Featured stories and content

FEATURED CONTENT
Fair Rides

Fair Time is
Here

Check out the websites for the: Robeson Regional Agricultural Fair, October 2 - 10  North Carolina State Fair, October 15 - 25

READ THE REST »
Fair Rides

Fair Time is
Here

Check out the websites for the: Robeson Regional Agricultural Fair, October 2 - 10  North Carolina State Fair, October 15 - 25

READ THE REST »
cover

The 4-H Cookbooks Are
Here!

The Cookbooks Are Here! Help support the Robert Wilkes 4-H Endowment for Entrepreneurship, which will benefit 4-H youth in Robeson County, by purchasing a cookbook. A cookbook makes a great gift, so order as many as you’d like. Each cookbook is $10 with around 150 recipes from local 4-H volunteers, members, and alumni; from Cooperative Extension staff; and others. Stop by Cooperative Extension at the O. P. Owens Agriculture Center, 455 Caton Road (Highway 72 West), Lumberton, to purchase your cookbooks (check or money order, please) - Payable to: N.C. Agricultural Foundation, Inc. with “Wilkes Endowment/Cookbook” in the For Section Proceeds will benefit the Robert Wilkes 4-H Entrepreneurship Endowment for Robeson County, which operates under the auspices of the N.C. Agricultural Foundation, Inc., a nonprofit 501(c)3.

READ THE REST »
mosquito

Insect Management
Tips

Mosquitoes Tidbits about mosquito management - emphasis on the word "management" because we rarely (if ever) achieve total *control* of mosquito populations.  Our warming temperatures and our recent spate of heavy rains will lead to increased mosquito activity over the next few weeks.  Before you begin a chemical assault on the biting menaces, remember, you can put a reasonable dent in future populations simply by engaging in some "Tip and Toss" which sounds more like a child's game (or a bar game!) One inescapable fact about mosquitoes is that they need water in which the larvae (immature stage) can develop.  In coastal areas, people often think of marshes and other permanent bodies of water as prime mosquito breeding sources.  However, there are many mosquito species (the Asian tiger mosquito being a good example) which take advantage of water-filled objects as breeding sites.  To give you an idea of what "water-filled objects" means, consider a survey led many years ago by Dr. Charles Apperson (former Extension Specialist and Entomology Professor emeritus).  His study looked at objects found in residential yards in New Hanover County that served as breeding sites for the Asian tiger mosquito (and can certainly accommodate other species as well).   They found that 61 percent of the buckets  and toys that they inspected contained mosquito larvae.  With plastic film (that tarp over your boat, old car, firewood pile, etc.), nearly 73 percent of those examined had mosquito larvae and more than half of the tires in people's yards contained mosquito larvae. So while we're still somewhat early in "mosquito season," *now* is a good time for people to engage in what we call "habitat modification" or more simply put - 'Clean up around your home and yard': Empty or (preferably) get rid of those objects that collect water - old cans, tires, and trash cans missing their lids. Make it a daily (or near daily) routine to put fresh water in bird baths and pet water bowls.   The mosquitoes may hate you, but your pets and local avian visitors will be grateful for the fresh water). For you nostalgic individuals who still have an old tire swing in their yard - drill some holes in the bottom of the tire so water drains out. The purpose of  rain gutters is not to collect pine needles, leaves, and other debris to the point they clog and impound water. Wet decaying leaves are a source of attraction to mosquitoes.  Remove debris from your gutters and make sure water runs freely through them.   Don't let rainwater just splash and pool at the end at downspouts and against your foundation; direct it away from the house, so it soaks quickly into the soil.  If you attach a piece of black plastic corrugated pipe to channel water away, remember "gravity" (not the movie).  Water doesn't flow up on its own. So make sure that pipe is on a downward grade, so water drains out of it as well. Likewise, drainage ditches are intended to collect excess storm water in front of your property and are not meant to become "mosquito swimming pools."  Keep them free of debris and vegetation so water doesn't become impounded stagnate. If you're going to collect rainwater to save for watering your gardens, either use one of those barrels intended for that purpose or at least place screening (ordinary window screening works) over the top of the barrel to keep out debris as well as the mosquitoes that are hunting for a good place to lay eggs. Insecticides Treating yards for mosquitoes is certainly people's choice.  Some people hire a company to do the job while others take the do-it-yourself approach, which is fine (IF done properly).  Some treatments are simply space sprays/fogs where the intent is to kill airborne mosquitoes with an insecticidal fog (such as a backpack or truck-mounted sprayer).  The limitation on that approach is it only knocks down the population by killing whatever mosquitoes are out and about at that time.  As a point of note, these treatments can also kill any other insects (including beneficial insects) that may be out flying around the yard.  Another approach for chemical applications for adult mosquitoes is to treat shrubs and other "resting sites" (even mosquitoes need a break from flying and feeding!).  This type of treatment can also be done with a backpack sprayer/fogger or a more typical liquid applicator (the type lawn-care companies use or the garden-hose sprayer that many homeowners use). This type of treatment can also significantly suppress mosquito populations (but never actually eradicate mosquitoes).  There are some critical issues with this approach.  First, pollinator protection - if you're spraying flowering shrubs or other plants while bees and other pollinators are visiting those flowers, then you could have a significant impact on those insects (particularly when applying certain types of pesticides).  Second, these treatments can also kill other beneficial insects, spiders, etc., that come into contact with the chemical.  Third, and most notably in urban areas where houses tend to be closer together, you always need to know where that chemical is going.  Applying a pesticide that moves beyond its target site is still called "drift" whether that movement was unintentional or not, and it can easily produce some unintended and serious consequences.  In some cases, your neighbor may not worry about chemical-killing mosquitoes on his/her property, but there will be situations where you or the company treating for you really need to scout the adjoining properties *before* you discover that the chemical ended up drifting onto a backyard bee hive or an organic garden, barbecue grill, a pet (or the pet's food/water), or a child playing in that yard.  LOOK before you treat and consider wind speed and direction before you begin spraying. Protect you, your family, and your pets With summer vacations here, keep mosquito repellents on hand.  We still recommend the common sense approach of using EPA-registered repellents and following the label instructions.  As I've stated previously, the preferred way to use mosquito repellent on children is by applying the product to your hands and then rubbing it on the child's arms, legs, neck, and other exposed parts of the skin (never under clothing). Certain species of mosquitoes are vectors (carriers) of dog heart worms.  Take a proactive approach and protect your pet with a veterinarian-recommended heart-worm product. As we move further into the summer weather, mosquito-born diseases will become an issue. This includes Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), and the "Equine" part is a reminder that if you have a horse, you should get it vaccinated and NOW is the time to get that done, because the initial vaccination is typically given in the spring followed by a booster shot later in the summer. While people are busy reducing mosquito populations, you can pass along these suggestions to  neighbors as well, because one other thing we know about managing mosquito populations is that it takes the proverbial "village" to make it work, and it only takes that one neighbor you refer to as the village idiot to be the difference between success and failure. You can find these details and more information about mosquito control on our website at: http://insects.ncsu.edu/Urban/mosquito.htm  and http://insects.ncsu.edu/Urban/repellents.htm Termites The next significant rainfall will likely trigger termite swarming.  The point to remember is that termite swarms outdoors are just nature's way of reminding you that termites are out there (and if you're the paranoid type, they're out to get you).  Do you need to rush and get your house treated?  No, but it is a good idea to get your house inspected if it's been several years since it was last inspected/treated.  On the other hand, if termites swarm inside your home, we technically call that "a bad thing," because you likely do have an infestation.  Hereto, you shouldn't rush to get your house treated, because the more important thing to be a smart consumer is to get your house inspected by two to three companies and compare what they found and how they recommend treating it. We discourage the "do-it-yourself" approach to termite treatments; most people have little understanding of what it takes to treat the house.  Most of the consumer products are intended to kill termites where you find them and not really for an entire home treatment, which requires a lot of soil excavation (to the top of your foundation footer or four feet depending on which is less) and a lot of liquid (four gallons of diluted product per 10 linear feet per foot of depth to your footer) and that isn't taking into account the drilling of concrete or masonry. We have information online about termites and protecting your home from  termites at:  http://insects.ncsu.edu/Urban/wood.htm Ground Nesting Bees Active But Do Not Threaten People or Yards.  Find out more about these nonthreatening bees: http://ipm.ces.ncsu.edu/2014/03/pest-alert-ground-bees-active-but-do-not-threaten-people-or-yards/ Provided by: Steve Frank, NCSU Extension Entomologist 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://entomology.ces.ncsu.edu/brown-marmorated-stink-bug-in-north-carolina-3/ http://www.stopbmsb.org/ 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".... 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 on this page is 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.

