chest.
Eastern Bluebirds are primarily medium-distance migratory birds; however, some birds may be year-round residents. Their range extends from Canada during summer months down into Southern U.S or Mexico during cooler months. Birds in the northern reaches of their range will always migrate south during winter, while more southern latitude nesting Bluebirds may migrate a short distance south to winter or reside locally in their breeding territory year-round. Like most Thrushes, Bluebirds are insectivorous birds that feed primarily on a diverse array of invertebrates including (caterpillars, grasshoppers, crickets, katydids, beetles, and spiders) among others. Like many other bird species, Bluebirds often can be found feeding on a wide variety of berries such as (sumac, black cherry, dogwood, pokeberries, hackberries, and blackberries). Unlike other birds that regularly visit bird feeders, Bluebirds prefer a flat surface; therefore, they are known as platform feeders.
Eastern Bluebirds prefer open habitats that have trees or nest boxes to provide cavities for nesting, but do not have a dominant shrub understory. Ideal habitats include open woodlands, meadows, prairies, and orchards. In Ohio, they can be found any time of the year. Although, many migrate south for the winter, some will stick around and gather in large flocks. Flocking together is advantageous because singular birds do not have to work as hard during harsh conditions searching for food, water, shelter, and avoiding predators. Eastern Bluebirds are secondary cavity nesters, meaning they are not capable of creating their own cavities, so they rely on other animals such as Woodpeckers and other natural events to create cavities for them.
Reasons for Population Decline
In the early 1900's, Bluebirds were one of Ohio's most commonly encountered rural birds. Then between 1920-1970 Bluebird populations dwindled to alarmingly low numbers. A bird that once was so common became a rare sight to behold. There were many contributing factors, particularly imprudent anthropogenic events along with a series of severe winters, resulting in a population decline of up to 90%. Extensive land clearing for agriculture and expansive housing development due to the ever increasing urban sprawl into rural areas led to a decrease in trees and open areas resulting in a decrease in natural cavities and ideal habitat. Over time, wooden fence posts that used to provide cavities for bluebirds and other cavity nesting species alike were replaced with metal posts. The introduction of herbicides and pesticides, forest management techniques/philosophies (removing dead trees/snags), and the increase in feral cat populations also all were significant factors that contributed to Bluebird population declines.
However, the biggest detriment to Bluebird population decline can be attributed to the introduction of non-native bird species; House Sparrows (Passer domesticus) and European Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris). Both House Sparrows and European Starlings are cavity nesters and both species are highly adaptable, aggressive birds. These non-native birds outcompete native species for space. House Sparrows are small enough to fit into any size cavity that a Bluebird can and they will always chase and attempt to kill young and adults. Starlings are larger than Bluebirds. When the right precautions are taken when installing artificial nest boxes for Bluebirds, assuring the entrance hole is just the right size, Starlings can be deterred from intervening. Natural cavities present more opportunities for these non-native species to harass Bluebirds because Woodpeckers tend to create large cavities.
Conservation: A Glimpse of Hope
During the 1970's the North American Bluebird Society (NABS) was formed by concerned citizen scientist to raise awareness for declining population numbers. NABS helped establish a framework for educating citizens about establishing extensive bluebird trails and training them to monitor the bird boxes. Bird boxes were installed on trails near optimal habitat to allow for the monitoring of population size and health of the birds. The results of the program have became a story of legendary proportion. Over the course of the next 30 years, Bluebird populations not only increased to acceptable levels, they have thrived and gone from nearly being extinct to becoming a species of least concern.
The RCPD Natural Resource Management staff and volunteers play a critical role in monitoring our local Bluebird populations to ensure that this miraculous fairy tale story continues!
Common Ohio Cavity Nesting Birds Nests, Eggs, Incubation, and Fledgling Times
The Eastern Bluebird Nesting Cycle
Anatomy of an Eastern Bluebird Nest Box
There are many different designs that can be used to build your nest box. "One board" nest boxes are among one of the easiest designs to construct and clean. A blue print with step by step instructions are included here. Bald Cypress, Pine, or Eastern Red Cedar are some of the most suggested wood materials to use for building nest boxes.
It is important to follow these basic steps when deciding where to install your Bluebird Nest Box. Make sure to place your nest box in optimal habitat to attract Bluebirds. When placing your nest box, you will have more success installing boxes more than 100 yards apart. While installing your nest box, keep the box at least five feet off of the ground and make sure to install a baffle to deter predators. Lastly, position your nest box with the entrance hole in a northerly, easterly, or north-easterly direction to avoid direct sun exposure running the risk of overheating the nest box.