Archive for April, 2013

Springtime Pond Calls by Dr. Greg Lutz, Aquaculture Specialist

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Springtime Pond Calls  by Dr. Greg Lutz, Aquaculture Specialist

     This time of year you may get a lot of calls about floating scum in ponds – usually the problem is filamentous algae.   Filamentous algae generally prefers cooler temperatures, and the problem usually begins during the winter months when abrupt temperature changes cause ponds to turn clear.  This lets the sunlight reach the pond bottom, where the filamentous algae starts growing in mats.  As water temperatures warm during the spring, the filamentous algae becomes stressed and sloughs off, floating to the surface.  In mild cases, it’s just unsightly.  In moderate cases, it can interfere with fishing, and in severe cases it can cover enough of the pond surface to cause oxygen problems.   As the floating algae is exposed to direct sunlight it usually breaks down over several weeks but sometimes the problem can go on for much longer periods.

The most practical way for most of our clientele to deal with filamentous algae is to kill it (or hasten its death) with copper sulfate crystals.  Unfortunately, if the pond water is very soft, copper sulfate can be toxic to fish.  If it’s very hard, copper sulfate can precipitate out of the water before it does much good.  Nonetheless, in most cases it works pretty well.  And it makes the pond owner feel like he or she is doing something to fix the problem.

An important rule of thumb for applying copper sulfate crystals is to have the pond owner limit themself to 5 pounds of crystals per SURFACE acre, followed 7 or 8 days later by another treatment.  They should broadcast the crystals over the most problematic areas – but once they have used 5 pounds per acre, they must stop and then wait 7 or 8 days and make another treatment in an area they weren’t able to get to the first time.  This can be repeated until the problem is under control.  So, a 3 acre pond would get 15 pounds of crystals per treatment, and a 1/2 acre pond would get 2.5 pounds per treatment.  Pond depth is not a consideration, especially since the goal is to get the crystals directly onto the floating mats of algae.  Hand and eye protection and appropriate clothing should be recommended when the crystals are being applied.  In a few cases, the filamentous algae may be resistant to copper.  And, finally, there is always a chance that oxygen problems can occur when killing vegetation, and pond owners must be made aware of this possibility.  But, when people stick with this 5 pounds per acre limit I have never seen anyone cause a fish kill.

Also, we see lots of problems with diseases and fish kills this time of year – here is a page to get your clientele started in sorting out what their problems may be and how to respond to them.  http://www.lsuagcenter.com/en/crops_livestock/aquaculture/recreational_ponds/Frequently+Asked+Questions/Springtime+Problems.htm

And as always, if you get calls about ponds and it’s a situation where there is no obvious recommendation, feel free to put them in touch with me directly.

Hope this info helps. GL

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Milkweed Assassin Bug – Common Beneficial Predator in the Garden by George Giltner, Master Gardener

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Milkweed Assassin Bug – A Common Beneficial Predator in the Garden

By George Giltner, Master Gardener

Zelus longipes is the ‘milkweed assassin bug’ or the ‘longlegged assassin bug’, but it is commonly misidentified as the nymph of leaffooted bugs or as another sap sucking plant pest in our area.  But take a minute to ID this great predator that feeds on a wide range of soft-bodied prey in flower and vegetable gardens.  Just by observation you may notice a fly, mosquito, cucumber beetle, armyworm, rootworm or other caterpillars captured in the long spearing beak.  Also look for the long legs which are hairy within range of a magnifying glass.  The color is usually yellow to orange to a reddish orange on the stomach side with black wings present on the adults.  An orange triangle may be present in front of the wings.  This species has great variation in size and color.  However the adults and nymphs have a characteristic pear-shaped head, constricted neck, black eyes, and a forward moving beak that help in identification as a predator.

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Assassin Bugs Prefer to Stalk their Prey Near Flowers without Harming the Plant.

The economic importance of the milkweed assassin bug is as a major predator of crop damaging pests like the fall armyworm, Asian citrus psyllid, cornsilk flies (causing larvae damage of corn), and the genista broom moth (caterpillar attacks Texas laurel, crape myrtle, honeysuckle, and Laburnum.

