By Ellen Nibali, For The Baltimore Sun
2:16 PM EST, December 21, 2012
We had a big wasps' nest last summer. We were told that it's safe to remove the nest after frost, but we still see wasps. When will they be gone?
It takes a hard freeze to kill the worker wasps. They die, and the newly mated queens abandon the nest and winter elsewhere. In the spring they start a new hive somewhere else. No wasps will reuse an old hive. Wasps, as well as yellow jackets and European hornets, all behave this way. This fall has been mild. When normal winter temperatures kick in, you won't see wasps anymore.
I'm always afraid to start feeding birds in fall. Does it interfere with migration? If I stop feeding them when I go to visit family, will they starve?
Migratory birds are hard-wired to migrate. Birds are naturally alert to where other birds are feeding, and migrating birds may stop at your feeder to refuel on their journey. Birds have always had the flexibility to cope with fluctuating food supplies. They know how to search for other food sources. For a website FAQ that may reassure you, go to http://www.birds.cornell.edu.
University of Maryland Extension's Home and Garden Information Center offers free gardening and pest information. Call 800-342-2507 or send a question to the website at hgic.umd.edu.
Plant of the week
Snake Plant 'Golden Hahnii'
Sansevieria trifasciata 'Golden Hahnii'
Snake plant 'Golden Hahnii' is unusual among its species because it grows in a tight rosette that doesn't grow higher than about 6 inches. While its taller cousins bear such dreaded names as "Mother-in-law tongue" and "Devil's tongue," this one deserves the happier name of 'Lucky Plant'. These houseplants are tough as nails and famous for surviving "black thumb" gardeners, but Golden Hahnii does require bright light and warm surroundings. To prevent root rot, do not overwater or overfeed. They don't mind being root-bound, so plants can be left in the same pot for several years. —Lewis Shell
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