K-State Research and Extension News
July 24, 2008
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Briefly . . . This week’s news briefs from Kansas State University Research and Extension

1)   Volunteer Together to See Family in New Light
2)   K-State ‘Got Bugs’ Service Indicates Ant, Termite Numbers Are About Average
3)   Start Now to Ban Bermuda From Fescue or Bluegrass Lawn
4)   K-State Specialist: ‘Healthful, Picture-Perfect Foods Are Winners’
5)   Clanton Takes Grand Champion at K-State’s Swine Classic


1)  Volunteer Together to See Family in New Light

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Stepping up to help others can yield unexpected benefits for volunteers, said Charlotte Shoup Olsen, a Kansas State University Research and Extension family systems specialist.

Families who volunteer to help others often begin to see each other in a new light, she said. Seeing parents and siblings in a helping mode can prompt a comment such as “I didn’t know my Dad could do that.”

Working together as a family also can nurture respect for each person and his or her abilities, as well as for the family as a unit and for the larger, more diverse world, Olsen said.

Families who would like to volunteer as a family might begin by working at a community food bank, participating in a local fund raiser or benefit, or offering to help a neighbor who is unable to do errands or yard work, Olsen said.

More information on volunteer opportunities in the community is available at county and district K-State Research and Extension offices, Chambers of Commerce, and school and community organizations.


2) K-State ‘Got Bugs’ Service Indicates Ant, Termite Numbers Are About Average

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Several recent media reports have indicated that Kansas is having a bigger problem than usual with this year’s number of ants and termites. But, that’s not necessarily true, according to two Kansas State University entomologists.

“We haven’t received an inordinate number of calls this year,” said Holly Davis, who runs the K-State Insect Diagnostics Lab. The lab offers a service for all Kansans. It provides the identification of and information about any bug (i.e., “arthropod” in scientific language) submitted.

In fact, Davis and her colleague Jeff Whitworth, a K-State Research and Extension entomologist, have studied the number of samples sent so far to the lab this year and compared them with those submitted over the past six years.

As of July 10, 2008, the lab had received three ant samples – the lowest number in six years. It also had received six termite samples, which is about average.

In years past, the number of samples submitted to the lab has been a fairly good barometer of insect activity in the state, the scientists said. So, this year’s submissions to-date suggest that ant and termite infestations probably are no greater than usual.

Kansans interested in having an insect identified can get help from their county or district K-State Research and Extension office. For a more direct approach, they can either send a photo of the insect by e-mail to GotBugs@ksu.edu or mail the specimen to: Insect Diagnostician, 123 Waters Hall, Manhattan, KS., 66506.

More information about K-State’s Department of Entomology and the K-State Insect Diagnostics Lab is available on the Web at http://www.entomology.ksu.edu/.


3) Start Now to Ban Bermuda From Fescue or Bluegrass Lawn

MANHATTAN, Kan. – July is the best time to start controlling bermudagrass that has invaded a tall fescue or Kentucky bluegrass lawn.

The herbicide Kansas State University recommends for the job is nonselective. That means it will kill the fescue or bluegrass, too, said Ward Upham, K-State Research and Extension horticulturist.

Called glyphosate, the herbicide is readily available under such trade names as Round-Up, Kleen-up, Killzall and Kleeraway It requires at least two applications to achieve complete bermuda control.

“But, if you spray in July and then a month later in August, you’ll still have time to get ready to reseed the treated areas in September – the No. 1 time around here to plant fescue or bluegrass,” he said.

Upham was part of the K-State research team whose field trials led to this recommendation. They applied a 2 percent solution of glyphosate on a bermudagrass plot that was more than 15 years old. They sprayed in mid-July and again in mid-August. More than a year later, the plot still had no bermuda.

“We found glyphosate works best if the bermuda is growing well,” he said. “You should water and fertilize, if necessary, to get it to that point.”

