John Rebar, executive director of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, spoke with the Maine Public Broadcasting Network for a report about a proposed rule by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to crack down on the use of pesticides when bees are on a farm. With about 90 percent of all honeybees living in hives maintained by beekeepers, the rule aims to protect the endangered population that is trucked across the country to pollinate fields, according to the report. “Maine is second only to the almond crop in California in the amount of imported hives,” Rebar said, adding Maine’s wild blueberries rely heavily on the traveling bees, with apples and other crops not far behind. “You know, tomatoes and strawberries, all your squash and pumpkins — all really dependent on pollinators,” he said.
Archive for the ‘Cooperative Extension’ Category
WAGM (Channel 8 in Presque Isle) reported on the University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s 4-H STEM Ambassador program. Four students at the University of Maine at Presque Isle are 4-H STEM Ambassadors. They are trained to facilitate hands-on science, engineering, technology and math (STEM) activities with children 8–14 years old. Through 4-H STEM Ambassadors, youth across the state become connected to the research, resources and scientists at Maine’s public universities.
Jim Dill, a pest management specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, was quoted in reports by WMTW (Channel 8 in Portland) and NECN on climate change affecting the region’s tick population. The Natural Resources Council of Maine presented a report by the National Wildlife Federation which states warmer winters “serve as a welcome mat for pests like ticks to expand their range,” according to NECN. Dill said climate change helps ticks thrive in Maine because warmer temperatures and heavier rains support tick populations in the summer, and insulating blankets of snow protect them in the winter. He said the concern about ticks is that last year the state had 1,400 cases of Lyme disease, as well as other co-infections and tick-borne pathogens. Dill also was quoted in the Portland Press Herald article “Lyme disease down so far, but ticks are gearing up for summer.” “Those ticks were quite fat and happy under the snow, but they were not going to start coming out until the snow was gone,” Dill said. “It’s going to pick up pretty quickly. The population looks pretty strong right now.”
WABI (Channel 5) and The Weekly reported a Bangor senior center’s rooftop garden has been selected as one of several University of Maine Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Volunteer projects this season. The Hammond Street Senior Center’s garden will receive support from the volunteers through assistance with garden planning, soil preparation, planting, establishment of space-saving structures, harvesting and public education, according to the reports.
The University of Maine Cooperative Extension was mentioned in a Prevention magazine article on tick-borne illnesses and what can be done to avoid them. Dr. Daniel A. Kinderlehrer who practices in Boulder, Colorado, suggested using a natural, chemical-free insect repellent that’s derived from black pepper plants. According to UMaine Extension, the natural repellent helps keep ticks away for four to eight hours, the article states.
WABI (Channel 5), the Bangor Daily News, Sun Journal, Daily Bulldog and The Maine Edge reported the University of Maine Cooperative Extension is offering a free tick identification service. Maine’s tick population has been growing steadily since the late 1980s, along with tick-borne diseases such as Lyme disease, according to the reports. UMaine Extension also provides information on tick removal and a photo gallery. Information on how to get a tick identified is available online or by calling 581.3880.
John Jemison, a soil and water quality specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, gave early season gardening advice on WVII (Channel 7) over Memorial Day weekend. Jemison warned it may still be too soon for some crops. “The first thing that I would say that you don’t want to do is to try and go out and buy some transplants like tomatoes or peppers at this time of the year, bring them right out of the greenhouses and try to think you’re going to go put them in the ground. That’s going to be bad,” Jemison said, adding while some plants can withstand cooler temperatures, others may not bounce back from a cold night. He said plants such as carrots, leafy greens and anything from seed could probably be planted now.
University of Maine Cooperative Extension offers a free tick identification service for Maine residents.
The announcement of the service is timely: May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month and ticks are being reported statewide. In fact, the tick population in Maine has been steadily increasing since the late 1980s, along with the emergence of tick-borne diseases.
In addition to tick identification, UMaine Extension resources include information on the biology and management of 14 tick species in Maine, tick submission instructions, tick removal guidelines, a tick photo gallery, and links to information on tick-borne diseases transmitted in Maine.
More information, including how to submit a tick for identification, is available online or by calling UMaine Extension at 581.3880.
WLBZ (Channel 2) spoke with Eric Venturini, a graduate student at the University of Maine who works for Johnny’s Selected Seeds, for the report “Easy ways to boost bee populations.” “They need food the entire season. And what you want to do as a grower is make sure you are providing that if you’re trying to manage and maintain a healthy population of wild pollinators,” Venturini said. The report also cited advice from the University of Maine Cooperative Extension that states you should plant colorful flowers to attract bees, avoid using chemicals in the garden or field, build nesting houses, let dandelions grow in the spring, and mow at night when bees are less active.
The University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s Tick ID Lab was mentioned in the Bangor Daily News article, “How many Maine ticks carry Powassan? We’re one step closer to finding out.” The article focused on a Maine Medical Center Research Institute study that will conduct a statewide survey for Powassan virus, which is transmitted by ticks. More state labs are working to test for the virus, according to the article. UMaine Extension’s Tick ID Lab will soon be equipped, after being awarded funding through a referendum last fall, the article states.