Extension Viewpoints – The Pagosa Springs SUN http://www.pagosasun.com The most trusted source for news and information about Pagosa Springs, Colorado. Thu, 25 Jun 2020 21:23:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.4.2 http://www.pagosasun.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/cropped-sun-logo-512x512-1-32x32.jpg Extension Viewpoints – The Pagosa Springs SUN http://www.pagosasun.com 32 32 Extension Viewpoints: Diverse native populations make for healthy landscapes http://www.pagosasun.com/extension-viewpoints-diverse-native-populations-make-for-healthy-landscapes/ Mon, 29 Jun 2020 11:00:10 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=206322 By Ethan Proud
PREVIEW Columnist

Healthy environments are less susceptible to non-native plant invasions. But what does it take to make a healthy landscape? While many factors contribute, the bottom line is diverse populations of native plant species. A single species leaves resources on the table which weeds can take advantage of. A variety of plant species will offer seedlings shade, take up more space in the soil and will result in changing scenery with each season.

In Archuleta County, we have a variety of microclimates and which plant species will do well is somewhat subjective. The cheap and easy way to plant native species on your property is to collect seed heads and broadcast spread them on bare patches of your property. Seedling plants cannot tolerate very much herbicide and, in freshly reseeded plots, mechanical control of weeds is the best option.

In areas with dense infestations that have persisted for five or more years, the native seed bank is likely a fraction of the noxious seed bank and most of the perennial root systems of native plants will have been starved out. This leaves a community of noxious weeds that will persist until some management is performed. In areas like this, purchasing native seed is the best bet. Grasses will compete sooner, but mixing wildflower and grass seed can help increase the diversity. 

Seeding should be done in increments, so that more aggressive control can be done on the property until the weeds are under control. As mentioned above, seedling plants cannot tolerate herbicide or disturbance and landowners should be mindful of their investments.

Revegetation is considered a cultural control and is one of the best methods to prevent new weed infestations and to compete against current infestations. To help landowners control weeds on their property, Archuleta County Weed and Pest partnered on a Department of Agriculture grant with the San Juan Conservation District and Colorado State University Extension to offer a cost-share program that reimburses landowners receiving herbicide or weed control services with free native grass and wildflower seed mixes. Replanting native species will decrease the cost of treatment in successive years if done correctly.

Archuleta County Weed and Pest is your local resource for managing noxious weed populations and controlling other pests.

Extension Viewpoints: Colorado Master Gardener diagnostics day and plant sale set for Saturday http://www.pagosasun.com/extension-viewpoints-colorado-master-gardener-diagnostics-day-and-plant-sale-set-for-saturday/ Fri, 19 Jun 2020 11:00:27 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=205866 By Robin Young
PREVIEW Columnist

The Archuleta County Colorado Master Gardeners (CMGs) are hosting a diagnostics day at the East Side Market on Saturday, June 20. 

Please bring your plant samples and gardening questions to the Colorado State University (CSU) Extension booth, where the CMGs will help to diagnose pests and disease, and answer your gardening questions. They will be selling mostly tomato plants, but there are a few basil, pepperoncini and Mexican tarragon plants, too. 

The plant sales will help to fund the pollinator garden the 2020 CMG apprentices are designing. It will be a beautiful demonstration garden for people to see how to attract and assist pollinators. 

The CMGs will also be handing out free seed in honor of Victory Gardening. This is a perfect time to get warm-season plants going. The free seed is a mix of veggies and flowers. The vegetable seed includes varieties of beans, arugula, radishes, cucumbers, squash and melons; and for the flowers, there are marigold, calendula, cosmos, nasturtiums and more. Warm-season seed takes a little longer to mature, so plant where you can extend your season with row covers, high tunnels or greenhouse. 

Along with the free seed are copies of the Colorado Gardener. Colorado’s premier experienced gardeners contribute to this is a quarterly publication and the Extension office supplies them for free to the public.

Be on the lookout for more CMG diagnostic days this summer at the Pagosa Farmers Market. The Pagosa Farmers Market will be back on June 27 at the East Side Market location.

The CMG program is offered through CSU Extension. This program is offered in Archuleta County in even years, with the next offered in 2022. The CMG program is 12 weeks long with a curriculum that covers soils, botany, tree and lawn care, entomology, noxious weeds, mountain gardening and more. There are two tracks you can take: the first is the apprenticeship level where you receive the coursework and volunteer opportunities to educate the public on gardening. The certificate course is where you get all the educational benefits without the volunteering. Please contact Robin Young at the Extension office to learn more about this and other Extension programs.