Their preying behavior is fun to watch, especially around flowers.  They hide in the leaf foliage with their frontal legs raised for an attack.  As the ends of these legs contain a sticky substance, they pounce on prey and immediately insert the forward moving beak into the prey.  The prey is paralyzed with an  injection of liquid saliva, then it is digested and ingested.  The prey may be up to seven times the size of the milkweed assassin bug.

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In this Photo, the Assassin Bug has Successfully Captured its Target.

Many adults and nymphs have been noticed overwintering around vegetation and flowers in Beauregard Parish.  The constricted neck of the milkweed assassin bugs readily separates their wrongful ID as leaffooted bugs (nymphs or adults).

Gardeners should learn to identify beneficial insects like the milkweed assassin bug.  These beneficials keep an ecological balance in check between predators and prey.  When all insects on plants are sprayed with wide range insecticides early in spring, it is usually the pests that have the reproductive advantage to cause outbeaks and major pest problems.

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Evans 4-H Woodsman Skills Team at 2013Merryville Heritage Festival by Leanne Jeane

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Evans 4-H Woodsman Skills Team at 2013  Merryville Heritage Festival

by Leanne Jeane

Thanks to the Merryville Heritage Festival Committee for inviting us to provide a demonstration of ‘old time’ forestry activities during the festival.

We started off our demonstration by breaking the handles on one of our competition crosscut saws, repeatedly dislodging the sweet gum logs from the saw horse, cutting into a pair of chaps (which saved a thigh), and injuring a couple of our team members (minor cuts)…and later we even broke the pulpwood stick for the throwing event.

Despite all of the above mentioned mishaps, we were able to demonstrate a variety of events…and had a great time. My huge glass of homemade lemonade following the event was delicious!

I appreciate our 4-H’ers and their parents for taking time out of their Easter weekend to participate.

Thanks to Mr. Keith Hawkins, Beauregard Parish County Agent, for being our guest speaker.

Thanks to our spectators for being patient during our equipment repairs, too.

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Proud Members of the 2013 Evans 4-H Woodsman Skills Team.

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A Timberjack and a Timberjill Demonstrating Their Crosscut Saw Technique.

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A Timberjill preparing to toss a pulpwood stick at a target.

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A Timberjill buzzing through a sweetgum log. The best time wins!!

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Another Timberjack in the match split event. The competitor must literally spit a match attaches to the wood block.

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Hebert Bee Hive – Inspecting & Adding Food by Jimmy Earl Cooley

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Hebert Bee Hive – Inspecting  & Adding Food by Jimmy Earl Cooley

I opened Hebert Hive today, 3-28-13, for quick inspection and adding food source since spring is here.  Bees were very calm and it took very little smoke to open the lid and remove the outer most two frames.  These two frames had been empty of activity on last examination but now there are bees active on frames and see closed brood cells.  Means to me that lower brood box is probably full and bees have now moved to top brood box for spring raising of new bees, so good time for adding food since they have survived through winter on only what was in the two brood boxes.  New queens will arrive in about two weeks.  Plan to put one new queen in Hebert Hive and one new queen in an empty hive, sitting close to Hebert Hive, called Shirley Hive.  Shirley Hive is all ready to accept new queen.  It has two brood boxes with 10 frames each, screen bottom, and inner and outer cover and entrance wood piece, that is now closed off.

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Hebert Hive frame with brood. Photo by JEC

Also have a 5 frame hive box that intend to use to try to raise queen cell, located near the Hebert Hive.

Preleminary – Jimmys Plan,

Hebert Hive HH – 1 year old, April 12, 2013

Shirley Hive – Complete and ready for Bees and Queen.  Queen will be new one and bees will be from split of Hebert Hive.

Expect two queen bees to arrive around April 10, 2013

Place egg crete in Hebert Hive on April 5th.

On April 11th

Remove egg crete from Hebert Hive, catch queen from HH and put in egg crete. Place in queen box, remove frames (brood,polen,and etc) and place in queen box with bees.  Place food in queen box.

Shirley Hive SH – Place frames of brood, honey, pollen from HH to SH.  Place new queen in SH.  Add food and empty frames.

