17 Jan

Fall Fire Ant Control

first_imgThe one thing that makes fall the single best time to treat fire ants, Sparks said, is that it’sfollowed by winter. “You can use fire ant baits any time of the year. But they’re most effective when the ants areactively foraging for food,” Sparks said. “If I could treat fire ants only once a year, I’d do it in the fall,” said Beverly Sparks, aUniversity of Georgia scientist. “Actively foraging ants will pick up a bait and carry it into the nest within minutes,” she said.If the ants are inactive and don’t find the bait quickly, it will become rancid. By the time theants find it, it no longer appeals to them. “Baits take a long time to work,” she said. “They weaken colonies and make them less able torespond to the challenges of winter weather.” When you think of fire ants in the fall, “vulnerable” isn’t the first word that pops into yourmind. But it should be. First, they’re more active. That makes it easier to treat them with fire ant baits. That’s the first step in the ongoing program Sparks recommends for fire ant control. Use afresh bait, she said, and apply it by the label directions. Then treat individual problem moundswith an approved contact product. The final step is simply to repeat the first step once or twicea year. Fire ants are easier to kill in the fall for four main reasons, said Sparks, an Extension Serviceand research entomologist in the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. Another advantage unique to the fall is that you are treating when many of the fire ant coloniesin your yard are very young. That makes them easier to kill with a mound-drench, granular, dust or aerosol contactinsecticide. When you use those products, Sparks said, “it’s critical to treat when the queenand brood are close to the surface.”center_img “Quite often you don’t even know they’re there,” she said. “But if you don’t treat them,they’ll become the big mounds you see next year.” How do you treat them if you don’t know where they are? Broadcast a fire ant bait. The second reason fire ants are vulnerable in the cooler weather of fall is that they’re not toodeep in the ground. “Fire ants mate all during the year, but they’re most actively mating in the spring,” Sparkssaid. Mated queens fly off and establish new colonies. By fall, these colonies arewell-established but still very small. Extreme cold is tough on fire ants, she said. That makes baits even more effective in the fall. The networked tunnels of a fire ant mound are constantly collapsing, she said. Moving deeperinto the ground requires a lot of work. Anything you can do to reduce the number of antsavailable to gather food and maintain the mound structure makes the colony less able tosurvive winter weather. Fire ants are most active in spring and fall, when daytime temperatures are between 70 and 85degrees, she said. The young colonies are especially vulnerable, she said, because they don’t have manyworkers. So they can’t respond very quickly to the need to escape freezing temperatures. “Winter is an ally in controlling fire ants,” Sparks said. “Reducing their numbers in the fallcan help push them over the edge in the winter.”last_img read more

20 Dec

Colombian Ministry of Defense Initiatives Help Juveniles Resist Recruitment by Illegal Groups

