Most people take action against pests when they see them – roaches scurrying across the kitchen counter, ants taking over the cookie jar, moles digging up the petunias. But what about the pests you can’t see, like termites?University of Georgia entomologist Brian Forschler says you may not be able to get rid of termites without a professional’s help, but you can make your home less appetizing to them.Constantly searching for food“Termites need darkness and moisture, and more often than not, moisture is associated with a termite infestation,” he said. “There are usually at least 50,000 termites in a colony, and they are constantly moving around, looking for a new food source. Then boom, they run into your house.”To discourage termites from putting your home on their menu, Forschler encourages homeowners to keep the areas around their homes free of debris like stumps, woodpiles, excessive mulch and anything that could be a potential food source. “Ten thousand termites could be feeding on a stump 3 feet from a house, which means at least 10 of them are looking around for new food, and it only takes one of them to turn to the right, find your house and let the other 9,999 know where to go for their next meal,” he said. Clean up and reroute waterForschler also recommends keeping the perimeter, especially the foundation, of your home as dry as possible. Remove excessive mulch (more than 2 inches) next to the home’s foundation, and make sure irrigation/sprinklers do not create wet spots on siding or foundations. Redirect rainwater and air conditioner condensation away from your home, too. “All these things will go a long way in keeping termites at bay,” he said. “Gutters that look like window boxes with gardens growing in them or mushrooms popping up beside the house are also signs of moisture that can be addressed by a concerned/involved property owner. The goal is to keep the soil right-up-next-to the foundation dry. No self-respecting termite will construct a tunnel into bone-dry soil.”They’re not smartForschler, who has researched termites for the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences for the past 22 years, says the pests are really different from the textbook definitions. “They are really simple, stupid animals,” he said. “Sometimes they share food and other times they don’t. They do not stay in one spot. They are constantly moving around and are far from territorial.”As part of his UGA research, Forschler studies the pests at sites across the state. He has seen first hand that five of the six species of termites found in Georgia usually swarm in the spring and eat more in the summer and less in the winter. Ninety percent of the termites he encounters in Georgia buildings are Eastern subterranean termites. “This is an invasive species that can survive even in rearranged habitats,” he said. Termites follow cracksIf termites have targeted your home, you may feel like a victim, but Forschler says most termite invasions aren’t planned. “When termites run into a guideline, a root, a crack or a crevice, they are going to follow it every time. Particularly cracks and crevices because half of their tunnel-building work has already been done for them,” he said.Sometimes these cracks and crevices are part of the home’s construction, like expansion joints. This is why termites are often found between the garage slab and the home slab or at chimneys and front/back porches.Homeowners and professionals must work togetherTermites can cause significant damage to structures, but they don’t do it over night. This gives homeowners and termite service providers an advantage in trying to manage them. Forschler says pest management professionals can treat for pests like termites, but homeowners have to do their part, too. “Pest management professionals are not magicians, home repairmen or landscapers. Homeowners have responsibilities, too, when it comes to termite control… like making certain that their landscaping choices and construction maintenance does not ‘invite’ termites,” he said.Even Forschler has fought termites at home. “I let some wooden pallets and roofing shingles sit beside my driveway for two years. I repotted some plants, but let the pots sit for several weeks next to those wooden pallets before setting them on my porch. A week later when I watered the plants, I noticed a termite tube coming out of the pot,” he said. “At first I thought the termites were traveling into the pot from the porch. But then I realized, I had moved them onto the porch.”
The Southeast Georgia Pecan Field Day has been set for Aug. 27 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Parker Brothers Farm in Baxley.Sponsored by University of Georgia Extension, the field day is planned specifically for the growing number of pecan growers in the southeastern region of Georgia. Mike Adams, president of the American Pecan Board, will speak about the importance of marketing Georgia’s pecan crop. More than 33,000 acres of Georgia’s total pecan acreage is located in east Georgia. According to the UGA Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development, Georgia pecans have a $249 million farm gate value and the state is the country’s leader in pecan production for the past 17 years. Georgia Extension specialists and researchers from the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences will provide their insight on pecans. The agenda includes updates from UGA pecan specialist Lenny Wells, UGA plant pathologist Tim Brenneman, UGA entomologist Jim Dutcher and Appling County Extension agent Shane Curry. “We planned this field day because growers in this area need local pecan trainings and field days that aren’t four hours away to educate them with up-to-date information,” said Curry, who organizes the event. Last year, 220 growers from 18 counties attended the field day.K&L BBQ of Baxley will sponsor lunch and equipment demonstrations will be held afterward in the orchard. Parker Brothers Farm is located at 334 Veal Camp Rd. in Baxley, just five miles northeast off of Ten Mile Rd. Call the Appling County Extension office at (912) 367-8130 to register by Aug. 25. The field day is free, but a headcount is needed for lunch planning.