Extension Viewpoints: Noxious Weed of the Month: Myrtle spurge http://www.pagosasun.com/extension-viewpoints-noxious-weed-of-the-month-myrtle-spurge/ Mon, 15 Jun 2020 11:00:22 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=205598

Photo courtesy Ethan Proud
A popular ground cover, myrtle spurge is listed on Colorado’s Noxious Weed List A, meaning that it is a new invader or has not established a foothold in the state yet.

By Ethan Proud
PREVIEW Columnist

An ornamental plant may be creeping from your neighbor’s garden and over to your lawn. A popular ground cover, myrtle spurge is listed on Colorado’s Noxious Weed List A, meaning that it is a new invader or has not established a foothold in the state yet. This plant and others on this list are priority weeds as their eradication is possible. 

Title 35 Article 5.5, known as the Colorado Noxious Weed Act, mandates that private and public landowners manage noxious weeds on their property that are likely to damage neighboring properties and public lands. Myrtle spurge is capable of both sexual and asexual reproduction, spreading by seeds that are projected as far as 15 feet and root fragments. Within three generations, it can spread as far as 45 feet. It is illegal to cultivate, grow or sell myrtle spurge. Archuleta County has an enforcement ordinance and will be sending notification letters to landowners with myrtle spurge in order to stay in compliance with state law.

Myrtle spurge (euphorbia myrsinites) is also known as creeping spurge and donkey tail. It can be identified by its succulent gray-green leaves and its trailing stems. It has apetalous flowers called “cyathia” and the bracts are often mistaken for the petals. The flowers are a bright yellow-green and are rather conspicuous. 

Myrtle spurge grows best in well-draining, dry soils and is often planted in xeriscape gardens. It is a perennial plant that reproduces several times within its lifetime and has an extensive root system. Hand pulling is not an effective treatment as the roots that are broken off in the soil will continue to grow. Thus, tilling and disking will result in increased propagation. To mechanically remove myrtle spurge, at least 4 inches of the root must be removed and later efforts are required to manage new growth from the remaining root. Chemical control is an effective management practice, but must be applied in either the seedling stage or during the fall when photosynthate is being translocated to the roots. Clipping the flowers after seed development can prevent the spread of the plant by reproductive means.

Not only does myrtle spurge have a high propensity to take over your lawn and your neighbors’, it contains milky latex that is a powerful skin and eye irritant, with children being the most affected. If you have children or your neighbors have children, it is wise to avoid planting myrtle spurge and remove or eradicate any that you find growing to ensure the safety of your neighbors. When handling myrtle spurge, be sure to wear gloves, long sleeves and eye protection to avoid contact with the latex. 

Archuleta County Weed and Pest is your local resource for managing noxious weed populations and controlling other pests.

Extension Viewpoints: What will happen to farmers markets during this time of COVID-19? http://www.pagosasun.com/extension-viewpoints-what-will-happen-to-farmers-markets-during-this-time-of-covid-19/ Tue, 09 Jun 2020 11:00:23 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=205107 By Robin Young
PREVIEW Columnist

It’s feeling like summer in Colorado and that means farmers market season is just around the corner. With all the current uncertainty, though, some may be wondering — will there even be farmers markets this year? The good news is that many markets are planning to open on their usual dates; however, like so many other aspects of life right now, the structure may need to be a little different.

Luckily, our local Pagosa Farmers Market will open this year starting on June 20 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the east end of downtown. It will look different with no East End Market and no social gathering, but still the best source to support local growers.

Even though there is no evidence that food or food packaging is involved with the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, farmers market managers and growers will be proactively taking extra precautions to protect everyone’s health. The safety of customers, vendors and employees is a top priority of markets. To promote everyone’s well-being, socializing will not be encouraged as it has been in previous years.

Changes to expect

Farmers markets are known for being lively gathering spots where community members congregate and enjoy one another’s company. This year, people will again have the unique opportunity to buy fresh food products from vendors they have come to know through the years. However, social distancing, wider spacing between booths, face coverings and food sampling restrictions may be necessary to protect the safety of everyone at the markets.

To minimize contact, produce may also need to be preboxed or prebagged. In some locations, there might be an option to place orders online ahead of time. Reach out to local markets and farmers (many have websites and social media pages) to find out about market scheduling, safety protocols and ordering options.

