What kind of beetle is this I found in my kitchen?
By Ellen Nibali
For The Baltimore Sun|
Jan 03, 2019 at 5:00 AM
Holiday cleaning turned up lots of things, including this bug. It was in my kitchen, but I don’t see it in the Pantry Pest section on the University of Maryland Extension’s Home and Garden Information Center website. Now I’m nervous. What is it?
The larder beetle with its broad panda-like bands is, indeed, a pantry pest. It’s a less common one, whose diet is almost exclusively animal products. The solution is the same as for other pantry pests, which means finding and discarding their food source and cleaning. In addition to dried pet food, pet hair, and cheese or meat crumbs, larder beetles could trace back to the presence of other insects, mice or birds. Animal nests nearby, including old or abandoned ones, could contain feathers and hair. Animal products also include leather or animal trophies. Search and review ‘pantry pest’ on the website for clean-up tips.
Workmen severed a root of my 40-foot pin oak. The cut root is only 12 inches from the tree trunk and two inches in diameter. Should I paint the cut? With what? How can I mitigate this damage?
Painting, or wound dressing, has been proven to be counter-productive to tree healing. The healing process requires oxygen, which the paint blocks. Plus, the humid environment created behind the paint incubates wood rot pathogens.
Little can be done for roots damaged by digging. A minor amount of damage may have no visible effect on the tree, but substantial root loss will cause branch dieback. A jagged cut heals better when pruned cleanly. The root should be covered with soil. The best help is to prevent additional stress. Keep your tree well watered during dry periods for the next couple of years. Make sure mulch is not thicker than two to three inches, and always keep it away from the trunk.
I noticed these intertwined branches while putting up my outside decorations. It can’t be good for the tree. Can I prune it now, while I’m thinking about it, or do I have to wait until spring?
When plants drop their leaves and go dormant, it’s a great time to prune. You can see the structure of the tree much better without leaves. Crossed branches rub against each other and create a wound where disease can enter. Winds exacerbate rubbing. Remove one branch. While you’re at it, remove damaged and dead branches. Dead branches will not be flexible. They often have flaking bark, though you must know your tree well, because some trees normally have attractive, flaking bark. Remove spongey black deteriorating wood with fungal bodies, but not lichen. To familiarize yourself with harmless lichen, search on the HGIC website. For trees that exude an excessive amount of sap from pruning wounds, such as maple, late fall/early winter is a less messy time to prune.
My mom has been using moth balls in her garden to deter squirrels, and she wants to know if that poisons or harms the soil for her plants?
Moth balls have been suggested in the past for repelling wildlife from gardens, but it is an illegal use of this pesticide and probably ineffective. The federal Environmental Protection Agency prohibits the outdoor use of mothballs for pest control. Moth balls are a hazard to both children and wildlife and when eaten can be toxic. They also can contaminate soil and water. Moth balls will not harm the plants, but we recommend that you remove and discard them. It will be okay to plant next spring. For more detailed information, The National Pesticide Information Center website is a great resource. Go to www.npic.orst.edu and search moth balls.
University of Maryland Extension’s Home and Garden Information Center offers free gardening and pest information at extension.umd.edu/hgic. Click “Ask Maryland’s Gardening Experts” to send questions and photos.