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Food Processing and Manufacturing Initiative

Food Processing and
Manufacturing Initiative

NC food processing and manufacturing initiative feasiblity study released The agricultural resources, industrial capacity and research innovation assets present in North Carolina create opportunities to catalyze development of value-added food processing and manufacturing businesses, according to a joint NC State-NCDA&CS economic feasibity study released Jan. 12. One page summary of the Initiative View the Full Report

Food Processing and Manufacturing Initiative

Food Processing and
Manufacturing Initiative

NC food processing and manufacturing initiative feasiblity study released The agricultural resources, industrial capacity and research innovation assets present in North Carolina create opportunities to catalyze development of value-added food processing and manufacturing businesses, according to a joint NC State-NCDA&CS economic feasibity study released Jan. 12. One page summary of the Initiative View the Full Report

Plant Sciences Initiative Study Report

Plant Sciences

Plant sciences initiative could spark NC economic growth, study finds A new economic study, released Jan. 12, shows that North Carolina has an opportunity to be the global hub for advanced plant sciences research and for the application of that research to expanding agricultural productivity. One page summary of the Initiative  View the Report

O. P. Owens Agriculture Center

Robeson County

Robeson County Center gives our county's residents easy access to the resources and expertise of NC State University and NC A&T State University. Through educational programs, publications, and events, Cooperative Extension agents deliver unbiased, research-based information to Robeson County citizens. We can answer your questions on a wide array of topics. To find out how we can help you, browse our site or contact us by E-mail or phone.  Our office is open Monday through Friday, 8:15 a.m. to 5:15 p.m.  You can also find us on Facebook.


