UK entomologist offers tips on ticks

by Katie Pratt, University of Kentucky

A mild winter can have its downsides. One is that more ticks probably survived than normal. The result is more hungry ticks out earlier than usual, according to Lee Townsend, extension entomologist in the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.

Typically, warm weather brings ticks out of hiding to find the blood meal they need to continue their life cycle. In the past two weeks, Townsend has received calls about ticks on both people and pets. Continue reading

UK entomologist discusses kissing bug, impact on Kentucky

by Katie Pratt, University of Kentucky

The kissing bug may sound like a virus that plagues the protagonist of a romantic comedy, but in fact, these insects are real, and one species does occur in Kentucky. These blood-feeding insects have received a lot of media attention due to the potential health effects of their bites in the southwestern United States. University of Kentucky extension entomologist Lee Townsend recently discussed what Kentuckians need to know about the insect.

“A species of kissing bug lives in Kentucky, but the insect is not commonly seen. It occurs in wooded areas where it lives in the dens of various animals,” said Townsend, a faculty member in the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. “At UK, we have only occasionally received adults that were captured from inside homes, usually near or in wooded areas. Few bites have been reported. Kissing bugs will fly to outdoor lights, especially in the fall, and some will found ways inside.” Continue reading

Eastern tent caterpillar egg hatch begins in Kentucky

Eastern tent caterpillar egg hatch was reported March 23 in Scott County.

According to Lee Townsend, University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment extension entomologist, the tiny larvae will continue to emerge over the next two weeks from eggs laid last summer on flowering wild cherry, cherry, apple and related trees.

The eastern tent caterpillar spends the winter as tiny, fully-developed insects in distinctive egg masses that encircle twigs of wild cherry and related trees. It is one of the first insects to become active in the spring and is well adapted to survive Kentucky’s erratic winter and early spring weather.

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Five years in, fight continues against emerald ash borer

The fight continues, but the invader has the upper hand. Kentucky’s ash trees, important as timber producers and landscape trees, have faced the onslaught of the emerald ash borer, an invasive insect pest from Asia, since 2009.

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Eastern tent caterpillars now on the move in Central Kentucky

Eastern tent caterpillars in Central Kentucky are mature, have dispersed from trees and are on the move, leading experts to advise horse farm managers to move pregnant mares, if practical, to avoid contact with the crawling caterpillars.

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Winter weather not a serious threat to eastern tent caterpillar eggs

Blasts of polar air across Kentucky made this winter one to remember for many, but experts say the eastern tent caterpillar probably didn’t take notice.

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