Death to Alien Invaders

Threatened Giants

A big concern we have here on Sugar Mountain is alien invaders. The Men In Black have been no help. Over the past years we’ve watched these nasties creep, slither, slide and fly closer and closer. They are a threat to the very name tree of Sugar Mountain Farm, the Sugar Maples as well as our many fine ash trees which are great wood as well as beautiful tall trees.

I’m talking about Asian Longhorn Beetles and Emerald Ash Borers. These alien invaders came from the far east on shipping pallets. In a typical F.U.D. response our government has been doing their Kill, Kill, Kill act. One of those times where the solution may be worse than the disease.

So I worry that not only the alien invaders will harm our forests but that the government (“I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” -Ronald Reagan) will destroy our trees to protect us. Remember Napalm, Agent Orange, Mad Cow and Friends? Yes, the very same government will be here to help…

We do sustainable forestry so I’m no stranger to cutting trees. But I don’t cotton to the idea of government or aliens swooping down and forcing us to clear out what may be perfectly good trees. I’ve been watching the insects approach with apprehension because if they get here we’ll have to act. The trick is acting soon enough to avoid the market glut for the wood and avoiding the insects while waiting long enough to not over react on a false positive.

With this in mind I read a recent news story with great joy! It is possible that the extreme cold snap may be killing off these warm climate aliens. Wusses! They can’t take a northern Vermont mountain winter. Hah! Yes! I cheer with glee as I watch the babies die in their cradles! I am so happy! Let it be true!

“A recent study from the Forest Service in Minnesota showed that:

5% of the insects die at 0°F,
34% at -10°F,
79% at -20°F and
98% at -30°F.”

Critical details to note:
It gets -20°F at Sugar Mountain every year usually that extends for days to weeks.
Many years it gets -30°F often for many days in a row.
Some years it gets to -45°F sometimes for a week even during the day.
The wind tends to blow the snow away from the bases of the trees which further helps deep chill these nasty alien sap sucking buggers.

Die! Die! Die you alien scum!!!

*wiping the spittle off my lips.*

Sorry, I’m getting carried away with joy. I’ll control my glee… Honestly…

Proper Politically Correct Response to Tragedy:
“Yes, fellow countrymen, this is a tragic time when millions of babies are dying in their beds during the deep cold blast of winter’s frigid air from those violent Canuk lands. We must fight on to save the larva!”



Winter does have its good points.

Outdoors: 14°F/-14°F Sunny
Tiny Cottage: 64°F/59°F

Daily Spark: Sometimes I feel like Dr. Frankenstien. Back in the 1980’s I created script kiddies, those tech support people who read from a decision tree script. I also created automated voice mail. Both seemed like a good idea at the time. I am so sorry. I apologize.

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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17 Responses to Death to Alien Invaders

  1. Johan van der Merwe says:

    Hi Walter, last winter it was not “cold”, it was a couple of times at freezing point. There were ticks througout the winter, their cycle was not broken. Our aliens are birds who ate the peaches, apricots and figs! Any ideas to protect the fruit? I am thinking about nets over the trees. They come in swarms, just like in that scary movie. We hung shiny objects in the trees, shoot the birds, but to no avail, they are to many. I use the pigs also to clear, clean the orchard, works like a charm. Actually the figs were nice this year, I recon it should be the pigs doing their thing. I have noticed today while clearing new fence lines that the seeds on a patch of Blue Buffalo grass (Cenchrus Ciliaris) are more than the ones that was not grazed. They were also looking more vibrant.

    Keep well

  2. Patrick says:

    Yesterday I cut down four good sized pine trees. One was completely debarked by the bark beetles. One was starting and the two others were touching the first so bye-bye.

    I no longer shed tears for the pine trees. I let too many stand because I didn’t want them cut, only to find them come down in bad ways and damage/destroy good hardwood. One of them took out a heavy lower limb on the “mother” beech I have loved all these years, and that old, old tree succumbed in three years. 100 years taken out by a 15 year old tree that was eaten by a bug.

