Friday, October 29, 2010

Python Found Living in Apartment Ceiling

In Massachusetts, a python was found living in two men's apartment ceiling. The python was the apartment's previous renter's pet who he lost about a month before he moved out. Click here to see the video.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

892 Miles of Critical Habitat for Two Fish Species

Yesterday, U.S. Fish and Wildlife proposed 892 miles of critical habitat for two southwestern fish, the spikedace and loach minnow. These two fish have been eliminated from more than 80 percent of their historic ranges in New Mexico and Arizona. U.S. Fish and Wildlife also proposed that these two fish be moved from threatened to endangered species due to population declines, continued habitat destruction and the spread of invasive species. Click here to read more.

USDA Funds Invasive Species Research

Secretary Ann Wright, the Deputy Under Secretary for USDA's Marketing and Regulatory Program, visited New Roots Community Farm in San Diego yesterday. The farm is a project of International Rescue Committee (IRC) that highlights USDA's grant funding for invasive species research in California. USDA awarded California Department of Food and Agriculture, $152,250 in Specialty Crop Block Grant Program funds in September. Part of these grant funds will go to the Invasive Species Advisory Committee in California. This committee is partnering with the California Farm Bureau to target invasive species throughout the state. Click here to read more.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Experts Fear New Jellyfish Species

A new jellyfish species found off the coast of Israel this summer is symptomatic to the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. Experts fear the new species, Marivagia stellata, will upset the ecological balance in the Mediterranean. The species has a translucent blue color and is patterned with red streaks, stars and dots. Measuring only six inches in diamter, the jellyfish does not sting humans. Click here to read more and view a picture of the new species.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Center Teaches EDDMapS Training Workshop for Six Rivers CISMA

Karan Rawlins, Invasive Species Coordinator at the University of Georgia's Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health, taught an EDDMapS training workshop for Six Rivers CISMA in Florida last week. The workshop took place at the University of West Florida in Pensacola, FL. Nineteen people attended the workshop. The workshop included a field trip in which attendees located invasive species in their area, mapped the invader using a GPS device, and learned to upload the information into EDDMapS ( For more information on EDDMapS training workshops, contact Karan Rawlins at 229-386-3298 or

Monday, October 25, 2010

Grants Available for Prairie Research for 2011

Prairie Biotic Research (PBR) is an all-volunteer,  Wisconsin nonprofit established in 2000 to foster basic biotic research in prairies and savannas across the U.S. They have awarded 100 grants to researchers in 24 states. Applications must be mailed and received before January 7, 2011 by PBR.  You can visit their website to learn more, download an application form and instructions, and review the researcher agreement. Click here to learn more.

Screening Aid to Pests

Authors: Amanda J. Redford, Terrence Walters, Amanda Hodges, Forrest W. Howard, and Matthew Trice

CPHST is pleased to announce the release of its newest identification tool: A Resource for Pests and Diseases of Cultivated Palms: Screening Aid to Pests,developed through collaboration among USDA-APHIS-PPQ-CPHST, University of Florida, and the Southern Plant Diagnostic Network. Screening Aid to Pests(SAP) the first of six tools being developed to support the screening and detection of pests and diseases of cultivated palms in the U.S. and Caribbean, is aimed primarily at the novice entomologist.

SAP was designed to help users determine which type of arthropod palm pest they have found and features illustrated fact sheets with descriptions of each pest as well as two interactive keys. There is an adult key that helps the user with identifying the order of the pest, and then offers the ability to identify to a lower rank, such as family, genus, or species, as well as a key to select larval species. In the keys themselves, common language terms are used to help support use of the keys by inexperienced individuals. However, in order to maximize their value and validity, some specialized entomological terminology appears in the fact sheets. A glossary with links from the fact sheets, as well as an an illustrated primer to insect anatomy, assist the user in understanding such terms.

SAP is available on the Internet at:

Friday, October 22, 2010

Africanized Honeybees Found in Georgia

Entomological tests have confirmed that Africanized honeybees were responsible for the death of an elderly man in Dougherty County last week. News reports say the man accidentally disturbed a feral colony of bees with his bulldozer and that he received more than 100 stings.

“This is the first record of Africanized honeybees in Georgia,” said Agriculture Commissioner Tommy Irvin.

Africanized honeybees are a hybrid of African and European honeybees. Because of their extremely defensive nature regarding their nest (also referred to as a colony or hive), they are sometimes called “killer bees.” Large numbers of them sometimes sting people or livestock with little provocation.

