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Category Search Results for:
Animals and Pests

87 Total Found

Question: 467-311
I understand that I need to have a bird house with wood shavings inside, if I want woodpeckers to use it. Can you also tell me about bat houses. Karen, Townsend, MA

Mort's Answer:
Bat houses are best placed under eaves of barns and tool sheds. If placed on trees, they need to be at least ten feet off the ground. Shady locations are best but not necessary. Both housing situations are tricky. Hollowed holes in trees are beat for woodpeckers but not all types care for houses with or without wood sawdust or shavings. Woodpeckers love drilling for insect eggs and bats will pick up plenty of flying insects at night.

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Question: 1375-3616
Are bat houses a good way to get rid of mosquitos? Jim, Salem, CT

Mort's Answer:
Those night raiders are excellent collectors of all bugs, especially mosquitos. One bat will eat 6,000 or more every night Bat houses are low maintenance but need to be hung in strategic places. Houses should be made of good quality wood with shingled roofs. Cheaper boxes will often not weather to last. Placement should be away from hornet and wasp nests. Locations should be darkened at night. Trees may be too dark. Away from street traffic and light is best.

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Question: 940-2013
We have large yellow bees that look like wasps. They made big holes in the ground and in the wood on my deck. What can I use to make them go away? I do not want to kill them. Gary, Norwich,CT

Mort's Answer:
Carpenter bees will make large holes everywhere. Fill the holes with lime. This should dissuade them from building on your site. Put putty in the deck holes. Sometimes that may not be enough. Some organic gardeners use hot pepper sprays to get rid of them. Pyrethrum compounds can be applied in powder or spray. These are organic and emit a vibration that discourages a lot of insects including ticks.

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Question: 1090-614
How do I get rid of black fly from my geraniums indoors? Bruce, Norwich, CT

Mort's Answer:
You can use an oil to suffocate them. Clove or canola oil are excellent but the flies can continue to propagate in the soil. Repeated applications can stunt the growth of the plant. You may have to take them outdoors when the temps are closer to 50 and spray with malathion. Be sure to spray downwind and spray the soil. Your best bet is to change the soil and spray the under leaves. Follow the directions on the label.

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Question: 175-5201
We have some apples on our property with a black mold on the leaves. I understand that the wild cedars may be affecting the apples. Is this true and can we cut the cedars down? Sue, Salem, CT

Mort's Answer:
Juniperus virginiana is a very hardy tree that can harbor fungi through the winter that will later spread to crab apples gooseberries and other fruited deciduous trees and shrubs. These cedars make excellent firewood for baked apples and emit a wonderful aroma of their own. Yes, there are many very nice species of spruce that would adequately replace the severed cedars. I also recommend that you get a book on pruning for your apples and start a spraying program with dormant spray and the home orchard sprays that are readily available.

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Question: 561-2411
We have a little bug that looks like a beetle inside a glob of foamy goo on our raspberries and on our rhubarb. How can I get rid of it and will it hurt the rhubarb and raspberries? Anna, Coldwell, WV

Mort's Answer:
You can wipe off the foam with alcohol soaked rags. The little bug inside will eat leaves as an adult. Fruitworms are not as pernicious as cane borers but should not be tolerated . You can dust the soil around the plants with pyrethrin to discourage other insects that can carry viruses and fungi. Lime sulphur is another good deterrent for the would be invaders. There is no need to give them the raspberry.

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Question: 482-711
We had Cabbage Worms last year. I used pyrethrum and rotenone without success. What can you recommend? I would like to stay organic. Bill, Tulsa , OK

Mort's Answer:
Bacillus thuriengensis is a bacteria that has proved very successful in combating cabbage worms. BT has to grow in the soil. It may take two years or more to be completely effective in zone 6. You can continue to use the old time remedies, while the BT is being established. There is an Israeli strain that will give optimum success. Follow directions on the label.

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Question: 745-1912
I used BT this year to get grid of cabbage worms. They are still present on my five inch plants. I am using Sevin without too much success. What do you think? Bill, Tulsa, OK

Mort's Answer:
Sevin can be used with vegetables in the early stages because it only lasts 24 hours. Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis has proven to be more effective after a year or two. This bacteria needs time to establish itself in the soil. In the meantime, you could put a styrofoam ring around each plant. Coat the outside edge with vaseline for a mechanical obstacle for the critters.

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Question: 1129-2114
I got this green caterpillar with a black head that is really abundant on my pines. It is not quite an inch and decimating the leaves. I have seen them in prior years but nothing like this year. I used an oil spray to kill them. What is it? Russ, Cranston, RI

Mort's Answer:
Sawfly larvae are ferocious feeders on pines and sometimes spruce trees. The adult is a wasp and be equally bothersome. Oils sprays suffocate the larvae. Oil with nicotine is a faster remedy. You could break up your last cigarette and mix it with the oil. That is an organic solution and might be more humane. Malathion works well for any sucking, chewing insect. You might consider using a dormant oil in the fall to prevent infestation. It can also ruin cherry trees and strawberry plants.

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Question: 1270-2615
I see a lots of caterpillars climbing up my trees. What is the best way to get rid of them? Gary, Uncasville, CT

Mort's Answer:
Placing bands around the trunk is still the best method of keeping them from getting onto the leaves and branches. If the bark is smooth, you can apply a lubricant like vaseline directly around the bark in a four inch strip. Bands with oils are available a garden centers. You may want to call in an arborist to power spray you trees, if they have already begun to munch.

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Question: 597-3311
I was able to trap little chipmunks in my Hav A Hart Trap. I am not sure if they were chipmunks. They ate the graham cracker and peanut butter and left a mound of dried grass near the trap. Should I try again? Carol, Norwich, CT

Mort's Answer:
Get some fine mesh screen and line the inside of the trap. It looks like the culprits squeezed their way out with a little help from their friends. Do not play Alvin's Christmas song. It might spook them.

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