Being a good farmers market citizen

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate, https://www.choosemyplate.gov/, provides these recommendations: Make half your plate fruits and vegetables, focus on whole fruits and vary your veggies. Farmers markets have the potential to help reach these goals. The number of farmers markets have more than doubled in the last two decades, and fresh markets have been identified as critical sites for increasing food access in many communities.

Colorado State University (CSU) Extension has a multidisciplinary team working on produce safety. Professor Marisa Bunning and Extension Specialist Elisa Shackelton of the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, as well as CSU Extension regional specialists Martha Sullins and Cristy Dice, said that market managers and vendors will be doing their part this year to ensure people have access to fresh and delicious local foods. As customers, people also have an essential role to play in protecting the health of fellow market-goers and local communities. Here are a couple of tips:

Be more mindful of your own safety and hygiene. Coming to the market in good health, with clean hands and avoiding touching your face while there are always good practices. Whether there are spacing marcations or not, respect the guidelines of 6 feet, even if you do not see signs. Also, wear a face covering, if recommended.

Only touch what you will buy. If produce comes preboxed, be understanding. If the box contains something you have not tasted or cooked with before, embrace the opportunity to try something new.

If available, consider purchasing extra produce for making salsa, pickles or jam to enjoy next winter and help support farmers during this difficult time.

During a time when many feel isolated, shopping at farmers markets allows people to help foster community by supporting local agriculture and sustaining the market. Local growers are a key part of our communities and they work long hours to provide high-quality produce, meat, dairy and grain products. This year presents extra challenges to many growers and food producers — restaurant orders are lower, labor is harder to find, they have to provide protective equipment for employees and adopt new precautionary measures, among other issues. Choosing to purchase local foods helps support the market and these key members of our community.

Helpful resources

The supply chain from Colorado farms to markets is shorter than many food chains, meaning food at local markets has traveled a shorter distance and likely been handled less. Of course — as always — it is important to handle produce safely at home and always rinse before using. From berries to leafy greens to melons, CSU Extension provides guidelines for handling different types of produce: https://extension.colostate.edu/topic-areas/nutrition-food-safety-health/guide-to-washing-fresh-produce-9-380/.

Check CSU Extension’s mobile-friendly website, Preserve Smart, at https://apps.chhs.colostate.edu/preservesmart for ideas on how to preserve fresh produce by canning, freezing, pickling or dehydrating. Colorado’s elevation presents special challenges when canning because of its lower atmospheric pressure. Preserve Smart enables users to determine and enter their kitchen’s elevation, which then highlights the processing instructions for their elevation within every recipe on the site. Users can explore a variety of tested preservation processes available for 56 different types of fruits vegetables.

For more than 35 years, the Colorado Department of Agriculture has been providing the Farm Fresh Directory, https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/sites/default/files/Colorado%20Farm%20Fresh%20Directory_1.pdf, a guide to farmers markets and roadside stands across the state.

Extension Viewpoints: The cost of noxious weeds http://www.pagosasun.com/extension-viewpoints-the-cost-of-noxious-weeds/ Mon, 01 Jun 2020 11:00:32 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=204605 By Ethan Proud
PREVIEW Columnist

Who really cares about noxious weeds? A select group of weed managers? Ranchers? While many people may not actively participate in weed control or even understand what invasive species can do to an ecosystem or a property, everyone should care. 

Noxious weeds degrade native communities, alter migration routes, increase the frequency of fires and may harm human health. 

But they are plants, how can they be bad? Many supporters of weeds will argue that it’s a plant and it is serving some role in the ecosystem, but invasive plants are biological litter. They would not have established a foothold without help from humans. The damage they cause is a direct result of human activity. 

In their native range, they compete with other plant species, pathogens, insects and animal herbivory. In their invaded ranges, they have left their competitors behind, and our native plants and animals have not adapted to their presence. These means that without human interference, they will run rampant and create dense monocultures that outcompete other plants. 

The key to a healthy environment is a diversity of plant species to support multiple mammal, bird, reptile and insect species (this also means that a lawn of Kentucky bluegrass is not a healthy environment). 

A 2014 study by W. Marshall Frasier conducted by the Colorado Weed Management Association, Colorado Departments of Natural Resources and Agriculture, and Colorado State University addressed the cost of noxious weeds in Colorado. The article is titled “Economic Impact of Invasive Weed Species in Colorado.” 

