Beautiful gardens by William Johnson

IN GENERAL, insects have a bad reputation – the vast majority either cause no harm or are actually beneficial to mankind. However, a few cause us problems. Among those that most homeowners dread, termites certainly rank at the top. “Know thine enemy” is key to winning the war against the worthy adversary.
Termites are more likely to be seen during spring as it’s the primary season when they are likely to swarm. However, termite season is really a year-round activity. Even though they are usually out of sight during most of the year, these unwelcome guests are still carrying out their mission. Most people do not become aware of them until they pull out some wood and find either the termites or the damage they cause.
A few simple precautions will help reduce the chances of subterranean termites turning your dream home into a nightmare. When they invade a home, hundreds, even thousands, of dollars in damage can occur. They often go unnoticed because you don’t see them crawling around. They do their damage inside the wood.
There are certain conditions that might make your home conducive to termite activity:
• Prevent soil coming into contact with brick, especially weep holes, siding or any type of wood-to-ground meeting.
• Do not stack firewood next to the house or garage.
• Check for rotten or decaying wood. Whether inside or outside, what looks like rotten wood could be termite damage.
• Check for areas around plumbing leaks that stay wet. Subterranean termites require a source of moisture and are attracted to wood that stays wet.
• Be sure that mulch does not make contact with bricks, weep holes, exterior wood, etc. This is very important and I’ve seen far too many cases of excessive use of mulch in such areas.
Any of these conditions creates an inviting and easy route for termites to gain access to homes. If you have any of these conditions, they should be corrected.
Certain indicators of possible termite activity should be checked by a termite professional as soon as possible. The first is the presence of “swarmers” or male and female reproducing inside the home. They look like flying ants and often collect near windows, glass patio doors and other sources of light.
Termite swarmers are most commonly encountered in spring. A few to several dozen can occur for a short time. Sometimes you only see them once and they die quickly. They are a likely indication that there is an active colony in your home.
The second indicator is the presence of mud “shelter tubes”. These are usually small tubes that range from pencil diameter upwards and have the consistency of a dirt dobber nest. They usually ascend ffrom the ground, up the side of a foundation to an exterior wood siding or to a weep hole in the brick.
Weep holes can be found on most brick homes and serve a vital structural function. I’ve seen termites, fire ants, roaches, crickets, earwigs, wasps, millipedes and other insect pests take advantage of this “open door” to what amounts to a great nest site inside wall voids where it’s  warm, shady, moist and protected!
If you knock the termite shelter tubes down or crush them, the termites will build them back or construct other shelter tubes elsewhere. Fire ants also oftentimes construct shelter-like tubes to gain access to a home’s interior through weep holes, as shown in the photo above.
However, fire ants’ shelter tubes easily break down if poked with a stick or finger whereas termites’ tubes are hard and require more pressure to break apart. You cannot get rid of termites by destroying the tubes or by spraying an insecticide through the tubes.
If you have noticed any of these signs indicating the presence of termites, contact a termite control professional but do not panic. Termites won’t destroy your home overnight or even in a week – they work slowly.
You should, however, arrange to have your home inspected by one or more licensed pest-control companies. Most companies will inspect your home for termite infestation free of charge and provide an estimate for treatment if an infestation is confirmed. Pest-control companies are required to provide you with a disclosure statement containing the names of pesticides to be used, details of any warranties and other pertinent information.
Homeowners faced with dealing with a termite infestation will probably not be consoled when informed that termites serve a highly useful function in nature because they break down decaying wood, which returns valuable organic matter and nutrients to the soil.
In essence, these insects are recyclers of plant life. However, as long as we live in houses made of wood and its products, they will keep such dwellings on their menu list.
William Johnson is a horticulturist with the Galveston County office of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. Visit his website at

As well as termites, fire ants are among the insects that take advantage of weep holes’ “open door” to a great nest site inside houses’ exterior wall voids. – Photo: Genevieve Benson


