Insects and Animals

Early Blooming – When To Put Out Hummingbird Feeders

Q: Given how very early things are blooming this year, when do you think hummingbird feeders should be put out? A: Many birders keep at least one hummingbird feeder out all year long. Ruby-throat hummers arrive in spring and depart...

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Shake Shingle Siding And Woodpeckers

Q: We have shake shingle siding and small woodpeckers have been making holes in it, plus lots of noise! A: This is typical woodpecker behavior in early spring. Contrary to popular belief, they aren’t typically looking for insects. Instead, they’re...

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Roses – Kill The Bugs But Not The Bees

Q: What can I spray for bugs on my roses instead of systemic insecticides that kill honeybees? A: It’s true that systemic insecticides can harm bees, but despite the brouhaha over their use, insecticides are not the only cause of...

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Lemon Tree – How To Get Rid Of Spider Mites

Q: On your radio show you mentioned a product that you use to get rid of spider mites on your lemon tree. What is it? A: Since I eat the Meyer lemons, I use products that are easy to wash...

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Zoysia Sod – Raccoons

Q: We had new zoysia sod put out in September. All was fine until a few days ago when I think raccoons began pulling sod pieces up by the edges every night and making a mess. A: One of the...

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Red Insects – On Plants in Spring (wheel bug vs leaf-footed bug)

Each spring I get pictures of clusters of small insects on plants or surfaces near a garden. The two most likely suspects are wheel bug nymphs and leaf-footed bug nymphs. But wheel bugs are beneficial insects and leaf-footed bugs feed...

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Indoor Palm – Scale Insects

Q: My indoor palm looks awful. What’s going on? A: The palm has scale insects. They are almost impossible to control. There are just too many of them and they reproduce rapidly. I recommend you throw this plant out and...

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Tomatoes – Stink Bugs Return

Q; I had a big infestation of stink bugs on my tomatoes this year. Will I have this problem again next year? A: If you have had stink bugs this year it’s likely you’ll have them next year too. They...

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Dog Pee In Flower Beds – Save Roses

Q: How do you get rid of dog pee in flower beds? What do I do to the soil in order to not have my new roses die? A: Usually simply adding organic matter, tilling the soil, and leaving it...

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Sedum Plants – Bees

Q: We have sedum plants which are flowering like never before! The bumblebees are working it all day long. What are they doing with whatever it is they are taking? A: Large sedums like ‘Autumn Joy’ and ‘Matrona’ are some...

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Chickens – Egg Production Changing

Q: What makes chickens slow down their egg production? We have six hens and have started getting only five eggs per day. A: You’re getting the right number of eggs for now but production will decline in winter. Much depends...

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Moving Plants – Leaving Spiders

Q: It will soon be time to move my house plants that have spent the summer outdoors back inside. I have several African violets and succulents. However, most of them have little spiders which have kept bugs away in a...

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Leaf-footed Bug – Nymphs

Q:  I noticed a clump of very bright red insects on the underside of a sage leaf. They seem to be too big to be spider mites and they seem too bright to be fire ants. Do you know what...

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Snakes – Tree Climbers?

Q: I was cutting my grass and had to bend down to cut under a tree. My head hit a limb and a brown/rust colored snake, twelve inches long, fell down. When did snakes start climbing trees? A: Some Georgia...

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Yellowjacket – Finding Nest

Q: I love to cut grass but have been stung by yellowjackets three times this summer. Now I’m terrified to mow. How can I find the nest in a huge yard? A: Try this: Upend a five-gallon plastic bucket in...

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Mosquito Spraying-Hurting Bees?

Q: Do you think a monthly mosquito spraying by an exterminator will hurt the bee population? A: I’m not sure a monthly spraying would even harm the mosquito population. These biting insects can go from egg to adult in fourteen...

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Saddleback Caterpillars-Get Rid of Them

Q: I discovered four saddleback caterpillars while deadheading my Knockout roses. I want them gone! Should I get rid of the roses? A: I have good news! Saddleback caterpillars rarely reinfest the plants where you find them. They are very...

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Ants-Get Rid of Them

Q: We have a major invasion of ants. I have tried most ant remedies but nothing seems to work. A: A friend had lots of ants crawling around the sink in her kitchen. She used a commercial ant bait applied...

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