Archive for May 22nd, 2012
I know where one is !
Spot the Purple Trap for EAB Awareness Week May 20-26
Look for purple traps like this one during EAB Awareness Week.
This is Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) Awareness Week. Before the Memorial Day holiday and summer travel season begin, we take this time to remind everyone to be careful not to spread the EAB unintentionally.
EAB is one of many “Hungry Pests” that can cause significant damage to our country’s natural resources. Since first being identified in 2002, EAB is responsible for the destruction of tens of millions of ash trees in 15 states in the Midwest and Northeast.
We use purple traps like the one shown in this photo to help us look for EAB. Traps are placed in 47 states. Have you seen any in your neighborhood or travels? If you see one, join our “Spot the Purple Trap” team. It’s simple:
- “Like” the Hungry Pests Facebook page
- Snap photos of any purple traps you see and post them on Facebook, along with the city/state where you saw them
We also want to ask for your help in keeping EAB from spreading. Some simple steps you can take:
- Don’t move firewood. EAB larvae can survive hidden in the bark of firewood. Remember: buy local, burn local.
- Inspect your trees. If you see any sign or symptom of an EAB infestation, contact your State Plant Health Director or State agriculture agency.
It’s getting hotter, it’s gonna be cooler, it’s hotter, gonna be cooler. Hot, cold, hot, cold.
WSI: Much Cooler Summer than Recent Years over South-Central and Southeastern US; Heat Concentrated From Southwest to Northern Plains
Andover, MA (PRWEB) May 22, 2012
WSI (Weather Services International) expects the upcoming period (June-August) to be slightly cooler than normal across the southeastern US and the Pacific Coast states, with above-normal temperatures elsewhere. The largest positive temperature anomalies are expected from the Southwest into the central and northern Plains (MISO power region). The WSI seasonal outlooks reference a standard 30-year normal (1981-2010).
“As we head into summer, it may appear that the prolonged stretch of above-normal temperatures across the US will never end. However, although we are expecting a continuation of the warmth across a majority of the country during the first half of summer, the emerging El Nino would suggest increasing odds of more widespread, below-normal temperatures later in the summer; and our August forecast reflects that. The big story for the summer, however, is the expected reversal of the summer pattern from recent years that favored very hot temperatures across the south-central and southeastern US. This pattern was driven by the extreme levels of North Atlantic atmospheric blocking that we’ve seen during the past four summers. There are no indications that these levels of blocking will occur again this summer, so those in the South should expect a much cooler summer this year,” said WSI Chief Meteorologist Dr. Todd Crawford. “We are predicting that the year-over-year change in summer temperatures will be particularly noticeable in the Texas-based ERCOT power region, which suffered through a brutally hot and dry summer last year. We expect the warmest summer temperatures, relative to normal, to be found from the southwestern US into the central/northern Plains, with the MISO power region the most likely to be impacted by anomalous heat, especially during the first half of summer.”
In June, WSI sees the monthly breakdown as:
Northeast* – Warmer than normal
Southeast*– Cooler than normal
N Central * – Warmer than normal
S Central* – Warmer than normal
Northwest* – Cooler than normal, especially coastal areas
Southwest* – Warmer than normal, except coastal southern California
According to Chris Kostas, Senior Power and Gas Analyst at ESAI, “Warmer-than-normal June temperatures in Midwest ISO (MISO) and western PJM could create a volatile situation for power prices in those regions, as summer power demand begins to kick in and drive afternoon cooling loads higher. Low gas prices and overnight wind generation could also help to squeeze coal plants in those regions. This would support higher on-peak implied market heat rates in Northern Illinois and MISO. Lower coal-fired generation could also create short periods of high power prices in PJM-East, NY, and New England, due to the slightly warmer-than-normal temperatures that are expected in those regions. Firm on-peak implied market heat rates could also be seen in Texas (i.e. ERCOT) in June, though the warmer-than-normal temperatures are expected to be less pronounced there. California and the Northwest, on the other hand, could see very low power prices and implied market heat rates, due to the expected higher-than-normal Columbia River run-off (i.e. above-normal hydro generation) and the low gas price environment. The Southeast will also likely experience soft power pricing in June due to low gas prices and cooler-than-normal temperatures.”