THE LIFE of an immigrant almost 200 years ago is the subject of a talk by author James Valentino at Moore Memorial public library in Texas City today.
Valentino will be speaking at 1:30pm about his book The Life And Letters Of Lucy Parker Shaw, which details Shaw’s life and the letters she wrote to her mother about her experiences in 1833 Galveston. Our March 12 listing has more information.
The same listing also has details of Brightwood College’s annual Spring Fling festival at its Friendswood campus at 10:00am tomorrow, Thursday.
Then, at 12:30pm, head to University Of Houston Clear Lake to hear Angela Wilson, who will talk on her career as part of the university’s Women’s History Month series. Our March 15 listing has more information.
Also on the way tomorrow is the campaign kickoff for one of this year’s Lemonade Day events around the county. See today’s listing for details.
Friday is your first chance to attend Kemah Boardwalk’s Crawfish And Zydeco Festival. For the next three weekends, vendors on the Boardwalk will sell the shellfish and various artists will provide live zydeco music, a genre that originated in southern Louisiana. Our March 12 listing has more information.
Saturday will be a busy day! If you’re an automobiles buff, start at American Pontiac Association’s Saturday At The Strand classic-car show on the island at 8:00am. See today’s listing for details.
If you’re more of a fresh-air fiend, start at 8:30am at one of various bays, bayous and peninsulas around the county for an annual spring wetlands volunteer cleanup. Our March 8 listing has more information.
Depending on where you live, you can take your pet to the county animal shelter in Texas City for some vital low-cost attention from 10:00am. See today’s listing for details.
Then, at 1:00pm, head to Highland Bayou Park for a fundraiser benefiting a Galveston police officer who has been diagnosed with lung cancer. Our March 8 listing has more information.
Back to the island at 4:00pm, when Galveston Lions Club will open the doors for its annual Oyster Roast And Great Giveaway. See today’s listing for details.
Finish the day at the Spectacular Fairy Ball, a costume evening in the theme of The Wizard Of Oz, hosted by Galveston Children’s Museum at the island’s Willis-Moody Mansion from 5:00pm. Our March 8 listing has more information.
• We refer to past Coming Soon listings for three reasons; first, as a gentle reminder about events whose details we have already listed; second, to reserve as much space as possible for information about new events; and, third, to tell you where to check the information you need, either by re-reading the printed edition if you still have it or by going online to our website,, where all Coming Soon listings are available.

Lemonade Day kickoff
WHO: Texas City, La Marque and Clear Lake Shores
WHAT: Learn how to get involved in this year’s May 7 event
WHEN: March 23, 6:00-7:30pm; March 26, 2:00-4:00pm
WHERE: March 23, Blocker middle school, 1800 Ninth Avenue, Texas City; March 26, Clear Lake Shores Clubhouse, 931 Cedar Road, Clear Lake Shores
CONTACT: Lindsay Touchy, 409-763-5326

Saturday At The Strand
WHO: American Pontiac Association
WHAT: Car show in aid of Wounded Warriors Project and American Diabetes Association
WHEN: March 25, 8:00am-4:00pm; registration 8:00am-noon
WHERE: Pier 21, 2100 Harborside Drive, Galveston; registration at Harbor House Hotel, 28 Pier 21
HOW MUCH: Free entry; $30 per show car
CONTACT: Sal Escamilla, 832-264-7469; Jim Deas, 281-955-2001; Vince Welling, 281-331-0304

Low-cost pet vaccination
WHO: Pet Vaccination Services
WHAT: Vaccinations, flea control, heartworm testing, pet registration and microchipping for residents of Bayou Vista, Hitchcock, Kemah, La Marque, Texas City, Tiki Island and unincorporated county areas
WHEN: March 25, 10:00am-3:00pm
WHERE: Galveston County animal resource center, 3412 25th Avenue North, Texas City
HOW MUCH: From $12 to $68
CONTACT: PVS, 713-738-3131, 210-377-2222 or; ARC, 409-948-2485

Oyster Roast And
Great Giveaway
WHO: Galveston Lions Club
WHAT: Fundraiser for disadvantaged local children including a $10,000 prize drawing
WHEN: March 25, 4:00-8:30pm
WHERE: Sea Scout Base Galveston, 7509 Broadway, Galveston
HOW MUCH: Entry $15; prize-drawing ticket $100
CONTACT: John Mchol, 409-256-0575; JessieAnn Bradshaw, 409-766-0350

Monthly lunch
WHO: The Get Together-Bay Area
WHAT: The organization’s last networking event until September
WHEN: April 5, 11:30am-1:00pm
WHERE: Ecclesia Clear Lake church, 218 Clear Creek Avenue, League City
HOW MUCH: $12 online, $15 at door
CONTACT: Kelly Krueger, 713-828-5632,

Celebrity golf tournament
WHO: League City Regional chamber of commerce
WHAT: Play a round with local celebrities
WHEN: April 11, 10:30am registration, noon start
WHERE: Magnolia Creek golf course, 1501 Bay Area Boulevard, League City
HOW MUCH: Individual player $160, team $600 – registration required at
CONTACT: Jane McFaddin, 281-338-7339

