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Showing posts from November, 2010

What Can I do About Bed Bugs?

Jeffrey Hahn, Asst. UMN Extension Entomologist

Bed bugs are often a very challenging and costly problem with which to deal. The best long-term control is to hire an experienced professional pest control company to treat your home. They have the expertise, experience and effective products to properly control bed bugs. These insects are too difficult for a homeowner to eliminate themselves. However, while you cannot eradicate bed bugs are your own, there are some steps you can take to help reduce their numbers.

Make Sure You Have Bed Bugs

Not every insect you see is necessarily a bed bug. Especially with all of the media attention recently, it is easy to think that you see bed bugs in every crack and crevice in your home so be sure you know what they look like. Despite what some people believe, bed bugs are not microscopic. Adults are similar in size and shape to a wood tick. They measure about ¼ - 3/8 inches long and are oval, flattened, brown, and wingless.. Young bed bugs ar…

What's Happening at the Plant Disease Clinic

Karl Foord, UMN Extension Educator
Dimitre Mollov - Director of Diagnostic Services, UMN Plant Disease Clinic

Dimitre Mollov at his dissecting scope. Karl Foord. Every year brings its unique weather but 2010, with its unseasonably warm April and our cool and wet late May and June, presented some ideal conditions for disease. To explore this further I visited with Dimitre Mollov, the Director of Diagnostic Services of the Plant Disease Clinic of the University of Minnesota. Dimitre took over leadership of the lab some three years ago and to date has analyzed some 6,500 samples from 22 states. These samples have included some 1000 pathogens on some 300 hosts. Eighty plus percent of the samples come from commercial entities where control decisions have greater financial impact, but there may be times when it might be worth it for a homeowner to send a sample to the clinic. How are samples processed and how are the results analyzed at the clinic?

The challenge in diagnosis

You can see…

The Uncertain Future of the Butternut Tree

Michelle Grabowski, UMN Extension Educator

Photo 1: Nuts from a butternut tree B.Cook Michigan State University, commonly planted near farmstead houses for the nuts it produces, many Minnesotans would not recognize a butternut tree today. Butternut (Juglans cinerea), also known as white walnut, is a native tree in Minnesota and a close relative of black walnut (Juglans nigra). This nut bearing tree provides food for squirrels and other rodents and is used for wood carving and furniture building. Butternut is hardy to zone 3 and is therefore a valuable tree in northern Minnesota, where black walnut will not grow.

Although butternut is naturally found in small numbers in native forests of the United States, these populations have decreased due to a lethal disease known as butternut canker. Butternut canker is caused by the fungus Sirococcus clavigignenti-juglandacearum and is responsible for the near extinction of butternut in some eastern forests. Populations of butternu…

Calendar and Contributors: December 1, 2010

Make cleaning your houseplant foliage part of sprucing up your home for the holidays. Clean leaves look best-- and they capture more light for photosynthesis. Wash both the surface and underside of each leaf with lukewarm water that's had a drop or two of dishwashing liquid added. For more information, see the wide range of houseplant care publications on the University of Minnesota Extension Garden Info site.

Poinsettia's are among the easiest holiday plants to grow. But first you must choose a plant and get it home without suffering cold damage. It must be wrapped well, then transported in a heated vehicle. Cut the bottom of the pot so excess water will drain out, and place the poinsettia in a bright- even sunny- location. water thoroughly when the soil surface begins to dry, and fertilize monthly after four to six weeks.

Want to see more poinsettias? Spend some time at the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory in St. Paul's Como Park. The annual holiday display will help you fo…