Tag Archives: invasive

New Jersey’s fruit orchards, vineyards on lookout for invasive spotted lanternfly

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NEWTON — Often, Mother Nature endows her “pest” creations with bright colors. Such is the case with the spotted lanternfly, an insect that is pretty to look at in its adult stage, but a growing concern to agricultural interests in all its stages of life.

First discovered in the United States seven years ago in Berks County, Pennsylvania, the sap-sucking pest has spread across much of New Jersey, southern New York and the eastern half of Pennsylvania. Sightings have also been reported in Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Connecticut and Ohio.

New Jersey’s orchard and vineyard owners are on the lookout for the invasive pest, fearing that it will  devastate their businesses. 

Jake Hunt, owner of Windy Brow Farms, a fruit orchard near Newton, said he has been aware of the lanternfly for the past four years, but has yet to see any on his property.

“Thankfully, we have not had an emergence in our orchard,” he said Friday. “We are surrounded by 350 acres of preserved land, and that may be a help.”

Earlier this year, residents of New Jersey’s western border counties were asked to be on the lookout for egg masses and to destroy them. 

The New Jersey Department of Agriculture said efforts to slow the spread of the invasive insect involve 48 federal and state employees who are conducting surveys and treatments throughout the state. A total of 924,128 acres are involved in the project, with treatments occurring on 22,328 acres across 584 properties.

Both the nymph and adult stages of life have a strong preference for agricultural plants including grapevines and maple, black walnut, birch, willow and other trees. As such, they have become an economic concern as well.

The feeding damage significantly stresses the plants, leading to decreased health and potentially death.

After hatching in mid-to-late spring, the insect goes through four instar stages before turning into an adult in early July. It is in the adult stage that the lanternfly is most visible, often seen in clumps, on trees, shrubs and vines.

The adult lanternflies, with their wings spread, appear to be a type of moth, but the insect has piercing and sucking mouthparts that allows it to drill into the phloem of a plant to feed directly on the sugary sap.

In addition to the damage from sucking sap from a plant, the insects excrete a sugary substance, called honeydew, that encourages the growth of black sooty mold.

Although the mold is not dangerous to humans, the honeydew and mold become unsightly on houses or decks.

Native to Southeast Asia, the SLF is believed to have hitchhiked to Pennsylvania attached to wooden packing crates or skids. It was first discovered in New Jersey in 2018 and in New York in 2020.

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All life stages from nymph to adult can fly, hop or drop right in or on vehicles — and can easily and quickly be spread by human activity. Eggs can be laid on piles of firewood or shipping crates or even on vehicles and be transported to new areas.

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Hunt said the research being done by the state Agriculture Department and Rutgers University “is close to having something that could work” in controlling the insect.

As of now, however, the Agriculture Department is using publicity to make people aware of the insect and its potential destruction.

All municipalities have been asked to put the department’s SLF information and links on their websites. 

“It will take everyone’s determination to bring this outbreak under control,” the department said in a news release last week. “When you see SLF you are encouraged to destroy them and remove egg masses from trees, plants or other surfaces.”

People are also encouraged to report sightings at www.badbug.nj.gov and click on the spotted lanternfly photo. Sightings can also be reported by emailing [email protected] 

The state website offers homeowners information about controlling the pest.

Invasive giant African snails found in luggage at JFK Airport: Officials

QUEENS, New York — They’re slow, slimy and a menace to society.Such are the giant African snails discovered during a baggage examination at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City on Sunday.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists caught 22 of the highly invasive, slimy critters after checking a U.S. man, who arrived on a flight from Ghana.Additionally, specialists found prohibited ox tail, dried beef, turkey berry, carrot, medicinal leaves and prekese, a traditional African spice and medicinal plant product.

“Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists are our nation’s frontline defenders against invasive plant and animal pests that threaten our agricultural resources, and they face this complex and challenging mission with extraordinary commitment and vigilance,” said Marty Raybon, Acting Director of Field Operations for CBP’s New York Field Office.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the giant African snail is one of the most damaging of its kind in the world.

The critter consumes at least 500 types of plants and can cause extensive damage to tropical and sub-tropical environments.It also causes structural damage to plaster and stucco.

To make matters worse, the snails pose a serious health risk to humans, because it carries a parasitic nematode that can cause meningitis.

Giant African snails reproduce quickly, producing 1,200 eggs in a single year.

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Instagram is the most invasive app on your phone, new study reveals

Instagram is the most “invasive” apps on your smartphone, a new study has revealed. The Facebook-owned social network, which centres around sharing photos and videos, tracks 79 percent of users’ personal data to share with third-parties, like advertisers. Search history, your current location, contacts and financial information are all shared with third-parties, the study has revealed. Yikes.
The research was conducted by cloud storage firm pCloud. To determine which app is responsible for siphoning most of your data, pCloud analysed the App Privacy labels recently introduced to the Apple App Store. Apple now requires all developers – including itself – to disclose exactly how users’ data will be used. This includes breaking down how data will be used by the app in order for features to work as planned ….and how much data is collected and shared with third-parties.

“Any information you agree to be gathered by an app when signing up can be analysed for their benefit and even shared. Everything from your browsing history, to your location, your banking details, your contact details, and your fitness levels can be valuable for apps to store, use, or sell on,” Ivan Dimitrov, a digital manager at pCloud, wrote in a blog post detailing the research. “With over 1 billion monthly active users it’s worrying that Instagram is a hub for sharing such a high amount of its unknowing users’ data.”

Instagram has become a hugely important part of Facebook’s portfolio. That’s because it is estimated that over half of Instagram users worldwide are aged 34 years or younger. That’s a crucial demographic for Facebook as it’s one that has slowly left Mark Zuckerberg’s behemoth social network, which tends to skew older now than when it first launched as a University-exclusive platform over a decade ago.

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Facebook has publicly criticised Apple’s App Privacy labels. The Californian social network last year paid for full-page advertisements in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Financial Times to declare that it was “standing up to Apple” and highlight that data collection was essential for small businesses …and its own bottom-line.

When it comes to gathering data on its users, second only to Instagram is parent company Facebook. The social network dished out 57 percent of users’ data to third-parties, which pCloud researchers claim can also include companies that are associated with the company. In Facebook’s case, that includes Instagram and WhatsApp.

Moving away from social networks, food delivery apps like Deliver and Uber Eats were also in the Top 10 worst offenders. Trainline, YouTube, Duolingo and eBay also make that list.

So, what about the smartphone apps keeping your data, search history, preferences and contact’s details under lock and key? Well, pCloud have highlighted rival food delivery apps Just Eat, Grubhub and McDonald’s as some of the best examples when it comes to preserving users’ data.

Privacy-focused messaging apps Signal and Telegram were also praised, while Netflix and BBC iPlayer are some of the best streaming services when it comes to keeping your data from being shared with third-parties.

“The changes mean people can more easily consider privacy issues when choosing whether or not to buy or download an app,” the Competition and Markets Authority praised the App Store’s Privacy Labels when they launched earlier this year. “Safeguarding people’s control over their data is important for protecting privacy as well as for the healthy operation of the market.”