Pests, Diseases and Pool Rentals


Dan offers some weird or interesting Hamptons stories left over from the summer of 2022.


Some people have started renting out their pools to visitors. The charge would be so per hour per person. Sign this waiver. There was also talk of renting out your tennis court to visitors by the hour. Or the lawn, for a barbecue. All of this sent government officials rushing to their rulebooks to see if this was a violation of anything. Didn’t Airbnb start its business this way?


Local officials now see more invasive species attacking native flora and fauna. The southern pine beetle is eating away at trees in Napeague for the first time. A beautiful forest of 3,000 trees has been felled as a result, so the healthiest trees will not be attacked. The remaining trees are now too far away for the beetles to jump from tree to tree to reach them. Meanwhile, the spotted lanternfly, an Asian import that attacks vines, is set to attack many East End vineyards. Lanterns have already been seen flying from west to east in Ronkonkoma, coming this way.

And bluetongue disease is upon us. Deer catch it by eating midges. Their tongues turn blue, they get sick, then really sick and then they die. Motorists seeing dead deer on the side of the road may assume that these deer were hit by cars, but they will have died of bluetongue. And since some people consider deer an infestation to be reckoned with, that should thin out the herd.

In any case, bluetongue only attacks deer. Not humans. Phew.

Also, many more sharks have been seen swimming in the ocean at our swimming beaches this summer. Lifeguards whistled and pulled everyone out of the water when one appeared. And the swimmers would stay out until the sharks left. After all, sharks bite and big ones can kill, although that hasn’t happened here yet. It seems that the sharks are attracted to schools of fish called menhaden which, once declared endangered, are already reviving and becoming more abundant. While the menhaden feed near the coasts, the hungry sharks now come after them. So it’s our fault.

And monkeypox has been in the news this summer for a while.


In the 1970s, Dutch elm disease, caused by fungal spores spread by elm bark beetles, attacked the giant elms that gloriously lined and towered over both sides of Main Street in East Hampton. Most had to be cut down, so landscapers were hired to do it. They cut down the elms for the same reason the pines in Napeague are cut down today. Don’t let bugs move on to the next one.

But the people who cut drove trucks carrying signs that read “Saving East Hampton Elms.” No room elsewhere on the trucks to explain it further. So people thought – save them by cutting them?

How ironic.

Years later, after the carnage was over, new elm trees, immune to Dutch elm disease, were introduced. They are here today. Almost as big, but not quite.


The public will vote on November 8 on whether or not to introduce a new real estate sales tax. The new tax, 0.5% on all sales over $400,000, will be used to build housing for residents. The wealthy want it because they need housing for the locals who work for them. The remaining residents want it because they want to strengthen their communities. Everyone is on board. Vote for it.


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