Spiders in N.J.: Entomological Consultant at Rutgers Explains Arachnids

Curious about those eight-legged, eight-eyed wonders quietly living in nooks and crannies of your home or weaving expansive webs outdoors?… The Daily Record met with Eugene Fuzy, entomological consultant for Rutgers University in New Brunswick, to learn more about the spiders most prevalent in New Jersey, the ones considered most dangerous based on their venomous bite, and superstitions and misperceptions about these magical and beneficial creatures… "I’ve been fascinated with spiders since I was three years old. I was asthmatic as a kid and couldn’t have furry pets, so a Colorado potato beetle was my first pet and then I moved on to spiders. As a naturalist, I love spiders because they’re so unique, visually active and create such amazing webs," said Fuzy.

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Rutgers Scarlet Strawberry-Infused Beer? Say Cheers!

jake

Jake Makely in the strawberry fields at the EARTH Center of Middlesex County.

A desire to connect local growers with producers was the driving force behind Jake Makely’s (SEBS ’16) idea to combine two of New Jersey’s favorite warm weather delights, strawberries and beer.

Makely, an agriculture and food systems major, has been a student intern in Applied Analysis of Successful Agricultural Enterprises since February 2014, which has provided him with first-hand experience in working with the Rutgers Scarlet Strawberry (RSS) at the EARTH Center of Middlesex County. The internship, run by Professor and Agricultural Agent Bill Hlubik, truly allows students to pursue their individual aspirations in the “field.”

A series of blind RSS taste-tests were conducted at SEBS professor Beverly Tepper’s Sensory Evaluation Laboratory (SEL) on George H. Cook Campus. Makely, along with other students in the program, picked and cut up pounds of the RSS for the taste tests and delivered them to the lab. Participants were able to comment on the sweetness, acidity, overall flavor, firmness and aroma of four varieties of the strawberry, and the results were overwhelmingly positive.

The wheels in Makely’s head started spinning when he received an email from his second job at Carton Brewing Company in Atlantic Highlands, NJ, about a new device coming to the brewery. The brewery was going to begin using a Randall, which is a double-chamber filter that can be connected to a tap of beer and filled with flavor-enhancing ingredients.

“I kept talking to my co-workers at the Carton Brewing Company about the idea of using Rutgers Scarlet Strawberries in the Randall, but people didn’t take it as seriously as I wanted them to. Then I spoke to Bill (Hlubik) and he was excited about it – and I knew it was a great idea,” said Makely.

“The students in my class are incredible and I genuinely value their feedback. I encourage them to keep a notebook handy while in the field to note trends in crops,” said Hlubik. [Read more…]

Local Moth Night to Kick Off National Moth Week July 18 in Jamesburg Park

A sphinx moth. The Sphingidae family of moths are found throughout the world. Photo by David Moskowitz.

A sphinx moth. The Sphingidae family of moths are found throughout the world. Photo by David Moskowitz.

Nature enthusiasts of all ages are invited to grab their cameras and head over to Port Street alongside Jamesburg Park in East Brunswick, NJ at 8 p.m. Saturday, July 18, for the kickoff of National Moth Week, sponsored by the Friends of the East Brunswick Environmental Commission. National Moth Week, celebrated this year from July 18 to 26, shines a spotlight on moths, calling attention to their beauty, biodiversity and ecological importance. It was started in 2012 by the Friends of the East Brunswick Environmental Commission and quickly became an international event attracting citizen scientists in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and over 40 countries.

A Mercury vapor light and white sheet will be set up and a long sugar bait trail will be created to attract moths after dark. The Jamesburg Park Conservation Area is part of the Middlesex County Parks system. It lies within the Spotswood Outlier—the northernmost area of New Jersey Pine Barrens habitat separated from the main area of the Pine Barrens to the south by about 15 miles. This protected area is situated in East Brunswick, Helmetta, Spotswood and Monroe Township. It is rich in vegetation diversity and should be an interesting place to look for moths. [Read more…]

Entomologist Changlu Wang Receives 2015 Award of Excellence from Northeast Extension Directors

Changlu Wang

Changlu Wang.

Rutgers, New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES) Cooperative Extension’s Changlu Wang, associate extension specialist in urban pest management, in the Department of Entomology at Rutgers, has been honored as the recipient of the 2015 Award of Excellence from the Northeast Cooperative Extension Directors. This is the highest award presented by the directors of Extension in the northeast. It recognizes Extension outreach programming that has achieved outstanding accomplishments, results and impacts in addressing contemporary issues. Wang accepted the award at the annual Joint Northeast Summer Session on July 7, 2015.

Changlu Wang is being recognized for “Leadership, Scholarship and Innovative Programming in Urban Pest Management.” He has achieved all of the benchmarks reflective of excellence that this award recognizes. Wang is recognized as a national leader in urban pest management, secured external funding, made significant contributions to science and education and received three patents from the United Kingdom with three pending patent applications. His work in New Jersey, one of the most ethnically and religiously diverse states in the country, exemplifies his commitment to tailoring programs to meet local needs by his work with limited resource communities.

Larry Katz, director of Rutgers Cooperative Extension, commented, “We applaud his continued excellence in extension and research and look forward to learning about his next exciting innovation in urban integrated pest management.”

[Read more…]

Extension Introduces NJ Residents to Raising Backyard Chickens (Video)

Video: Backyard Chicken Farming Growing in New Jersey

Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Middlesex County hosted a workshop with Extension Specialist Joe Heckman demonstrating what it takes to raise a small flock of chickens in a backyard. Heckman offered advice on everything from types of chicken coops to the nutritional benefits of raising food on pasture. The class was one of the first in a new series called the Backyard Farmers Workshop offered by Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Middlesex County. Read more at Rutgers Today.