    I don’t like the government mandating the cuts, but I would also caution you to consider carefully the long-term health of your woods. I still don’t cut every pine (too late for that – the bugs are long entrenched) but I routinely take the saw to anything that looks iffy. I have gone from trying to maintain the pine, and now look to maintain everything else. The pine is all going to be gone someday soon.

    In the meantime, may you have cold winters.

  3. skeptic7 says:

    I hope that you have enough cold to get rid of those insects. A really good cold winter can kill off many of the insects that prey on fruit trees too.

  4. JessicaR says:

    Oh Walter You are a Funny Man!

  5. Dawn Carroll says:

    I would dissolve Turmeric powder in water and spray down the trees. I use Turmeric powder on my pigs for fly & lice control…kills them, the bugs not the pigs, I sprinkle turmeric powder on larvae to disrupt the breeding cycle.

  6. Cheryl Z says:

    Just the other day I was wondering what awful bug pests wouldn’t survive this cold – and smiled :)

  7. Wendy says:

    Here in Canada I love the freezing temps as it makes collection of pigger poop outside easier. We use golf clubs to whack the frozen little terds into a cleared area and then pick them up with tongs. Can’t have all that lovely liquid gold pumping through the organic hydroponic greenhouses with out the raw material. PIGGER POOP. Thanks for the info re “Space Buggers” Walt..

  8. Dan Merit says:

    Your a riot Walter. I love your humor and the info-mercial content of your posts. May your winter be just long enough and cold enough to do what you need to kill those pesky alien invaders!

  9. Edmund Brown says:

    I wonder how far they will travel and bore into trees in a given year… Could they winter down in the valley and then fly up to damage your trees?

    We routinely get -10 F, and -20 is not uncommon, but it is certainly not an every winter temp. We haven’t hit -40 since my very old neighbors were much, much younger. The state (or perhaps a university) has been hanging purple triangular boxes from ash trees all over the place throughout the county. I guess they’re on the lookout for the Emerald Ash Borers. Haven’t heard they’ve landed yet…

  10. Accidental Mick says:

    That made me laugh out loud – Thanks.

  11. Bob says:

    How cold did it get at your place in the recent cold spell, Walter? Do you think it was cold enough for a long enough spell to kill the beetles and borers?
    Out here in British Columbia, millions of acres of pine trees were killed by pine beetles, partly b/c we didn’t have enough long cold spells to kill the invaders. In recent years, the plague has been slowed, partly b/c too many trees had died but also because of several colder winters.

    • -24°F was the low I recorded. That’s not particularly cold as it goes around here but it is plenty cold enough to effect the nasty alien invaders – and it was sustained. Hopefully that worked. We see both the weather and invaders in cycles.

  12. Nance says:

    the Emerald Ash Borers have been found here, in my town. Southern Iowa. The EABs were just found in Eastern Iowa last year (2 yrs ago?) and now here they are 150 – 200 miles west. There is one Ash tree in my yard. There are probably what? 5000 in a town of 9000 people? those Ash trees reseed themselves easily. I hate to lose even one tree. My husband and I talked about whether we would foot the bill to treat it each year for the rest of its (our?) life. The jury is still out.

  13. DrFood says:

    The treatment for an ash tree is to inject it with a systemic pesticide in the neonicotinoid family, thus making the entire tree toxic to ash borers, but also to a bunch of other bugs.

    Like bees.

    The arborists always say that it’s OK because ash trees are wind pollinated, but I believe that bees also collect pollen for food. Ash trees bloom very early in spring, when there aren’t lot of sources for pollen for the hives. This worries me.

    I’d been debating what to do with our ash tree in Wisconsin, which was the biggest tree on our property (and the biggest tree on the block), and then a wayward storm, blowing from the east instead of the west, took down a third of the tree. We just took the whole tree out at that point. I was glad to stop weighing the pros and cons.

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