Loss of value was calculated by three use components: the average economic value of uninvaded parcels, proportion of diminishment of economic value due to the presence of 10 weed species and the proportion of invaded land which displaced value activity. The product of these three values identifies the cost of weed presence. 

The total cost of these 10 species was $13,838,920 when the costs to agricultural land, wildlife habitat and recreational lands were combined. The data that was considered in this report came from one source: county weed managers. 

Mapping is voluntary and not all programs have weed districts, meaning that the data has many gaps and should be considered a conservative report. This analysis did not take into consideration the cost of controlling noxious weeds by private landowners and public agencies, but rather the degradation of value to land due to the presence of noxious weeds. Simply put, noxious weeds by virtue of being here cost Colorado nearly $14 million before control measures are considered. The cost of doing nothing to control weeds is monumental.

Archuleta County Weed and Pest is your local resource for managing noxious weed populations and controlling other pests.

Upcoming event

June 3, 4 to 6 p.m.: Shred Day. Downtown TBK Bank parking lot. Donations support Archuleta County 4-H programs. NAID Certified. The cost is $5 per box.


Extension Viewpoints: About purple loosestrife, a perennial weed http://www.pagosasun.com/extension-viewpoints-about-purple-loosestrife-a-perennial-weed/ Mon, 25 May 2020 11:00:31 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=203966

Photo courtesy Julie Kraft
Purple loosestrife

By Ethan Proud
PREVIEW Columnist

Purple loosestrife is a perennial weed species that can be found in rivers, streams, ponds and lakes. 

This plant may be identified by its square stem and whorled, lance-shaped leaves. The flowers have five petals and grow in a raceme or spike at the top. Flowers bloom from the bottom up. Purple loosestrife may be mistaken as dame’s rocket, another noxious weed species, or one of our native flora such as fireweed or a number of geraniums.

Currently, there are no reports of purple loosestrife in Archuleta County, though it is present in Colorado. The closest populations to Archuleta are in Montrose and El Paso counties. Using the eddmaps future range prediction tool, purple loosestrife is expected to be present in all Colorado counties by 2040-2060.

Purple loosestrife is an A List species, meaning that its eradication is legally mandated. The Colorado Department of Agriculture recommends hand-pulling the entire plant (be sure to get the entire root), clipping the flowering heads prior to seed production and using an aquatic herbicide. The best management practice is prevention, though. If you travel to an area with purple loosestrife, clean your boots, boat, fishing gear, etc., before returning to our county.

If you see this species, please report it to the Weed and Pest Department at 264-6773 or eproud@archuletacounty.org. 

Archuleta County Weed and Pest is your local resource for managing noxious weed populations and controlling other pests.

Upcoming events

May 28: With hopes that CSU approves, the Extension office will hold a Colorado Master Gardener Day from 1 to 3 p.m. Bring your plants/samples in for help with ID and problem solving. Please look on the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/CSUARCHCTY/ for updates.

May 28, 6:30 to 8 p.m.: Save the date for the Watershed Enhancement Partnership. Zoom information coming.

June 3, 4 to 6 p.m.: Shred Day. Downtown TBK Bank parking lot. Donations support Archuleta County 4-H programs. NAID Certified. The cost is $5 per box.


Extension Viewpoints: Alternatives to herbicides for weed control http://www.pagosasun.com/extension-viewpoints-alternatives-to-herbicides-for-weed-control/ Mon, 18 May 2020 11:00:05 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=203623 By Ethan Proud
PREVIEW Columnist

Weed control and herbicides are synonymous in some circles, though they don’t have to be. In fact, herbicides are one tool for weed control, and many different tools can be utilized. 

For effective weed management on your property, you should utilize more than one control method. This means blending cultural, mechanical, chemical and sometimes biological controls. Chemical control encompasses both organic and synthetic herbicides. You read that right: Organic does not mean chemical-free. It only means that these chemicals are not synthesized in a lab. 

Regardless of whether you choose organic or synthetic, reading the label is of vital importance and home remedies should not be used. Mixing vinegar and Epsom salt as the Internet suggests will only burn down the top portion of a deeply rooted perennial and is not effective. Not only that, but vinegar can also kill beneficial soil microorganisms. Horticultural vinegar (or acetic acid) can be purchased for those wishing to use vinegar and will come with a label attached so you can remain within compliance of the law. 

