June 13, 2013
Time: 11:00 am EDT (10AM Central)
Are mosquitoes plaguing you? Concerned about practical things you can do to reduce mosquito-carried disease around your home and community? On Jun 13th Dr. Michael Merchant, with Texas AgriLife Extension, will be presenting the next Urban Integrated Pest Management webinar addressing these topics! In this webinar he will cover basic mosquito biology, some basic approaches to mosquito prevention and control around the home, and the latest on safe and effective repellents. This webinar is being put on by the eXtension Urban Integrated Pest Management Community of Practice.
Webinar Registration Information
To register for this webinar, simply LOG IN TO http://learn.extension.org/events/1095 AND VIA FACEBOOK, TWITTER, GOOGLE or EXTENSION and click "Follow this Event"!
Dr. Michael Merchant, with Texas AgriLifeExtension
Update on the boy:
I realized it has been forever since I wrote about the boy on here. He's doing really well. He wrapped up another school year (Preschool) last week. Thursday and Friday he got to come with me to monitor crazy ants. He was great starting off- helped me fill vials with hotdogs and cap everything up. Then we started the first loop walking. About half way through he decided that he no longer liked helping mom with ant stuff and proceeded to complain about how tired he was and that his legs were too heavy and he couldn't possibly walk anymore. Fortunately, he finished the loop with me like a trooper and we jumped in the car to drive to the next loop. He got the cushy job of watching Madagascar 3 while I finished up with ants. Friday was pretty much a repeat of Thursday (complaints and all) but in a new area.
He started summer camp on Monday and he's really excited because he has the teacher he's wanted for two years. He is FINALLY old enough. They are doing all sorts of fun things- "camping" in the classroom, yesterday they had a snow machine mand today they're making s'mores. He is loving it, but he told me that he's not doing a great job of listening. That really didn't come as a shocker to me....he's in the "if you don't say something I want to hear I will deny your reality and substitute my own" stage. We've had many discussions on why it's important to listen and follow instructions. He's a great kid who is pushing every boundary he can to see what he can get away with. We just continue to set our boundaries and try to stay consistent.
He had a dental appointment also this week. He was talking about it since they left a reminder message on our machine at home. He loves the trains in the waiting room and the puzzles in the back. He did great while they cleaned his teeth and he even got x-rays for the first time. The assistant said he did really well which shocked me because he has difficulties holding still. I can't believe that within the next year he's going to start losing baby teeth! Ack- where has the time gone?
He still loves factual books...mostly dinosaurs, sharks and deep sea creatures and trucks, but he's also enjoying more picture books. Recently I learned from on eof his books that a group of barracuda is called a battery. Who kenw? He loves Star Wars and is obsessed with pirates. His imagination is AMAZING and he is very good and sucking people into his reality and assigning them roles to play in whatever he is doing. I only hope that as he grows he can keep his imagination and whimsy and it doesn't get sucked out of him by the "real world".
Friday, June 7, 2013
June 13, 2013
Friday, May 24, 2013
Anyone who has listened to me rattle on about insects for any amount of time knows of my fondness for cockroaches. I worked with cockroaches for many years while in college and grad school and now have the "pleasure" of being allergic to them. I still love them and know many of you are disgusted by the mere thought of them. Maybe this will change your mind. If not, maybe it will open your mind to the possibility that cockroaches are capable of being beautiful and amazing.
The International Institute for Species Exploration at Arizona State has published their list of the Top 10 new species from 2012. On the list is....you guessed it....a cockroach! Lucihormetica luckae, also known as the Lightning roach, is known from a single specimen collected over 70 years ago. The cockroach was collected from Ecuador and it may now be extinct due to eruption and activty of the Tungurahua volcano.
The really cool part of the whole thing- to me at least- is that the cockroach mimics a poisonous click beetle. Basically when it glows it's pattern is similar to that of a bioluminescent click beetle. Wow...insects are so cool!
If you want to see pictures of the cockroach, you can click here. I think it looks like a Jawa (Utini!) from Star Wars when it glows, but that may just be my somewhat warped mind.
On a side note....there is a FREE webinar on Friday, June 7th on bed bugs. You can find more information on the webinar here.
Friday, May 10, 2013
Texas is fortunate in that the eastern (east of the Rockies) population of Monarchs passes through Texas on the way to and from their overwintering sites in Mexico. It is always a glorious site to see the Monarchs in the spring and late summer/ fall. The butterflies overwinter in areas of mountain tops in Central Mexico. Many people think that the decline (at least for the Monarchs that come and go through Texas) is because of the decline of the overwintering locations in Mexico. While habitat loss in Mexico is certainly a factor, there is another factor that I hope, with help from citizens can be reduced.
The second factor of Monarch decline is loss of milkweed plant populations within the United States. Milkweed is often considered a weed (a weed is a plant that is out of place), especially when it's found in areas where other, more desirable plants are growing. As a weed, the milkweed is destroyed, decreasing the amount of food available for migrating Monarch populations. You can hear more about this from Science Friday here.
So how can you help? By planting milkweed! If we can get citizens to plant milkweed in their yards, in community gardens, in school gardens or even cooperate with county and city programs to encourage milkweed in parks and other common areas, then maybe the Monarchs will have islands of milkweed to support their life cycle. While I'm not sure if it will work, I think it's worth a shot.
You can find milkweed at local nurseries or you can buy seeds online. Monarch Watch actually has a seed kit that can be purchased for $10 on their website that contains three species of milkweed- Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa); Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca); Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata). All three species are native to Texas so you don't have to worry about bringing in something weird. The Native Plant Society of Texas has information on milkweed here. The Xerces Society has information on milkweed and their Project Milkweed here and you can link to sellers of milkweed seeds for specific regions of the country (including Texas).
So, have you bought your plants or seeds yet? What are you waiting for? Get out there and get planting.
Pssssstt....spread the word to everyone you know. We need all the help we can get!