Upham said that today’s improved, turf-type bermuda varieties can create a tough, attractive, self-repairing lawn that’s both drought- and heat-tolerant. It can be a low-maintenance or a dense “show” lawn, largely depending on how low and how often it’s mowed.

“Whether wild or an improved variety, though, bermuda is invasive. It also has a shorter growing season than either tall fescue or Kentucky bluegrass. So, during spring and fall, the inroads it makes can make a fescue or bluegrass lawn look as if it has some kind of wheat-colored leprosy,” Upham added.

Beyond that, bermuda does so much better in summer’s hot weather that if left unchecked, it eventually will crowd out a cool-season turf variety – and take over the lawn’s sunny areas, Upham added.


[NOTE to EDITOR: Photos to illustrate the following brief are available by contacting Donise Osbourn at 785-532-5806 or dosbourn@oznet.ksu.edu.]


4) K-State Specialist: ‘Healthful, Picture-Perfect Foods Are Winners ‘

FREDONIA, Kan. – An unusual approach to judging 4-H foods at the Wilson County (Kan.) Fair is creating healthful opportunities for young cooks enrolled in the 4-H foods and nutrition project, said Janet Stephens, a multi-county Kansas State University Research and Extension food, nutrition and health specialist.

Pre-fair judging is allowing the 4-H cooks to practice preparing salads, entrees and side dishes that make up a meal. The foods may be perishable, so are not eligible for traditional fair judging, which often includes many desserts and sweets, Stephens said.

Expanding their interest in preparing a greater variety of foods is helping 4-H cooks develop a more complete concept of meal management, she said. That, in turn, is helping them understand the role that eating a variety of foods can play in health and wellness.

The young Wilson County cooks’ entries are photographed immediately after judging. The photos, rather than the foods themselves, are displayed at the fair, Stephens said.

Food presentation – styling – also is becoming an interest, she said. The 4-H cooks are copying ideas they see in food magazines and on the TV food network, and they’re bringing in foods that are earning high marks from judges, Stephens said.

More information on the 4-H foods and nutrition project is available at county and district Extension offices and on the Kansas 4-H Web site: www.kansas4-H.org/.

5) Clanton Takes Grand Champion at K-State’s Swine Classic

MANHATTAN, Kan. – A pig shown by Cole Clanton of Johnson County took overall Grand Champion honors at the 2008 Dr. Bob Hines’ Kansas Swine Classic July 11-12 in Manhattan, Kan. Campbell Martin of Ford County won the overall Reserve Grand Championship.

The annual event is open to all Kansas youth ages 7 to 18. The event’s sponsors are Kansas State University Research and Extension and K-State’s Department of Animal Sciences and Industry.

The Classic combines educational workshops with a ringside ice cream social and chances for young people to learn about swine and showmanship in friendly competition.

At the event’s Prospect Market Swine Show, Reid Shipman of Riley County had the Grand Champion. Austin Holmes of Coffey County took the Reserve Grand Champion honors. 

In the showmanship competition, Lacci Cunningham of Rooks County won Champion Senior Showman and Ethan Frantz of Marion took the Reserve. Champion Intermediate Showman honors went to Blaine McDougal of Leavenworth County and the Reserve went to Cole Clanton of Johnson . The Champion Junior Showman award went to Cade Hibdon of Franklin County and the Reserve to Caitlin Dreher of Allen.

The event’s 2008 educational demonstrations and discussions focused on “It’s All About the Meat” and “Show Pig Health and Biosecurity.”


K-State Research and Extension is a short name for the Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service, a program designed to generate and distribute useful knowledge for the well-being of Kansans. Supported by county, state, federal and private funds, the program has county Extension offices, experiment fields, area Extension offices and regional research centers statewide. Its headquarters is on the K-State campus, Manhattan.

Story by: Mary Lou Peter
K-State Research & Extension News

Contributing writers: Mary Lou Peter-Blecha, Nancy Peterson and Kathleen Ward