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Who, What, When etc details and e-mail them to

Inspirations by Frances Durisseau

When we go through a major life-altering change such as the passing of a loved one or spouse, it can leave us feeling lost for quite some time. We might question our purpose in life and often we feel quite broken – once we were planning for what we thought was our future and now those plans have changed so drastically. But the truth is that the purpose of our lives, the reason we have been created and placed on this planet, has not changed.
If you are feeling broken, lost or confused, I want to share my hope with you. Today, in all your brokenness, imagine doing something so powerful, so significant, that it would be worthy of being shared in front of all who are observing you. By choosing to be a hopeful survivor, you are participating in the greater plan for your life.
Every day that you choose to hope and have faith for your future, you are doing something that is truly worthy, powerful and significant. Every single day that you get up and keep going, you are building a bridge into your future. Underneath all of your pain, you will find there is a lesson. Beneath all the devastating heartbreak and sorrow there is hope, even if it is just a glimmer. When you dig beneath all of the struggle, there is courage.
We find we are in the proverbial refiner’s fire and, when we come through it, we have a better grasp of what is truly important, so we can encourage others to have a more precise focus as they gaze down their own road and build their bridge of hope. We persevere. We become strong. We mend the broken places, so that we can help others through the same fiery trials.
It all results in making us more mature and complete as we face and build a new today and a better tomorrow. If that is our only purpose, we are growing into the best possible person we can be.

            Frances Durisseau

Inspirations by Frances Durisseau

A wise but anonymous person once wrote: “Our days are happier when we give people a bit of our heart rather than a piece of our mind”.
Sometimes, unknown authors are some of my most favorites. They might be unknown by name but they surely were not unknown to those who sat and walked beside them, absorbing their wisdom into their souls. It is so easy to let things fly out of our mouths without thinking about the damage or consequences that they might cause to the listener, isn’t it? I have scars inside me that have taken years to heal because of the careless words of others.
Oh but the beautiful garden of kindness and love that has grown in my heart thanks to folks who have planted a piece of their heart into mine by sharing their words of love, kindness, encouragement, care and thoughtfulness! When I am feeling down, I can walk in that garden and glean from its beauty and fragrance left behind by the known people who have taken the time to plant that goodness inside me. It can lift my spirits and give me courage, wisdom and strength when I need it the most.
Some of those people might have felt like “unknowns” at times in their lives, as we all do. But, in my heart, they will always be known as those who cared and shared a part of themselves with me when I needed it most. We truly are never unknown because someone, somewhere, cares enough to leave their footprint on our hearts. Thank you to all the “unknowns” who give people a bit of their hearts instead of a piece of their minds. You have made our world a more beautiful place and we are all the better for it.
Contact Frances by e-mail at

February 8
Barbara Faye McDonald
Born October 10, 1939

March 8
Elizabeth Battles Cooper
Born September 23, 1936
Jose Maria Ortiz
Age not advised
John Michael Traynor
Born September 25, 1941

March 9
Lois Maxine Jackson
Born April 4, 1932
Sherry Lee McLain
Born July 16, 1963

March 10
Guadalupe Lester
Died at age 87
Margaret Love
Born June 17, 1934
Linda Nash Norman
Born November 22, 1947

March 11
Ronnie Lee Crisco
Born July 8, 1943
William James Golden
Born December 11, 1935
Dakota Craig Hansen
Born May 31, 2001
Donald Havard
Born September 30, 1926
Billy Jack Lafoy
Born December 13, 1928

March 12
Leah Rae Barajas
Born April 6, 1965
Mary Ellen Copado
Born December 25, 1941

March 13
Lige Ford
Died at age 82
Janice Alford Matar
Born March 2, 1956
Genece McCurley
Born June 7, 1919
Lucille Ruth Newsome
Born April 26, 1921
Alice Ann Robinson
Born November 10, 1937

March 14
Andrew Caldwell
Died at age 94
Marion Franklin Carpenter
Born May 31. 1941

March 15
Ahmaal Davis
Born February 24, 1976
Verona Gordon
Died at age 89
Clytie Washington
Died at age 93
Billie Sue Wier
Born November 19, 1930

March 16
Herman Mentzel
Died at age 88

In loving memoriam is a free service offered by The Post to the Galveston County community each Sunday and records the known passing of citizens up to the previous Thursday. Mourners wishing to publish additional details of their loved one’s passing are invited to call 409-943-4265 for details.