With a host of state and national parks within a day’s drive, Georgia is the perfect place for those who enjoy outdoor activities. But fishermen, hikers, campers and mountain bikers often encounter a host of pests on their adventures.Being familiar with these pests and being prepared can make outdoor experiences more enjoyable and less itchy-scratchy.The top threeThe top three most miserable pests in the Southeast are poison ivy (and its relatives poison oak and sumac), ticks and chiggers. Every year, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension offices receive numerous calls about these annoying Georgia natives. These pests have been here a lot longer than humans. And getting rid of them is easier said than done. Count the leavesKnowing how to avoid these common pests is the best defense. Children should be taught at an early age what poison ivy looks like. The old saying, “Leaves of three? Let it be!” is a good rule to follow. Poison ivy comes in many different shapes and sizes and can be found alongside even the best maintained park trails. It can produce fuzzy vines as thick as Tarzan’s rope. Sometimes, it’s a seemingly innocent looking ground cover, and other times it hangs down from trees with branches producing compound leaves as big as your head. Know what to look for and avoid touching it at any cost. Since poison ivy commonly grows along trails, wearing socks and closed-toe shoes is the best way to protect your feet. Sandals and flip-flops, although comfortable, will not provide protection. Long pants are recommended when walking along rugged trails. And, because poison ivy can climb trees, be aware of your surroundings and don’t forget to look up and duck your head. As soon as possible, take a bath or shower and soap repeatedly to limit exposure to poison ivy. Hitching a rideTicks and chiggers are more commonly encountered off the beaten path. These insect-like arachnids prefer tall grassy or weedy areas. Ticks and chiggers are more likely to latch on to your legs and torso when you brush against tall grass, weeds or underbrush. Staying on manicured lawns and areas that are frequently mowed reduces the risk of exposure to ticks and chiggers. If you must travel into weedy, unmaintained areas, wear long pants and apply a repellent containing the active ingredients DEET or permethrin, which are available in many brands. Apply repellents according to the product label. Check yourself and bathe thoroughlyCheck yourself for ticks at least twice a day. There is evidence that the longer an infected tick feeds, the greater the chance it has of transmitting a disease. Take a bath or shower and soap repeatedly to help remove chiggers and ticks.After returning from the great outdoors, launder field clothes in soapy, hot water that is at least 125 degrees Fahrenheit for half an hour. Properly washing clothes will remove chiggers, ticks or oil residues from poison ivy. Infested clothes should not be worn again until they are properly laundered and dried. UGA publications give more detailsFor more information, see UGA Extension Circular 937 – “Protect Yourself from Ticks,” Circular 867 – “Controlling Poison-Ivy in the Landscape” and Circular 782 – “Stinging & Biting Pests of People” at www.ugaextension.com . These publications are also available through your local county Extension office.
Jenny Chung | Daily TrojanYour vote, your voice · USC’s Unruh Institute of Politics and 10 other organizations set up booths next to Tommy Trojan on Tuesday and offered students the forms they needed to register to vote in California.As many as 500 students are now eligible to vote in the November general election, thanks to the efforts of 11 campus organizations that participated in USC’s National Voter Registration Day on Tuesday.The Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics, in partnership with the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s office, USC Undergraduate Student Government, USC Political Student Assembly, USC College Republicans, USC College Democrats and other USC student organizations held the registration drive to help USC students complete their voter registration in Los Angeles County.Voter turnout among millennials has reached an all-time low in past elections and is the lowest it has been in 40 years. As of 2014, an estimated 69.2 million millennials — adults between the ages of 18 and 35 — were voting-age, yet only 42 percent of millennials were registered to vote, according to the Campus Vote Project.Meghan Ginley, the community engagement director for the Unruh Institute, hopes that college students will voice their opinion and vote in November.“Millennials could have a huge impact on this election if we get them out to vote,” Ginley said. “Something I have noticed working with students is that a lot of millennials are either very engaged or the complete opposite and very apathetic. So what we want to do is help the people who are apathetic find something that they are passionate about and are interested in getting engaged with.”It’s a demographic that both candidates are having to work hard to convince. According to polls, both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have trouble appealing to young voters. Donte Miller, the external affairs director for Graduate Student Government, said that this could account for low voter turnout among millennials.“It’s a mixture of both the climate and people not liking either candidate,” Miller said. “It’s a mixture of apathy and unwillingness to just vote, the belief that it doesn’t matter if we vote. But it matters.”Many millennial voters were in support of Senator Bernie Sanders, who spoke about student debt and providing resources to college students.Pew Research Center findings show that millennials not only have more debt than any other generation in U.S. history, but also face higher unemployment than the past two generations.“I think it’s important that people exercise their right to know what is going on,” Miller said. “It’s important that students get out in their community and are aware of what is going on so they can.”Jonathan Zhang, a senior majoring in architecture and a member of USC College Democrats, stressed it would be too detrimental to the nation not to cast a vote.“I’m voting because I think the stakes are extremely high in this election, and it does seem like it doesn’t matter,” Zhang said. “But you have to do your part and you have to realize that you’re one of many people.”