In July, WSI forecasts:
Northeast – Warmer than normal
Southeast – Cooler than normal
N Central – Warmer than normal
S Central – Cooler than normal
Northwest – Cooler than normal
Southwest – Warmer than normal, except CA/NV
“Mild July temperatures along the West Coast and in the South (extending to Texas) combined with the expected soft gas prices should keep power prices subdued in those regions. California and the Northwest will also benefit from higher-than-normal Columbia River runoff, which will provide ample hydro generation this summer. Mild temperatures and softer-than-normal loads in Texas (and the South) will likely place added pressure on coal-fired generators in those regions. This would support on-peak implied market heat rates despite the lower-than-normal cooling loads. Slightly warmer-than-normal July temperatures are expected in MISO, PJM and the Northeast and should support electrical loads in those regions. Power prices could be soft in general, but very volatile during brief warm periods. Implied market heat rates are expected to be very high throughout the summer (east of the Mississippi) due to the continued pressure on coal plants and coal-to-gas switching. While increased shale gas production has been beneficial in keeping power and gas prices subdued; the extraordinarily mild winter and the record seasonal inventories have accelerated the economic pressure on coal-fired plants and will likely keep power prices volatile this summer,” Kostas noted.
In August, WSI forecasts:
Northeast – Cooler than normal
Southeast – Cooler than normal
N Central – Cooler than normal
S Central – Warmer than normal
Northwest – Warmer than normal
Southwest – Warmer than normal, except coastal California
“With cooler-than-normal temperatures expected across the Mid-West and Mid-Atlantic regions in August, natural gas prices could see early autumn price weakness; as gas inventories approach last year’s record level. Below-normal summer loads usually translate into lower implied market heat rates. But against the backdrop of low gas prices this year, implied market heat rates could be firm, if coal-fired generators continue to struggle against efficient gas-fired plants. We expect implied market heat rates will be firm in MISO, PJM and the Northeast due to soft gas prices and below-normal cooling load. California power prices are likely to be relatively soft in August due to mild temperatures and soft loads. ERCOT, on the other hand, could see some power price volatility due to the slightly warmer than normal temperatures in Texas and the Southwest,” Kostas added.
WSI provides customized weather information to energy traders. It will issue its next seasonal outlook on June 26.
*To view the map defining WSI’s US regions, click here.
WSI (Weather Services International) is the world’s leading provider of weather-driven business solutions for professionals in the energy, aviation and media markets and multiple federal and state government agencies. WSI is a member of The Weather Channel Companies and is headquartered in Andover, Massachusetts with offices in Birmingham, England. The Weather Channel Companies are owned by a consortium made up of NBC Universal and the private equity firms The Blackstone Group and Bain Capital. More information about WSI can be found at
Since its inception in 1984, Energy Security Analysis Inc. (ESAI) has been dedicated to monitoring, analyzing and synthesizing information about world-wide energy markets. Tapping the talents of its senior-level staff, ESAI provides clients with unparalleled insight into where the markets have been and where they are headed. ESAI provides ongoing systematic analysis of energy prices in the oil, natural gas and energy markets. For more information on ESAI services, see
Energy Security Analysis, Inc.
Rudolph Communications, LLC
Sap-sucking bugs mar Tulip poplars
Homeowners with tulip poplar trees are finding and reporting they are “raining” a mysterious film on their cars, homes and landscape plants, according to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.
The culprit — the tulip tree scale insect — is tiny, thirsty and sticky. The bug attaches to twigs and sucks the trees’ sap, leaving a sticky wake.
Tulip poplar, also called yellow poplar, was declared the state tree of Indiana in 1931. The tree is well-regarded and widely planted because of its beautiful flowers, form, the shade it provides and rapid growth, the DNR reports.