first_imgIn light of these pressures, minors never truly join illegal organizations voluntarily, according to the study “Like Lambs among Wolves: On the Use and Recruitment of Children and Adolescents in the Context of Armed Conflict and Criminality in Colombia,” conducted by a Colombian political scientist and newspaper columnist with the support of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. The study reported illegal armed groups rely on child labor, as minors are put on the front lines during combat and comprise the largest labor base in the black market economy. The minors who join these groups often do so because of the precarious conditions of their communities, which are home to ongoing shootouts between groups engaged in turf wars and a lack of economic opportunities. Colombia’s Ministry of Defense regularly holds events to prevent outlaw groups from recruiting minors, and 2015 was no different. “A Dream 2,600m Closer to the Stars” offers youths living in Colombia’s most isolated communities an all-expense paid trip to Bogotá so they can see other possibilities that life has to offer and broaden their horizons. By Dialogo December 10, 2015 RECRUITING MINORS FOR ILLEGAL ARMED GROUPS HAPPENS MORE IN REGIONS THAT DON’T HAVE A MILITARY PRESENCE IN COLOMBIA. THERE IS NO CHILDHOOD OR ADOLESCENCE. THE FARC COMMAND IS ALL THERE IS “EASTERN BLOC ARMING RIOS EPL” THAT IS WHERE the Demobilized Humanitarian Aid Group (GAHD in Spanish) is, it is part of the same initiative to keep young people from joining illegal organizations. ONE WHERE RECRUITMENT IS FORCED: LA VICTORIA AMAZONAS, GIRIGIRIMO.INDIGENOUS ETHNICITY:TUYUCA. BARAZANO -YURUTI-GUANANO- SUPPORT THEM These campaigns really need to reach areas as far away as possible from the municipal capital cities because that is where these outlaw organized groups are constantly showing up and therefore these actions never reach those areas, which makes it easy for criminal groups to increase their ranks with minors. While there are no tools to calculate the precise effectiveness of these prevention programs, there are indications they are having a positive impact. Using the data provided by the more than 30,000 demobilized persons in the reintegration process, the Colombian Agency for Reintegration (ACR) found that approximately 12,000 people were under the age of 18 when they joined the ranks of outlawed groups. Although there isn’t comprehensive data regarding the total number of minors recruited, figures suggest that between 7,000 to 18,000 minors were linked to armed rebel groups until 2014, according to the report “Comprehensive Reparation for Children and Adolescent Victims of Illicit Recruitment in Colombia,” published by the International Center for Transitional Justice. The FARC, ELN, local gangs, and narco-trafficking groups have recruited juveniles for decades, often using threats of violence against youths or their families to recruit. They also are deceptive, promising money, cars, firearms, and a glamorous lifestyle if the young people join their ranks. For two weekends a month since April 2015, the GAC has hosted 560 youths between the ages of 15 and 17 in Bogotá, where they’ve visited museums, attended movies and amusement parks, tried different foods, and learned about different neighborhoods as part of the Ministry of Defense’s $243,864 investment. Security authorities provide these prevention campaigns for the highest-risk populations in departments where illegal armed groups such as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and National Liberation Army (ELN), street gangs, and drug-trafficking organizations operate. The campaigns are held throughout the country, in the departments of Antioquia, Arauca, Caquetá, Cauca, Guaviare, Meta, Norte de Santander, and Putumayo, with the endorsement and support of the Colombian Institute for Family Welfare, the Police for Children and Adolescents, and local authorities. As part of the “Enough! I’m Free Here” campaign, which seeks to keep minors out of Colombia’s armed conflict, the Commander’s Advisory Group (GAC) is conducting the “Play for Life” initiative. A separate program, “A Dream 2,600m Closer to the Stars,” which is led by the Group for Humanitarian Aid to the Demobilized (GAHD, for its Spanish acronym), is part of the same initiative to prevent young people from joining illegal organizations. The campaign’s name is derived from the elevation of the Colombian capital, which is 2,600 meters above sea level. Symbolically, Bogotá also represents a completely different world – close to the stars – for those living in the most far-flung rural communities. “Participants from different rural schools mingle and form teams that represent different values, such as friendship, responsibility, and respect,” explained Colonel Mauricio Cote, the director of GAC’s Recruitment Prevention Group. “The idea is for all to have fun as a community and to play games that will teach them to defend their values. “For this campaign to become a reality, we first had to conduct a study of the region. On many occasions, the difficulty lies in the fact that people still cling to the ideology of the insurgents, and any intervention conducted by the Army will be regarded as suspicious,” he said. “However, this campaign hopes to promote tolerance and the value of keeping children in their homes. Because of that, all communities end up happy.” Countering recruitment efforts by illegal groups Minors disentangled from armed conflict “We reach communities that are practically cut off from the outside world, where guerrilla and paramilitary groups operate and make promises to the people that, in the end, they will not be able to keep,” Col. Cote stated. The Ministry of Defense has estimated that fewer and fewer minors have joined the ranks of insurgent groups in recent years. In 2015, 212 minors – the majority of whom were between 15 and 17 years of age – were rescued by security forces from such groups or left on their own, according to the GAHD. Of those, 159 had belonged to FARC, 52 to the ELN, and one to a dissident group. This year, the Ministry of Defense has spent $304,830 to hold 640 “Play for Life” activities for 2,810 minors. “It’s at these ages that children start to think seriously about what they want to do with their lives,” Col. Cote stated. “It is also the time in which they can get the most out of a visit to the capital because they will remember that they will have better options in life if they steer clear of violence.” The “Play for Life” campaign counters these recruitment efforts by teaching young people the values of following the law and staying away from gangs, organized crime, violence, and drugs. Since 2011, defense officials have held sporting contests, movie screenings, cultural events, and workshops every month in a different region to educate the public about illegal recruitment activities and prevent minors from being enticed by illegal armed groups. ‘A dream 2,600m closer to the stars’last_img read more

