Spiny waterfleas can gob on fishing line, making reeling difficult and preventing fish from being landed. Photo credit: Jeff Gunderson.
Spiny water flea is found in Hamilton County in Lake Pleasant, Piseco Lake, and Sacandaga Lake. Beyond the county, it is established in the Great Sacandaga Lake, Lake George, Peck Lake, and Stewarts Bridge Reservoir. This invasive crustacean is half an inch long with a barbed tail. It gobbles up zooplankton, an important food source for fish. Spiny waterfleas fouls fishing gear, and prevent fish from being landed. Tail spines prevent small fish from eating the fleas and may puncture the stomach lining of larger fish. No known control methods exist. This invader is spread by down rigging cables, fishing line, and other recreation equipment. Spiny water fleas also collect in bilge water, livewells, bait buckets, and boats. Help stop the spread by cleaning gear, boats, and trailers in hot (140 degree F) water, salt water, or vinegar.
Emerald Ash Borer
Emerald ash borer is not established in Hamilton County, but has been confirmed in Albany, Cattaraugus, Dutchess, Erie, Genesee, Greene, Livingston, Monroe, Niagara, Orange, Steuben, Tioga, and Ulster counties as of December 2013. Without the ecological checks and balances found on their home turf, they rapidly reproduce. Larvae feed on the tree’s living tissue, cutting off the tree’s food and water transportation systems. Metallic green adults chew D-shaped exit holes in tree bark. With aggressive infestations, trees can die in a few years. Emerald ash borer attacks ash species including white, green, and black. The insects spread via infested firewood, wood packing material, and nursery stock.
Asian Longhorn Beetle
Asian longhorned beetle is not established in Hamilton County, but has been confirmed in New York City. Without the ecological checks and balances found on their home turf, they rapidly reproduce. Larvae feed on the tree’s living tissue, cutting off the tree’s food and water transportation systems. With aggressive infestations, trees can die in a few years. Adults have shiny black bodies and display white mottling. Antennae are long with black and white bands, and legs may be blue. Adults chew round exit holes in tree bark that are deep enough to stick a pencil in. Host trees for the Asian longhorned beetle include maple, elm, willow, and birch. The insects spread via infested firewood, wood packing material, and nursery stock.
Sirex woodwasp is confirmed in Hamilton County in the Town of Arietta. They threaten pine plantations and forests. The insects spread via infested firewood, wood packing material, and nursery stock. Adults are 1 - 1.5 inches long with a spear-shaped plate at end of abdomen. Females have a dark metallic blue black body and orange legs. Males have an orange stripe on abdomen and black hind legs. Females inject a symbiotic fungus, mucus, and eggs into tree, and the fungus and mucus kill the tree, allowing the larvae to develop. Signs and symptoms include wilted foliage of pines, resin beads at egg-laying sites, and round exit holes where adults emerged. The insects spread via infested firewood, wood packing material, and nursery stock.
Brown Spruce Longhorn Beetle
The brown spruce longhorned beetle is not established in Hamilton County but is confirmed in Nova Scotia. Insects attack spruce trees. Adults are flattened, brown abdomen, black to dark brown head covered with light hairs. Reddish-brown antennae are half the length of body. 2 or 3 stripes appear on the wing covers. Larvae burrow into the cambium and phloem, disrupting the flow of nutrients throughout the tree. Girdling completely cuts off flow of nutrients and kills the tree. Signs and symptoms include oval to round exit holes in bark, oozing resin, and needle of needles. The insects spread via infested firewood, wood packing material, and nursery stock.
Hemlock Woolly Adelgid
Hemlock woolly adelgid is not established in Hamilton County, but has infested counties in southern and western New York. Adults are dark reddish-brown to purplish-black in color and produce wool-like wax filaments (ovisacs) that contain eggs. Hemlock woolly adelgid consumes sap and nutrients from hemlock foliage, preventing tree growth. Signs and symptoms of infestation include white, woolly ovisacs on branches, foliage, and bark, defoliation, and twig dieback. Tree death occurs in 4-10 years. This invader spread by wind, birds, animals, and humans.
White Nose Syndrome
White nose syndrome is established in Hamilton County and beyond. A fungus grows on hibernating bats that it thought to disturb them during hibernation. Bats fly outside during the day in winter. Dead bats are emaciated from a loss of fat reserves. Many hibernacula have seen 80 – 100% mortality. Bats are important pollinators and consume copious amounts of insects. Scientists are working hard to learn more about the disease and how it may be cured. Observe all cave closures to prevent the spread of the fungus. Do not enter hibernacula when bats are hibernating during the winter. Place a bat box on your property to encourage reproduction.
Rock snot is not established in Hamilton County, but confirmed in Washington, Saratoga, Delaware, Sullivan, and Ulster Counties. This algae may or may not be invasive, but it is aggressive and forms large populations. Green, white, yellow, or brown masses coat streambeds. Rock snot is slimy in appearance, but feels like wet wool. Stalk ends shred and look like paper. Massive algal blooms smother stream bottoms, reducing habitat for and killing native species. Decreased invertebrate and plant populations result in diminished food availability for fish. This invader also fouls fishing gear. Spread mechanisms include contaminated fishing gear, water craft, paddles, lifejackets, and anchors. Prevent the spread by remove all plants, fragments, animals, mud and debris from gear and boat, discard in trash. Drain bilge water, livewells, and bait buckets prior to leaving access. Soak and scrub waders and other gear in soapy hot water for 10 minutes. If cleaning is not possible, dry equipment for 48 hours.