The Africanized honeybee and the familiar European honeybee (Georgia’s state insect) look the same and their behavior is similar in some respects. Each bee can sting only once, and there is no difference between Africanized honeybee venom and that of a European honeybee. However, Africanized honeybees are less predictable and more defensive than European honeybees. They are more likely to defend a wider area around their nest and respond faster and in greater numbers than European honeybees.

Africanized honeybees first appeared in the U.S. in Texas in 1990. Since then they have spread to New Mexico, Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Florida and now Georgia. Entomologists and beekeepers have been expecting the arrival of these bees in Georgia for several years. There has been an established breeding population in Florida since 2005.

Because Africanized honeybees look almost identical to European honeybees, the bees from the Dougherty County incident had to be tested to accurately ascertain they were the Africanized strain. The Georgia Department of Agriculture sent samples of the bees to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services which has the capability to do FABIS (fast African bee identification system) testing and the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture identification test (the complete morphometrics test) to confirm the bees’ identity.

Africanized honeybees are the result of an experiment that went awry in Brazil in the 1950s. Researchers were trying to create a honeybee better suited to tropic conditions. A few of the African bees escaped and began hybridizing with European honeybees. The hybrid “Africanized” honeybees (so named because they get their extremely defensive nature from the African honeybee) began colonizing South America and Central America, then Mexico and the U.S.

“Georgia beekeepers are our first and best line of defense against these invaders. They are the ones who will be able to monitor and detect any changes in bee activity,” said Commissioner Irvin.

“The Georgia Department of Agriculture is going to continue its trapping and monitoring of bee swarms to try to find where any Africanized honeybees are,” said Commissioner Irvin. “We also want to educate people about what to do in case they encounter a colony of Africanized honeybees. Georgians can visit our website for more information. The University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service has a publication on Africanized honeybees that is available online ( or at Extension offices.”

Here is more information from the Georgia Department of Agriculture:

Africanized Honeybees

· Are very defensive of their nest (also referred to as a colony or hive).

· Respond quickly and sting in large numbers.

· Can sense a threat from people or animals 50 feet or more from nest.

· Sense vibrations from power equipment 100 feet or more from nest.

· Will pursue a perceived enemy ¼ mile or more.

· Swarm frequently to establish new nests.

· Nest in small cavities and sheltered areas.

Possible nest sites may include empty boxes, cans, buckets, or other containers; old tires; infrequently used vehicles; lumber piles; holes and cavities in fences, trees, or the ground; sheds, garages and other outbuildings; and low decks or spaces under buildings.

General Precautions

· Be careful wherever bees may be found.

· Listen for buzzing – indicating a nest or swarm of bees.

· Use care when entering sheds or outbuildings where bees may nest.

· Examine work area before using lawn mowers and other power equipment.

· Examine areas before penning pets or livestock.

· Be alert when participating in all outdoor sports and activities.

· Don’t disturb a nest or swarm – contact a pest control company or your Cooperative Extension office.

· Teach children to respect all bees.

· Check with a doctor about bee sting kits and procedures if sensitive to bee stings.

· Remove possible nest sites around home and seal openings larger than 1/8” in walls and around chimneys and plumbing.

As a general rule, stay away from all honeybee swarms and colonies. If bees are encountered, get away quickly. Do not stand and swat as this will only invite more stings. If you are stung, try to protect your face and eyes as much as possible and run away from the area. Take shelter in a car or building, and do not worry if a few bees follow you inside. It is better to have a few in the car with you than the thousands waiting outside. Hiding in water or thick brush does not offer enough protection.

What to Do if Stung

· First, go quickly to a safe area.

· Scrape – do not pull – stingers from skin as soon as possible. The stinger pumps out most of the venom during the first minute. Pulling the stinger out will likely cause more venom to be injected into the skin.

· Wash sting area with soap and water like any other wound.

· Apply an ice pack for a few minutes to relieve pain and swelling.

· Seek medical attention if breathing is troubled, if stung numerous times or if allergic to bee stings.

Don’t Forget!

Hives of European honeybees managed by beekeepers play an important role in our lives. These bees are necessary for the pollination of many crops. One-third of our diet relies on honeybee pollination.

People can coexist with the Africanized honeybee by learning about the bee and its habits, supporting beekeeping efforts and taking a few precautions.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Goliath Tiger Fish Caught

Jeremy Wade reeled and wrestled a 5 foot goliath tiger fish along Congo River in Africa. The tiger fish is one of the world's most fearsome freshwater fish and are said to be a deadlier version of the piranha. They have 32 teeth which are similar to those a great white shark and have been known to attack humans and crocodiles. Click here to read more and see a picture.

