Roots, Shoots, Fruits & Flowers: Passionflower, Manuka Honey, Crazy Ant Control and Chimney Birds

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Leaf, berry, and vine of yellow passionflower. Photo: unknown.

Passionflower

Anonymous person sent an image by text and wanted to know what plant is in the image.

The plant shown in this image is yellow passionflower, and it is a native, perennial vine with a yellow flower that blooms from May to October. According to the US Geological Survey, “This is a major food plant for several species of butterfly larvae. The pollen of this species is the only known larval foodstuff of the … Passionflower Bee, …. This plant serves as the larval host for the Julia Heliconian butterfly.”

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Honeybee at work on a Manuka flower. Photo: Comvita Ltd.

Manuka Honey

The LSU AgCenter recently released an article, “June is National Pollinator Month”, and shortly thereafter, Charles sent an email to AHA asking, “Have you researched Manuka honey?”

Honey, in general, has healthful benefits including antioxidants, wound healing, improved digestion, soothing sore throats and more. The University of Technology at Sydney, Australia, is studying manuka honey, “Manuka honey from New Zealand is already established as a valuable antibacterial agent, particularly for treating slow-healing wounds. Now scientists will test the potential of honey derived from related trees in Australia to meet the increasing worldwide demand for medical honey.

‘Antibiotic resistance is an urgent world health problem,’ said project leader Professor Liz Harry from UTS's ithree institute. ‘In the face of the declining power of antibiotics, honey is increasingly being used as a gel or dressing to treat chronic (slow-healing) wounds.’”

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An adult crazy ant. Photo: LSU AgCenter

Crazy Ant Control

Rebecca is struggling with a pest problem, “I am having a big problem right now at my home with crazy ants. [I] am very tired of trying to deal with it. [I] have sprayed and sprayed outside (and inside). [The ants] will not go away even though there are a lot of dead ants piling up outside. [I] am having problems with our ceiling lights in a couple rooms and am wondering if they are in the electricity. Any suggestions would be appreciated.”

Products with fipronil have been effective long-term treatments. Taurus SC ™, Termidor SC ™ and FUSE ™ have fipronil and are available to homeowners. Topchoice ™ has fipronil and is a professional grade of insecticide applied on lawns by licensed landscape applicators. If homeowners have used Frontline™ and other flea and tick treatment for pets, they have used fipronil safely on their furry friends. As always, read the label for safe and effective treatments.

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A chimney swift roosting in a chimney. Photo: Bruce Di Labio.

Chimney Birds

Danny called a local AgCenter office and asked about removing birds from a chimney. AHA consulted with Dr. Ashley Long, a wildlife biologist with the AgCenter for some ideas.

Dr. Long shared these thoughts, “I would not recommend smoking them out. It could harm the birds (which is illegal under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act if the bird is a native species) and can potentially expose the homeowner to histoplasmosis, [a type of lung infection], if there is a buildup of feces inside the chimney. [Smoking] can also be a fire hazard if they have nesting material close to the fireplace.

Does it sound like a nest of baby birds begging for food? If so, the young should fledge within a week or so. Once they are gone, they can put up a screen or have one installed to prevent future nesting.”

If you want to contact Roots, Shoots, Fruits and Flowers, please send your questions and pictures to Keith Hawkins, Area Horticulture Agent (AHA), 337-463-7006 or khawkins@agcenter.lsu.edu. Also, you can be on the “green thumbs” email list by emailing your request to the address above.

“This work has been supported, in part, by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Renewable Resources Extension Act Award, Accession Number 1011417.”

6/15/2020 1:09:27 PM
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