Cicada Killers, Cicadas and Cow Killer Ants

If you haven’t had a chance to check out the GRO Big Red Blog, please do! Our colleagues at Nebraska Extension in Douglas and Sarpy Counties, and our own Jody Green in Lancaster County, regularly share resources to help you GRO Big! https://grobigred.com/

Cow Killer Ant (Velvet Ant). This is not an "ant" but a wasp!

Cow Killer Ant (Velvet Ant). This is not an “ant” but a wasp!

It’s that time of year when cicadas “sing”, and their predators are on the hunt. Learn more about cicada killer wasp, annual cicadas and cow killer ants:

Cicada Killer Season is Upon Us – Jonathan Larson

Video: Cicada Killer Wasp – Jonathan Larson & Jody Green

Annual Cicadas: The Musicians of Summer – Jonathan Larson

Cow Killer Ant: Wrongfully Accused – Jody Green

If you have other pest and wildlife questions, we have resources on-line at http://lancaster.unl.edu/pest or contact your local extension office.

Have a great day!!

Soni

Responsive. Innovative. Trusted.
Nebraska Extension provides research-based information to help you make informed decisions any time, any place, anywhere
http://lancaster.unl.edu

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Tiny Bugs with a BIG Bite!

I’m going to take a moment to vent too ….. I happen to be one of the folks who can’t enjoy the outdoors right now around my home because of all of these tiny, black bugs that bite like the dickens! I get welts from them. My colleague Jody Green braved a “probing” just so we could get the great photo below!

If you are one of the folks suffering from the bites of minute pirate bugs (they look like a black dot on your arm – you may not see the markings as you squish it), here’s an article from one of our Nebraska Extension colleagues Jonathan Larson. Bottom line: There’s not much you can do. Cover up. Try a repellent or baby oil on the skin. Wait for a hard freeze…. oh, and they are beneficial, really – they are … read on —- Soni

Minute pirate bug probing Jody Green's arm

Minute pirate bug probing Jody Green’s arm with its piercing-sucking mouthpart at the front of its head. Photo by Dr. Jody Green, Extension Educator Urban Entomology.

Minute Pirate Bugs: Tiny Bugs with a Bite!
Dr. Jonathan L. Larson, Nebraska Extension
September 19, 2016

Arrr! It is national talk like a pirate day today and it’s truly fitting as we are also receiving the first reports of problems with minute pirate bugs. These bugs get their minute moniker because as adults they are only about 1/8 inch long. Adults are oval-shaped, have a black body with an off-white/brown bar across their back and white diamond on their wing tips. As nymphs they are an orange hue and lack wings, they actually resemble their cousin the bed bug a little bit. Worldwide, there are over 500 species of minute pirate bug but we mainly deal with only one species in this area, the insidious flower beetle (Orius insidiosus). Continue reading

Zinnias

Making Your Cut Flowers Last

Extending the life of fresh cut flowers

Fresh cut or purchased from a florist, you can extend the life of fresh flowers by following a few simple steps.

I plant plenty of flowers and herbs in my garden and landscape. There are some for the bees and some for me. This time of year, I love going out early in the morning and cutting a few flowers to put in a vase. I’ll even clip a sprig of one of my fragrant herbs to include in my little arrangements.

Here are some tips to help keep your cut flowers blooming longer:

Cut garden flowers early in the morning or late in the evening, when they are crisp with water. During the heat of the day, they lose water through transpiration faster than their roots can replace it and may be wilted.

Select flowers that are not yet in full bloom or past it, and cut them with a sharp knife or shears. Avoid tearing or smashing the stems since this can interfere with water uptake.

Carry a container of warm water to the garden and place flowers in it immediately after cutting. Cut flower stems exposed to the air tend to get air bubbles in the passages through which water moves. These bubbles may block the uptake of water. Leave flowers in the warm water for about two hours before arranging them so they can take up as much water as they can hold. If you must keep them a while longer, place them in fresh warm water and set them in the refrigerator. Remove excess foliage and cover them with plastic or paper to slow water loss.

Always use a clean container for cut flower arrangements. Previously used vases may contain bacteria that will quickly multiply and block the water-conducting tubes of the flower stems. Remove foliage below the water line. Foliage decaying in the water hastens the demise of the flowers by contributing to the bacterial buildup.

To learn more about extending the life of cut flowers, visit “Extend the Life of Cut Flowers” from Nebraska Extension in Lancaster County.

Have a great day!!

Soni

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

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).

The Importance Of Outdoor Experiences In The Primary Years

BoyChalk

Our experiences in natural environments can have immediate and long-lasting benefits for both children and adults.

We know outdoor spaces allow children to run, climb, move through space, and “let off steam.” We also know such increased physical activity is associated with decreases in depression and anxiety, and increases in levels of concentration. Outdoor experiences and play are key strategies to address rising childhood obesity rates and ADHD/ADD symptoms. Nature provides endless opportunities for awe, wonder, exploration, and movement — all essential elements to promoting the healthy well-being of young children.

The Importance of Outdoor Experiences in the Primary Years, shares the research on the benefits of being outdoors! This is a free publication from Nebraska Extension.

BoySwimHave you been outside yet today? Better yet — enjoy taking a child outdoors and let them experience the wonders of our natural world.

It’s time for me to head outside!

Have a great day!!

Soni

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

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).

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

Make the Most of a Small Garden Space

Lettuce varieties planted in one foot squares

Lettuce varieties planted in one foot squares – photo by D. Janssen, Nebraska Extension

If you have a small space, you can still garden! There are ways to make it work for you and your family.

In this technique you’ll create a garden divided by a series of 1 foot by 1 foot squares. Each square holds a different vegetable or herb.

One of the advantages of a square foot garden is it’s easy to maintain. Since the amount of space is limited, the time needed to maintain the garden is small, too. You can still grow large plants, like zucchini, tomatoes or even melons.

To learn how to start your square foot garden and what crops to consider, read “Make the Most of a Small Garden Space” by Sarah Browning, Extension Educator.

If you want to know what plants grow best in your area, contact your local extension office. They are a terrific resource in our communities. Find your local office (nationwide listing) here.

Speaking of tomatoes … Did you know? Bumblebees are the only pollinators for tomatoes! Always use practices to protect our important pollinators.

Have a great day!!

Soni

Responsive. Innovative. Trusted.
Nebraska Extension provides research-based information to help you make informed decisions any time, any place, anywhere
http://lancaster.unl.edu