Georgia’s Arbor Day comes in February, but fall is the ideal time of year to plant a new tree in your landscape. Trees planted now will have time to produce new roots before they have to supply water to lots of thirsty leaves next spring.Planting now means the tree will require less maintenance when spring arrives. If you are transplanting a small tree, fall planting is especially important because roots are inevitably damaged and lost when the tree is moved. By transplanting trees now, you ensure that the roots have adequate time to grow and repair themselves before spring. That strong root system increases your odds of successful transplanting.Trees can be valuable tools for reducing energy costs. Planting strategically placed trees in your landscape can reduce your energy costs over time and improve your landscape. It is not difficult to make a plan that can lead to savings by planting trees. Buildings, asphalt and concrete absorb solar energy, which results in the emission of longwave radiation that heats the air in developed areas, creating the urban heat island effect. Trees provide energy conservation benefits and offset the urban heat island effect when planted in urban landscapes; for instance, at businesses, in parking lots, along streets and in parks and other green spaces.Trees distributed across the entire urban landscape can create cooling effects for larger areas by reducing the urban heat island effect. Trees reduce this effect by reflecting green light and absorbing ultraviolet and near-infrared light and converting solar energy into chemical energy through photosynthesis. These measures dissipate the heat.In contrast, dark surfaces — asphalt, tar, gravel and brick — absorb the majority of solar energy that shines upon them and retain much of this energy for long periods of time. This trapped heat radiates into the surroundings, elevating daytime temperatures and reducing nighttime cooldown.Trees also create shade when properly placed in urban settings. Shade can reduce energy use in homes, offices and other buildings. Trees planted across urban landscapes provide shade, increase the reflection of radiant energy and reduce absorption of heat by structures and pavement.Trees conserve energy by:Intercepting solar radiation to reduce heat gain by buildingsTranspiring water from ground to air, cooling the air as water changes phase from gas to liquidBlocking and slowing winter winds that create drafts and drawing heat away from buildingsProviding energy conservation when planted near air-conditioned buildings“Tree-growing time” is slower than most of us have the patience for, but if you’ve enjoyed the cool shade, beautiful fall color or wind-breaking gift of a tree, you most likely have someone else to thank for it. Consider this when deciding whether to plant a tree. Planting a tree is among the noblest and selfless acts you can do. In many cases, the tree planter will only gain a portion of the expected energy conservation returns, but they reap all of the satisfaction of planting a tree that may outlive them.For help selecting trees for your landscape, see UGA Extension publication Bulletin 625, “Landscape Trees for Georgia,” at www.extension.uga.edu/publications.
Georgia’s wine grape harvest will be a bit behind schedule, but the grapes look good and should produce quality wine.That was the takeaway from the University of Georgia Extension Viticulture Team’s recent vineyard tour and research and practice discussion. About four dozen Georgia wine grape growers, backyard hobbyists and wine fans joined UGA Cooperative Extension on Aug. 8 for a tour of four north Georgia vineyards.In its inaugural year, the tour was an opportunity for new and veteran growers to learn how viticulture production practices affect wine quality. Tour participants visited CeNita Vineyards in Cleveland, Georgia; Stonepile Vineyards in Clarkesville, Georgia; and Kaya Vineyard and Winery and Three Sisters Vineyards and Winery, both in Dahlonega, Georgia.Managers at each vineyard walked the crowd through their fields of wine grape varieties and shared growing strategies and management philosophies.“It gave the grape farmers and winemakers a chance to talk about what they do and how they do it,” said Cain Hickey, UGA Extension viticulture specialist. “It was a great opportunity for people to network and learn from each other.”Hickey and his team talked about their research projects at each vineyard. Hickey and his graduate students are running field trials to see how different cultural practices such as pruning technique, trellising method and fruit zone leaf removal may impact disease pressure, crop yield and fruit quality.While many on the tour were simply interested in learning more about how wine grapes are grown, others came as aspiring vineyard and winery owners, and others yet came on the tour looking for solutions to particular vineyard issues.Randy Olsen, a Clarkesville-based homeowner with 12 muscadine vines, attended the tour because he wanted to learn better pruning techniques to manage his unruly backyard vineyard.Others on the tour viewed it as a chance to get a crash course in growing grapes from those with a career’s worth of experience. Rachel Crow, who currently works at the tasting room at Yonah Mountain Vineyards in Cleveland, Georgia, came to the tour because she wants to advance her career in Georgia’s burgeoning winemaking industry.In the most recent impact study conducted by the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development, Georgia’s wine industry had an $81.6 million impact on the state’s economy. The UGA Viticulture Extension Team offers research and on-the-ground support for the state’s grape growers through a network of Extension specialists and county Extension agents across Georgia.For more information about the UGA Extension Viticulture Team, visit site.extension.uga.edu/viticulture.
