Posts Tagged ‘emerald ash borer’

Adventure Foot coming to you with breaking news! It is confirmed that there is an alien invasion going on in your community right now!  Authorities are advising

“Welcome to Earth.” Will Smith always saves us from Aliens.

readers not to panic but to join in the battle and take some important steps to stem the tide of the attackers… Where is Will Smith when I need him?!

This week (Feb. 26th- March 3rd) is National Invasive Species Awareness Week, and as outdoors people, there is a lot we can do to prevent the spread of alien species in our own backyards.  You see, there are animals, plants, and pathogens that are not native to our area, and, left unchecked, the invading horde can out-compete our native species and occupy their natural niches.

I’ve written before about Asian Carp and White Nosed Bat syndrome, and thanks to an aggressive advertising campaign by the National Forrest Service, many people are already aware of the threats of invasive beetle species.  No matter which potential plague we’re talking about though, there are some simple steps outdoorspeople can take to protect our native species.

  1. Clean your boots when moving between areas!  All kinds of hitchhikers from plant seeds to fungus can grab on to muddy boots.  If you’ve been tromping around a Florida swamp and you bring your muddy gear back to Illinois, you may be spreading more than just some sunshine state soil.  You should clean your boots before leaving the alien planet… I mean… state… by knocking all the loose mud off of them and wiping them down with a bleach and water solution.
  2. Don’t move plants or firewood…ever!   I know.  You’ve got a nice stack of firewood behind your house and you think maybe you should just take it with you when you go camping this weekend.  What could it hurt?  I mean you’re going to burn it anyway, right?  WRONG!  That wood could harbor

    Photo credit framinghamma.gov.

    insect eggs, larva or adults, and they can hitch a ride across the state line in the back of your truck and escape into a new environment.  In the Midwest, we particularly need to be aware of a little bug called the Asian Long-horned Beetle. This 1 inch long tunneling beetle has destroyed over 72,000 American hardwood trees east of the Mississippi since its discovery in 1992.  The river has acted as a natural barrier for the beastly little bug, but it only takes one infested log to cross the river for a camping weekend and poof!  It begins to destroy trees all the way to the Rockies. There is a very informative interactive map located here where you can see the spread of this and other wood borne pests.

  3. Clean your other gear!  Whatever outdoor activities you are participating in, you’re potentially contaminating your gear with a foreign invader.  Clean everything! It’s our best defense.  Take extra care with items you’ve had in a body of water like wading boots or fishing gear, or items you’ve used in unusual environments like caves or beaches.  Fishermen should never dump anything from one body of water into another and boaters should clean and dry their trailers when moving between different lakes and rivers.  It’s all pretty common sense advice, but it’s worth reviewing!
  4. Be aware of the invasive species threatening your area and report signs of any infestations.  There are many websites where you can look at the invasive species in your area. I particularly like these two: http://www.invasivespeciesinfo.gov and  www.nisaw.org
  5. Landscape with native plants!  http://www.beplantwise.org/ is a great resource for all gardeners.  According to this site, over 1.7 million acres a year are threatened by invasive species of plants.  These plants cost over $35 billion a year in economic damage, and they’re also the largest threat to biodiversity in the country.  Use plants native to your area when you landscape and you’ll be helping to prevent non-native invasions.  To learn more, look for seminars in your area like this one in Columbia, Missouri on March 9th and 10th. http://mdc.mo.gov/newsroom/attend-workshops-columbia-landscaping-native-plants
  6. Never release non-native animals into the wild.  Did your kid get a snake/mouse/hamster/fish/bird/reptile they were unprepared to take care of? Do not- under any circumstances- release the unwanted pet into the wild!  Find a rescue group and put the pet up for adoption.  Or better yet, be responsible pet owners and never purchase a pet you can’t keep for its entire lifespan.

Adventure Foot: Your first line of defense against the worst scum of the universe- invasive species!  Saw something strange?  Watch your back, ‘cause you never quite know where Adventure Foot is at 🙂

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