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.
NBA Draft 2019: RJ Barrett wants Knicks to pick him at No. 3, won’t work out for any other team New Orleans has added a new piece to its front office.The Pelicans announced Monday they’ve hired former WNBA star Swin Cash as their new vice president of basketball operations. She is expected to work alongside executive vice president David Griffin to craft the future of the franchise. “We are beyond thrilled to welcome Swin Cash and her family to the New Orleans Pelicans,” Griffin said in a statement. “Her legendary experience as a player, champion and winner at every level, on and off the floor, represents everything we want this organization to be about. In addition to her background as an executive with the New York Liberty, Swin has a strong reputation as a thought leader in the area of player and human development and her work as a global NBA/WNBA ambassador speaks to her incredible relationships throughout the League family.”Cash, 39, retired in 2016 and won three WNBA championships and two gold medals with the Olympic team during her 15-year career. Related News “I am so excited to join the New Orleans Pelicans as Vice President of Basketball Operations/Team Development,” Cash said. “I want to extend my sincere gratitude to (team owner) Mrs. Benson, David Griffin and the Pelicans organization for the opportunity to serve in a leadership role in the front office.”I will use my experience as a professional athlete in the WNBA, Vice President of the WNBPA, businesswoman and philanthropist, along with the knowledge I’ve gained as a front office executive, to cultivate the organization’s basketball culture on the court and in the community.” The Pelicans are revamping their front office, as Griffin, the former general manager of the Cavaliers, was hired in mid-April. New Orleans posted a 33-49 record in 2018-19 and its star player, Anthony Davis, asked to be traded just before the All-Star break. The team is reportedly listening to offers for the six-time All-Star this summer.Fortunately for the Pelicans, they unexpectedly secured the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, which is widely expected to be former Duke star Zion Williamson. If he’s selected, he’ll likely become the franchise’s next building block. Anthony Davis trade rumors: Pelicans want All-Star, young player, 2 picks in exchange for star