spotted wing drosophila courtesy Cornell Cooperative Extension

Mushy fruit? You might have invasive fruit fly called spotted wing drosophila

by Connie Oswald Stofko If you’re having problems with your fruit this year, it might be due to an invasive fruit fly called the spotted wing drosophila. The fruit fly is in Western New York. Cornell Cooperative Extension representatives in Erie, Niagara and Chautauqua counties told me it has been found those counties, and it has been found in other counties as well. One of the biggest tell-tale signs of damage from the spotted wing drosophila is beautiful looking fruit…

Pool owners: Help save trees from the invasive Asian longhorned beetle

Pool owners can participate in the third annual Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) Swimming Pool Survey now through Aug. 29 to help detect these exotic, invasive beetles before they cause serious damage to our forests and street trees. The survey is held by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) at this time of year when ALBs are expected to become adults, emerge from the trees they are infesting and become active outside those trees. ALBs are originally from…

Dangerous plant: Do not touch giant hogweed! It can cause severe burns and blindness

by Connie Oswald Stofko I saw giant hogweed in Niagara County several years ago. It was about four feet tall and I thought it was an overgrown Queen Anne’s lace. Boy, am I glad I didn’t go near it! Its sap, in combination with moisture and sunlight, can cause severe skin and eye irritation, painful blistering, permanent scarring and blindness. This is a seriously dangerous plant. The plant has been identified in every county in Western New York. See a…

Impatiens courtesy Margery Daughtrey

Update: Impatiens might do okay in WNY this year, or they might not

by Connie Oswald Stofko If this summer is like last summer in Western New York, you might be able to plant impatiens and have them perform well, perhaps into August, anyway. But there are still a lot of ifs involved, and there are certainly no guarantees. Margery Daughtrey, senior extension associate with Cornell University who co-wrote a fact sheet on how downy mildew affects impatiens, gives us an update on what Western New York gardeners might expect from impatiens this…

bee from Buffalo and Erie Botanical Gardens

You can help protect bees from toxins; learn more at Honey Bee Festival

by Connie Oswald Stofko Let the clover and dandelions grow in your lawn. Minimize your pesticide use, too, especially on flowers that are attractive to honey bees. Those are ways gardeners can help with the problem of Colony Collapse Disorder, said Reed Johnson, assistant professor in the Department of Entomology at the Ohio State University. Dr. Johnson will speak at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 3 at the Honey Bee Festival at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, 2655 South…

Two new emerald ash borer infestations confirmed in WNY

Recent detections of trees infested with Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) in Angola (Erie County) and Fredonia (Chautauqua County), both near the NYS Thruway, remind us that we need to continue to prepare for the eventual spread of this devastating invasive insect, according to Cornell Cooperative Extension. The Chautauqua detection is the first reported find of EAB infested ash trees in that county, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). A free information session on the EAB…

Help a reader: What is this awful plant?

by Connie Oswald Stofko   A reader sent me this question: “I have what I assume is a weed every year in one garden bed. I cannot get rid of it no matter what I try. It is green leafed and grows on a stem that snakes under ground. The stem is reddish purple under ground and the leaves come up from that as it spreads all over. It can get very tall. It’s coming up already. It twists through…

Learn more about invasive species during monthly teleconferences, videos

You can find information on invasive species through the 2014 New York State Invasive Species Speaker Series organized by Partnerships for Regional Invasive Species Management (PRISM). Selected recordings can be found at the  NY Invasives You Tube Channel. People who don’t feel tech savvy may feel most comfortable accessing the information there. If you’re a little more confident when it comes to technology, you may want to sit in on one of the monthly teleconferences. You’ll find information on how…

Mystery of the empty bird feeder solved, plus a tip on woodchucks

by Connie Oswald Stofko When I was at the recent meeting of the Garden Friends of Clarence, Linda Klimczak, one of the members, told me about the mystery of her empty bird feeder and sent me the video that you can see below. Klimczak had gotten a squirrel-proof bird feeder and set it out on her back patio. Although the bird feeder holds quite a lot of seed, the next day it was empty. The mystery of the empty bird…

fruit fly trap in Buffalo NY

What can you do about pesky fruit flies? Please help this reader

by Connie Oswald Stofko Here’s a question from a reader: Dear Connie, We are annoyed by fruit flies. I have a few in every room. I have put out small dishes of apple cider vinegar, commercial “fruit fly trap,” sprayed the dirt in my plants with bug spray, no change. I have no fruit or food on counters. Actually, I think there are none in the kitchen, however, they are in the bathroom (no plants there). There is no one…