The tree’s sap is its life blood, carrying vital nutrients. The insect’s meals stress the tree and lead to its decline and, if untreated, potential death. Although tulip trees tend to be the scale’s favorite, the bug can also be found on basswood, persimmon, magnolia, catalpa, redbud and walnut trees.
“Depending on the condition of the tree today and any other stressors that may occur, the scale can result in the death of the tree, which may occur this year or in the future,” said Phil Marshall, director of the DNR Division of Entomology & Plant Pathology. “If the scale continues at heavy levels on the tree in 2013, the chance of tree death increases.
“Homeowners need to consider the hazard that tree creates to their property and decide if they should treat the tree or remove and replace it.”
The bug is a particular problem this year because the warm winter allowed a greater number of scales to survive, particularly in the southern part of the state.
As the bug feeds, it excretes a sticky waste product called “honeydew.” Honeydew is eaten by other insects, as well as by a fungus called sooty mold, which grows on the honeydew. The fungus often gives vegetation under infested trees a black moldy appearance, but is primarily an aesthetic problem.
Marshall said certain insecticide treatments can help control the scale, but if improperly applied can cause problems with other insects.
Right now, it may be too late to treat with a soil-applied systemic insecticide, which takes two to three weeks before it moves up to the feeding site of the scale, according to the DNR. Such treatment tends to be more effective in the fall or next spring, Marshall said.
“Tulip tree scale is in the crawler stage in late July and August and is most susceptible to a foliage-applied systemic insecticide at that time,” Marshall said. “This treatment would need to be done by an arborist who has the equipment and knowledge to spray to the top of the tree.”
The cost for such treatment could range from a few hundred dollars to $1,000 per tree, based on size and difficulty of reaching the proper area with a spray.
“Another option to manage the scale is applying horticultural oil in the spring to smother the sedentary insects,” Marshall said.
During summer, the leaves, twigs and branches of affected trees will turn black from the growth of the sooty mold.
“Although it will cover the leaf and look bad, there is no need to take any action,” Marshall said. “By the time this happens, the tree has done most of its growing so the black color adds limited stress to the tree.”
Don’t be a jerk. Ha. So true.
Does Organic Food Turn You into a Jerk?
Are these strawberries organic? Is this omelette made with free-range eggs? Can you swap out the rice for quinoa? Is this kale locally sourced? Pesticide-free? Fair trade?
The onslaught of questions from an enlightened eater can test the patience of even the calmest restaurant server.
And a new study shows that organic foodies’ humane regard for the well-being of animals makes some people rather snobbish. The report, published last week in the Journal of Social Psychological & Personality Science, notes that exposure to organic foods can “harshen moral judgments.” Which, to us, sounds like a nice way of saying that organic-food seekers are arrogant. But that seems rather paradoxical: organic eaters are more likely to seek benevolence in their food, so why don’t they seek it in their relationships? Well, according to the study, they tend to congratulate themselves for their moral and environmental choices, affording them the tendency to look down on others who don’t share their desire for pesticide-free living.
(VIDEO: Organic Taste Test)
“There’s a line of research showing that when people can pat themselves on the back for their moral behavior, they can become self-righteous,” the study’s lead author, Dr. Kendall J. Eskine, assistant professor of the psychological sciences department at Loyola University in New Orleans, told NBC’s Today show. Eskine and his team showed research subjects photographs of food, ranging from überorganic fruits and vegetables to fattening brownies and baked goods. He then gauged the primed eaters’ moral fiber with stories that warranted judgment, like one about a lawyer who lurks in an ER to try to persuade patients to sue for their injuries.
Reacting to the events on a numbered scale, the organic-food participants were more judgmental than those in the comfort-food category. They were also more reluctant when asked to volunteer time to help strangers, the study found, offering only 13 minutes vs. the brownie eaters’ 24 minutes. It’s like the group had already fulfilled its moral-justice quota by buying organic, so it felt all right slacking off in other ethics-based situations. Eskine labeled it “moral licensing.”
“There’s something about being exposed to organic food that made them feel better about themselves,” he told the Today show. “And that made them kind of jerks a little bit, I guess.”
PHOTOS: Urban Farming Around the World