The next time that you go in to the woods or the backyard, make sure you are aware of your surroundings and know what poison ivy looks like. There are reports that there is a greater risk of finding poison ivy this summer than in recent years.

The weather over the last few weeks has been very dry. As nice as it has been to be able to do outdoor activities, there are some drawbacks to the dry weather. Farmers, gardeners and those who rely on rain for water in their wells have suffered. There are some plants that are thriving with the recent stretch of dry weather and that is a concern for some.

This summer, keep an eye out for more poison ivy along the trail that you are on. It is growing everywhere at an alarming rate.

Reports indicate there may be a link between climate change and more ivy as well as the loss of more trees in the woods.

....studies have shown that higher CO2 levels have helped poison ivy grow larger leaves, making it easier to come in contact with and has allowed the plant’s oils to be more toxic.

Another factor has been dying trees, specifically ash trees which have been attached by the Emerald ash borer.

This spring and summer has also shown us a spike in the amount of bugs. Tiger moths and other bugs are also being spotted more often.

There are tinier things to be aware of as well. My son and I found this moth on our front steps early last Saturday morning. It is a pretty looking moth and after some research, it appears to be a tiger moth.

The tiger moth is neat for a variety of reasons and one of them is the legend that it can predict the severity of the seasons.

The larva, known as the banded woolly bear, is brown in the middle and black at both ends. According to superstition the length of the black ends predicts the severity of the coming winter: the shorter the black ends, the milder the weather.

Photo by: Clay Moden

There are a few things to beware of related to the tiger moth. The larvae is the biggest concern and, according to at least one report, should be handled with care.

The woolly bears have fine bristles on their bodies, and if you touch them with bare hands, the hair can cause hives, rashes, and irritation.

Photo by: Clay Moden

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