23October 14, 2015

On the warm and sunny days of the last few weeks, you may have noticed, on the sunny side of your house or garage, a lot of insects clustered on the wall. You may have thought that some insect was invading the wood on the side of the building. If you look closely, the insect may be a dark brown to black insect with red to orange bands on the back of it head and similar bands on its abdomen. This is the box elder bug. It is enjoying the warmth of the sun and ultimately it will find its way into the attic. They won’t eat your home but rather they are looking for a place to spend the winter. They will find small holes in the molding, siding etc that will allow them to crawl into the attic. They will spend the winter in the attic and come the spring, they will crawl back out into the world to feed on box elder trees.

You may find that ladybugs will cluster on your home looking to spend the winter in your attic. Sometimes flies will do the same thing. All in all, your home is the giant hollow log that can offer these insects some protection from the coming winter. For the most part, if you leave them alone, they will just go about their business of surviving the winter in the attic.

As time goes by this fall, the rain we have been having has gotten the grass to grow. You do want to keep up with the mowing of your lawn. It is harder to rake those leaves that fall on the lawn if the blades of grass are long. The more important reason for mowing the lawn is that you do not want to go into winter with long blades of grass remaining on your lawn. Those blades of grass will fall over in the winter and they will mat down with the first snowfall. Come the spring, a disease called snow mold will cause the grass to die out. In cases of light damage, the grass can grow back. In severe cases, the grass may die and you will have to re-seed in the spring. You should keep that lawn mower working until the grass ultimately stops growing for the winter.

After last winter, I think we all learned a life lesson about protecting our shrubs from the ravages of a snowy winter. Some shrubs need to be wrapped in burlap and shrubs near the roofline would benefit from the placement of a plywood A frame over the plant to protect the shrub from the weight of the snow. No one really knows how much snow we will get this winter. When it comes to protecting your plants you need to prepare for the worst and hope for a mild winter.

Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.

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