UK entomologist offers tips on ticks

by Katie Pratt, University of Kentucky

A mild winter can have its downsides. One is that more ticks probably survived than normal. The result is more hungry ticks out earlier than usual, according to Lee Townsend, extension entomologist in the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.

Typically, warm weather brings ticks out of hiding to find the blood meal they need to continue their life cycle. In the past two weeks, Townsend has received calls about ticks on both people and pets. Continue reading

7 horticulture jobs available

Seven new jobs in horticultural science are now available:

Extension Educator, Floriculture and Greenhouse Crops, Michigan State University
As part of Michigan State University Extension and the Agriculture & Agribusiness Institute, the Floriculture/Greenhouse Extension Educator will have statewide Extension programming responsibilities focused on floriculture and greenhouse crop production and pest management. Michigan, a national leader in greenhouse-grown plant material, ranks third among U.S. states in floriculture crop production. This position, based in Kalamazoo County, is in the heart of the greenhouse plant production in southwest Michigan. (See more) Continue reading

Early eastern tent caterpillar egg hatch anticipated for Central Kentucky

by Holly Weimers, University of Kentucky

It is likely eastern tent caterpillars will begin to hatch soon, according to Lee Townsend, University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment extension entomologist.

“Eastern tent caterpillars are among the first insects to appear in the spring. Consequently, they can cope with the erratic temperature swings that are common in Kentucky. This year’s unseasonable warmth points to abnormally early activity,” Townsend said. Continue reading

Warm winter could affect tall fescue toxicosis in broodmares

by Krista Lea, University of Kentucky

Mild weather this winter is likely the cause of higher than average concentrations of a toxic substance in tall fescue called ergovaline that has been observed in Fayette and Bourbon pastures in Central Kentucky, according to University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment experts,. Tall fescue toxicosis in broodmares, which is caused by ingesting ergovaline, is rare in the early months of the year due to typically cold winter temperatures.

Naturally occurring tall fescue is often infected with an endophytic fungus that can produce ergovaline, a known vasoconstrictor – something that causes the narrowing of blood vessels. This has been blamed for prolonged gestation and low milk production in late term pregnant mares. The UK Horse Pasture Evaluation Program sampled three farms in Fayette and Bourbon counties this year and found a handful pastures with higher than average ergovaline concentrations for the time of year. Continue reading

UK entomologist discusses kissing bug, impact on Kentucky

by Katie Pratt, University of Kentucky

The kissing bug may sound like a virus that plagues the protagonist of a romantic comedy, but in fact, these insects are real, and one species does occur in Kentucky. These blood-feeding insects have received a lot of media attention due to the potential health effects of their bites in the southwestern United States. University of Kentucky extension entomologist Lee Townsend recently discussed what Kentuckians need to know about the insect.

“A species of kissing bug lives in Kentucky, but the insect is not commonly seen. It occurs in wooded areas where it lives in the dens of various animals,” said Townsend, a faculty member in the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. “At UK, we have only occasionally received adults that were captured from inside homes, usually near or in wooded areas. Few bites have been reported. Kissing bugs will fly to outdoor lights, especially in the fall, and some will found ways inside.” Continue reading

UK IPM School coming up

by Katie Pratt, University of Kentucky

The 2017 Integrated Pest Management Training School is Wednesday, March 1, at the University of Kentucky Research and Education Center in Princeton.

Speakers include specialists and agents with the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment and the UK Cooperative Extension Service. Continue reading

UK to host tall fescue pasture renovation workshop

by Katie Pratt, University of Kentucky

Anyone who has spent a considerable amount of time around livestock or forages knows tall fescue is a double-edged sword. University of Kentucky forage specialists are teaming up with the Alliance for Grassland Renewal to host a workshop to teach producers how to renovate their old tall fescue pastures with a novel endophyte variety.

The Tall Fescue Renovation Workshop will take place March 9 at UK’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and UK Spindletop Research Farm. Continue reading