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Hot, Dry Weather Boosts Likelihood of Blue-Green Algae
Kansas Ag Connection - 07/16/2012

This summer's searing heat is causing a host of problems for landowners, including the threat of toxic cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, on lakes and ponds.

"Blue-green algae can sicken or kill livestock and other animals, and also poses a threat to humans," said Kansas State University research assistant professor in agronomy, Carol Blocksome. "If blue-green algae are suspected, a water sample can be collected and sent to the Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory."

Blocksome, who is a range management specialist with K-State Research and Extension, collaborated with K-State colleagues Deon van der Merwe and Larry Hollis to produce a fact sheet, "Identification and Management of Blue-green Algae in Farm Ponds" http://www.ksre.ksu.edu/library/h20ql2/mf3065.pdf. Van der Merwe is a veterinary toxicologist with K-State's College of Veterinary Medicine and Larry Hollis is a beef veterinarian with K-State Research and Extension.

Some of the tips in the fact sheet include:

-- Take a sample where the algae is more likely to be present, such as the downwind side of a pond, and shallow areas that are warmer.

-- Choose a clean container with a wide mouth. Rinse out the container with the pond water. Label the outside with the date and location.

-- Scoop the water from the surface along with the scum. Be careful not to come into contact with the water by using a cup attached to a long stick, or by using gloves.

-- Secure the lid, and put the sample into a plastic bag. Put the sample into a cooler with an ice pack, but don't freeze.

-- Place the sample in a refrigerator, and then mail it by overnight express to the lab of choice. One option is the Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, Mosier D-117, 1800 Denison Ave., Manhattan, KS. 66506-5601. More information about the KSU Diagnostic Lab is at: https://www.vet.k-state.edu/.

More information about blue-green algae is available also on the Kansas Department of Health and Environment website www.kdheks.gov/algae-illness/index.htm; a related news release www.ksre.ksu.edu/news/story/bluegreen_algae062012.aspx; and a video http://youtu.be/ZRNWzFwKKjE.

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