READ THE REST »
hurricane

Disaster Preparedness

Are you prepared for a disaster?  Visit Cooperative Extension's site to learn what you need to do to be better prepared: Disaster Preparedness Information

READ THE REST »
NEWS View All
avianflu

Avian Flu: What Is It?

I’m sure you have heard talk or concern about Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), sometimes called the avian flu or bird flu. So what is it exactly? HPAI is a virus that is MORE »

4-H Clover

We Want You!

Come and join the fun! Robeson County 4-H wants you to become a member of our positive youth development program. The 4-H program offers a variety of structured fun and learning. Youth will MORE »

More News
EVENTS View All
Spiritual Generations 4-H Club MeetingFri Sep 4, 2015 Today
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM— 6 hours away
St. Pauls 4-H Pony Club MeetingSat Sep 5, 2015
9:00 AM - 12:00 PM— 21 hours away
Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Training Tue Sep 8, 2015
9:00 AM - 12:00 PM Where:
116 W Prospect Ave, Raeford, NC 28376, USA
— 4 days away
Dirty Rascals 4-H Junior Master Gardeners Club MeetingTue Sep 8, 2015
5:30 PM - 7:30 PM Where:
455 Caton Rd, Lumberton, NC 28360, USA
— 4 days away
Voices In Praise 4-H Club MeetingTue Sep 8, 2015
7:00 PM - 9:00 PM— 4 days away
Inspirational Youth Leaders 4-H Club MeetingTue Sep 8, 2015
7:00 PM - 8:30 PM— 4 days away
Bird Conservation in the Face of Future Climate Change WebinarThu Sep 10, 2015
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM Where:
http://www.sustainableforestswebinars.net/
— 6 days away
All Around All Stars 4-H Arts and Crafts ClubThu Sep 10, 2015
5:30 PM - 7:30 PM Where:
455 Caton Rd, Lumberton, NC 28360, USA
— 6 days away
More Events