April's Ag Advice By April Borders Blue skies and sunshine are the forecast for the next week or so. Hopefully local farmers will be able to get into the fields and get caught up on their work. So far it has been a long soggy spring. The sunshine will help get our plants back on track and growing again. So as they say, "There is light at the end of the tunnel."
But the warm weather will also bring unwanted problems. That problem will be mosquitoes. We have already had West Nile cases reported in neighboring states, so with all the standing water it won�t be long till we start having our own reports.
The city of Vermillion has their Mosquito Magnets out and running and we are collecting and monitoring mosquito populations. So far they have been relatively low but that won�t last for long. Larvacide treatments are being done around the city in areas where standing water has been seen. The county is also larvaciding problem areas.
Even though these efforts are being done around us, we still have to do our part to control mosquitoes on our private property. So what can you do?
? Eliminate standing water that gives mosquitoes a place to breed. Now with all the rain that could be hard, but I am talking about the places that we might not be considering. Get rid of old tires and any other containers that accumulate water. Regularly change the water in bird baths and outside pet dishes and drain water from flower pots and other garden containers. It only takes a cup of water standing for 7 days to be a mosquito breeding area.
? Screen all windows and doors and keep screens in good repair.
? Limit your time outdoors, especially at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
? Remember to use a mosquito repellent containing DEET or Picaridin. Picaridin has been deemed to be as effective but less irritating than DEET and approved by EPA.
? Also remember to wear shoes, socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt to limit mosquito exposure.
The Extension Office is also collecting dead birds to be tested for West Nile. The birds that we take are crows, blue jays, magpies and raptors. The fresher the bird the better it is for shipping. Use rubber gloves when handling the birds. Place the bird in a plastic garbage bag, tie it shut and bring the bird to the Extension Office.
If you would like more information on mosquitoes and how to control them, we have several excellent Extension Extras containing information. Stop by or call the Clay County Extension Office at 677-7111.