We have already been getting several calls at the Extension office regarding swarms of honey bees.
Swarming occurs in the spring when a colony of bees outgrows its hive. These bees are generally very docile because they do not have offspring to protect. If you detect a swarm on your shrubs, trees, etc. please do not disturb them.
Simply give the UT-TSU Extension office a call at 473-8484 and we will put you in contact with one of our beekeepers with the Highland Rim Beekeepers Association. They will gladly come and collect the bees for you. If you are interested in bee and honey production, please consider visiting the club. The club meets on the second Thursday evening of each month in the Magnolia Room of the Warren County Administrative Building at 6:30 p.m. and discusses topics pertinent to the subject and time.
Warren County Farmers Market
Another sure sign of spring is the beginning of the Warren County Farmers Market season. The market is now open on Saturday mornings from 6 a.m. until noon. It will be open on Wednesday mornings beginning in May.
This year the market will have many events such as strawberry day, corn day, and the ever-popular squash cake day. For more information regarding upcoming events, or a sneak peek at what will be offered at the market, please visit the Warren County Farmers Market Facebook page.
Make Your Yard Less Conducive to Container Mosquitoes
Warm weather brings us blooming trees and shrubs, beautiful landscapes and, well, insects.
This year the insect on the minds of homeowners and health professionals is the mosquito, particularly mosquito species that can carry Zika virus, which has been making news worldwide as a recently identified pathogen, as well as La Crosse encephalitis, a well-established threat to young children.
Experts have identified the main mosquito vectors of Zika virus as Aedes aegypti (the yellow fever mosquito) and Aedes albopictus (the Asian tiger mosquito). While Ae. aegypti has not been identified in more than 15 years in Tennessee, the Asian tiger mosquito (Ae. albopictus) is the most common mosquito encountered around homes. And it is known to carry both the Zika and La Crosse viruses, the latter of which is known to have caused the death of Tennessee children.
Karen Vail, professor of entomology with the University of Tennessee Extension, says both the yellow fever mosquito and the Asian tiger mosquito are referred to as “container mosquitoes” because they lay their eggs on the edge of a container like a planter, bucket or old tire.
“Anything that can collect rain can serve as a container,” she said. “As water from the container evaporates the eggs dry out, when the container fills with water again the eggs become submerged allowing for mosquitoes to hatch.”
Vail adds container mosquitoes do not fly very far, so searching your property for potential containers is the best way to find and eliminate the sources of standing water and therefore the mosquitoes. Vail says the larvae feed on organic matter in the water and undergo four molts before pupating and becoming an adult mosquito. This development typically takes just one week, so she recommends property owners be sure to inspect their property weekly and to dump standing water.
“Pick a day, such as Saturday, and add this task to your to-do list,” she says.
Here’s a quick checklist of some potential mosquito-reducing chores and “containers” to inspect:
• Remove containers or similar objects such as cups, soda cans, tires, buckets, plastic sheeting and others from areas surrounding the home. If tires can’t be removed, drill holes to allow water to drain. Also, watch how tarps lie as they can accidentally hold water.
• Do not allow water to remain in flower pot bases, pet dishes, children’s wading pools or bird baths for longer than a week.
• Clean gutters, downspouts, roofs, etc. to remove leaves and other debris that may hold standing water. Inspect these items regularly. If gutters bend or get damaged it is important to fix them as the dent can hold enough water for mosquito development.
• Tree holes or stumps often contain water. Drain them or fill them with sand.
• Water the landscape so standing water cannot accumulate for more than a few days.
• Inspect animal water troughs and surrounding ground for larval mosquitoes and change water if necessary.
• Stock a small garden pool or ornamental pond with mosquito-eating fish such as native top-feeding minnows or goldfish. Ensure pond water is agitated.
• Make sure covers on pools, grills and boats do not retain water.
• Cover rain-collecting barrels with a 16-mesh screen.
• Corrugated drain pipes should be angled to prevent water from accumulating in dips.
Another way to reduce mosquitoes in or around homes is to reduce or thin dense vegetation, which provides resting sites for the adults. When mosquitoes become active later in the spring, appropriately labeled products containing permethrin, other pyrethroids, Malathion, and others can be applied to shrubbery and other resting sites listed on the label.
Contact: Heath Nokes, UT-TSU Extension Warren County, (931) 473-8484 firstname.lastname@example.org