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The Joro Watch team is pursuing a number of approaches to Joro spider research, looking into their impact on native species — like pollinators and native spiders — habitat, lifecycle and management. To help facilitate more conclusive research, UGA experts ask that the public help gather critical data by monitoring spider populations in the environment. (Photo by Carly Mirabile) CAES News
Joro Watch Initiative
They have been described as palm-sized, parachuting creatures with the potential to spread up the East Coast. Now dozens of webs are appearing in trees, on fences and in gardens around the Southeast, and social media and message boards are buzzing with Joro spider sightings. Discussions of eradication methods ranging from chemical sprays to “Joro sticks” are rampant. Joro season is here.
Doctoral student Taylor Miller checks on one of more than 50 bluebird boxes at the UGA Golf Course for a study tracking baby bluebirds' immune response to pre-hatch stress. CAES News
Stress and Immunity
Many studies have shown that prenatal stress in mothers can be linked to adverse outcomes in the physical, emotional, cognitive and behavioral well-being of children. Now a study at the University of Georgia is examining how pre-hatch exposure to the stress-associated hormone corticosterone influences immune function in baby bluebirds.
The Great Georgia Pollinator Census was launched in 2019 as a citizen science research project inviting Georgians from across the state come together for two days in August to document pollinator populations. South Carolinians will join the count this year. CAES News
2022 Great Pollinator Census
The citizens of South Carolina will be joining the Great Georgia Pollinator Census for the August 2022 count, expanding the reach of the pioneering project in the Southeast. University of Georgia Cooperative Extension launched the Great Georgia Pollinator Census in 2019 as a citizen science research project inviting Georgians from across the state to document pollinator populations.
Close-up of a firefly against a dark background with its abdomen lit up.
Fireflies' bioluminescence comes from light-producing lantern organs in their abdomen where the chemicals work with other substances in the insect’s body to produce light. CAES News
Firefly Season
Georgia is home to more than 50 species of fireflies — or lightning bugs — more than any other U.S. state. The dancing light patterns we enjoy in our gardens and landscapes are an important, and nostalgic, part of Georgia summer evenings. To protect these insects and ensure that we continue to enjoy them, it is important to understand their lifecycle and habitat needs.
Don't toss your decorative pumpkins and jack-o'-lanterns in the trash this year, use these tips for sustainable disposal. CAES News
Pumpkin Recycling
Every year after the autumn holidays, more than 1 billion pounds of pumpkins are thrown away. National Pumpkin Day, Oct. 26, kicks off a week of multiplying cucurbit decor, so celebrate this year by learning how to dispose of your pumpkins in a more sustainable way.
For more than a decade, UGA scientist Sonia Hernandez has led a team that’s studying the health and behavior of the American white ibis as it moves from rural to urban areas in South Florida. Their research has implications for other urban wildlife, including coyotes, deer, raccoons and other wading birds. (Photo courtesy of Sonia Hernandez) CAES News
Country Ibis, City Ibis
The human population in Florida has boomed in the last few decades following migration of people from other states and countries, resulting in rapid urbanization. From the city outskirts, another population is also on the move — the American white ibis that used to occupy the pristine wetlands of the Everglades are now frequent visitors of the urban landscape.
After molting into adults, periodical cicadas will move or fly to nearby vertical structures, especially shrubs and trees. The females will eventually lay their eggs on the ends of tree branches. CAES News
Tree Flagging
The emergence of Brood X exceeded expectations in north Georgia, as those of us who happen to reside in the “cicada zone” observed droves of periodical cicadas during the peak of the event. Over the past weeks, the song of the male periodical cicada has faded and fewer of these fascinating insects remain, but a sign of their passing is still evident.
A brood of decades-old 17-year cicadas that have been perfectly preserved. CAES News
Brood X
It has been 17 years since a set of billions of periodical cicadas emerged from their underground chambers and filled the air with boisterous buzzing and desperate mating calls.
Jessica McGuire, with the nonprofit conservation organization Quail Forever, teaches students about wildlife conservation at Shiver Elementary School, where Grady County 4-H'ers planted a pollinator garden to help students understand the importance of protecting ecosystems. CAES News
Preserving Pollinators
Eight Grady County 4-H’ers installed a pollinator garden at a local school as part of a yearlong program highlighting the importance of pollinators.