World's Largest Cat

A five year old Maine Coon cat named Stewie has set a new Guinness World Record for being the world's largest cat. Stewie stretches 48.5 inches from the tip of his nose to the tip of this tail. This is a little over four feet long! Click here to see a picture and read more.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Join Your State's Exotic Pest Plant Council

Membership in your states Exotic Pest Plant Council or EPPC has many benefits. Memberships are very reasonably priced and in today's economy getting the most for your dollar is important. In Georgia the cost for membership is $10 for students and $20 for general membership. Benefits include reduced cost for Annual Meeting and Conference which is on November 4th at Zoo Atlanta this year ($50 includes conference, entry to zoo, lunch and annual dues); the quarterly publication 'Wildland Weeds' which covers topics and issues on invasive species across the Southeastern United States; updates on legislation affecting invasive species issues; input and access to each states invasive plant occurrence database; tax deductible contribution; provides volunteer opportunities; and donations help to fund scholarships and educational materials for public outreach. Click on GA-EPPC  Georgia Exotic Pest Plant Council to join or click on NA-EPPC National Association of EPPCs to find your State or regions Exotic Pest Plant Council.

California Vineyard Beats Invasive Moth

According to California agricultural officials, they have beaten an invasive moth that was threatening the state's wine industry. The state achieved this by setting out traps. Early in the year there were hundreds of moths per trap. Now, there are only a handful. So far, California has spent $8 million on treatment and fruit removal. Click here to read more.

Monday, October 18, 2010

CERP Awards $1,601,216

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District awarded $1,601,216 for the design and construction of a biocontrol rearing facility in Davie, Fla. The annex will contain two laboratories, four scientists' offices and support systems adjacent to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Invasive Plant Research Facility.

The Corps awarded the contract to Native American Service Corp., a small disadvantaged business located in Orange Park, Fla. Funding for the contract comes from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) Program.

The Melaleuca Mass Rearing Annex is part of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) to help combat invasive plants in the Everglades. The decades-long endeavor will help prevent invasive species from degrading and damaging natural south Florida ecosystems, and contribute to the quality of south Florida's natural areas, native plants and wildlife.

Click here to view the finalized Project Implementation Report.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Invasive Weeds Taking Over

The Invasive Species Council (ISC) conservation group is recommending urgent action to tackle the spread of invasive weeds throughout New South Wales. These actions include standardizing laws across the country and restricting plants coming into the state. This will help prevent long term loses of native plants. Click here to read more about invasive weed invasion.

NEW Penn State Vegetable Gardening Publication

Pennsylvania State University College of Agricultural Sciences recently released a publication entitled, Vegetable Gardening: Recommendations for Home Gardeners in Pennsylvania. The publication is available on their publications website in PDF form and also available for sale in print. The Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health's Bugwood Images is included in the credits of this publication for use of images. To view the publication, click here.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

MRWC Launches Early Detection Mapping System

The Missouri River Watershed Coalition (MRWC) launched an Early Detection and Distribution Mapping System (EDDMapS) on September 28, 2010 ( ). The EDDMapS was developed by the Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health (CISEH, also known as Bugwood) for the Coalition over the past year.

The CISEH created and hosts the custom EDDMapS for invasive species reporting and mapping in the six MRWC headwater states (Colorado, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming). The system will provide a means of reporting new sightings of select invasive species, a mechanism to alert appropriate individuals to the reports and generate distribution maps for reported species.

The MRWC EDDMapS will focus on species that are new or potentially new invaders to the Coalition states and these reports will form the database rather than historical or current distribution data for all invasive species within the six states. Initially, the system will focus on a specific list of invasive plant species identified by each state. More species and distribution data may be added subsequently.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Honeysuckle Increases Risk of Tick Borne Diseases

According to Brian F. Allan, PhD, invasive honeysuckle can increase the risk of tick borne diseases for humans. The cause of this spread is deer. Allan reported the density of white-tailed deer in areas invaded with honeysuckle was roughly five times higher than in areas without honeysuckle. Also, the density of nymph life stage ticks infected by bacteria which cause human disease was roughly ten times higher. Click here to read more.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Pig Born With Only Two Legs

In China, a pig was born with only two legs. The pig is becoming a local celebrity since the owner taught the pig to walk in a handstand position on its two front legs. To watch the video, click here.