CHITTENDEN BANK APPOINTS NEW PRESIDENTBurlington — Chittenden Bank’s Board of Directors announcedtoday, the appointment of John W. Kelly as President and CEO of ChittendenBank. As President and CEO, Mr. Kelly will oversee all aspects ofChittenden Bank’s retail, commercial and wealth management operations.Mr. Kelly has been serving as interim president for Chittenden sinceLawrence W. DeShaw retired in April. Mr. Kelly assumes the role ofPresident and CEO immediately.Mr. Kelly began his banking career in 1973 working for The PoughkeepsieSavings Bank as the Assistant Vice President. In 1983, he joined Bank ofNew England – Old Colony as the Executive Vice President. In December of1990, Mr. Kelly joined Chittenden as the Executive Vice President incharge of Commercial Banking. He served most recently as Chief BankingOfficer from January 2003 through the present.”John is an accomplished banking professional who has over 30 years offinancial experience, ” commented Paul Perrault, Chairman of ChittendenCorporation. “We are fortunate to have John lead Chittenden in the yearsahead with his vast local financial services experience. I am confidentJohn will continue to build momentum and provide our customers with theservice that they have come to expect from Chittenden.””On behalf of Chittenden Bank’s Board of Directors, I am pleased to makethis announcement today. With John’s experience and commitment he is agreat match for Chittenden’s team of financial experts and theircustomers. Chittenden is committed to the communities of Vermont and hasbeen servicing the financial needs of Vermonters for 100 years. John hasthat same drive and commitment to continue to build an institution thatthinks about the customer and their needs first,” commented Chairman ofthe Board, Fred Bertrand.ABOUT CHITTENDEN BANKChittenden Bank is a full-service, Vermont-headquartered and managed bankproviding a wide range of financial services and products to individualsand businesses. As the largest Vermont-based bank in the state, Chittendenoffers 51 locations. To find out more about Chittenden, visit our websiteat www.chittenden.com(link is external) or call your local branch.ABOUT CHITTENDEN CORPORATIONChittenden Corporation is a bank holding company headquartered inBurlington, Vermont. Through its subsidiary banks, the Company offers abroad range of financial products and services to customers throughoutNorthern New England and Massachusetts, including deposit accounts andservices; commercial and consumer loans; insurance; and investment andtrust services to individuals, businesses and the public sector.
US Representative Peter Welch has announced the appointment of a new communications director and a new legislative director.Welch promoted Scott Coriell, who has worked as a staff assistant and press assistant in his Washington office, to the position of communications director. Also promoted was Jake Oster, who previously served as scheduler and legislative assistant, to the position of legislative director.A Killington native and a graduate of Middlebury College, Coriell previously served as program coordinator for World Camp Inc., a non-profit organization that provides HIV/AIDS outreach services to communities in Malawi. Coriell also interned for Representative Rush Holt (D-NJ) and managed the web site of his family’s Killington-based business, Peak Performance Ski Shop. His brother, David, was Governor Jim Douglas’ last press secretary.Oster, a graduate of the University of Vermont, previously served as director of grassroots advocacy for the Humane Society of the United States, deputy political director for the Humane Society Legislative Fund and on the staff of Representative Tim Holden (D-PA).Coriell’s appointment takes effect next Monday. Oster assumed his new position earlier this year. Source: Welch’s office. 3.8.2011
A contractor and a homeowner will pay the State of Vermont a total of over $87,000 to resolve the Attorney General’s claims for the cleanup of an illegal and unpermitted discharge of hazardous waste.‘Contractors must follow Vermont law when disposing of hazardous waste,’ said Attorney General William Sorrell.In the spring of 2010, Travis Smith, a contractor based in Granville, New York, discharged water containing home heating oil into soil near Tinmouth Pond. When a nearby resident noticed an oily sheen in the water and shore of the pond, he contacted the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, which undertook an immediate and full cleanup of the area. The matter was then referred to the Attorney General’s Office.The current settlement includes recognition that contamination from the spill ‘caused damage to nearby properties and natural resources,’ and requires payments to reimburse the state for all of the costs that it expended in pursuing the full cleanup of the site. The settlement funds will go directly into the State’s Petroleum Cleanup Fund and the Environmental Contingency Fund.Vermont Attorney General December 13, 2011