If you find bedbugs, you will need to engage a pesticide company.
If you find bedbugs, you will need to engage a pesticide company. (Associated Press)

We noticed what my spouse says are bedbugs about a week ago. Neither of us have bites, but I'll admit some kind of bugs are in the bed. What's a good pesticide for them?

Just because you do not see raised bite marks doesn't mean you are not being bitten by bedbugs. About a third of humans are insensitive to bedbug bites and show no skin reaction. That percentage increases in the elderly. No pesticides are available to homeowners that will effectively rid your home of bedbugs. Engage a pesticide company. Everything in infested rooms needs to be cleaned, super-heated or treated. Bedbugs can even live in appliances and walls. You cannot do this by yourself; however, these are some steps you should take as soon as possible:


Harvesting herbs in winter depends on the severity of the winter and how well-protected their location is.

•Wash and dry all bed linens. A clothes dryer on medium kills bedbugs.

•Have these bugs positively identified by sending the University of Maryland Home and Garden Information Center a photo, or by using a pest control company.

• Invest in a specialized mattress cover that completely seals the mattress so bedbugs cannot live there. Get a good one that will not allow the bugs to enter around the zipper.

•Once your beds are bedbug-free, place bedbug "pitfall" traps under each bed foot. Black is the best color to use.

My huge potted boxwoods have blight. Must I change the pot's soil if I don't replant with boxwoods?

Boxwood blight is a very serious, invasive disease. Every bit of blighted plant tissue is capable of spreading the disease to other boxwoods, as well as to pachysandra and sarcococca (sweetbox). If a leaf blows into a neighbor's landscape, the disease will spread there, as well. As you can imagine, infected boxwoods should not be thrown in the back of a pickup and driven to the dump. It is extremely important that all remnants of the plants' tissue, even soil scrapings, be disposed of correctly. If you did not have the plants diagnosed by a plant pathologist to positively confirm boxwood blight, contact the Home and Garden Information Center and send photos. Hopefully, we'll find that your plants died of other causes.

Digging deeper

Cluster flies

These unusual flies are parasites of earthworms. They are more a nuisance rather than a pest.
These unusual flies are parasites of earthworms. They are more a nuisance rather than a pest. (Ellen Nibali / For The Baltimore Sun)

Flies have a justified association with garbage, manure and filth, but not these big fellas. That's somewhat reassuring when dozens of cluster flies are bumbling at your sunny windows. These unusual flies are parasites of earthworms. In summer, their larvae (maggots) live inside worms outdoors. In late August, 3/8-inch adults, looking like big house flies, find a sheltered place to overwinter, including attics and wall voids on the sun-exposed side of a house. Warmth stimulates them to become active again, so they typically appear on sunny days in winter to spring and are attracted to light. They are a nuisance rather than a pest. Sluggish fliers, they can be swatted, vacuumed and even plucked up with a tissue. Pesticides are not recommended. Next spring, caulk and use weatherstrips on outside openings that provide points of entry.

—Ellen Nibali