So what if you don’t want to use chemicals, whether organic or synthetic? You are in luck. There are three other control methods which can work great together. Hand-pulling and mowing are incredibly effective on annuals, biennials, and short-lived perennials on small acreages. Mechanical controls are not recommended for deep-rooted, persistent perennial species such as leafy spurge and Canada thistle. However, with enough diligence, control can be achieved. 

Solarization can be effective to control these species as it blocks the sunlight they need to thrive. To utilize this method, take a black tarp and roll it out over the infestation. It will take multiple years to control the species and will kill anything beneath the tarp, so reseeding is necessary. Monitor the perimeter of the tarp to remove any shoots that may be creeping out from underneath it or sprouting several feet away.

Biological controls (insect herbivores or plant pathogens) may also be employed to suppress an infestation, though few will actually collapse a population. In Archuleta County, two biocontrols are available through the Weed and Pest Department during certain seasons: field bindweed gall mites and Canada thistle rust fungus. Both of these controls are host-specific and cannot complete their life cycle on another plant. Controls for other weeds are available through the Palisade Insectary.

The last control method is cultural and is by far the most important. It includes replanting native species, rotational grazing and cleaning your gear after leaving an infested site. Skipping this step will mean an ongoing battle with invasive species.

Archuleta County Weed and Pest is your local resource for managing noxious weed populations and controlling other pests.


Extension Viewpoints: Noxious weed of the month: hoary cress http://www.pagosasun.com/extension-viewpoints-noxious-weed-of-the-month-hoary-cress/ Sat, 09 May 2020 11:00:30 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=202935

Photo courtesy Jamie Jones
Hoary cress.

By Ethan Proud
PREVIEW Columnist

As the snow melts and we begin to see the first sprouts of spring, it’s important to keep your eyes peeled for early season invaders such as hoary cress. 

Hoary cress, or white top, is a perennial species that spreads both by seeds and creeping rhizomes (lateral roots). That means that an infestation of hoary cress is a single clonal colony rather than individual plants. Hand-pulling or mowing this species will increase propagation.

While hoary cress is in the mustard family, along with broccoli, kale, cabbage and others. It contains toxic glycosides despite being palatable. It is toxic to both livestock and humans and should not become a staple of your wild plant salad bowl. 

Currently, chemical controls are most effective on this species, though it can be controlled mechanically with a lot of persistence. Hoary cress can be recognized by its clasping, hastate leaves. In lay terms, the leaves join the stem and are shaped like an arrowhead. 

There are several different biotypes in Archuleta County and it may be mistaken for penny cress, a native species in the same family that can be quite aggressive. If you pull the plant and the entire root comes out, it is penny cress.

Hoary cress is tricky to control as it emerges early and goes dormant by mid-June or early July. It can be treated up until flowering, or in late fall when its rosettes sprout to sequester nutrients in order to overwinter.

Archuleta County Weed and Pest is your local resource for managing noxious weed populations and controlling other pests.


Extension Viewpoints: How to buy local during COVID-19 http://www.pagosasun.com/extension-viewpoints-how-to-buy-local-during-covid-19/ Sun, 03 May 2020 11:00:38 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=202511 By Robin Young
SUN Columnist

Food and groceries feel more important than ever during the COVID-19 situation. In response, Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture Kate Greenberg reminds every Colorado resident how local food is adding extra value to our lives and, of course, to the grocery shelves: “Thanks to our farmers and ranchers across the state, our local food system is abundant and our supply chains are healthy. This is a moment for us to continue coming together to support Colorado agriculture and buy local food.”

Colorado farmers, ranchers, farmworkers, truckers, retailers, chefs and food manufacturers continue to put food on our tables while doing their part to stop the spread of COVID-19. Locally grown and raised produce, dairy, meat, grains and other locally made products are abundant. And local chefs continue to prepare takeout meals using seasonal, local ingredients. 

While consumers may see some empty shelves, that is only because people have been purchasing food at a higher rate than normal — not due to lack of supply. There is plenty of food coming from Colorado farms, ranches and food makers. Food systems are operating as intended; and as more food is purchased at retail, the food supply chain is adjusting to increased consumer demand.

“More than ever, local buying and eating are not only good for agriculture, they are good for all Coloradans. Every time we buy local food and products, we are simultaneously boosting Colorado’s economy and heritage — with agriculture as one of the biggest economic drivers in the state,” said Wendy White, marketing specialist for Colorado Proud.

