Saturday, March 21, 2009

Asian Long Horn Beetle devastation

Today, I went for a ride to the next town over, Shrewsbury. Wow, what a sight, it looks like a war zone. First of all this town, along with a few more surrounding towns have had an invasion of the Asian longhorned beetle. This beetle is an invasive species that came from China. It is a pest to a varitey of hardwood trees including maple, birch, and horse chestnut. The United States Department of Agirculture has quarintined the area. Which means, that no natural wood products can be moved in this area, in or out. By natural wood, I mean sticks, branches, stumps, roots, firewood. So the US forest Service, the USDA, and the Massachusetts Dept. of Agriculture has a program going on to erradicate the beetle. Chooping down trees that have been infected and chemical treatment of of host trees. This problem number one for this area. Go to for a lot of qulity info, pics and videos about the ALB.

In the beginning of December, there was a severe "Ice Storm" that broke a lot of branches off of the trees and knocked trees down. Unfortunately this ice storm happened in the same towns as the beetle infestation. Double whamy. The residents can only stack the depris from the storm in piles on their property by the road, they can't move it because of the quarintine.

So when you drive in those towns, all you see is broken trees, piles of sticks and branches piled up on everyone's lawn and now the tree companies are cutting down the 75-100 year old trees that have been affected by the beetle. What a mess and it is going to take a long time to get it all cleaned up. The most unfortunate problem, is that now all of these properties have no more trees on them. It will take years to grow those back again.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Health Care Mess in Massachusetts

Well today, I have to vent about health care in Massachusetts. I have to go to the Doctor and I was sent a letter saying my coverage was not enough, so I would have make a co-payment of $250.00, I grumbled but accepted that and was going to pay the day of my visit. This morning my health care provider calls and says there is a mistake and it will cost me $2000.00.

Well, this mad me really mad, so I told the guy on the phone, to cancell my appointment and hung up. He called back later and told me to not hang up this time, and that he would "wave" the $2000 fee, becuase of the mistake.

In Massachusetts, we are required to have health care insurance by law. This is all thanks to our former Govenor Mitt Romney, you all know him as the guy who ran for president last year. Well he made a complete mess out of the health care system here in Massachusetts, so he could promote this as he was campaigning. Now, that it is a mess, he doesn't even live here anymore. The problem is that Health Care, in the whole country, is in a complete mess because of politicians and the Health Insurance Industry (lobbyist's) and it is only going to get worse.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Spring turf insect activity

The warm temps this week have gotten everyone thinking spring, even the turf insects. With the frost line rising due to the warm temps, the dreaded "white grub" is rising also. I have a Massachusetts Pesticide Applicators license and I am allowed by the state to apply fertilizers and pesticides to our customers properties.

We will not be putting anything down for grubs until summer, in June/July. We have been using MERIT, which is made by Bayer (yup, same people that make bayer aspirin) and it has been extremely effective in controlling white grubs on our customers lawns.

But ocassionally we will get a new customer who has had a grub problem the year before and we are called in to get ride of the grubs and to redo the turf. For that type of problem we use a product called DYLOX. This is a "quick kill" pesticide and needs to watered in after application, and this also has done a very good job of eliminating grubs. Anyone using this product in Massachusetts, needs to be warned that it is not allowed by the state to be used on any school grounds.

Soon, I will be checking our properties for any grub damage from the year before, but I am sure our customers who had the MERIT application last year, will be all set.