Insect Management

Stink Bugs A bit of déjà vu, last year on September 21, an E-mail was sent out about brownmarmorated stink bugs starting their fall invasion of homes and commercial buildings.  We are getting similar reports in the Triad and west into the mountains. My colleagues at Clemson and University Georgia are reporting similar problems.   These stink bugs feed on a wide range of fruit trees, ornamentals, and field crops.  At this time of year, the days grow shorter and the adults decide it's time to call it quits and start looking for places to pass the winter.  This triggers the large aggregations that people will find on the siding of their homes or businesses, and inevitably, some of the bugs make it indoors. This is essentially the same issue we have seen with the Asian lady beetle and the kudzu bug (which is still happily hanging out in soybean fields and kudzu). For people who want to try insecticidal sprays, they can use products containing cyfluthrin, lamda-cyhalothrin, permethrin, tralomethrin, and simiilar pyrethroid products and target the treatments to critical areas around windows, doors, and other entry points.  However, chemical control is marginal for a variety of reasons, including the relatively short residual effect of these chemicals outdoors (they simply don't weather well).  Second, it's simply impossible to effectively and safely treat all of the areas where these pests can invade.   In some cases, the limitation is the location of the surface.  Under the EPA's revised label requirements for the pyrethroids, in particular, these products cannot be applied to vertical surfaces located over impervious surfaces (driveways, sidewalks, etc.) where there is a high likelihood of run-off into storm drains. Using a licensed pest control service may provide slightly better results, because those companies have the equipment to treat more surfaces.  However, many people have an expectation of no more invaders and that's simply not going to happen.  This phenomenon is likely to continue for several weeks, particularly as the temperatures drop and more critters head for warmer places. Indoors, physical removal is still the best approach. More information is located at: http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/brown-marmorated-stink-bug-in-north-carolina-3/ Yellow Jackets Labor Day often signals that the end of the summer is near and so many insects are also beginning to wind down their activity. Yellow jacket colonies usually peak  in late July or early August, but they are still quite active and even aggressive in foraging for food.  So while people are outdoors celebrating this weekend at parks, the beach, or just in their own backyard, more than just their invited guests will be waiting for hot dogs, burgers, and other items coming off the grill.  The inclination to swat the unwanted visitors when they try to taste what's  on our plates can actually trigger an aggressive response by the yellow jackets. Drinking from cups rather than cans also presents a safer option.   While we're busy sitting at picnic tables talking, we may not notice a yellow jacket sipping soda from the top of the can or crawling inside to investigate this sugary gold mine.  Pouring the beverage into a cup is much safer. Trash and recycle receptacles will also be wasp magnets and can also pose a problem in parks, athletic fields, and other recreation areas. They need to be emptied often to prevent overflow with trash or beverage containers.  A lot of people try the yellow jacket traps that are sold at hardware stores.  There is not any strong data showing good efficacy from their use. If yellow jacket nests can be found, treating them with a Wasp and Hornet Spray is the best choice.  Use a product that propels the chemical 10+ feet, so you have a running head start when the wasps start streaming out of the nest.  Some of these products are foams which help envelope the opening to the nest.  Treating late in the evening presents a better option, because it's unlikely that you'll kill all of the wasps, and the survivors may return in search of their now-unusable home. Home remedies such as gasoline may be viewed as entertaining, but it's obviously hazardous and environmentally unsound.  Some people place bowls or rocks over the opening considering this is a "low impact" alternative to chemicals.  This may also present hazards, particularly, if there are "inquiring little minds" that might investigate the situation and move the object with the obvious unintended consequences.   Another technique some people try is to pour boiling water down into the hole.  That may seem "safer" than a pesticide, but remember, you have to carry the water over to the nest and pour it down the opening and hope some of the occupants don't emerge to "encourage" you to go elsewhere.    Yellow jackets are valuable as predators, so if the nest doesn't pose a health hazard to you, family members, or friends, then "Let it be".... Mosquitoes With July coming upon us soon and while most people are thinking about barbecuing and fireworks, rainfall over recent weeks is a good reminder to think about mosquitoes and protecting not only ourselves but also pets.  In 2013, we had 13 veterinary cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in a cluster of six southeastern counties.  Eight of those cases occurred from July through early August.  Brunswick County recorded the first case (confirmed in mid-July), Cumberland County led the way with six cases, and Pender County had three.   In 2012, Cumberland and Brunswick County recorded the only cases, but they were recorded closer to September.  What this tells us is that we can't predict where and when the disease might occur. Horse owners may want to check their inoculation records to make sure that their horses' inoculations are still effective (which they should be if the horses were inoculated in the spring).  But remember that a booster inoculation is important about six months later. Despite the name, the disease affects not just horses but people as well.   Unlike some other disease-causing viruses of medical importance, you can't get EEE from contact with an infected person or horse.   Mosquitoes become infected when they bite an infected bird, and those mosquito species then feed on other birds which increases the reservoir of virus in the bird population during the course of the summer.  Other mosquito species acquire the virus when they bite infected birds and then act as "bridges" by passing the virus to horses or people on whom they subsequently feed and which then become infected. Children and the elderly are the biggest concern, so everyone should take appropriate protective measures and use insect repellents (see http://insects.ncsu.edu/Urban/repellents.htm).     We still recommend the usual measures of emptying rain-filled containers and other objects as well as unclogging gutters, drainage ditches, etc.  However, mosquitoes that can transmit EEE will also breed in flood waters and salt marshes, and for that reason, personal protection is critical. Many of these mosquitoes are active at dawn and dusk, so altering our activity times can help (but are not a guarantee against mosquito bites).  Again, we also urge horse owners to consult with the veterinarian about vaccinating their animals against these mosquito-borne diseases. People with dogs that spend a great deal of time outdoors need to make sure they are keeping up their pet's monthly medications, since some of the same mosquito species that are increasing in numbers can also transmit dog heartworm. Mosquito Control information is located at: http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/ent/notes/Urban/mosquito.htm Paper Wasps Overwintering paper wasps (Polistes) queens are starting to become active.  Many of them have been passing the winter in wall voids, attics, and crawlspaces.  As a result, some of the wasps may stray indoors accidentally, but don't assume there is a nest in the wall, attic, or crawlspace.  They are usually slow moving (you would be too if you had slept all winter!)  and they're not aggressive, because these are not workers defending a nest.  So they are an easy target for a rolled-up newspaper, which is far safer than unloading a can of insecticide spray on them... and yourself and everything else in your house.  Foggers ("total release aerosols") are not affective and potentially hazardous. Those wasps that make it to the great outdoors will often be seen hovering near chimneys and other vertical objects.  The wasps are busy scoping out perspective nesting sites.  In most cases, they are too high up to make any sensible (i.e., "safe and effective") attempt at chemical control.  However, they would an easy target should you decide it's time to pressure-wash the siding on your house. With the early nests, there will only be few workers.  So the likelihood of getting stung is minimal. People who are very concerned about getting stung can spray any nest with one of those aerosol wasp and hornet sprays that propels the chemical about 15-20 feet.   But reminder - these wasps are actually beneficial and eat caterpillars and other insects that would likely be chomping down on the flower or vegetable garden later in the year.  For more information, click on the link below: http://insects.ncsu.edu/Urban/paperwasp.htm Carpenter Bees  It's finally (really) spring and a male carpenter bee's thoughts are turning to finding the girl bee of his dreams.  So right now you'll see the males buzzing about.  Carpenter bees do look like bumble bees but lack the yellow hairs on their abdomens.  You can actually identify the males, because they're often hovering in areas and you can see a white-colored spot on the middle of the face.  The males can buzz people sitting on benches, porches, etc., but they're harmless (male bees do not have stingers).  The males do not make galleries (drilling holes for the developing eggs) either.  When the lady bees make their appearance, they'll mate with the males, and then the females will excavate new galleries or possibly use an existing one (which is another reason to seal up the old ones). There are no magic bullets that are truly effective to stop the bees from drilling holes. We have information online at:  http://insects.ncsu.edu/Urban/carpenterbees.htm Information provided by: Michael Waldvogel, PhD Extension Associate Professor and Specialist, Structural and Industrial Pests North Carolina State University Department of Entomology Recommendations for the use of agricultural chemicals are included as a convenience to the reader. The use of brand names and any mention or listing of commercial products or services does not imply endorsement by North Carolina Cooperative Extension nor discrimination against similar products or services not mentioned. Individuals who use agricultural chemicals are responsible for ensuring that the intended use complies with current regulations and conforms to the product label. Be sure to obtain current information about usage regulations and examine a current product label before applying any chemical. For assistance, contact your county Cooperative Extension agent.

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