“It’s not just the responsibility of the farmers and ranchers; it’s important for everyone to take an active role in feeding Colorado — both literally and economically. After all, every bite is helping our state,” added White.

Here are 10 ideas for how every Coloradan can nourish our farmers, ranchers and food and beverage businesses while buying and eating local food:

• Buy local. Click and share this website to see product offerings and shipping options from local producers, ranchers and manufacturers from around the state: ColoradoProud.com.

• Pick Colorado-grown produce. Look for the Colorado Proud label, which symbolizes a particular piece of fruit or vegetable was grown in our state. And check out what local produce is in season.

• Buy Colorado-made products. When shopping, look for Colorado-made products, such as jams, sauces, condiments, snacks, sweets and other locally made food products, which will also have the Colorado Proud label.

• Support Colorado’s livestock producers. Look for Colorado beef, lamb, pork, bison and poultry or order directly from local producers.

• Drink Colorado wine, beer and spirits. Liquor stores feature Colorado beer and wine sections, both in-store and online orders, breweries are now offering online ordering, and local wineries are open for pick-up and many will also ship to your front door.

• Buy direct from a Colorado wholesaler. Many local companies are now selling food and products directly to end-consumers. ColoradoProud.com offers a list of companies participating under the “Wholesaler” category.

• Order meals from Colorado chefs and restaurants. Restaurants continue to serve meals for delivery or takeout, and some farm-to-table chefs are recognized for using local ingredients.

• Cook recipes with Colorado-grown ingredients. We are all cooking more than ever, so why not pick a recipe made with locally grown ingredients?

• Send Colorado-made gifts to friends and family. How about a Colorado gift basket for your local friends who need a smile and something delicious, or even for your out-of-state family? Check out this directory of Colorado-made gift companies that ship.

• (Virtually) thank a farmer. We are sharing many stories from Colorado farmers and ranchers who are helping their communities and health care workers during this time, featured on Colorado Proud’s Facebook page: Facebook.com/COProud/.


Extension Viewpoints: Honey bees: everyone’s favorite introduced species http://www.pagosasun.com/extension-viewpoints-honey-bees-everyones-favorite-introduced-species/ Sun, 26 Apr 2020 11:00:56 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=202007 By Ethan Proud
SUN Columnist

The honey bee is a gregarious insect that has become a staple to American agriculture. It may come as a surprise to learn that this species was introduced. Many of our agricultural commodities are introduced, which is differentiated from invasive. Invasive denotes a species that is not native and is harmful or not beneficial to the environment, human health or wildlife. 

Honey bees (apis mellifera) are native to Eurasia, but have been spread to four other continents by humans and subsequently domesticated for pollination of crops, and the production of honey and wax products. Despite being the most popular bee, or maybe that title belongs to the bumble bee, there are 20,000 species of lesser-known and celebrated bees.

Honey bees are eusocial and have a strict class system that changes as the bees age. They have varying jobs including feeding the brood, cleaning, guarding or foraging. Honey bees even have a “language” known fondly as the waggle-dance by which they can communicate the distance and direction to fields of flowers.

Beekeepers typically keep different subspecies of bees: Russians, Carniolans and Italians. These species differ in temperament, size and coloration. Ironically, the Russians typically boast the foulest mood. Bees will sting to protect their hive and the sting will release an “attack” pheromone that will trigger other bees to pursue you as well.

If you have a beehive and are concerned about pesticide application, you can register on DriftWatch and mark your hive as private so only registered applicators may see the hive. Contact the Archuleta County Weed and Pest Department if you have more questions.

While the honey bee may be everyone’s favorite, it is important to recognize the role that native bees play in our environment and be sensitive to their plights as well. If your eyes are quick enough, you can spot sweat bees on many of the trails in our national forests. They are usually blue or green and metallic and much smaller than honey or bumble bees. They are solitary and are attracted to human sweat, so don’t swat these guys away thinking they are biting flies.

Ethan Proud, Archuleta County Weed and Pest supervisor, participated in the CSU Extension Beekeeper Mentoring Program.

Seed potatoes

There is still time to order seed potatoes: Please go to www.Archuleta.extension.colostate.edu/seed-potatoes to order online. 

Upcoming event

“How We Grow,” a Geothermal Greenhouse Partnership-sponsored film, will be shown on April 24 at 6 p.m. To log on, go to https://zoom.us/j/133064826, meeting ID: 133 064 826.