16 Sep

Football: Five takeaways from Wisconsin’s pummeling of Michigan

first_imgThe University of Wisconsin football team welcomed Head Coach Jim Harbaugh and the Michigan Wolverines to Madison on Saturday and continued their early-season dominance, sending Harbaugh and his khakis home with a blowout 35–14 loss in what was Wisconsin’s biggest game in two years.Where does one begin?Head Coach Paul Chryst and his team came into the game outscoring their first two opponents by a combined 110–0. Despite their utter dominance, the narrative surrounding the team was that they hadn’t faced a true test yet, and much of the national media predicted a Michigan victory Saturday.After finally proving their doubters, the entire state of Michigan and every Harbaugh supporter wrong, Chryst and his team have now officially entered the national picture, jumping from No. 13 to No. 8 on the new AP Top 25 rankings.Football: Badgers ride wave of success into bout with MichiganFollowing a pair of convincing shutout victories over non-conference opponents, the Wisconsin Badgers (2-0) prepare for their first true test Read…Here are five big takeaways from Saturday’s performance.First, and most notably, Chryst is evolving as a coach right before our eyes.Chryst is known to be a traditional coach, one that values field position, ball control and old-school power football. Saturday, he went against seemingly every one of his old-school tendencies, and all of his decisions ended up helping the Badgers to a blowout victory.Chryst’s newfound aggressiveness started on the opening drive, where his team was faced with a 4th-and-1 on Michigan’s 40-yard line. Chryst went for it, picking up the first down and proceeding to score a touchdown on that drive.His aggressiveness continued later in the first half when his offense was faced with a 4th-and-3 from Michigan’s 43. Chryst, again a coach who usually punts in these situations, went for it and was rewarded when QB Jack Coan found receiver Quintez Cephus on a beautiful over-the-shoulder catch near the sideline.Over the course of the game, Chryst went for it on fourth down three times and converted all three.Football: Badgers continue dominance through two gamesAs a unit, the 2018 Badgers came into their season ranked No. 4 in the nation. A clear preseason playoff Read…The second big takeaway falls in line with the first: Saturday’s game was a total coaching mismatch.In addition to Chryst’s brilliant in-game decisions regarding when to punt and when to go for it, the entire game saw Harbaugh and Michigan making poor personnel decisions and poor play calls, while the Badgers were buttoned-up on both sides of the ball and seemed to do no wrong no matter the situation.The most notable slip-ups by Michigan included running a halfback dive from Wisconsin’s five yard-line with a 240-pound converted defensive lineman, which he fumbled, and waiting until the fourth quarter with the team trailing by 35 points to throw the ball outside to their talented receivers — players who posed a big mismatch against Defensive Coordinator Jim Leonhard’s secondary.The third takeaway from Saturday is the continued dominance of senior Zack Baun.Baun missed the 2017 season with an injury and started to break out a season ago. Now, only three games into the season, Baun has already bested his sack total from last year and needs only 2.5 more tackles for loss to match the total from his 2018 campaign.Baun finished Saturday’s contest with seven total tackles, two tackles-for-loss, one sack and one forced fumble. Through three games, he now has 13 tackles, five for loss, three sacks and two forced fumbles.Tied for the team lead in tackles, Baun also leads the team in solo tackles, tackles for loss, sacks and quarterback hits. There’s no question he has been Leonhard’s most valuable defensive player so far this year.Football: Can defense return to 2017 form following poor 2018?Summer is finally over and the Wisconsin Badgers are back. Back like their dominant 13-1 2017 season? Maybe not completely. Read…The fourth takeaway from Saturday is Wisconsin’s utter dominance of Michigan on both lines of scrimmage.One statistic does more than enough to paint the necessary picture of how dominant the Badgers’ defensive and offensive line were throughout the contest:Wisconsin had 359 rushing yards compared to Michigan’s 40, and they also managed to score five touchdowns on the ground while Michigan scored none via the running game.That kind of advantage can’t happen by accident. It only comes when there is a total mismatch between the two teams — one holding the ball for the majority of the game and the other unable to ever move the ball on offense or get off the field on defense.The final takeaway from Saturday is a continuation from the last two weeks: Coan is a bonafide playmaker.Yes, his passing numbers don’t pop off the page — 13/16 for 128 yards, 0 touchdowns and 0 interceptions — but an 81.3 completion percentage paired with impressive plays running the football are a great sign for Chryst’s offense going forward.Finally, yet again, literally the only area the Badgers can improve going forward is the kicking game.Sophomore Collin Larsh was perfect on extra point opportunities Saturday but missed his only field goal attempt.Saturday, it didn’t matter because the team had the game won, but in future contests, where the score is closer and field goals are crucial, Larsh will need to be a more dependable option. Chryst and the Badgers will look to continue their dominance Saturday when they welcome Northwestern.last_img read more