Solutions to Stop Asian Carp

The U.S Asian Carp czar says poison and genetic engineering are possible solutions to help keep carp from colonizing in the Great Lakes. The poison is one of the best hopes we have, while genetic engineering will alter the carp's digestive and reproductive systems. Everyone is wondering if these solutions will work or if they will screw up the Great Lake's ecosystem even more. Click here to read more.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Mysterious Bee Colony Collapse

Scientists have been stumped by the bee colony collapse across North America which happened in 2006. However, researchers today say the bees may have been associated with an insect virus and a fungus which caused them to die off by the billions. To read more on the mysterious bee colony collapse, click here.

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Center Recognized in Palm Beach Post Article

The University of Georgia's, Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health was recognized in a Palm Beach Post article Thursday, October 7, 2010. The article entitled iPhone tool serves as lizard wizard for scientists seeking scaly invaders, promotes the new IveGot1 iPhone app developed by the Center. To read the article, click here.

GISP Releases New Publication

The Global Invasive Species Programme (GISP) has recently announced the release of their new publication titled Invasive Species, Climate Change and Ecosystem-Based Adaption: Addressing Multiple Drivers of Global Change. Climate change and invasive species are two of the greatest threats to biodiversity and the ecosystem services upon which humanity relies. This publication identifies the underlying dynamics linking these two global change drivers and the optimal responses for the policy-making and research communities. Click here to view the publication.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Saving California from Oak Tree Loss

Dangerous pathogens are threatening to wipe out as much as 90% of California's oak trees withing the next 25 years. The invader is called sudden oak death and has been moving along the west coast since 1995. Sudden oak death is most devastating to oaks, however, over 100 plants can be a host. Researchers are trying to track the spread of sudden oak death with a new program by map plotting the pathogen. Click here to read the full article.

Converting Invasive Plants to Fuel

Montana State University Center for Invasive Plant Management and the Missouri River Watershed Coalition are heading a regional project investigating converting invasive plants to fuel. $1 million was recently awarded to MSU and the center to develop innovative ideas for managing invasive plants and to work with the public and private partners in Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado, North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana. Click here to read more.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Emerald Ash Borer Urban Preparedness Conference

The Emerald Ash Borer Urban Preparedness Conference will be held in Lexington, KY on December 8-9, 2010. Topics to be covered are Emerald ash borer (EAB) basics, EAB treatment option, how are other communities dealing with EAB, bio-control options under development, how to decide when to treat or replace ash trees, considerations for planning tree plantings and replacing ash trees, urban woodlot management, EAB educational programs, EAB regulations and utilization of wood from affected ash trees. For more information on the conference, click here.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Kudzu Bug as a Nuisance Pest

Megacopta cribraria or kudzu bug has been discovered on the exterior of houses in 60 north and central Georgia counties. These bugs have been described as nuisance pests. This article explains characteristics about the kudzu bug, why they are a nuisance, control procedures and has descriptive pictures. Click here to read the article.

Scientists Decoded Genome of Mosquito That Spreads Viruses

Scientists have decoded the genome of Southern house mosquito. This information gives insight to three disease carrying mosquito groups and gives light to the transmission of diseases carried by mosquitoes such as malaria, West Nile virus, encephalitis and filariasis. Click here to read more.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Micro Pigs

Micro pigs are growing in popularity. The piglets are the size of a small cat, however, they grow up to be the size of an adult pig! This leaves pet owners unhappy with a very large animal on their hands. Click here to view the video.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Controlling Invasive Species Workshop at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods

Invasive Species Workshop in Indiana - Find out how you can help fight invasive species in your area. Attend a workshop near you to learn more!
Don Carlson, WVC forester and Purdue University forester, and other experts will discuss invasive species, how they damage wildlife habitats and property values and successful management strategies for private landowners.
Monday, Oct. 11, is the registration deadline for the Saturday, Oct. 16, "Caring for our forests: Controlling invasive species," workshop at White Violet Center for Eco-Justice at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, located Northwest of Terre Haute, Indiana. To register or for more information click here.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

22% of World's Plants Threatened with Extinction

A study of plants worldwide analizes their risk of extintion at 22 per cent. Kew Gardens, the Natural History Museum of London and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), has revealed that the risk of extinction to the world’s plants is as high as the risk to mammals, with more than one in five of the world’s plant species threatened with extinction. To read more click here.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Monkeys Hired as Guards

In New Delhi, India, langurs are used to guard Commonwealth Games. These large, fierce monkeys keep other monkeys in check and away from public places. This is not uncommon in India where animals often roam through building causing havoc. Click here to read more.