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Hot, Dry Weather Boosts Likelihood of Blue-Green Algae in Kansas Lakes, Ponds

K-State Specialists Issue New Fact Sheet, Review Steps for Proper Testing
Posted on Jul. 13th, 2012
MANHATTAN, Kan. – 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”

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:  

More information about blue-green algae is available also on the Kansas Department of Health and Environment website; a related news release; and a video  


K-State Research and Extension is a short name for the Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service, a program designed to generate and distribute useful knowledge for the well-being of Kansans. Supported by county, state, federal and private funds, the program has county Extension offices, experiment fields, area Extension offices and regional research centers statewide. Its headquarters is on the K-State campus, Manhattan.