HH add new queen with empty frames and food.

Queen Box  QB Wait ? days and look for eggs in cups. remove cups with eggs and put on rack, put in bee box, bees will seal cups.  Place bee screen over cups to catch queen as they hatch.  Remove and add candy extension and put in new hive or sell or give to club members.

HH – once queen has been accepted – remove queen screen.

SH – once queen has been accepted – remove queen screen.

Remove old queen from egg crete and destroy or put her in another hive to start new family.
Much Obliged
JEC

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SWLA BEEKEEPERS ASSOCIATION APRIL NEWSLETTER

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SWLA BEEKEEPERS ASSOCIATION APRIL NEWSLETTER

by Richard Hebert, President

Hello Fellow beekeepers,

We all enjoyed some warm days in March and the bees are busy building up. Beekeepers get ready for your days to get a little busier with bee stuff. April is a good month to reverse hive bodies and cull out some old frames. You will likely have to add a super by mid-month and watch for swarming. This is the month for swarming, with the peak around the fifteenth. I have heard of a couple of swarms to our south, near I 10.

Thanks to Mr. Keith and all the folks that took part in the basic beekeeping field day. All went well; we had 16 folks that attended. The food, weather, and fellowship were wonderful. We were able to open up a couple of hives and locate the queens and demonstrate picking her up to mark and release. I look forward to another class in the future.

LOTS and LOTS of pollen everywhere with most of it coming from the oak and pine trees. The dew berries are thru blooming and its time for black berries. Clover is doing well. Some of the blooming plants will be hurt with the two nights of heavy frost that we just received. Mr. Ground hog missed his spring prediction.

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Richard Hebert at a recent beginning beekeepers workshop. Photo by Jimmy Earl Cooley

Our April 1st meeting will not be at the Civic Center but has been moved to the sheriff’s training building just south of the sheriff’s office. Mr. Keith has a bee biology power point to go over and discuss getting started with beekeeping. Look forward to seeing all the beekeepers there, come if you can.

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Beauregard Parish Nutrition Advisory Committee

LSU Ag Center

Beauregard Parish

Nutrition Advisory Committee

10 a.m., March 4, 2013

 

Name                                                    Affiliation

Judy Guidry                                        South Beauregard High School FCS

Terrie Smith                                        BPSB

Heather Phillips                                 Council on Aging

Mary LeDoux                                      LVFC

Karen Martin                                      Health Unit

Billie Young                                         LVFC

Becky Daigle                                        LVFC

Annette Duplechin                             Beaucare

Winkie Branch                                     Beauregard Action Council

Keith Hawkins                                     LSU Ag Center

Christy Oliver                                       LSU Ag Center

Christy Oliver opened the meeting and introduced Keith Hawkins who welcomed and gave members a better understanding of the LSU Ag Center’s mission.  Members then introduced themselves and Christy Oliver discussed current programs.  Members mentioned that many teachers are teaching enrichment classes that are taking the place of traditional electives and this could be a venue to do a series of classes.

Mrs. Smith asked that Christy Oliver put together 16 packets on Smart Bodies and Body Quest and bring them to her  to distribute to administrators of the local schools.

It was mentioned that it was very important to target parents.  Areas to target were:  demonstrations, choosing and preparing fruits and vegetables, and food budgeting.

Members also mentioned that a good date to present at the grocery stores would be the 1st and 15th of the month due to SNAP and other benefits being received by participants on these dates.

Another concern for students was that they are not eating the foods that are offered on the cafeteria line.

Elderly individual concerns included:  home delivery meals (there is currently a waiting list for Council on Aging), many seniors are not cooking for themselves (especially after the death of a spouse), seniors not wanting Meals on Wheels, eating fast food, eating frozen/microwave foods, and foods with added salt and sugars.

It was mentioned that food demonstrations, incentives, and door prizes were ways to encourage participation in many programs.

Recommendation for places to hold programs in outlining areas included:  Methodist Church (Ragley), Longville Baptist, Methodist Church (Merryville) , the Old Catholic Church in East Beauregard and the Baptist Encampment in Dry Creek.

Christy Oliver thanked everyone for attending and the meeting was adjourned.

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