Welcome Hummingbirds!


In the continental United States, hummingbirds are key in wildflower pollination. Source: USDA Forest Service

Late this afternoon, I caught a glimpse of a tiny hummingbird dodging rain and fighting wind to check out my feeder – no nectar! I rushed in the kitchen and made a batch of nectar (the nectar recipe is below). Once the nectar was cool, I put on a poncho, rain boots and headed out to fill the feeder. Thankfully, she came back.

Hummingbirds are fascinating! Enlist the help of the entire family to attract these tiny birds to your landscape.

Spring migration occurs from mid-April through May. This time of year, hummingbirds move through the area pretty quickly so visits to your feeders may be brief. We’re lucky in eastern Nebraska because some folks have Ruby-throated hummingbirds all summer long. Continue reading

Fun With Shadows

The sun just popped out here in Lincoln, Nebraska! What a great time to think about “shadows”. The Learning Child team from Nebraska Extension shares ideas and lessons on using shadows to help children learn about emotions! Give it a try with your children or grandchildren!

Here’s the link referenced in the blog http://www.stillplayingschool.com/

Have a great day!
Soni Cochran, Extension Associate
Nebraska Extension in Lancaster County

Not in my Backyard! Don’t be a Mosquito Magnet

Are you like me and feel as though you’re a magnet for mosquitoes? Are you concerned about contracting one of the many illnesses mosquitoes have been known to transmit? What’s all this buzz about the Zika virus?

Aedes mosquito

The Aedes mosquito (Photo: Jim Kalisch, Department of Entomology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln)

Zika is dangerous for pregnant women

Zika is a mosquito-borne virus acquired by locals and travelers in Central and South American regions. Infected adults may show symptoms such as fever, rash, headaches, and/or red eyes, but many will have no symptoms. The problem with Zika is that it has devastating consequences for a developing fetuses. A pregnant woman can pass the Zika virus to her fetus, where it can result in a serious birth defect called microcephaly. Pregnant women can be infected with the Zika virus if they are bitten by an infected mosquito or through sexual contact with an infected male partner.

The mosquito that transmits Zika isn’t in Nebraska

The main mosquito that transmits the Zika virus is the yellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti. This species, when infected, can transmit dengue, chikungunya, and yellow fever. Their geographical range is mostly tropical, subtropical, and temperate climates, and their natural range does not include Nebraska.

Continue reading

The June 2016 Issue of the NEBLINE is on-line!

Farmers' Markets

The Garden Grocery: Food Safety and Selection at Farmers’ Markets

The June issue of the free NEBLINE newsletter is now on-line. Here are some of the articles featured in this issue – – – – Visit http://lancaster.unl.edu/nebline and click on the link to the June 2016 NEBLINE!

  • Feature article: The Garden Grocery: Food Safety and Selection at Farmers’ Markets
  • Tomato Basil Bruschetta Recipe!
  • Nebraska Local Foods: Three Easy Ways for Consumers to Connect with Growers
  • Backup Plan for Feeding Cow-Calf Pairs
  • Tractor Safety Courses for Youth 14–15 (Statewide)
  • Composting Demonstrations (Local)
  • Time for Ticks
  • Opossums — Nature’s Tick Eaters
  • Chemical Hazards in Your Home
  • New Nebraska Pollinator Habitat Certification Program
  • Pollinator Week, June 19–24
  • June Garden Guide
  • Play Skills for Children
  • Upcoming Learning Child Trainings (Local)
  • Babysitting Training for 5th–7th Graders, July 13 (Local)
  • 4-H News, Resources & More
  • 4th Graders Gain Understanding of Agriculture at Ag Literacy Festival & More

If you don’t live in Lancaster County, Nebraska, please make sure to check out your local extension office too. Your extension office has resources for you, your family and community. To find your local office, visit http://lancaster.unl.edu/office/locate.shtml (nationwide listing).

Have a great day!!


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Nebraska Extension provides research-based information to help you make informed decisions any time, any place, anywhere –

The NEBLINE Newsletter

Chemical Hazards in Your Home

Guest Contributor: Adam Rhoads, Lincoln–Lancaster County Health Department Environmental Health Educator

Safe Pesticide Use and Disposal
Now is a great time of year to clean out unwanted and potentially hazardous chemicals from your home. Everyday household products, from bathroom cleaners to oil-based paint, can be dangerous to your health and the environment. But did you know some products pose a greater risk than others?

Pesticides: Pesticides are chemicals that discourage or kill pests such as insects and rodents. While effective, they can be toxic to humans. Consider the alternatives: Continue reading

Growing Kids in Your Garden

Connect your child to nature with a garden

My grandson found a swallowtail caterpillar! A garden connects family with nature!

Your landscape is a ready-made science lab for hands-on learning! Whether you have a small backyard, live in an apartment, on a farm or acreage, you can provide important opportunities for your child or grandchild to experience the wonders of nature.

A garden is a great way for children to interact with nature and learn about the food we grow and eat. This year, consider creating a Zoo Garden, Pizza Garden or Salsa Garden! Plan the garden together with your child. If you need plants or seeds, take your child with you to help buy them. Read the seed packets together, talk about measurements and planting depths. Be creative and make markers for your seed rows. You can do the same if you a planting in pots. As your plants grow, you and your child will grow with them. At harvest, the rewards will be a celebration of the foods your child has helped grow. Don’t forget to involve the entire family in the preparation of your bounty for the table! Continue reading

Termites in the Limelight

Since joining the Nebraska Extension office in Lancaster County a month ago, I’ve had a variety of questions regarding termites and termite control. My job is not to provide inspection or treatment services, but to provide information about termites and their management, so that homeowners can make informed decisions regarding hiring a pest control company to treat, as well as prevent infestations in the future.

The only termites found in Nebraska are subterranean termites. As their name implies, they maintain a connection with the soil by nesting primarily in the ground, or traveling in mud tubes from the ground up. Due to their cryptic nature, they are seldom seen; the damage they cause to cellulose materials, which includes wood, cardboard, drywall paper and cotton fabric, can remain undetected for years.

Continue reading